Know Your Dog: Labrador Retriever

November 3, 2016

When our last newsletter came out, we decided to highlight the lovable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This time around, though, we thought we’d take a closer look at the Labrador Retriever.

The Lab, hailing all the way from Newfoundland, belongs to the sporting group of dogs. Family-friendly, gentle, and intelligent, these dogs are very versatile. Given their desire to please their masters, Labradors make great therapy dogs, guide dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs. They are also often used in law enforcement as narcotics sniffing dogs.

If that’s not enough to impress you, here’s more. Labradors are very receptive to training and are great around children and other dogs given that they are highly affectionate. Labs do enjoy some alone time, but generally prefer to be close to their human companion. Labradors are very energetic and need a good amount of exercise and play… we can vouch for that!

Historically, The Labrador was bred to be a friendly companion and a working dog. They used to help fishermen hauling nets, retrieving fish, and fetching ropes in the north Atlantic. As you can see from our description above, Labradors still have their very strong work ethic.

Labrador Retrievers live on average 10-12 years and can weigh on average 55-80 lbs.
The Labrador was recognized by the AKC in 1917 and is currently ranked their first most popular dog breed.
They grow to be 21-24 inches tall at the shoulder.
Although they are mostly yellow, black, or chocolate, there are such a thing as silver labs and they are just as pretty!
The Lab was originally called the St. John’s Dog, after the capital city of Newfoundland.
Labs love to eat! Make sure you feed your Labrador a controlled, balanced diet and pair it with plenty of exercise.

Labs are high-spirited and very active. You need to be sure your Lab gets regular exercise and play time. They shed seasonally, so occasional grooming is recommended. It is a good idea to check your Lab’s ears regularly for wax build up. Excess wax can lead to infection. As we previously mentioned, Labs love to eat so make sure they are put on a well balanced diet.

Generally speaking, Labrador Retrievers are very healthy animals. With that being said, they do of course carry certain breed-specific health risks. Some things to watch out for include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and exercise-induced collapsing. You should also look out for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. Labrador puppies are born with TVD (Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia). Some Labs show absolutely no symptoms of this but others, unfortunately, suffer greatly. TVD is a malformation of the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart. Some other Lab-specific health problems include ear infections, cold tail (also known as limp tail, it will go away within a few days by itself), acute moist dermatitis, bloating, epilepsy, and myopathy (muscle atrophy).

To summarize, Labradors are great family pets. They will do anything to please you and love to play. They are a great addition to any home willing to dedicate the time and care Labs need and deserve!

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Resources:, DogTime