There are two types of Labradors, the English Labrador and the American Labrador. The English bred Lab comes from English bred stock. Its general appearance is different than the American bred Lab. The English bred Labs are heavier, thicker and blockier. The American bred Lab comes from American bred stock and is tall and lanky. The double coat is smooth and does not have any waves. Coat colors come in solid black, yellow or chocolate. There is also said to be a rare silver or gray color that is referred to by the AKC as a shade of chocolate. This color is controversial and some claim it is a Weimaraner cross, while others say it is a true mutation. The head of the Labrador is broad with a moderate stop. The nose is thick, black on black and yellow dogs and brown on chocolate dogs. The nose color often fades and is not considered a fault in the show ring. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The muzzle is fairly wide. The neck is proportionately wide and powerful. The body is slightly longer than tall. The short, hard coat is easy to care for and water-resistant. The medium-sized eyes are set well apart. Eye color should be brown in yellow and black dogs and hazel or brown in chocolate dogs. Some Labs can also have green or greenish-yellow eyes. In silver dogs the eye color is usually gray. The eye rims are black in yellow and black dogs and brown in chocolate dogs. The ears are medium in size, hanging down and pendant in shape. The otter tail is thick at the base, gradually tapering towards the tip. It is completely covered with short hair, with no feathering. The feet are strong and compact with webbed feet which aid the dog in swimming.
A nice Lab puppy can usually be purchased for $700 to $1,500. For this price you should expect the puppies to have been raised in a clean environment, from parents with health clearances and show or field championships to prove that they are good specimens of the breed. Puppies have been temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
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The Labrador should be short-coupled, with good spring of ribs tapering to a moderately wide chest. The Labrador should not be narrow chested; giving the appearance of hollowness between the front legs, nor should it have a wide spreading, bulldog-like front. Correct chest conformation will result in tapering between the front legs that allows unrestricted forelimb movement. Chest breadth that is either too wide or too narrow for efficient movement and stamina is incorrect. Slab-sided individuals are not typical of the breed; equally objectionable are rotund or barrel chested specimens. The underline is almost straight, with little or no tuck-up in mature animals. Loins should be short, wide and strong; extending to well developed, powerful hindquarters. When viewed from the side, the Labrador Retriever shows a well-developed, but not exaggerated forechest.
In the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Labrador's breed club have set the breed standard to accommodate the field-bred Labrador somewhat. For instance, the AKC withers-height standards allow conformation dogs to be slightly taller than the equivalent British standard. However, dual champions, or dogs that excel in both the field and the show ring, are becoming more unusual.
This is the one toy guaranteed to turn heads at the local dog park. The Cannon shoots tennis balls 30 feet down the field, saving your arm from unwanted wear and tear. Simply pull back the handle to deploy the rubber band inside, load up a tennis ball, and then squeeze the trigger to send your pup sprinting downrange to chase down the ball. [$16.99; amazon.com]
If yours is the type of dog that can’t sit still, a hearty game of fetch is just what the doctor (er, veterinarian) ordered, and the Chuckit ball is a great upgrade from your ratty tennis balls. This unique fetch toy comes in small and large sizes, with color options of either glow-in-the-dark green or bright orange, but the basics remain the same. Made from canvas, rubber and foam, the Chuckit has a grooved design that is both aerodynamic and allows your dog to easily pick it up and bring it right back to you. It floats in water and rolls as well.
The foundational breed of what is now the Labrador Retriever was known as the St. John's water dog, St. John's dog, or Lesser Newfoundland. When the dogs were later brought to England, they were named after the geographic area known as "the Labrador" (they were known as Labrador Retrievers because they "retrieved" in the Labrador Sea) or simply Labrador to distinguish them from the larger Newfoundland breed, even though the breed was from the more southern Avalon Peninsula.
With the Lab’s physical strength and high energy level, early socialization and puppy training classes are vital. Gently exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations between the ages of 7 weeks and 4 months and beginning obedience training early on will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult. Puppy training classes serve as part of the socialization process and help the owner learn to recognize and correct any bad habits that may be developing. Labs are devoted, intelligent, and enthusiastic companions who need to be included in family activities.
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