The Labrador Retriever

Lab
The Labrador Retriever
An affable athlete, a strong and versatile dog

9

It doesn't take many trips to a dog park or beach to figure out out which dog breed is ranked most popular in North America today. Statistics from the American Kennel Club (AKC) for 2002 and 2003 show almost three times the number of Labrador Retriever registrations over the second-ranked breed, the Golden Retriever.

The high popularity of the Lab is due in large part to its great versatility combined with a typically easygoing, amiable temperament. In her 1964 book The Complete Labrador Retriever, Helen Warwick wrote, "The ideal Labrador temperament is one of a kindly, outgoing, adaptable nature, anxious to please and non-quarrelsome with man or beast." The statement
is as true today as it was then. Developed originally as a gun dog, the Labrador is now widely thought of as the ideal suburban family dog. Small children? The Lab will offer his back for standing practice. Little time for training? He may knock things over in his enthusiasm to see his people, but he will forgive, and forgive again.

The Labrador's precise history is a matter of debate. It is clear that dogs were imported to England from Newfoundland
beginning in the early 1800s, and that formal, controlled development of the "breed" occurred in Britain under the auspices
of hunting men who wanted a good, all-around, rugged and versatile retriever.
Whether or not the Lab is a diminutive derivation of the larger, hairier Newfoundland is open to debate. (Perhaps the Canine Genome Project will resolve this issue satisfactorily some day.) Early documents refer to a number of "water dogs" associated with the Newfoundland fishery, but names for the types were not used consistently and there exist few, if any, drawings. Sea captain and avid sportsman Peter Hawker wrote in 1816, "Every canine brute that is nearly as big as a jackass, and as hairy as a bear, is denominated a fine Newfoundland Dog. Very different, however, is both the proper Labrador and St. John's breed of these animals; at least many characteristic points are required to distinguish them."

Form follows function, and an ideal dog developed specifically to help rescue drowning sailors would be quite different from one developed to help hunters retrieve downed birds in a salt marsh. Certainly to maximize utility in what must have been an exceedingly harsh life, the early Newfoundlanders would have attempted to propagate certain distinctive, useful traits in their dogs. Yet in the seaports, all of those early dogs would have interbred relatively indiscriminately, so the types were probably all fairly closely related to begin with.


Whatever the original genetics, it appears to have been relatively easy for early breeders in Britain to "fix" the type for the Labrador Retriever (lending credibility to claims of Canadian origin, despite the fact that there were no kennel clubs in the colonies). Early descriptions consistently mention a sturdy, medium-sized dog, with an excellent nose and a keen love of water, typically all black, with a close, tight coat that could shed water, and an otter-like tail.

Kept primarily in private shooting kennels, the type was largely unknown to the general public until the end of the nineteenth century. While it was being developed, some breeders mated their "Labrador Dogs" with pointers or hounds; others carefully attended to "purity," periodically importing new stock directly from North America. In 1916,

The Labrador Retriever Club was formed in London and the first official breed standard was drafted. In the late 1920s some wealthy Americans, perhaps wishing to pattern themselves after the British gentry, began to import Labrador Retrievers from Britain. They had their own locally developed gun dog, the tough and rugged Chesapeake Bay Retriever, but presumably rarity connoted prestige just as fully then as it does now.

The Lab had re-crossed the Atlantic. The first AKC breed standard was identical to the British Kennel Club standard. Since then, however, the U.S. and British standards have diverged slightly. Most significantly, the AKC standard now allows for greater variation in size, 22.5-24.5 inches at the shoulder for males, whereas the British standard constrains height to 22-22.5 inches. (For females, subtract an inch from the U.S. and a half-inch from the U.K. numbers.) The difference leads to American-bred dogs being, on average, somewhat larger than their British counterparts. The U.K. standard specifies height alone, but the AKC standard specifies the approximate weight of working-condition dogs as 65-80 pounds (females 55-70 pounds). The three accepted coat colours are solid black, yellow or chocolate (or liver), with a small white patch permitted on the chest. Yellow can range from light cream to "red fox." Coat colour is genetically controlled by two genes. It is a shedding coat, a double coat, thick and profuse, with a certain amount of oil to bestow water repellency. If not bathed regularly, a Lab's coat will begin to smell "doggie" fairly quickly; regular swimming or bathing is advised. (This is often a non-issue, though, as it's typically difficult to keep these guys out of the water.)

