Labrador Retriever: A Hardworking Water Dog [Full Guide]

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The Labrador Retriever is a dog that shows moderate behavior and does not go overboard in his movements. He is friendly, intelligent, sweet-tempered, and athletic. It has relatively large bones, a square-shaped body, a broad head, a long neck, and a strong jaw. His wide and strong jaw allows him to carry large game birds such as Canada Geese easily. He has strong sturdy legs that support his heavy, bulky body. His webbed feet help him run powerfully on land while allowing him to swim easily in water. His short, straight, and soft undercoat and His double-layered fur help protect the Labrador dog in all weather conditions, even in cold icy waters. The Labrador Retriever has managed to be among the popular breeds in every period with his intelligence, sweet nature, and hardworking dog.

 At A Glance To The Labrador Retriever

Kind

Water Dog, Hunting Dog, Guide Dog

Weight

50 - 70 lbs

Height

25 - 32 inch

Family

Retriever

Origin

Canada

Origin Date

1800's

Lifetime

10 - 12 Years

History Of The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever breed is first seen in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, located on the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada. Original Labradors are not just Labradors, they are known in Newfoundland as traditional water dogs. He was also not named a Labrador Retriever as soon as the breed was developed. In Newfoundland in the early 1800s, Labrador's earliest ancestors, "St. John's dogs". From the 1700s, these medium-sized black dogs accompanied local fishermen. They assisted in their hunt, catching fish that escaped from the hook, towing fishing boats in icy water, and swimming in the water, always helping with any necessary task. The dogs, who worked with their owners during the day and helped them, returned home with their owners in the evenings. Although its exact origin is unknown, it is thought to have descended from the Newfoundland Dog and other local small water dogs due to the collected data. 

Those living outside the area noticed this useful dog, helping people with different tasks. Hearing the dog's good sides, English hunters began in the early 1800s with several St. John imported the dog to England. Count Malmesbury, who first imported these dogs to England in 1830, named the dogs "Labrador". In this way, he began to be known among the people with the name used today. 

The Labrador breed, among the most popular dogs in the USA today and one of the first three dogs in Europe, was almost extinct in 1880. In Newfoundland, the homeland of this dog, government restrictions and tax laws have negatively affected the breed of these dogs. Families were not allowed to keep more than one dog, and female dog owners had to pay very high taxes. That's why dog ​​owners separated the dogs when they were born females to avoid paying too much tax. However, the family of Count Malmesbury and other British fans of this breed tried to keep the Labrador Retriever breed and ensure the continuation of the breed, despite the high taxes. In this way, they managed to keep the Labrador breed alive. 

In the following years, besides the black Labrador, yellow, chocolate-colored Labradors were also seen in England. In the early 1900s, the color black lost popularity, while other colors Labradors gained in popularity. By 1992, the Labrador Retriever had become the most popular breed in America. The Labrador breed was recognized by the British Kennel Club in 1903 and by the AKC in 1917. 

From the past to the present, interest in the Labrador Retriever breed has increased steadily. Today, this hardworking race with a high sense of duty and responsibility; he serves in various tasks such as drug and explosive detection, searches and rescue work, therapy, and assistance to the disabled. He continues his hunting duty without forgetting his ancestors and works as a dog that brings the prey and helps the hunters.

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Personality & Character Traits

The Labrador Retriever is a wonderful family dog ​​among the lovely breeds with the sweetest and most beautiful temperaments. Labrador has endless energy with his medium-sized body. His highly energetic nature and enthusiasm can be brought under control with pieces of training and exercises. The training process will be completed easily due to his willingness to please his owner. As in all breeds, training should be started when they are puppies. Your process, which began with basic obedience training, will continue with toilet and area protection training and will be completed in a very short time with your intelligent dog adapting. He needs both physical and mental exercise. To meet this need and make your Labrador happy, you should exercise and play games with him during the day. Every effort you make to your dog will ensure that he grows up with a good character and that he is not one of the bully dogs. 

They get along very well with people, animals, children, and strangers around them. It is seen that children tolerate and do not respond to the strange behavior of pets from time to time unconsciously. Labrador Retrievers get along well with all family members and are happy to be a part of the family. As he loves his family, he approaches everyone around him with the same love. He is an active dog with a friendly, emotional spirit. When they are puppies, entering different environments and meeting different people and other pets will ensure their socialization and positively affect their development. 

The Labrador is a dog that adapts to apartment life, a small garden house, or a large field to work in. The Labrador wants to please his guardian and is eager to learn what that satisfaction entails. Learning new things gives them pleasure, and they make an effort to learn. They are sporty and active dogs that love swimming and hunting. If you do not have enough security measures in your garden, house, or field, he may get caught by the hunting instinct and go out without knowing you. Therefore, we recommend that you take the necessary safety precautions and provide the necessary training. In addition, your dog needs tasks that are physically and mentally challenging to occupy during the day. If he cannot meet this need, he gets bored and may exhibit different behaviors even though he is not in the habit. So you can buy him toys and create a playground for him. Catch and release games are among his favorites. You can also go for walks with him and jog in the appropriate area. As long as the exercise needs are met and the owner adapts to his active structure, there is no place where the Labrador breed cannot live. 

