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Labrador breed – Facts and traits

Approx. 2 minutes read

The labrador retriever is also colloquially called the labrador, lab or labbie. He has a smooth double coat which is short to medium in length and comes in the famous solid yellow (blonde), chocolate brown and black varieties. His head is broad with a moderate stop and a thick black nose. The teeth meet in a scissor or level bite. The muzzle is fairly wide and the neck is proportionately wide and powerful. The build of his body is slightly longer than it is tall.

Where do labradors come from?

Historically, they earned their keep as the fisherman’s helper, by hauling nets, fetching ropes, and retrieving fish from the chilly North Atlantic near Canada. Today, the breed is every bit as good-natured and hard working as his ancestors. Modern Labradors are frequently trained to aid people with special needs such as blindness/impaired sight or learning disabilities. They do very well as emotional support animals. Their skills extend to acting as therapy dogs, performing screening and detection work for law enforcement, show competitors, as well as search and rescue – their talent seems endless!

Traits and training

The lab is muscular and athletic, with a friendly demeanour, keen intelligence and plenty of energy. He is a happy, loving breed devoted to his family. He is easy to train and always ready to take on a new trick or game. Labs crave human leadership and interaction and will yearn to feel like one of the family.

They can become destructive if they lack attention and exercise, or when their human parent does not exude firm leadership 100% of the time. Although traditionally a social breed, some do tend to be reserved towards strangers unless they are well integrated from an early age. Adult Labs are physically very strong, so it’s advisable to train them from their puppy days to walk on a leash and to listen to commands (and not to bolt out doorways and gateways before the humans do). These dogs are watchdogs, not security dogs, although some have been known to guard.

Look out for…

Labradors are one of the breeds that can, unfortunately, have a genetic predisposition to elbow and hip dysplasia. These diseases can be screened, so it’s important to get a puppy from parents with a good elbow and hip grading.

The smooth, short-haired, double coat is easy to groom. Comb and brush it regularly to remove the shed hairs, and pay attention to their undercoat.

BreedLabrador Retriever
Average Adult Height53 – 61 cm
Average Adult Weight25 – 35 kg
Life Expectancy10 – 12 years
Exercise RequirementsNeeds regular exercise and stimulation
Similar BreedsGolden Retriever
Rescues in South Africa
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