Have you ever wondered what the most popular dog breed in the United States of America is? Well, we’re here to tell you all about it.
For thirty years now, the Labrador Retriever has ranked at the top of the American Kennel Association’s list of the most popular dog breeds in the USA.
Also known as Labs, Labrador Retrievers are unsurprisingly America’s favorite pups. The Labrador breed is known for its exuberant friendliness, its adorable good looks, and its love for playtime.
Today, we’ll take you through the history, highlights, and caring process so that you know everything there is to know about Labrador Retrievers.
With origins dating back to the 1830s, Labrador Retrievers are the traditional waterdogs of Newfoundland, Canada.
Their lineage can be traced back to European settlers in Newfoundland, who introduced St. John’s Water Dogs to the United Kingdom from ships that were used for trading between Canada and Poole in Dorsetshire.
St. John’s Water Dogs were then bred with British hunting dogs to create what we currently know as the Labrador Retriever. The breed grew popular in the 1800s after they left an impression on the English nobility in Canada.
The American Kennel Club classifies dogs into seven groups. Dogs are assigned a group based on the original work that each breed was developed to perform.
Labrador Retrievers belong to the Sporting Group, with their original purpose relating to helping hunters capture feathered games for sport.
Labrador Retriever Highlights
True to their waterdog ancestry, Labrador Retrievers love being on the water. This makes sense, given that they used to serve as sea companions to fishermen in Newfoundland.
Their physical appearance reflects their swimming capabilities. They have short, dense, water-resistant coats. The Labrador Retriever’s most characteristic physical trait is their thick, tapering “otter tail”.
This tail operates as a rudder while they swim, helping them navigate the water. Their webbed toes aid them in swimming as well.
They have strong, powerful jaws and slightly pronounced eyebrows. They have warm eyes that are filled with expressions, adding greatly to their overall charm.
Labrador Retrievers are also famously known for their cute faces and happy-go-lucky temperament.
Labrador Retriever – Size And Shape
As is common with most bred dogs, there exists a variance in size between the Conformation (typically “Show”, “English” or “bench”) and the Field (typically “Working” or “American”) lines.
The Conformation line is generally shorter and stockier than their Field line counterparts.
According to the American Kennel Club, their height is roughly 22.5-24.5 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female). On average, they are thought to weigh 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female).
They are sturdy, stocky dogs with shiny, oily coats. Labrador Retrievers have mostly dark black, chocolate brown, or golden yellow coats. They have wide heads and bright eyes.
Labrador Retriever – Personality
Labrador Retrievers are considered one of the most friendly breeds of dogs to exist. They are the ideal companions to humans and get along well with children.
Labrador Retrievers are also good at socializing with other kinds of dogs.
This breed of dog is packed with energy. Labrador Retrievers are active dogs and need plenty of playtimes as well as time outdoors. They require loads of exercise in order to stay happy, fit and healthy.
They work well as companion dogs and show dogs. Labrador Retrievers are obedient and take well to training, although they can be quite naughty during the puppy stage.
Labrador Retrievers have a keen sense of smell and tend to stay on track of a scent until they find it.
This characteristic makes them useful in military and police forces, helping them track down criminals. They have a soft feel to their mouths due to their hunting origins.
Labrador Retrievers are very outgoing, which can also lead to their being very trusting of strangers. They might bark at noises but are not considered a noisy breed overall.
Labrador Retriever – Health Issues
Labrador Retrievers have an average lifespan of 10-12 years. They are a largely healthy breed of dog.
Notably, the major health issues this breed faces are obesity and inherited disorders.
Labradors are prone to getting hip and elbow dysplasia, especially with larger-sized dogs. Knee issues like luxating patellas are not uncommon with Labrador Retrievers.
Eye issues might persist with some dogs, including progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and retinal dysplasia.
Obesity is the most common health issue that affects Labrador Retrievers. Studies have shown that Labrador Retrievers are the breed that is most likely to be obese.
This can be prevented or controlled with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Labrador Retriever – Care And Grooming
Labradors shed a lot and need to be groomed to appear kempt and tidy. Grooming becomes significantly more manageable if it is carried out from a young age.
To keep both your dog and your home clean, you should brush them down at least once a week. This should be more frequent during molting season.
Bathing should be done on a schedule of your choosing but most pet-owners bathe their Labrador Retrievers when they start to get smelly.
Some experts suggest that Labrador Retrievers should be bathed once a week as puppies to get them used to the bathing process.
Labrador Retriever – Facts
- The world’s most decorated dog is a Labrador Retriever named Endal. The British pup was the recipient of the Dog of the Millennium title and the PDSA’s Gold Medal for Animal Gallantry and Devotion to Duty. Endal is also the first known dog to ride on the London Eye and to use an ATM card.
- Zanjeer was an Indian Labrador Retriever who helped the people of Mumbai by detecting arms and ammunition used in the 1993 serial explosions. During his career as a detection dog, he also found many other weapons and dangerous materials. He was honored with a full state funeral when he died.
- The former First Family, the Clintons, had two Labradors – Buddy and Seamus.
Pros And Cons Of Labrador Retrievers As Pets
- Labrador Retrievers are friendly, sociable companions that are great for families.
- Labrador Retrievers are loyal and playful.
- They are full of joy and truly embody the spirit of being man’s best friend.
- Labrador Retrievers are medium to large-sized dogs and might not be happy in tiny, cramped apartments or city spaces.
- They shed a lot, meaning their households require more cleaning.
How To Choose A Labrador Puppy?
The decision to get a dog should be one that is well-considered. Puppies and dogs are a part of the family and should be treated as such.
Before you finalize getting a dog, you should think about whether your home, family, and lifestyle are suited to the type of breed you are planning on getting.
You should also opt for a responsible breeder, ideally one that specializes in raising Labrador Retrievers. It is also great to adopt from a Labrador Retriever rescue society.
A healthy Labrador Retriever puppy can be adopted between 8-10 weeks of age.
A Labrador Retriever can be the biggest source of happiness in your life. These loyal, friendly, and loving companions are the perfect buddies for both you and your family.