The Labrador: A Breed Guide
Labrador Love: A Breed Guide
Labrador retrievers, often just called labs, were the most popular dog breed in 2019, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). These loveable dogs are known for being affectionate pets that fit right in with the family. Take a closer look at the bred to determine if a lab is right for you.
Labs have a long history as water dogs. The breed originated in Newfoundland, Canada, which is located on part of the North Atlantic Ocean known as the Labrador Sea. The breed served as working companions for fisherman and hunters. They were spotted by British nobles in the 1800s, and the breed began to spread, according to the AKC.
Different Shades and Sizes
Labradors come in three different main color groupings: black, yellow and chocolate. Black labs are black from head to toe, while there can be some variation in shade in both yellow and chocolate labs. Yellow labs’ coats can range from light golden color to a more reddish tone. The warm brown of a chocolate lab can be either light or dark.
These medium-sized dogs weigh range from 55 to 80 pounds with heights in the low to mid 20 inches. They have thick coats of fur, which served them well in the cold climate of their origins. Labs typically have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, according to the AKC. Although some research has suggested that chocolate labs may not live as long as their yellow and black counterparts.
While not officially recognized as two separate breeds, some people distinguish between the English Labradors and American Labradors, according to Labrador Training HQ. English labs tend to be stockier with a thicker coat, while American labs have a trimmer build and a closer coat.
The Labrador’s friendliness is a big part of the popularity. These dogs love to socialize, and their easygoing nature makes them very adaptable pets. While an eagerness to please is a trademark of this breed, it is still important to spend a lot of time training these pups. They started out as working dogs (many still serve in a working capacity to this day), and they have the energy to prove it.
The Lab Lifestyle
Labs are not well-suited to a low-energy lifestyle. They love to swim (their powerful tails serve as kind of rudder in the water), play fetch (no surprise given that this is a retrieving breed, and run. These dogs also love your attention, so expect lots of slobbery grins and tail wags when you live with a lab.
Labs do well with families and other pets, which is always something to consider when choosing a dog. But, keep in mind that their energy means they should always be supervised when around small children. If you have guests who are uncomfortable around labs, fair warning that this breed will still try to make friends.
If you are looking to adopt one of this beautiful breed, there are rescue organizations, such as Chicagoland Lab Rescue, that specialize in Labradors.