The Labrador Retriever (also known as the ‘Labrador’ or ’Lab’) descends from the Newfoundland Dog and the St. John’s Water Dog in Newfoundland, Canada. It was bred to hunt in water and pull boats, which is evident to this day in its natural love for water. Contrary to popular opinion, the Labrador Retriever’s name likely derives from the Portuguese ‘lavradores’ or Spanish ‘labradores’, both of which mean ‘farm worker’, rather than the ‘Labrador’ region of Canada. The Labrador Retriever was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917 and thereafter rose slowly but steadily in popularity due to its incredible versatility, obedience, and rugged good looks. It is now considered the world’s most popular breed. The Labrador Retriever has been the most registered dog in America and England since 1991; the American Kennel Club had almost three times as many Labrador Retriever registrations in 2006 (124,000) as the second most popular breed. Famous Labrador Retrievers include the title character from the film version of ‘Old Yeller’ (though the book version was a Mountain Cur), Marley, from the bestselling memoir ‘Marley and Me’, and Tawny, a yellow Lab who gave birth to 18 puppies with her first litter in 1999 and was named the ‘Iams Mother of the Year’.
The Vietnam War is the only war in American history in which US war dogs, which were officially classified by the military as "military working dogs," were not allowed to officially return home after the war. Classified as expendable equipment, of the approximate 4,000 US K-9s deployed to the Vietnam War, it is estimated that only about 200 US war dogs survived Vietnam to be put into service at other outposts stationed overseas. Aside from these 200 or so, the remaining canines who were not killed in action were either euthanised or left behind.
The Labrador Retriever is generally categorized by lines that are destined for slightly different purposes. The show Labradors are bred for beauty and carriage -- for perfection in appearance, in other words. The hunting dogs follows the more traditional bloodlines, with usefulness being the key to perfection. The hunting Retriever has the physical characteristics that make it impervious to frigid water, an extraordinary sense of smell, and the agility to bag game with speed, along with companionable devotion to its human counterpart. Champion, or field trial Labradors, are bred for speed, energy, and intelligence, with appearance being the last consideration. Their appearance strays somewhat from the traditional Labrador -- they are quite trimmer, with smaller heads, and it is generally agreed that this line may be a bit too enthusiastic for the average dog owner. They require a much higher degree of exercise, and considerably more space to move around. Not least is the most popular category, the family Labrador.
Labrador Retrievers are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Labs will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.Hip Dysplasia: Hip dyplasia is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. If you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.Elbow Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition common to large-breed dogs. It's thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog's elbow, causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness. Your vet may recommend surgery to correct the problem or medication to control the pain.Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD): This orthopedic condition, caused by improper growth of cartilage in the joints, usually occurs in the elbows, but it has been seen in the shoulders as well. It causes a painful stiffening of the joint, to the point that the dog is unable to bend his elbow. It can be detected in dogs as early as four to nine months of age. Overfeeding of "growth formula" puppy foods or high-protein foods may contribute to its development.Cataracts: As in humans, canine cataracts are characterized by cloudy spots on the eye lens that can grow over time. They may develop at any age, and often don't impair vision, although some cases cause severe vision loss. Breeding dogs should be examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthamologist to be certified as free of hereditary eye disease before they're bred. Cataracts can usually be surgically removed with good results.Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, dogs become night-blind. As the disease progresses, they lose their daytime vision, as well. Many dogs adapt to limited or complete vision loss very well, as long as their surroundings remain the same.Epilepsy: Labs can suffer from epilepsy, which causes mild or severe seizures. Seizures may be exhibited by unusual behavior, such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding. Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It's important to remember that seizures can be caused by many other things than idiopathic epilepsy, such as metabolic disorders, infectious diseases that affect the brain, tumors, exposure to poisons, severe head injuries, and more. Therefore, if your Lab has seizures, it's important to take him to the vet right away for a checkup.Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD): TVD is a congenital heart defect that has been increasing in prevalence in the Labrador breed. Puppies are born with TVD, which is a malformation of the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart. It can be mild or severe; some dogs live with no symptoms, others die. TVD is detected by ultrasound. Research is ongoing to learn how widespread it is in the breed, as well as treatment.Myopathy: Myopathy affects the muscles and nervous system. The first signs are seen early, as young as six weeks and often by seven months of age. A puppy with myopathy is tired, stiff when he walks and trots. He may collapse after exercise. In time, the muscles atrophy and the dog can barely stand or walk. There is no treatment, but rest and keeping the dog warm seems to reduce symptoms. Dogs with myopathy should not be bred because it is considered a heritable disease.Gastric Dilataion-Volvulus: Commonly called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that affects large, deep-chested dogs like Labs, especially if they're fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, or drink large amounts of water or exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in his stomach, and blood flow to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen, is drooling excessively, and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak with a rapid heart rate. If you notice these symptoms, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.Acute Moist Dermatitis: Acute moist dermatitis is a skin condition in which the skin red and inflamed. It is caused by a bacterial infection. The more common name of this health concern is hot spots. Treatment includes clipping the hair, bathing in medicated shampoo, and antibiotics.Cold Tail: Cold tail is a benign, though painful condition common to Labs and other retrievers. Also caused limber tail, it caused the dog's tail to go limp. The dog may bite at the tail. It isn't cause for alarm, and usually goes away on its own in a few days. It is thought to be a problem with the muscles between the vertebrae in the tail.Ear Infections: The Lab's love of water, combined with his drop ear make him prone to ear infections. Weekly checking and cleaning if necessary helps prevent infection. If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Labs, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
If your dog is allowed to roam freely in your yard, but you are still nervous about him or her escaping, invest in the LINK Smart Dog Collar by the American Kennel Club. The smart collar has GPS tracking to locate your dog within the range of your home or yard via the base station, or if they are lost outside of your borders. Just place the base station in your home, which also charges the collar, and get updated on your dog’s temperature, location in the house, and how many minutes a day they are active. Plus, the sleek collar also comes with a light that you can control from the app. The collar comes in small, medium, large, and extra large. The app is available for iOS and Android. LINK AKC subscription plans are sold separately.
