The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dogs in the UK, and overall the black Labrador is the most popular colour, although the chocolate Labrador is fast catching up in the colour stakes!
Bold, intelligent, friendly and personable, the Labrador is popular with both young and old alike, very much enjoys the company of children, and is eminently suitable as both a pet dog and as a working animal too. If you love Labradors in general or are thinking about owning one, read on to learn seven interesting facts and pieces of information on these gorgeous, friendly dogs!
The Labrador Retriever is a canine brainiac, ranked within the top ten most intelligent dog breeds in the world! This means that they are likely to be able to understand a new command given to them with fewer than five repetitions of the command, and that they will obey a command that they have learned reliably the first time that you ask them to over 95% of the time. Not only are they very intelligent, but they are also very willing to please, and so Labradors will really try their hardest to meet your expectations and do what you want them to.
All about food
While all dogs can generally be considered to have a very enthusiastic relationship with their dinner, this is never more true than with the Labrador! The way to the Labrador’s heart really is through their stomachs, and positive reinforcement training using treats is one of the easiest ways to teach your Labrador new skills. However, Labs really take their love of food to the next level, and will never miss an opportunity to get their teeth into something tasty! This means that they may also be adept beggars and scavengers, and may well have a propensity to eat first and think later, potentially eating something that may prove to be harmful to their health.
If you see a Labrador out and about wearing a muzzle, the chances are that this is to stop them eating something that they shouldn’t eat, rather than to stop them biting!
Labradors are very active dogs, which tend to stay lively and fit into their old age. However, due to their love of food, they can also be prone to obesity and becoming overfed and under exercised when kept within the domestic environment, something that all Labrador owners should be aware of!
Labradors commonly live to twelve years old or older, but may be prone to inherited health conditions including hip dysplasia and eye problems.
The Labrador coat
Labrador retrievers are available in three colours: black, chocolate and yellow. Traditionally, the black Labrador was the most commonly seen coat colour, but chocolate labs have been becoming more and more popular year on year too. The black coat colour was the only accepted coat colour for show standard Labradors up until the 20th century! The coat of the Labrador is always just the one colour, and puppies from any of the three coat colours may potentially be born into the same litter.
The Labrador is considered to be a medium sized dog, but they are certainly towards the top end of the medium scale and are often rather tall and large. Male Labradors generally reach up to 24” tall on average and up to 100lb at a healthy weight, while females may reach up to 23” tall and rarely weigh in at over 70lb.
Work and play
The Labrador Retriever is right up there as one of the most popular dog breeds for companion animals within the UK, but they also have a long and noble working history too. They were originally used to assist game hunters in retrieving prey, and would bring back downed birds to their handlers unharmed (and uneaten)! The Labrador is equally at home retrieving on land and in the water, and is considered to be a soft mouthed dog, meaning that they do not have a heavily muscled jaw, and are capable of holding things in their mouth and teeth without harming them.
The Labrador Retriever is also commonly used by the police and military across the word as a sniffer dog, and they are over all the most commonly utilised assistance dogs worldwide too.
Labradors and water
Labradors love to swim, and once they have learnt about the water and establish both that they can move through it and that this is great fun, will often take every opportunity to get their paws (and bodies) wet! If you can make provision for your Lab to be able to swim safely during the warmer weather then this will almost certainly please them greatly. Take care to train your Labrador not to enter any body of water without permission, however, or you may find that they will be apt to take a dip when it is not safe or appropriate to do so!