The Lab, as the Labrador Retriever is commonly called, is one of the world’s most popular breeds. Everyone, it seems, loves Labs – probably because Labs love everyone! This sweet-natured dog is intelligent, outgoing and has an all-round winning personality.
Historically, Labrador Retrievers were working dog that helped fishermen in Newfoundland bring in their nets in the 17th and 18th century and were used as gundogs in Great Britain in the 19th century.
The warm, loyal and intelligent Labrador is still a working dog today. They’re put to great use in a wide range of jobs: as guide dogs and assistance dogs to the handicapped, therapy dogs in hospitals and nursing homes, search and rescue dogs, and retrievers for hunters. You’ll also find Labs in the show ring and in field trials. However, they are too sweet-natured to be used as watchdogs.
The Lab is a strong, muscular dog measuring about 56 cm and weighing 28-30 kg. It has a short, thick double coat (with a weather-resistant undercoat) that is easy to maintain, although it has a tendency to shed. Coat colours are solid black, yellow brown and chocolate brown.
This naturally social breed is the ideal family pet, bonding easily with children and other animals in the household. The Labrador Retriever does need its daily exercise but happily adapts to a variety of environments.
Labradors are greedy eaters, so you’ll need to watch your dog’s diet and make sure it cannot get access to other food or your rubbish bin.
While the Lab is quite a healthy breed, it is prone to obesity. Hereditary problems include hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy and progressive retinal atrophy, so find a breeder that screens for these diseases.
The average life expectancy of a Labrador is 12-14 years.