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Labrador Retriever Dog Breed

Labrador RetrieverThe Labrador Retriever, aka Lab, is a type of retriever and gun dog. A characteristic of this breed is its webbed paws for easy swimming, which was useful its original job of retrieving fishing nets. The Labrador is the most popular breed in USA, United Kingdom, and Canada. Typically, Labradors are athletic and love to be in the water swimming, playing catch and retrieve games, are good with children, and the elderly. Labradors are used as Guide dogs for the blind and the navy, military and police forces use them as detection dogs to track down smugglers, thieves, terrorists, etc.
Labrador Retriever 2013 Calendars

History

Originating in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, the St. John’s Water Dog was the founding breed. This breed emerged from ad-hoc breeding by early settlers, likely a random-bred mix of English, Irish, and Portuguese working breeds. The smaller, short-coated St. John’s Dog was used for towing dories, retrieving and pulling in fishnets from the water, and carrying ropes between boats. These smaller dogs were the forebears of the Labrador Retriever. The white chest, feet, chin, and muzzle – known as tuxedo markings – characteristic of the St. John’s Dog often appear in modern Lab mixes, and will occasionally manifest in Labradors as a small white spot on the chest (known as a medallion) or stray white hairs on the feet or muzzle. The Labrador’s loyalty and hard working behaviour were valuable assets for fishermen.
Labrador Retriever Gifts

The first St. John’s dog was said to be brought to England around 1820; however, the breed’s reputation had spread to England long before. There is a story that the Earl of Malmesbury saw a St. John’s Dog on a fishing boat and immediately made arrangements with traders to have some of these dogs exported to England. These ancestors of the first labradors so impressed the Earl with their skill and ability for retrieving anything within the water and on shore that he devoted his entire kennel to developing and stabilising the breed which are considered the ancestors of the modern Labrador.
Chocolate Lab Puppy Lying

Weight

Labradors are relatively large, males typically weigh between 29 to 41 kg (64 to 90 lb) and females 25 to 32 kg (55 to 71 lb). Labs weighing close to or over 100 lb (45 kg) are considered obese.

As with some other breeds, the Conformation (typically “English”, “show” or “bench”) and the Field (typically “American” or “working”) lines differ. Conformation Labradors tend to be bred as medium-sized, shorter and stockier with fuller faces and a slightly calmer nature than their Field counterparts. The Field are often bred as taller, lighter-framed dogs, with slightly less broad faces and a slightly longer nose; however Field Labradors should still be proportional and fit within AKC standards. These two types are informal and not codified or standardised; no distinction is made by the AKC or other kennel clubs, but the two types come from different breeding lines. Australian stock also exists; though not seen in the west, they are common in Asia.


Coat

Labradors usually shed their hair twice annually, or in temperate climates throughout the year. Some Labradors shed considerably but individual Labradors vary. Labrador hair is usually fairly short and straight, and the tail broad and strong. Their interwoven coat is also relatively water resistant, providing more assistance for swimming. The webbed toes of the Labrador Retriever make them excellent swimmers and also serve as a “snowshoe”, keeping snow from balling up between their toes.


Color

Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colors:black, yellow (white to “fox-red”), and chocolate (medium to dark brown). Puppies of all colors can potentially occur in the same litter and chocolate and black Labradors’ noses will match the color of their coat.


Temperament

The Labradors have a reputation of being even-tempered, kind, pleasant, outgoing, and an excellent family dog. The Labrador is highly intelligent and their sense of smell allows them to home in on almost any scent and follow the path of its origin making them an ideal breed for search and rescue, detection, and therapy work. Labradors instinctively enjoy holding objects and even hands or arms in their mouths, which they can do with great gentleness (a Labrador can carry an egg in its mouth without breaking it).They are also known to have a very soft feel to the mouth, as a result of being bred to retrieve game such as waterfowl. They are prone to chewing objects (though they can be trained out of this behavior).

Their fun-loving boisterousness and lack of fear may require training and firm handling at times to ensure it does not get out of hand as an uncontrolled adult dog can be problematic. Females may be slightly more independent than males. Labradors mature at around three years of age; before this time they can have a significant degree of puppy-like energy, often mislabelled as being hyperactive. Because of their enthusiasm, leash-training early on is suggested to prevent pulling when full-grown. Labradors often enjoy retrieving a ball endlessly and other forms of activity such as frisbee, flyball and agility.

Although they will sometimes bark at noise, especially noise from an unseen source Labradors are usually not noisy or territorial. They are often very easygoing and trusting with strangers and therefore are not usually suitable as guard dogs.

Labradors have a well-known reputation for appetite, and some may be highly indiscriminate, eating digestible and non-food objects. They are persistent and persuasive in requesting food. For this reason, the Labrador owner must carefully control his/her dog’s food intake to avoid obesity and its associated health problems.


Health

Labradors show distinct whitening of the coat as they grow older, especially around the muzzle. Their life expectancy is generally 10 to 12 years and is a healthy breed with relatively few major problems. Notable issues related to health and well-being include:


Inherited disorders

Labradors are somewhat prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, especially the larger dogs though not as much as some other breeds.Joint supplements are recommended.

Labradors also suffer from the risk of knee problems. A luxating patella is a common occurrence in the knee where the knee dislocates and goes back into place.

Eye problems are also possible in some Labradors, particularly progressive retinal atrophy, corneal dystrophy, cataracts, and retinal dysplasia. Dogs which are intended to be bred should be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist for an eye score.

Hereditary myopathy, a rare inherited disorder that causes a deficiency in type II muscle fibre. Symptoms include a short stilted gait or “bunny hopping,” and in rare cases ventroflexion of the neck accompanied by a kyphotic posture.

There is a small incidence of other conditions, such as autoimmune diseases and deafness in Labradors, either congenitally or later in life.

Labradors often suffer from exercise induced collapse, a syndrome that causes hyperthermia, weakness, collapse, and disorientation after short bouts of exercise.

Labradors like to eat, and without adequate exercise can become obese. Laziness also contributes to this. Labs must be properly exercised and stimulated. A healthy Labrador can do swimming wind sprints for two hours, and should keep a very slight hourglass waist and be fit and light, rather than fat or heavy-set. Labradors should be walked twice a day for at least half an hour. Obesity can exacerbate conditions such as hip dysplasia and joint problems, and can lead to secondary diseases, including diabetes and osteoarthritis is common in older, especially overweight Labradors so it is also important to not over-feed.

Sources: Wikipedia

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