Labrador Retrievers are dogs that attract attention wherever they appear. Beautiful, showy, with a good disposition, it is just the case when appearance and temperament absolutely go together. Retrievers are high performance combined with ideal companion qualities. So where did these amazing dogs come from?
History of the origin of the breed
Scientists have not yet been able to fully clarify the origin of this breed. But there is information that the first dogs came to England from the shores of Canada, more specifically the island of Newfoundland. Therefore, initially they were called by the name of the island and the city of the same name.
There are several theories about the origin of these dogs. According to one of them, they are descended from Newfoundland dogs. But Dr. Woods offers another version, according to which the formation of the breed took place on the island and in its creation was actively involved Basque and Viking dogs. Life on the island has left its mark on the habits of dogs. They are very fond of water and agree to work whether on land or in water.
The fishermen of Newfoundland needed a four-legged helper – small, so that he could get in and out of the boat by himself, equipped with water-repellent coat, with a developed search instinct and high capacity for work.
At that time, two types of animals were developing on the island – small Newfoundland dogs and large dogs. The large dogs were used as draft power. But in the early 19th century, they began to be taken off the island for English aristocrats, as large dogs with long hair became fashionable. They still retained the island’s original name.
The small dogs were quite petite, had short, waterproof coats, agility and vigor. They loved water and had a unique sense of smell. They were variously called both Lesser St. Johns, Lesser Newfoundlands, and, surprisingly for researchers, Labradors.
Big dogs – Newfoundlands are still representatives of a fairly common breed, and the small ones became the founders of modern retriever breeds, including Labradors.
The unique qualities of Labradors – the ability to hold on the water and malleable character, were noticed by sportsmen from England. When the fashion for hunting pheasants appeared the representatives of Setter and Pointer breeds were often replaced by Retrievers. But then no one paid attention to the purity of the species, and the owners got the offspring of individuals with short and long hair.
Since 1830 the small dogs (St. John’s, aka Labradors) began to be exported from the island to England for breeding as a separate breed. At that time, some breeders had already begun to adhere to certain rules, trying to preserve the natural data. But many were experimenting by patching Labradors with other retriever breeds.
At the beginning of the century, Labradors could be seen at English shows. At that time, the name retriever included several types of dogs – long-haired, short-haired retrievers, dark brown retrievers and Norfolk retrievers, which had already disappeared. Later there was the formation of separate breeds for each species, and in 1903 a separate Labrador Retriever breed was registered with the English Kennel Club.
For two decades several large kennels have been engaged in improving the breed, and their labors are the appearance of the modern Labrador Retrievers.
Description of the Labrador Retriever breed
Retrievers have a well-developed musculature, proportional physique. Characteristics of the breed:
- The head of the dogs is wide. In puppies 3-4 months of age, it looks larger than the rest of the body.
- The body of the dogs is long, powerful, with a wide chest and massive neck. The loin is short, muscular.
- The ears are floppy, located slightly behind. The eyes are almond-shaped and widely set. The muzzle is elongated.
- The feet are neat, rounded, and have leathery membranes between the toes.
- The tail has a certain resemblance to that of an otter; it is thick at the base and considerably narrower toward the end. It is oriented horizontally.
- Thecoat is hard, dense, short, with abundant well-developed undercoat. Such a coat dogs inherited from their ancestors who lived in cold climates. It repels water.
It will be interesting: what kind of dog to get.
Labrador Retriever colors
The standard distinguishes three types of Labrador retriever colors:
- Brown (chocolate, liver).
But the acceptable palette includes:
- light cream tones;
A small spot of white in the chest area is allowed.
Character Traits of Labrador Retrievers
Labradors are intelligent and very gifted dogs. Their keen sense of smell and love of apportioning allows the representatives of this breed to be used for service work. Dogs can carry out draught work, participate in hunting, look for forbidden and dangerous substances at customs points. Labrador Retrievers make excellent rescuers in the mountains, on the water and in the usual places.
