In this guide, we've included the best dog gifts of 2018 for all sizes and personalities, from classic chew toys to unexpected treats your pooch will adore. Many of these gifts range vastly in prices to accommodate any budget as well. So, let's start celebrating the holiday season with this guide, and get ready to watch your furbaby's eyes light up with excitement!
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.
Outside North America and Western Europe, the Labrador arrived later. For example, the Russian Retriever Club traces the arrival of Labradors to the late 1960s, as household pets of diplomats and others in the foreign ministry. The establishment of the breed in the Commonwealth of Independent States (former USSR) was initially hindered by the relatively small numbers of Labradors and great distances involved, leading to difficulty establishing breedings and bloodlines; at the start of the 1980s, home-born dogs were still regularly supplemented by further imports from overseas. Difficulties such as these initially led to Labradors being tacitly cross-bred to other types of retriever. In the 1990s, improved access to overseas shows and bloodlines is said to have helped this situation become regularised.
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.
An automatic food feeder might sound like a modern luxury, but it’s actually a great solution for busy pup parents (or those who don’t like to get out of bed to feed their pet, ha). The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder allows you to schedule up to 12 meals in advance which could reduce the burden on a dog sitter (or the need/cost altogether, if the pet has a doggy door to relieve itself). Another benefit is the slow release feature which helps dogs who tend to gobble down their food too fast (an unhealthy and potentially dangerous habit). This item comes in at a higher price but comes with a stainless steel bowl (and it’s dishwasher safe too!). And if you’re feeling extra generous, you can even throw in a dog food auto-ship service!
If you’re looking for a gift for a dogless dog lover, try Jess Rona’s book. In addition to being a top-notch dog groomer, she’s also the director behind the puppy-filled music video for Tegan and Sara’s “100x,” and has a killer Instagram. This book is filled with before-and-after glamour shots of well-groomed dogs. It also comes with a flip-book, so you can watch dogs get their hair blown back by a dryer.
Outdoor Labrador Retrievers love to spend time outdoors. Their thick, water-repellent coat keeps them warm and dry through many weather conditions and they enjoy any opportunity to run off some energy. Swimming is a favorite activity of many Labs. However, time outdoors is best spent with people rather than alone: Labs thrive on interaction, but they are also known to roam due to their hunting instincts. A fenced yard may be necessary to prevent wandering.
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).
It has been shown that out of all dog breeds, it is the Labrador Retriever that is most likely to be obese. In a 2016 published study it was shown that out of 310 Labradors, most were missing all or parts of the POMC gene. This gene plays a part in appetite regulation as well as indication of the amount of one's stored fat. The study concluded that the absence of that gene had a significant impact on Labrador weight and appetite. The POMC gene mutation is present in only one other breed – the Flat-Coated Retriever.
Few breeds so richly deserve their popularity as does the Labrador Retriever. When trained, the breed is obedient and amiable, and tolerates the antics of children, other dogs, and other pets. The Lab is a calm house dog, playful yard dog, and intense field dog, all on the same day. Labs are eager to please, enjoyslearning, and excel in obedience. It is a powerful breed that loves to swim and retrieve. Labradors needs daily physical and mental challenges to keep occupied. A bored Lab can get into trouble! The Labrador’s hunting instinct can drive a dog to roam, so training and a safe yard are needed.
Let your favorite dog mom show her puppy love with this stylish bracelet. The charms represent an eternal love for dogs and the paw prints they leave on your heart. All the strands are different, to show that not all dogs all the same, but they are all beautiful in their own way. This fashionable faux leather bracelet has an adjustable lobster clasp and chain closure.
A colouration known as "Dudley" is also possible. Dudleys are variously defined as yellow Labradors which have unpigmented (pink) noses (LRC), yellow with liver/chocolate pigmentation (AKC), or "flesh coloured" in addition to having the same colour around the rims of the eye, rather than having black or dark brown pigmentation. A yellow Labrador with brown or chocolate pigmentation, for example, a brown or chocolate nose, is not necessarily a Dudley, though according to the AKC's current standard it would be if it has chocolate rims around the eyes (or more accurately of the genotype eebb). Breed standards for Labradors considers a true Dudley to be a disqualifying feature in a conformation show Lab, such as one with a thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment along with flesh coloured rims around the eyes. True Dudleys are extremely rare. Breeding in order to correct pigmentation often lacks dependability. Because colour is determined by many genes, some of which are recessive, crossbreeding a pigmentation non-standard yellow Labrador to a black Labrador may not correct the matter or prevent future generations carrying the same recessive genes. For similar reasons, crossbreeding chocolate to yellow Labradors is also often avoided.
Labradors like to eat, and without proper exercise can become obese. Laziness is a contribution to this. Obesity is a serious condition and can be considered the number one nutritional problem with dogs. A study shows that at least 25% of dogs in the United States are overweight. Therefore, Labradors must be properly exercised and stimulated. A healthy Labrador can do swimming wind sprints for two hours, and should keep a very slight hourglass waist and be fit and light, rather than fat or heavy-set. Obesity can exacerbate conditions such as hip dysplasia and joint problems, and can lead to secondary diseases, including diabetes. Osteoarthritis is very common in older, especially overweight, Labradors. A 14-year study covering 48 dogs by food manufacturer Purina showed that Labradors fed to maintain a lean body shape outlived those fed freely by around two years, emphasising the importance of not over-feeding. Labradors should be walked twice a day for at least half an hour.
Although not a new product, Canine Journal team members have used Embark and other dog DNA tests to better understand their rescue pups and are big fans. We think it’s the wave of the future and encourage you to give the gift of knowledge and health to your favorite furry friend this season. Embark is our #1 pick for best dog DNA kit (and they are having a big holiday sale through the end of the year!).