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"Mocha (90 lbs.), our 2-year-old female chocolate Lab and Gracie (23 lbs.), our 4-month-old female silver Lab—I have never seen two dogs more alike, they are truly best friends. I had heard people say if you have a good dog and you get a puppy, the older one will play a big part in training the new pup; I now know that is true. They are a huge part of our family and we couldn't imagine life without them."
Another can’t-miss: A stylish and comfortable dog bed. We love this one’s chevron design and plush material—and since the fabric is treated, it’s ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Available in a slew of different colors and sizes, it’s sure to be appreciated by dogs who could use a comfy place to nap (and owners who are tired of looking at a soggy old dog bed).
The brainchild of a glass studio in New Jersey, Hot Paws is a unique dog paw print molding kit. After forming the print from their moldable material you send it right back to Hot Paws in a prepackaged container where it will be cast in glass. After a couple of weeks your friend will receive a gorgeous glass impression of their dogs paw which can be used as a paperweight or hung as an ornament.
In the 1830s, the 10th Earl of Home and his nephews the 5th Duke of Buccleuch and Lord John Scott, had imported progenitors of the breed from Newfoundland to Europe for use as gundogs. Another early advocate of these Newfoundland dogs, or Labrador Retrievers as they later became known, was the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury who bred them for their expertise in waterfowling.
Honor the pet lovers in your life with custom gifts created just for them! You know they’re always thinking about their four-legged friends, so you know they’ll appreciate a gift that will remind them of their precious pets. Easily customize unique gifts for dog lovers, like our popular Definition of My Dog blankets, pillows and other home décor accessories. Or create one-of-a-kind gifts for cat lovers by adding their pets’ names, photos and more. Personalize key chains, coffee mugs, canvas totes and other practical items pet owners can use every day. Or surprise them with beautiful keepsake gifts they’ll want to hang on to for many years to come.
Pet Cams are the purrr-fect gift for someone who loves their pet because it allows them to take their pup with them wherever they go! Just plug in the camera and connect it to WiFi. Depending on the camera, the app may allow them to have two-way communications with their dog (which is especially ideal for dogs with separation anxiety who can be troublemakers while away). There are a number of live video cameras that range in price and features, but our favorite for dogs is the Pawbo because it has a built-in laser dot chasing game, treat dispenser and multiple sound effects (cat, birds, etc.). It’s on the pricey side, so be sure to check out our full PetCams review to learn more about the other camera options, too.
The introduction of a 'dilute' gene at some unknown point in history has resulted in silver-toned chocolate Labs and dilute-colored black and yellow Labs. These colors are not officially recognized by the AKC, and controversy surrounds these unique colorings. Some believe Weimaraner genetics may exist in the bloodlines of a silver, grey, or otherwise dilute Lab, though this idea has not been substantiated.
Dog people are a different breed. Sure, you like animals, and so does everyone else – even if some people only like the way they taste. But there is a class of people who identify with their pets so deeply that it takes over their personality. Beware: if you plan to buy a gift, whether birthday, holiday, or other, for someone who belongs to this rare phylum: giving something to a dog lover that has nothing to do with their dog will likely register as an insult. Your relationship may well sour, and you’ll probably never know why.
