Gentle and outgoing, it is one of the most popular dog breeds for households around the world, especially in the UK, the US, and Canada. Although the Labradors’ heritage is unknown, it is widely believed that these dogs were a crossbreed between the Newfoundland dog and other smaller water dogs thriving on the island.

Originally, Labradors came from the island of Newfoundland, where they were called St. John’s dogs and served as helpers and companions to the local fishermen in the 1700s. In a way, they made their owners’ work easier by towing in lines and retrieving fish that escaped the hooks.

At some point in time, people started noticing these dogs’ good temperament and usefulness. English sportsmen then imported a few St. John’s dogs to England and started using them as retrievers for hunting. It was sometime around 1830 when these dogs were first referred to as Labrador Retrievers by the third Earl of Malmesbury.

By the 1880s, Labradors faced extinction a few times, but amazingly survived thanks to the efforts of the Malmesbury family and other English fans to save the breed. Today, most Labs skip the hard labour that they were originally bred for and spend most of their time being loved and pampered by their owners at home.

Breed Characteristics

Generally, Labradors have a strong build, medium size, short coupling, and a well-balanced conformation, which allow them to function effectively as retrievers. They do not only display soundness in hunting upland game and waterfowl, but they also have the characteristics and qualities to become great companions at home and champions in the show rings.

  • Siccaro Appearance
    Depending on the sex, a Labrador can stand from 54.61 to 62.2 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh between 50 to 80 pounds. Typically, they have a yellow, black, or chocolate coat that is hard and dense. They have a wide head, with kindle and glimmering pair of eyes. As for the tail, it is thick, shaped like an otter’s, and always wagging to signal the breed’s eagerness to play and please.
  • Siccaro Temperament
    The Labrador's temperament is generally described as pleasant, kind, tractable, and outgoing. This breed is known to have an even temper and is always observed to enjoy being with children of all ages and other pets, which makes it an excellent family dog. Though Labs bark at noises (especially those coming from unseen sources) sometimes, they are usually not noisy. They are even trusting with strangers, which is why they are not ideal as guard dogs.

    However, due to their fun-loving nature and lack of fear, Labs can also be boisterous. This is why they require training and firm handling to ensure that they do not resort to actions that can cause problems for their owners.
  • Siccaro Social Behaviour
    Labs are famous for their friendly nature. They socialise well with people, neighbour dogs, and other animals around them, making them amongst the best companions to have at home.
dog with ball
 

Health and Grooming

Labradors are generally healthy. However, similar to other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD), cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), epilepsy, myopathy, gastric dilatation-volvulus, acute moist dermatitis, cold tail, and ear infections. While not all Labs will experience all of these illnesses, it is still very important to be aware of them if you are planning to have this breed for sport, competition, or for a pet.

Feeding

For Labs to get their needed nutrition, it is recommended to feed them 2.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day. You can divide this amount into 2 or 3 meals. However, the amount can also vary on the dog’s age, size, and activity level. Needless to say, a highly active Lab will need more food than an idle Lab.

The quality of the food you are going to feed your Lab also makes a difference. Of course, better-quality food provides better nourishment and keeps your dog in good shape./p>

 

Grooming

Grooming a Labrador is just easy, especially if you start giving it regular brushing at a young age. Using a firm brush, you can easily remove dried mud, sand, and dust from its coat and distribute oils thoroughly throughout its coat. Brushing is also needed to improve the shine of the coat.

Like other dog breeds, Labs also need regular baths to keep themselves clean and smelling good. For less active dogs, you can bathe them about every two months. For those who are always active—rolling in muddy puddles, running across the fields, etc.—bathing should be done more often, like once a week.

You can make bathing a better experience for you and for them by using quality products, like the Supreme Pro WetDog robe from Siccaro. Unlike ordinary dog towels, this dog robe is made of a dual layer combination of textile technologies that can remove 80%-90% of the water on a dog’s coat just within 15 minutes. Drying Labs with this product is quick and easy.

As for brushing the dog’s teeth, you can do it at least 2 or 3 times a week to prevent tartar from building up and bacteria from spreading inside the mouth. Regular tooth-brushing also prevents gum disease and bad breath from developing.

Trimming the nails is required at least once a month, especially if your dog is not able to wear them down naturally.

 

Exercise Needs

Labradors are high-energy dogs by nature. They are always willing to engage in any activity or canine job, such as herding livestock or retrieving game fowls, even if they have to do it throughout the day. Because of that, they need a significant amount of exercise to burn their energy. This can include walking, running, jumping, and investigating areas with their senses of sight and smell.

While some Labs will do fine with light exercises, such as slow evening strolls, others would need to engage in more vigorous activities, especially Labs that are particularly bred for hunting, herding, and other physically demanding jobs. Without sufficient amount of exercise, highly energetic breeds would become overweight or resort to mischievous acts, such as chewing, digging, and barking, just to burn off their stored energy. To ensure that your Lab thrives healthy and happy, make sure they exercise, from daily walks to games of fetch.

The level of exercise that you choose for your Lab still depends upon its age. For puppies, they should not be taken on too-long walks and should just be allowed to play for a few minutes at a time.

 

Trainability

In most cases, Labrador training is just easy to do. With a strong desire to please, Labradors would quickly comply to do anything in exchange for some treat and affection.

Training in some cases can still be challenging in dogs with rambunctious behaviour. One way to do it effectively is starting them off at a young age and using interesting and fun tactics.

Remember that these dogs can grow quickly. Failing to have them master some basic commands early on can make training in the later years more difficult. As they become older, they can be very difficult to rein in. They also love to play and cannot help themselves to jump and bounce, so patience on your end is very important.

Once these dogs master basic obedience commands, like “down” and “stay”, you can proceed to advanced training, such as agility courses and other programmes that prepare them for competition.

 
Siccaro icon
Siccaro icon