There is nothing he cannot do with a good education. Labrador Retrievers can be trained as guide dogs, search and rescue, and water rescue dogs and take part in tasks successfully. They may also work with police on drug or explosives detection missions. Although they were originally bred as hunting dogs, they managed to impress everyone with their quick learning, intelligence, and different abilities. The Labrador Retriever dog, which is always loved and interested, can live with you for many years as a loyal friend, as long as he is well cared for and does not suffer health problems.

Care

 He has double-layered, short, thick, straight, and smooth hair. The bottom layer is also water-resistant and has a structure that protects the Labrador from the cold. Labrador has the feather feature hunters want with his water-repellent and double-coated feathers. Their short hair does not need much care. Combing and brushing them once a week to remove dead hair is enough. However, if you can brush and comb 2 or 3 times, you can see that they shed less. Labrador dogs enjoy being brushed with metal brushes or rubber gloves. You can evaluate these features and scan them if you like. 

Regular bathing is important for his cleanliness. Because he's an active dog, definitely bathe him if he gets dirty, muddy, or starts to smell. However, make sure that his big ears do not stay moist and do not get too much water. As with all breeds, Labrador's nails should be checked regularly and should be trimmed at least once a month. For oral health, you should brush his teeth 2-3 times a week. 

In general, check your dog's skin, nose, eyes, ears, feet, mouth, and teeth at your weekly routine check-ups. If you notice a difference that catches your attention, take him to the vet. Well-groomed Labrador Retrievers healthily live for many years. 

Exercise

 The Labrador Retriever breed needs daily exercise. Since he is an active, very energetic breed, physical and mental activities will make him happy and feel good. Labradors who do not exercise adequately can engage in hyperactive and destructive behaviors while releasing their suppressed energy.

 Labrador Retriever's favorite activities include swimming, hunting, long walks, and playing games. You can make him happy by playing games such as throwing, catching, and returning the ball. However, you should avoid long walks in the puppyhood stage. Do not let Labradors play on tough surfaces such as concrete until they are two years old. Since his joints and bones will not be fully formed, hard floors can cause possible discomfort in his developing body. Lawns are always better areas to play. You can meet the exercise needs of the Labrador Retriever dog with 60-minute activities, or 3.5-kilometer walks during the day. 

They like to spend their time in dog parks, participate in dog sports such as agility, obedience, trail riding, and dock diving, and spend their energy on these activities. Many well-trained Labradors have worked with police on search and rescue and drug and bomb detection tasks. They have also worked as service and assistance dogs. The Labrador breed with a high sense of duty is seen as a workaholic dog. They want to do the given taskas best as possibley until they exhaust themselves.

Education

 The Labrador Retriever is a highly intelligent dog that is easy to train. Sometimes you may hear wrong information that there is no need for education about this breed. Every dog ​​needs training. The Labrador puppy is an active, excitable dog; if left untrained, he can lead a life as a free, bully dog. That's why you can give your dog basic obedience training, toilet training, field guard training, and advanced obedience training as a puppy. You should teach your dog, who learns commands quickly, how to behave in the presence of people or other pets. When you reach a certain level in this training, you should continue training at dog parks with your dog. Participating in activities with family members will further reveal his devoted and enthusiastic side during the education process. 

Between 7 weeks and 4 months, the Labrador puppy should begin to enter different environments and socialize with people and animals under your supervision. Entering your dog into different environments allows him to acquire new habits and reveal his bad habits if any. In this way, you can intervene in their bad habits early and direct them to good habits with education. The Labrador dog, which cares about pleasing its owner, is enthusiastic about the training given, and they learn new things easily with positive reinforcements.

Health

Labrador Retrievers are generally a healthy breed. However, as with all dog breeds, they have certain health issues prone to. There is no certainty that these health problems will be caught. However, knowing which discomforts you will experience in possible situations allows you to detect it early and gain time for the necessary intervention. 

A responsible breeder, elbow and hip dysplasia, tricuspid valve dysplasia, heart conditions, hereditary myopathy (muscle weakness) epilepsy, osteochondritis dissecans, acute moist dermatitis, ear infections, cold tail (biting one's tail), gastric torsion/gastric dilatation-volvulus, should screen their breeding stock for conditions such as cataracts and eye conditions including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Some young-adult Labradors may develop a condition called exercise-induced collapse (EIC). A DNA test allows breeders to identify the carrier dog and plan to breed to avoid contracting the disease. As with other large, deep-chested dogs, the Labrador can develop life-threatening bloating. The Labrador owner should learn what the signs of bloating are. He should also educate himself on the intervention in these situations.

 Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club: 

  • Hip Assessment
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • EIC DNA Test

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