They are so balanced and calm that they can serve as a guide for the blind. According to statistics, this breed accounts for about 80% of all four-legged guide dogs.
And the most important qualities – the dogs are characterized by reliability, loyalty and developed intelligence, which makes them unsurpassed companions. They are cheerful and friendly. They are always ready for contact, but do not impose their society. Surprisingly, they feel the mood of the owner and behave very delicately.
Labradors are great babysitters and you can safely leave your kids under their care. These dogs are very calm and don’t care about bustle, the presence of strangers, children’s cries, squeals and other unforeseen situations. Having got from “unkind” hands in a caring family, the pets recover very quickly and show positive character traits.
But there is one nuance in the character of Labradors. They were bred to work for a long time side by side with people, so they suffer loneliness rather severely. Without proper attention and when left alone for a long time, they can start behaving inappropriately or acquire bad habits, such as barking monotonously for a long time. Owners should keep in mind that this is not “bad behavior”, but a request, a plea for help from an intelligent pet.
If the dog receives proper care and attention from the owner, its behavior is almost exemplary. Naturally, we are talking about adults, puppies are naughty and lively creatures. Yes, future owners should be warned – the period of maturation in Labradors is quite long.
After socialization and training courses, Labradors can peacefully coexist with any other pets. They are by nature very peaceful creatures, and communicating with their fellow creatures gives them great pleasure.
Pedigree representatives are omnivores. In addition, they have a tendency to steal food. Yes, and other methods of obtaining food (begging eyes, paws on the knee, etc. tricks) they use with success. Therefore, it is important for owners not to let the dog get to the leftovers. Especially since Labradors are prone to obesity.
The dog should be given considerable physical activity, so he does not get bored and do not start looking for an “activity” on his own. Labradors are not guards. Yes, they may run toward people and bark loudly, but they do it in good faith to greet guests.
Their intelligence and quick wit make training processes much easier. They respond to any encouragement, be it a treat, a toy or a kind word. Start training them as early as possible, as they may quickly lose control.
Experts warn that dogs of such breed should be taught to walk on a lead at an early age, since it will be very difficult to retain a leash-pulling Labrador later on. These dogs have a clear desire to please the owner, so the owner only needs to apply methods of consistent training.
Read also: nicknames for the Labrador.
Peculiarities of care and maintenance
In care, Labradors do not require any special manipulations, but there are still some nuances. For example, these dogs shed all year round, so regular hair combing is necessary. It should be done 2-3 times a week.
The love of the water element, on a regular walk, can lead to spontaneous bathing in puddles. After such walks, the pet should be washed under the shower and soaked with a pile cloth. Getting wet in the ears can cause infectious diseases, so after bathing they should wipe their ears dry, and if necessary, use special hygienic products. Labradors also need daily brushing of their teeth. It is advisable to clip their nails 3 times a month.
Choosing the place for the oversized pet, you should consider that the dark corner somewhere in the backyard will not suit the pet. Labradors like to be in the center of events, and they need to see everything that’s happening in the apartment. They do not need any enclosures or houses, as they are not timid dogs. A large dog bed where he can stretch out to his full height will do.
He should be fed meat and a quarter of his diet should consist of cereals. Joint supplements should also be included. When choosing ready-to-eat diets, premium, super-premium, and holistic foods for large dogs should be preferred.
Labrador Retriever video
How much a Labrador retriever puppy price
The appropriate age to sell a puppy is 1.5 months. No self-respecting breeder will offer offspring under this age. The cost of a purebred puppy with the kennel brand, pedigree and all necessary documents ranges from $800 to $1200. Naturally, the price depends on the class of the dog.
You can buy a purebred puppy, but not having a puppy card, for $400 – $800. Puppies offered much cheaper in private ads are a real “cat in a poke” and no guarantees about their belonging to the breed can be obtained.
The Labrador Retriever is the ideal dog for a large, close-knit family. He will relate to all family members without exception. However, such a pet needs attention, care, and love.