Labrador breed – Facts and traits

The Labrador Retriever, also known as Labrador or Lab. Their double coat is smooth without waves or curls (such as found with the Golden Retriever). Their colours range from solid black to blonde (often referred to as yellow), or chocolate brown. The head of the Labrador is broad with a moderate stop and a thick black nose. The teeth meet in a “scissors” or level bite. The muzzle is fairly wide and the neck is proportionately wide and powerful. The build of their body is slightly longer than it is tall.

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 impaired sight or learning disabilities. 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!

The Lab is muscular and athletic, with a friendly demeanour, keen intelligence and plenty of energy. They are a loving breed devoted to their family, 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. It’s, therefore, advisable to train them as a pup 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.

Labradors are one of the breeds that can, unfortunately, have a genetic predisposition for elbow and hip dysplasia. These diseases can be screened for and so it is 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 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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