While individual dogs may vary, in general show-bred Labradors are heavier built, slightly shorter-bodied, and have a thicker coat and tail. Field Labradors are generally longer-legged, lighter, and more lithe in build, making them agile. In the head, show Labradors tend to have broader heads, better defined stops, and more powerful necks, while field Labradors have lighter and slightly narrower heads with longer muzzles. Field-bred Labradors are commonly higher energy and more high-strung compared to the Labrador bred for conformation showing while conformation breeds are calmer in energy, and as a consequence may be more suited to working relationships than being a "family pet". Some breeders, especially those specialising in the field type, feel that breed shows do not adequately recognise their type of dog, leading to occasional debate regarding officially splitting the breed into subtypes.
The Web Master Harness is an anatomically designed harness that provides control, balance, and comfort when walking your dog. It features the ability to customize the fit for a full range of motion. The secure structure keeps even the wiggliest of dogs protected. There are two points for connecting the leash and the harness has a passed chest and belly straps for comfortable, long-term wear.
"Molly Girl at 2 months—Molly is every bit chocolate Lab, but with none of the horror stories I was warned of! She is not super high energy, probably due in part to the daily exercise I make sure she gets. She is eager to please and extremely loyal. She greets everyone with a wag of the tail and loves to be loved on! As with any dog, consistency is important when training, and thanks to that, and dog parks, Molly is the perfect dog:)"
Prey Drive2More info +[caption id="attachment_55015" align="alignnone" width="680"] (Picture Credit: Haydn West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)[/caption] Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by — cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars — can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.See Dogs That Have Low Prey Drive
Turn normal meals into an exciting challenge with this interactive toy from ONSON, which encourages positive play and healthy eating. Simply drop your dog’s dry food into the toy’s egg-shaped frame, and watch as your dog pushes and prods to release kibble through the holes in the top or bottom (and get a tasty reward). Let’s be honest—some of our dogs have a tendency to gorge, and this gift is the perfect way to keep them entertained while curbing unhealthy eating habits.
The Labrador Retriever should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
What could be better than finding out the breeds that make up your dog? A Dog DNA test can help with this and can also help detect potential risks for diseases that are passed down through the puppy’s parents. Once the recipient receives the DNA kit, they’ll simply swab the inside of the dog’s mouth then mail it back in a prepaid envelope. Then, in less than a month, they’ll get a detailed report back including a copy that can be shared with the vet.
But what to buy for the dog lover in your life? We’ve made your search a little simpler by rounding up 53 top-rated gifts every dog lover will appreciate, from dog-themed photo frames and mugs to useful items that will benefit your gift recipient and their favorite pup alike. Our picks are listed below in alphabetical order for easy reference. Ratings information is based on Amazon.com reviews and is current at the time of this writing. Happy shopping!
As a dog owner, you become more acquainted with another species’ bodily fluids than you ever wanted to. If a dog owner is really brave, get them this UV urine flashlight and let them find out exactly what they’re dealing with. Like the prospectors of old who flocked to the western mountains, the intrepid seeker of (liquid) gold knows the next bounty could always be right around the corner. Give them the tools to get the job done right.
The friendly Labrador Retriever is loved for its sociable nature, easygoing temperament, and ability to learn quickly. Often described as smart, kindly, and loyal, Labs have a reputation as the ultimate family pet. Not only a companion in the home, this breed is prized in the field, the show ring, and as a service dog. The hardy Labrador was bred to work, and his energy never seems to cease. Webbed feet and a water-repelling coat provide an advantage in the water—one of his favorite places.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Hurricane Irma may have devastated the Florida Keys, but the dedicated staff and volunteers behind the region’s SPCA shelter are determined not to let it define them. The shelter was flooded, the roof was left in pieces, and fencing was mangled as a result of the monster storm. The heroes at this shelter prepared for the worst and were able to find enough fosters ahead of time to house and protect their animals during the storm! Fortunately, all animals and workers are safe. Now it’s time to rebuild, and 20% of the purchase price of this mug will go to help to rebuild the shelter. Your favorite dog mom can know that her new favorite coffee mug helped save the lives of future rescue animals in the Florida Keys.
What could be better for a dog mom than the chance to watch her furbaby when they're home alone? Busy fur mamas often worry about their furbabies while they're at work all day or on the go. Furbo Dog Camera allows a dog mom to keep an eye on her furbaby no matter where she is. Furbo also enables dog moms to interact with their pup, so their furbaby never has to feel alone, which is sometimes the most essential thing in the world to a dog mom.
Labs love to eat, and they will try to eat anything. They are professional countersurfers, and they will eat anything that looks like it might be food. If nothing else, living with a Lab will teach you, your spouse and your kids to put things away if they don’t want them to be chewed up or eaten. Veterinarians call these dogs “Flabradors” because obesity is common once they hit their middle-age mellowing out stage. A measured diet, good supervision and plenty of exercise are a must to keep these happy retrievers healthy and out of trouble.
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.