Why is the world in love with Labradors? Hunters love them for their strong sense of smell, diligence in tracking wounded prey, and speed on land and in the water. Families love them because of their pleasant temperament, especially with children. Law enforcement, medical associations, hunters, and families have all come to love the dog. Labradors are used as pets, hunting dogs, Seeing Eye pets, for drug searches, and many rescues. Take a look at the profile of this dog and see if it’s the right breed for you.
Labradors became quite popular during the 17th century in Newfoundland, just off the coast of Canada. During the 17th century they were known as “water dogs” because they often accompanied fisherman and could be often spotted swimming in the water chasing after prey or pulling in nets. The water dog became know as St. Johns Dog and became unsurpassed at retrieving fish from the Labrador Sea. Sometime between the 18th and 19th century St. John’s Dog became known as the Labrador. During the 19th century the dog was brought to Canada and England for breeding and use by hunters. The Labrador quickly became the prime hunting dog of the British Aristocrat society. Finally, in 1903 the Labrador breed was recognized by the Kennel Club of England.
Labradors used for hunting typically begin training within the first 6 months. The initial stages of training are actually learning to train. The dog is manipulated with treats and food in order to teach him what is expected by the handler. Labradors have the heart and desire to be easily trained. During the first year of handling the Labrador will learn how to swim and fetch, and also learn basic commands like sit and stay. The first year of training is generally used to get the dog comfortable with being handled and also teaching him how to follow directions.
Other than being extremely easily trained for hunting, search and rescue, and drug searches, the Labrador is also an extremely good family dog. Labradors are some of the most sensitive and expressive dogs. Although Labradors quite loving, and gentle their size and joyous activity can be frightening for small children. But, you never hear of a mean Labrador. Even when excited a Labrador still maintains control of his or her actions and can be trusted with children – no worries!
A typical Labrador is evenly shaped with a broad head. The eyebrows are quite distinctive and the ears are close hanging, but wide and floppy. Labradors have expressive eyes that will capture you from the time they are a puppy. Labradors have sturdy round ribcages and medium sized muscular legs, with broad paws. Typically, Labradors in good health have a dense top coat of fur and a thick waterproof undercoat. The Labrador is an outdoor dog that loves to run, jump, chase, and swim. Whether it is snowing or sunny Labradors love to be outdoors.
There are basically three different kinds of Labradors. They are named by their colors; Yellow, Chocolate Brown, and Black. The Yellow Labradors can actually range from white to golden yellow. The Chocolate Brown Labradors typically are colored like dark chocolate but can also be pretty light colored sometimes. Of course, Black Labradors are black but some may have a spot or two of color here and there. Labrador breeds are also bred for long hair or short hair. Both dogs are beautiful and make an exceptional pet.
Labradors do not have many degenerative diseases but they are sensitive to changing environments and climates. If you dog is used to living in a place that is affected by the squalls of winter, if you move somewhere warmer they may get sick for a day or two, or even a week or two until they adjust, but this is normal for the breed. A yearly to bi-yearly full medical and physical should be had for your dog. Make sure that their eyes, oral cavities, skin, coat, ears, and bones are all okay. Labradors have been known to develop tumors and are also susceptible to eye problems like PRA and cataracts. Labradors age well, but like humans can have musculoskeletal problems and torn ligaments that can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Sometimes blood work is required to determine whether or not the dog is having internal problems that we don’t notice.
Generally the Labrador ages very well and does not need extensive care later in life. But, just like humans as the Labrador ages he looses his ability to see and eat. If you get a Labrador as a puppy when your children are still young he will live into your children’s early 20’s. At this point it is hard to determine whether or not the dog should remain alive. Typically it is better for the dog and the dog’s family to put the dog down when he or she cannot take care of them self anymore. It is not unusual for Labradors to develop painful arthritis in their later years preventing them from walking like they should, sometimes resulting in obesity. If the dog is miserable, it is time.
The Labrador is one of the most responsive and trainable dogs. They are intelligent which allows them to fit into a variety of lifestyles. Labradors have become drug enforcement dogs, they assist the blind and disabled giving them mobility, and they have proven to be a priceless resource for search and rescue. Since the Labrador loves to swim, they still make a great fishing dog too. Labradors visit children’s hospitals and retirement homes and bring joy where ever they go and they love the attention. Anyone who likes dogs won’t be able to resist the heart of a Labrador. Are you ready to fall in love – Labrador puppy love?