So if you’re here you are probably a current or future owner of a Labrador Retriever. Congratulations, labs are wonderful dogs and a great addition to any family! I’m sure you are wondering what owning a Labrador Retriever is really like. Well sit back, relax, and hopefully in this article we can give you some information on this great breed of dog.
LABRADOR RETRIEVER BASICS
Labs have been the most popular dog breed for many years now, and for good reason. They are the perfect family dog because they are affectionate, outgoing, and are very good with children. They are also a breed that will bond with the entire family, vs some other breeds that bond closely to one person.
Labs are a medium to large size – their shoulder height ranges from 21.5″ to 24.5″ and their weight ranges from about 55-80 pounds. Average life expectancy is 10-12 years. Yellow, black, and chocolate are the three lab colors.
WILL MY LABRADOR HAVE A LOT OF ENERGY OR BE A COUCH POTATO?
You’re going to have an energetic pet on your hands. Labs are athletic dogs that need to exercise often. If they don’t, they will probably become hyper and destructive in your house.
Going on long walks, playing fetch, or getting your dog involved in agility are just a few options to get him some exercise. Labs were bred to retrieve ducks, so they would love to swim or play in some water too!
IS MY LABRADOR GOING TO SHED A LOT?
Yes, your labrador is going to shed his hair regularly. If you brush your dog at least once a week it should keep the shedding under control. Also, giving your lab a bath to keep him clean will help a lot as well.
DO I NEED TO TRAIN MY LABRADOR?
Yes, it is very important to train your lab so your life doesn’t turn into Marley and Me. Training will teach him good manners and ensure that he listens when he needs to. Important things to teach a dog include sit and stay, not jumping up on people, and not rushing the door when it opens.
It is also important to make sure your dog is socialized with people and other dogs. The nice thing about labs is that they are friendly and happy go lucky dogs, so socialization should be a fun thing.
Labs are very eager to please their owners, so training and socialization should work out great as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort. Having a well-mannered dog will make everyone’s lives so much more pleasant!
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS COULD MY LABRADOR HAVE?
Overall, Labs are healthy dogs. However there are some genetic issues that your dog may deal with. Elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, heart problems, myopathy, eye conditions, and exercise induced collapse can occur in your dog.
If you purchase from a reputable breeder that tests their dogs, the odds of getting a healthy puppy are much higher. The recommended tests for a breeder to do are hip evaluation, elbow evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation, and an Exercise Induced Collapse DNA test.
HOW CAN I FIND A LABRADOR PUPPY FROM A REPUTABLE BREEDER?
A great place to look is the AKC Marketplace. You can search those with Breeders of Merit and Bred with H.E.A.R.T., which are breeders that meet certain standards. You can never 100% guarantee that a dog won’t have health problems in the future, but going this route will increase the possibility of having a healthy dog.
It is certainly your choice if you decide to purchase a puppy from a local for sale ad. The puppy will definitely be cheaper upfront, but just remember you may be purchasing future problems that bring expensive medical bills.
WHAT IF I WANT TO ADOPT AN OLDER LABRADOR?
A great place to start looking would be a Labrador rescue organization. There are many rescues all over the country, and there are lots of wonderful dogs that need to be rehomed.
Your local shelter may also have labs available. Since labs are such a popular breed there are likely to be labs or lab mix dogs at the shelter looking for a great home. This is a great option as there are many homeless dogs that desperately need a home.