Recommended daily amount: 2.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl. Keep your Lab in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test. First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise. You'll need to take special care if you're raising a Lab puppy. These dogs grow very rapidly between the age of four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders. Feed your puppy a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps them from growing too fast. For more on feeding your Lab, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.
Sarah Fraser, co-founder of Instinct Dog Behavior and Training in New York City, likes to give younger or adolescent dogs what’s called a flirt pole, which is “like a giant cat toy. For many dogs, it quickly becomes their favorite — a fantastic substitute for chasing real squirrels. Plus, it’s a great form of exercise that doesn’t require the owner to do much.” There’s one for small-to-medium dogs from Outward Hound that she likes.

Puppies of all colours can potentially occur in the same litter. Colour is determined primarily by three genes. The first gene (the B locus) determines the density of the coat's eumelanin pigment granules, if that pigment is allowed: dense granules result in a black coat, sparse ones give a chocolate coat. The second (E) locus determines whether the eumelanin is produced at all. A dog with the recessive e allele will produce only phaeomelanin pigment and will be yellow regardless of its genotype at the B locus. The genes known about previously[36] have had their number increased by the introduction of the K locus, where the dominant "black" allele KB is now known to reside.[37] Black or chocolate Labradors therefore must have the KB allele. Yellow Labradors are determined at the E locus, so the K locus is irrelevant in determining their colour. Variations in numerous other genes control the subtler details of the coat's colouration, which in yellow Labradors varies from white to light gold to a fox red. Chocolate and black Labradors' noses will match the coat colour.

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]


Although the Newfoundland dogs suffered a loss of popularity for a time owing to a taxation on dogs in Canada, they had been frequent companions to Britain bound travelers during the 18th and 19th centuries and had, over that time, become a firmly entrenched member of the estate classes. It was the lesser of the Newfoundland breed that rose most in popularity, and in 1903, this trimmer and more energetic Newfoundland had made its way into the English Kennel Club, gaining a name all its own along the way: the Labrador Retriever. There, the breed was refined, particularly for retrieving game for hunters, becoming well regarded for its care in not damaging the game, for its devotion to human, and for its good manners.
Who wants a game of tug of war? You know your pup does! The Mammoth Flossy Chews Cotton Blend 3-Knot Rope Tug is just the toy to get this holiday season. It's made from 100% natural cotton rope fibers that actually clean your dog's teeth with a floss-like action as he chews and plays with the toy. This 3-knot rope tug is made for durability and safety. It's also included in our buying guide to the best dog toys.
Labrador Retrievers come in black, chocolate and yellow. They have a broad, clean-cut head with hanging ears and alert, friendly and intelligent eyes. They have thick noses and wide muzzles and strong necks. Labradors have a short, dense and water-resistant outer coat and a downy undercoat that keeps them warm. Their straight tail, also covered by the coat, is otter-like—beginning thick and tapering at the end and defecting water—and their webbed feet are great for swimming. Though not very tall, Labs are solid and well built. They are usually slim but can get a little heavy without enough exercise.

It is the opinion of the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., the American Kennel Club Parent Club for the breed, that a “silver” Labrador is not a purebred Labrador retriever. The pet owning public is being duped into believing that animals with this dilute coat color are desirable, purebred and rare and, therefore, warrant special notoriety or a premium purchase price.
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.[42][43] 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".[42][43] 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.[44]
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."[17]

Labs typically have litters of six to eight puppies. Most breeders like to keep puppies until they are at least eight weeks old. This gives the puppies time to learn how to behave toward other dogs and gives the breeder time to evaluate the puppies’ personalities so she can place each one in just the right home. A bonus is that puppies of this age are more mature and more easily housetrained.
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."[17]
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.[45] However, dual champions, or dogs that excel in both the field and the show ring, are becoming more unusual.[46]
7. Name That Cookie Custom Cookie Cutter ($16+): Is your friend’s dog so adorable you could just eat them up? While we definitely don’t recommend nibbling on pets, we do suggest making custom cookies (or even pet treats) with these made-to-order cookie cutters that come in a variety of pet breed shapes and can have the dog’s name added to the mold.
For the human who loves their dog but hates the wet-dog smell, Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson recommends this funny-looking candle that she discovered at her vet’s office that made his office smell like an Italian apricot orchard. “It works not by filling the air with a new scent to overpower the stink, but by releasing a blend of natural enzymes — the titular ‘exterminator’ — that break down airborne animal odors at a molecular level.”
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