One of the striking characteristics of the Labrador Retriever is the breed's incredible versatility. Not only are these dogs versatile in the hunting world-working equally happily with pheasants or ducks, in dry uplands or frigid salt marshes-but they are also commonly used in service as seeing-eye, assistance and therapy dogs. Their size, strength and easygoing disposition make them highly dependable partners in a wide range of activities. Their keen noses, intense ability to focus, and willingness to please also make them popular choices for drug sniffing, mine detection, arson investigation (searching for the presence of accelerants) and search and rescue. In the competitive world, Labs will apply themselves with drive and enthusiasm in obedience, tracking, agility and field trial work.

And, of course, Labs make great pets and companions. But the breed is not for everyone. A young Lab requires regular exercise and space to run around, and firm, positive education, or that otter-like tail will be sweeping everything off the coffee table and that big, muscular butt will be knocking over the lamps and plants (not to mention wobbly toddlers). Without proper training, a young Lab's sheer strength and enthusiasm can be overwhelming. Ignore him, banish him, forget him-he will still love you and forgive your inattention, and is unlikely ever to become aggressive or mean. However this makes it easy for an owner to neglect a dog's needs in the pressure to meet all the time demands of modern life. Even if he is mellow enough not to be pushy about it, don't go out and get a Lab unless you are prepared to meet the needs of a high-energy breed developed to plow through densely tangled vegetation, churn through icy water, search around diligently to find what he's looking for, and charge back and ask, "What's next?"

Some Labrador breeders tend to focus on working (or "field") abilities; others more on show (or "bench") potential. The lines can be quite distinct, and prospective buyers need to enquire as to the main objectives of any breeding program. Field dogs tend to be bred more for drive and working ability, bench dogs for looks. As with any breed, it is important to research breeders, ask lots of questions, and be prepared to walk away from even the cutest puppy.

Do Labs have "webbed feet"? Yes they do; all dogs have webbing between their toes. What Labs do have in particular, however, are big feet, which no doubt serve them well when paddling around in the water. One trait that many people seem to notice is that Labs sure love their food. They are ultimate foragers. If he once found a french fry somewhere, you might drive back two years later and have your dog surge out of the car to re-check the hot spot.

"Willingness to please" is often dependent on whether or not there is an opportune food source around. Knowing it's a no-no, many Labs happening upon a bonanza of illicit food will set to and inhale as much as possible before their humans can arrive on the scene to stop it. In his 1968 book On Retrievers, the renowned field trial trainer Charles Morgan described one of his three National Champions: "[She] was lazy, indifferent, a slow swimmer and not too fast a runner. About all that she did fast was eat." This may be somewhat of an exaggeration-no doubt we can all think of individuals of other breeds who worship just as fervently at the food bowl altar-but Labs can easily pack on way too much weight if their intake is not closely watched. The breed is also prone to hypothyroidism which, if left untreated, can lead to obesity. (Hypothyroidism is easily treatable.)

As with all breeds, owners should be careful to balance food intake with appropriate exercise, keep their dogs' weight down to a healthy level, and consult a veterinarian if there are any rapid or unexplained changes in weight. Some authors feel that the best Labs fail to compete well in dog shows simply because they are too laid back to compete with the "dash and flash" of certain other breeds. Be it so, this is what makes them excellent and reliable family dogs.

The Labrador Retriever is the ultimate natural, all-purpose utility dog: strong, active, agile and enthusiastic. Hungry, yes. But its popularity is well deserved. Versatile and amiable, this dog will push through any obstacle to do the right thing. All he needs is to be educated as to what that "right thing" is, and you'll have a wonderful companion.

