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.

Give your pup’s mealtimes a personalized touch with these ceramic bowls lovingly emblazoned with their name. They’re fully customizable, giving you the flexibility to choose a font that reflects your dog’s personality—the seller will even send proofs of the final design before it goes into production. Measuring 7” in diameter and 2.75” in height, each bowl holds up to six cups of kibble or water and can be hand-washed (dishwashers may cause the vinyl name decal to deteriorate). The seller, Loges and Lily, also offers smaller bowls designed for tinier breeds.


Experts have a couple of different theories about how the breed came to be called the Labrador. One is that the name is borrowed from the Spanish word for laborer — labrador — which is certainly a fitting description, or that the breed is related to the dogs that accompanied Portuguese fishermen who trawled the Grand Banks off the coast of Labrador and its neighbor Newfoundland. Those dogs, known as cani di castro laboreiro, performed such tasks as retrieving items from the water, including fish-laden nets, and swimming messages from boat to boat. Sounds like a Lab, all right.


If you want a good dog, buy her from a registered breeder. The National Labrador Retriever Club provides a complete list of breeders, who can guarantee you’ll get a purebred puppy, with healthy parents. Useful information about breeders in your area is available at The Kennel Club, The Canadian Kennel Club, and the National Labrador Retriever Breed Council.

The Labrador Retriever has a strong hunting instinct and loves to roam. They are active, but calm and obedient if trained properly. Swimming and retrieving are the favorite activities of this breed, and they make good hunters on the field, and wonderful swimming companions. Regular exercise is a must to keep them fit. Labradors are keen on learning, easy to get along with, affable types that get along well with other animals, children, and just about anyone they meet. The Labrador Retriever temperament makes them a top choice for families and excellent therapy dogs, but not an especially good choice for guard dog duty.


This lightweight sleeping bag will act as a perfect light dog bed after a day exploring the trails. When the temperatures drop, you can actually zip your pup up inside the bag to retain heat. The polyester fabric shell is stain resistant, quick drying, easy to clean, and, best of all, the whole thing packs small enough to fit on the outside of your pack. [$99; ruffwear.com]
The Labrador Retriever is found in black, chocolate, and yellow, with black being the most popular, and chocolate running a close second. The color of the nose should be the same as the color of the hair, with minimal fading. All other colors are the result of cross breeding and are not accepted as purebred Labrador Retrievers. The eyes should give the impression of intelligence and kindness; colors accepted for the eyes are brown for black and yellow haired Labs, and brown or hazel, for chocolate haired Labs.

While most shelters and rescues cannot determine a dog's exact breed, some facilities may utilize DNA tests to determine the genetics of a mixed breed dog, and AKC registered Labs may be surrendered to a shelter. Even with proof that a dog's heritage includes Labrador Retrievers—and though the dog may show the physical characteristics of the breed—the individual dogs' personality traits may differ from the breed standard.


This cake toy is fun for taking pictures on your dog's birthday. We got some adorable pics of our little guy when he turned 1, but as soon as the song started playing, I realized that it was going to be a short-lived toy (because if he didn't destroy it, I would). It plays the Happy Birthday song in a high-pitched tone over and over again - like 4 times in a row. I have no idea what the manufacturers were thinking, because one time would have been more than enough, especially since it keeps getting triggered as the dog plays with it. I'm not even sure if there's a way to get the batteries out - I looked but couldn't figure it out (although that may have been because I was doing it one-handed, as I covered my ears with the other hand).
None of the chew proof toys I buy for my Maximus, last more than 3 days. This toy is something he plays with every evening, for long periods of time. In a week there is no damage at all. I put a small milk bone inside the large toy and he works on it for ages. He actually still has not removed the main bit of milk bone, so I dont need to worry about added calories. This is a good find. I am happy to endorse. Currently he is curled up next to me on the sofa with his head on his toy.

Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.
The wonderful double coat that keeps the Labrador warm while retrieving in icy water also gives this breed top billing as shedders. Normally, their coats do fine with a quick weekly grooming, but at shedding time daily grooming is needed. The amount of exercise they need varies with the different lines: field line dogs can run all day, whereas show line dogs only need moderate exercise.
We love that it’s made in the U.S. (in Santiago’s home state of Texas), using FDA food-grade and eco-friendly materials. While it comes with a hefty price tag, it pays for itself in no time in the cost a pup parent pays for daycare or replacing destroyed items in the home from a bored dog. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about them breaking the outside because it’s completely replaceable.
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