The Labrador Retriever is the traditional waterdog of Newfoundland, long employed as a duck retriever and fisherman’s mate. The breed began its steady climb to supreme popularity in the early 1800s, when Labs were spotted by English nobles visiting Canada. These sporting earls and lords returned to England with fine specimens of “Labrador dogs.” (Exactly how these dogs of Newfoundland became associated with Labrador is unclear, but the name stuck.) During the latter half of the 19th century, British breeders refined and standardized the breed.
If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.
Not every Labrador visit to the vet is for a genetic problem. Broken toes and torn toenails, cuts and scrapes, and foxtails embedded in the skin are just another day at the office for these big, active dogs. And like human athletes, Labrador Retrievers are prone to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. The cause of these types of injuries is not yet clear. Researchers are looking into whether anatomy or genetics are predisposing factors.
If your dog isn't on a leash or he escapes the house and gets lost, you have to be able to find him. The Link AKC Smart Dog Collar is the perfect solution. The genuine leather collar has built-in GPS and activity tracking, so you know where your dog is and if he's exercising enough. To use the GPS tracking, you have to pay for a service plan, which costs $9.95 per month, $95.40 for one year, or $166.80 for two years.
High energy when young. Young Labrador Retrievers (up to two or three years old) romp and jump with vigor. That means things can go flying. If you have toddlers, or if you or anyone who lives with you is infirm, consider adopting an adult Labrador Retriever from a rescue group. Adults have a more settled temperament and you can specifically look for a calm one.
Now that Easter is behind us, Mother’s Day is right around the corner on May 13. Just because some children have fur doesn’t make somebody any less of a mother. Have you thought about what to get your favorite dog moms this Mother’s Day? If not, there’s no need to panic. We have plenty of ideas on how to show the dog moms in your life that they are appreciated. Have any ideas that we didn’t include here? Let us know in the comments!
Filson Dog Gear: “Might as well have the best” has long been a slogan of Filson, a legendary outdoor gear and clothing company that took off during the 1897 gold rush, supplying the highest quality items to the hardest working outdoorsmen. Your dog might as well have the best too, and mine wears the Filson Dog Chest Protector ($75) to keep burrs, ticks and mud off her chest and belly and avoid pointy sticks when running crazy through the woods. There are tons of coats and vests for dog, yet almost none of them protect the underside, and while a dog like mine doesn’t need warmth, I like the protection, and this is water and tear resistant but lined with soft cozy cotton, it’s blaze orange for visibility, has very adjustable straps and buckles, is made in the USA and comes in three sizes. For more traditional topside protection, Filson makes the Shelter Cloth Dog Coat ($95), using its proprietary Shelter Cloth, a heavyweight, oil finished waterproof canvas, lined with virgin wool which remains warm even when wet. The coat is reversible, so you can go solid dark green or red and black check. It is easy to put on and off, secure, adjustable and features a double layer sueded moleskin neck for comfort. Like Filson’s human jackets, it’s a real deal outdoor garment for tough environments. You can get cheaper pet coats but as Clinton Filson said in 1914, “The goods we quote must not be confounded with the cheap and vastly inferior grade with which the market is over-run. Such goods are not only useless for the purpose for which they are intended, but the person wearing them would be better off without them.” Or the dog wearing them.
The lovable Lab needs to be around his family, and is definitely not a backyard dog. If he's left alone for too long, he'll probably tarnish his saintly reputation: A lonely, bored Lab is apt to dig, chew, or find other destructive outlets for his energy. Labs show some variation in their activity levels, but all of them need activity, both physical and mental. Daily 30-minute walks, a romp at the dog park, or a game of fetch, are a few ways to help your Lab burn off energy. However, a puppy should not be taken for too long walks and should play for a few minutes at a time. Labrador Retrievers are considered "workaholics," and will exhaust themselves. It is up to you to end play and training sessions. Labs have such good reputations that some owners think they don't need training. That's a big mistake. Without training, a rambunctious Lab puppy will soon grow to be a very large, rowdy dog. Luckily, Labs take to training well — in fact, they often excel in obedience competitions. Start with puppy kindergarten, which not only teaches your pup good canine manners, but helps him learn how to be comfortable around other dogs and people. Look for a class that uses positive training methods that reward the dog for getting it right, rather than punishing him for getting it wrong. You'll need to take special care if you're raising a Lab puppy. Don't let your Lab puppy run and play on very hard surfaces such as pavement until he's at least two years old and his joints are fully formed. Normal play on grass is fine, as is puppy agility, with its one-inch jumps. Like all retrievers, the Lab is mouthy, and he's happiest when he has something, anything, to carry in his mouth. He's also a chewer, so be sure to keep sturdy toys available all the time — unless you want your couch chewed up. And when you leave the house, it's wise to keep your Lab in a crate or kennel so he's can't get himself into trouble chewing things he shouldn't.
Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. A dog need not receive good or even passing scores on the evaluations to obtain a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of soundness or absence of disease, but all test results are posted on the CHIC website and can be accessed by anyone who wants to check the health of a puppy’s parents. If the breeder tells you she doesn't need to do those tests because she's never had problems in her lines and her dogs have been "vet checked," then you should go find a breeder who is more rigorous about genetic testing.
Several early descriptions of the St. John's water dog exist. In 1822, explorer W.E. Cormack crossed the island of Newfoundland by foot. In his journal he wrote "The dogs are admirably trained as retrievers in fowling, and are otherwise useful.....The smooth or short haired dog is preferred because in frosty weather the long haired kind become encumbered with ice on coming out of the water."
Your friend is always insisting that his Chihuahua is smarter than your honor student. Why not put that claim to the test? This “chess” puzzle challenges brainy pooches to manipulate plastic and rubber cones and slides to find treats. With adjustable levels, the game can be adjusted for any dog, from a scatterbrained puppy to the next Paw-by Fischer.
The Labrador Retriever must be brushed once a week, twice when shedding. Like other large breeds, it is susceptible to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Some Labs are prone to PRA (an eye disorder) or ear infections. Ever the food connoisseurs, Labradors are prone to obesity, so don’t let their charming personality connive you out of maintaining a healthy diet for them. Labrador Retrievers have a lifespan of 10-12 years. They can live outdoors in warm weather, but prefer indoor life with the family. Their high intelligence makes them adept at staging elaborate escapes, so proper precautions should be taken.
Filtering devices like the Brita pitcher have become common household items for people who live off a municipal water supply. Well, dogs get thirsty too, and they don’t like chlorine or prescription drug residue any more than their owners do. Plenty of dog owners spend half their paycheck to feed Scooter a 100% organic, gluten-free, grass-fed, non-gmo, antioxidant-fortified, anti-inflammatory, superfood mega-diet, but they couldn’t care less if he drinks out of the toilet. Something’s wrong there. A water purifying doggy fountain rights that wrong.
Kate Perry, dog trainer and author of Training for Both Ends of the Dog Leash, likes to give “practical items that help stimulate the dogs mind and help owners have a better relationship with their dogs.” One of her favorite interactive treat toys for pups is the Busy Buddy Twist and Treat, which keeps dogs working for their food. “Great as a gift for new dog owners, and great for training a dog to work for their food.”