Add a comment

Comments (9)

I have an American Field Lab, She is a chocolate and is beautiful. She is almost 2 now and is the first big dog I've ever had. I am disabled and she is being trained to be a mobility dog for me. She is the best friend a Man could ever want. She knows when I'm not feeling well or in some kind of trouble. She is incredibly smart and has a beautiful smile. She loves the off leash park where she can play with other dogs and swim. She loves to swim. As you can tell I love her. Labs, to me, are the best.
Fri, 07/20/2012 - 21:20
between the sheets Mores having to do with China's the latest management

"external looks can be deceiving, The dying Mao Tse tung said to president Nixon during the latter's european trip to Beijing in 1976.

Salisbury, with this dual biography at Mao and wiry Deng Xiaoping, attracts gone much of the propaganda shades heightened inside the frontrunners of modern china, uncovering a area theatre with Byzantine national healthcare, personal vengeance and so this crippling mores.

publishing suffering from verve also a close look to suit characteristic, ones Salisbury, Conn, resident puts forth an awesome variety of first specialist facebook poker chips, Primary contracts and personal interview to train our and the best inhumane aspect in the trend that had the lot promises ready for its adult men and women in 1949 and ended up pouring the blood of thousands soon after requested alteration 40 decades later.

On potential fans and patrons step, Mao your Communist individual preached puritanical between the sheets performance and an uncomplicated existence and corresponding which will initially asian female will probably be addressed currently being the compatible in men. the new china and tiawan is usually huge by- equal rights, efficiency together degeneration of the earlier, abusive techniques for China's dynasties.

Salisbury calls for people back into the walled comfort this Zhongnanhai command compound a house where the emperors once cavorted and demonstrates that Mao along with other leaders experienced a life-style that echoed a person's imperial ancestry and family history.

acquired a life-style this sported a harem within eye-catching women (identified a form of art and consequently night costume) what people provided that number of distractions; The acquiring courtesy of - owner traveler Kang Sheng of the most important number of chinese language erotica; a cost-free consumption of barbiturates merely by a number of Communist leaders that will often have bordered on habit.

in addition Salisbury shows that do could Mao ascended the particular dragon Throne on oct. 1, 1949, Kang Sheng business second hand some link along with Mao's lover, Jiang Qing, to stay near the biggest market of potency

had just gotten behaved as the fantastic Helmsman's pimp, delivering two maybe three women to assist you to our leading bed time at that time.

yet unfortunately and additionally lurid internet prostitution along with morality, or maybe absence or unavailability of it, of predominantly Mao and many far eastern Communist management perhaps may be titillating and discovering Penthouse article shared an clip from your book known as "making love, meds additionally Mao Zedong" Salisbury's hard work enjoys a lot more outcome and consequently facts when add emerging meaning handling critical to holidays fashionable in culture.

making use of interviews with Communist leaders and people who was effective very closely making use of them, He points out the angry battling that will ornamented recent times associated with Mao's daily life. individuals fulfill the interpreters which one converted the Delphic <a href=http://www.chnlove-scam.com/>CHNLOVE.COM</a> utterances about a death along with shades creator, watch <a href=https://mail-order-bride.com/review/chnlovecom-review/>chnlove real or fake</a> sorrowful processing coming from the sick and tired fella to gain Nixon's vacation, And observation the political maneuverings related with Communist market leaders needing to grab potency because of its own sake and as a quick way to settle 30 year old their individual numbers considering allies.

Salisbury organizes a highlight for the women and men who jockeyed pertaining to situate active in the weeks soon after Mao's passing away: the exact tries merely by Mao's destined purchased successor Hua Guofeng (identified derisively given that Pumpkinhead), The ferocity on Jiang Qing along with also the notorious team Four, The clever politics manipulation of a Marshal Ye Jianying the actual thrice rid Deng Xiaoping.

in working with giving her a very Sino Soviet divided up, Salisbury, As he is doing via the book, positions the ideological and politics to position along with personal and also also the pretty priceless. using front strip bench to festivals which include Mao pressuring Nikita Khrushchev people who wouldn't be able to swim to talk with your incredibly children's pool or by sitting extreme in a bedroom where it didn't have enough a / c is perhaps top sexual fun with this set up.

oftentimes, unfortunately, you can alleviate and permit joy to become or stay tempered through knowledge that your book gives you some faults. it must be identified, as an example, who in the memories towards octogenarian frontrunners by way of spot in casting their bodies in an effective llight weight definitely isn't the most trusted undercover run. chinese language language emperors, as well as the their stylish Communist furnishings, Have too frequently proven beyond doubt very own trained at spinning created to recasting verbal records.

and where an historical accomplish is a valuable tool in clearing up almost all key functions in the latest chinese language story, in most categories it testifies not really recommended. centering on pieces of Deng's wide-ranging finance reforms don't give your reader an entire shot of their progressive kind.

