Everything You Need To Know About Labrador Retrievers
The incredibly intelligent and caring Labrador Retriever is America’s number one breed registered with the American Kennel Club and quite possibly one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Everyone can recognize a Lab the moment they see one and artists and photographers alike have captured their image countless times, always with the same motif: the loyal companion, waiting patiently by their owner’s side for commands or, more likely, a pat on the head and a treat.
Labrador Retrievers are both muscular and athletic, with a short, easy-care coat, friendly demeanor, keen intelligence and an incredible amount of energy. You could say that they were built for sport, but there’s one word that perfectly sums up every single Lab in the world and that’s loyalty. They are loving, people-oriented dogs who live to serve their families. What’s more, both owners and fans will go as far as to compare their Labs to furry angels.
This particular breed originated on the island of Newfoundland, right off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada. They were originally called St. John’s dogs (just like the capital of Newfoundland) and they were bred for the sole purpose of assisting local fishermen by fetching ropes, retrieving fish, hauling nets, as well as providing companionship. Nowadays, you’ll have a hard time finding a Lab that does hard labor on a daily basis – they mostly spend their time with their human friends.
Their sweet and kind nature makes them excellent therapy dogs – you’d be surprised how much they enjoy visiting homes for the elderly and hospitals. Moreover, their high intelligence level makes them ideal assistance dogs for the handicapped. They are also prominent search and rescue dogs and will be in your top 10 dogs when choosing an ideal breed for hunters thanks to their athletic build, strong nose and courageous nature. Labs have also risen to fame as one of the best breeds for dog sports such as agility and obedience competitions.
However, there’s one thing that your average Labrador will never be able to do and that’s act as a watchdog. In fact, the Lab’s kind nature will most likely prompt them to greet an intruder and cheerfully show them where all your valuable goods are stashed instead of preventing burglary or intrusion.
Another thing you should take care of is how much your average Labrador loves to eat and how quick they can become obese if overfed. You should always make sure to limit their treats, exercise them on a daily basis and measure out their regular meals rather than leave food out all the time. Note that their excessive appetite can extend to people foods as well as inedible items. A lot of Labs will forage in garbage and counter surf and make a meal out of pretty much anything, including your boots and your children’s toys.
Speaking of children, Labs not only love kids but actually thrive on the commotion associated with young humans. They’ll be the happiest guest at a child’s birthday party and a lot of them will even willingly wear a party hat. Like all dogs, however, they need to be trained in order to know how to behave around children and vice versa – kids need to learn how to behave around such a large dog. No sudden screaming, no hitting, no playful molesting. All of these can result in barking and the occasional nip.
Make sure you teach your children how to approach and touch dogs and always supervise any interaction between dogs and kids (especially if the children are very young) in order to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling. Your child must be aware that they should never approach any dog while they are eating or sleeping and they should never try to take the dog’s food away. Finally, no dog, no matter how friendly and disciplined, should be left completely unsupervised with a child.