Adopt a Labrador
"The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular pets in the world. If you are looking to adopt a Labrador Retriever, then you should know that the breed is best suited for hunting and often trained to hunt with gun sportsmen, which has earned it the title of a "gun dog." Labs are also remarkable working companions that are used for various purposes, such as physical assistance and home protection. However, its loyalty and friendly temperament also make the Lab an outstanding pet.
Labs are strong, heavily built, and have square proportions, leading to their classification as working dogs. One of their trademark characteristics is a strong jaw and a broad head. They also have strong legs and shoulders, which allow them to be fast runners. Fully grown, Labs stand at around 21 to 24 inches tall, and weigh about 50 to 80 pounds. Their undercoat is thick and soft while their outer coat is slightly coarse. This allows Labs to be nearly waterproof, with the thick undercoat protecting the skin, and the outer coat pushing water away. Labs have a distinct elegance, carrying themselves with an upright, proud demeanor, accompanied with a friendly facial expression that invites new acquaintances to pet them.
Each Lab blood-line is destined for a slightly different purpose. For example, show Labradors are bred for beauty and presentation -- for perfection in appearance. Hunting Labs are bred for strength and toughness, as they must be able to withstand cold water, while maintaining an extraordinary sense of smell and companionship for their human counterpart. Champion (or field trial) Labradors are bred for speed, energy, and intelligence, with appearance being their least considered trait. They look quite trimmer and have smaller heads than the average Labs, and are generally considered to be a bit too high-energy for the average dog owner. Last, is the family Labrador. They are bred for gentleness, intelligence, and a manageable temperament level. They are just happy to just be apart of a loving family. No matter what differences in type, all Labs are expected to maintain the characteristics that originally made them working dogs: stamina, strength, energy, and the ability to retrieve dependably.
Labrador Retrievers can be found in black, chocolate, and yellow, with black being the most popular, and chocolate right behind. The color of the nose is directly related to the color of the hair, meaning it should be the same. Any other colors or variations of Labs are the result of crossbreeding and thus not accepted as purebreds. The eyes should be brown for the black and yellow Labs, while hazel or brown for chocolate haired Labs.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
The Labrador Retriever has a strong hunting instinct and loves to explore. They can be calm at times but active at others, and obedient if trained properly. Swimming and retrieving are their favorite activities and they are also excellent hunters. Regular exercise is a must to keep them fit. Labs love to learn, are easy to get along with, and do well with other animals. This is what makes them such popular family pets, although they tend to be too nice to be effective guard dogs.
A weekly combing is all that is required when you adopt a Labrador Retriever, since their water resistant coat is also designed to be soil and dirt resistant. Regular exercise, on the other hand, is highly important. They are high-energy, love to play, and should be given the opportunity to do so on a daily basis. When possible, Labrador Retrievers should be allowed to swim, as it is one of their favorite activities. Pools, beaches, rivers, lakes are all fun for a Lab. Just as with a child, you will want to safeguard your young Lab while it is in the water, to make sure it feels safe and has a way of getting out if needed. Young Labs can panic or tire quickly, but overtime, will become better natural swimmers.
One thing that is especially important to know is that this breed has a tendency to gain weight if it is too sedentary, or if given too many treats. One of the most common health problems for Labs is obesity. A healthy Labrador should have a trim, hourglass shape. While it may be tempting to give tons of treats, it is far better to treat your Labs with quality playtime instead. This will ensure that he/she will enjoy a long and healthy life. Labs can do well in an outdoor dog house, but prefer to live indoors with their families if they can.
Labradors have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Their most common health conditions are patellar luxation, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), which is canine elbow and shoulder dysplasia. They also occasionally suffer from distichiasis, exercise-induced collapse, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, tricuspid valve dysplasia, and entropion. Minor health concerns include retinal dysplasia, central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA), hypothyroidism, hot spots, and cataract.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
The modern Labrador Retriever descends from a popular fishing and retrieving dog from Newfoundland and Labrador, an Atlantic coastal province in Canada. Originally, there were two distinct types under the one classification of Newfoundland dogs: the greater and the lesser (the lesser being smaller than the greater).
The lesser Newfoundland was black in color, smooth coated, and of a medium size, where the greater Newfoundland was considerably larger, and better suited for pulling heavy loads. The lesser’s ability to fetch and deliver fishing lines, along with their renowned affection and love for families at the end of a work day, made them the more popular choice for fishermen. Both the lesser and the greater are equipped with webbed toes, a two-layered coat that repels water, and a broad tail that serves as a rudder while swimming.
The lesser of the Newfoundland dogs rose to popularity amongst English travelers and was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1903. This is when it was renamed to the Labrador Retriever, which remains one of the most popular pets today."