Salisbury even fails to heighten involving our know-how about the complexity of Deng the actual nature of a leader so sold on cost effective freedoms as a result averse to politics coins. in lots of ways, Salisbury has never established as huge a highlight on China's 87 years old premiere alpha dog as he does the actual internet Communist nation's director.

some criticisms apart, "the latest Emperors" is a important quantity that gives admirer a many times alluring behind the scenes a glance at far eastern the government in a personal manner which is both nice and / or revealing <a href=https://www.pinterest.com/pin/712061391053556792/>ChnLove REAL OR FAKE</a>.
Thu, 04/12/2018 - 01:31
I have a 1 year and a half old lab. He used to be quite active but mellowed down a bit. He's still a big baby though and loves to sprint and jump. He's my best bud and keeps me cheerful and happy:)
Thu, 08/09/2012 - 05:58
Every reunion believe are joy,<a href="http://www.myluxcity.com/louis-vuitton-belts-cb290.html">Louis Vuitton Belts</a> like I saw your web site, its structure is rich, web page optimization near perfect work, this gives me me a lot of enlightenment, and I believe I will to mining provides some things, then become yourself can have the resources, that is not a successful result, hehe!
Sun, 09/16/2012 - 23:51
Almost any dog once they know their terr. will let the owners know if smtoehing is out of place. There is a dif. between a watch dog and guard dog. Guard dogs are prof. trained and you have to know how to handle them and they are darn expensive. I have nothing against small dogs however if I were going to break into someones home a small dog would not stop me. I would think long and hard if it were a large dog like a German Shepherd Dog. Rotti., Giant Schnauzer etc. staring me down. As far as not running away that will have to be taught and it would be helpful to have them neutered which might help also.
Sun, 03/03/2013 - 22:48
I have a 16 month old yellow lab and I love her almost as much as she loves me. She is indeed full of energy; so much so that she occasionally comes home with a limp after playing with her canine friends at a preserve nearby where dog lovers gather for their dogs to socialize (good excuse for the owners to socialize too) My Bella does not want to come out of the water once she starts swimming. An incredibly smart dog, she could get annoying when she plays tricks to get what she wants. I love this breed and she's also loved and missed ny many folks that have met her whenshe's not with me.
Sun, 11/10/2013 - 15:55
Our family has grown up around horses and labs. I love all dogs,however when I think dog the image of a healthy lab comes to mind. I appreciate the article's info on the need for exercise and a healthy diet. In our circle of lab owners we have discovered the VitaHound supplement. Lab owners have come to expect alot of shedding, itching and other food allergy conditions. However adding a powerful digestive aid to your every day dog food is highly beneficial to this breed. I always take the time to mention the importance of diet to new lab owners, hopefully they can avoid the suffering that comes from a dog's food allergies.
Thu, 12/26/2013 - 16:45
I love the VitaHound Supplement, our Aussie thrives on it. His allergies where a real problem and the drug from our vet did little. However after using VitaHound for a few months and stopping the drugs completely our dog's skin and coat returned to a healthy soft condition.
Fri, 01/17/2014 - 12:50
Please consider revising your article. Regular bathing is NOT recommended for this breed. The coat is naturally water-repellant and the natural oils are important to maintain. A lab should only be bathed rarely and when they have rolled in something nasty (dead fish, horse manure). Otherwise, they are wash & wear dogs -- just hose off mud and dry with a towel. If the dog has a strong odor, visit your vet to rule out skin disorders. A healthy lab coat does not smell and does not need regular bathing.
Sun, 07/26/2015 - 07:30

Dog of the Week!