About Labradors. The good, the bad and the beautiful.

The fun friendly and intelligent Lab is the number one breed both here in the UK and in many other countries. Even non-dog people can recognize a Lab. Many photographers have captured this image countless times — usually as the loyal companion, waiting patiently by his owner’s side.

Built for sport, the Lab is muscular and athletic. He has a short, easy-care coat, friendly demeanor, keen intelligence, and plenty of energy. Devotion to this breed runs deep; Labs are loving, people-oriented dogs who live to serve their families, and owners who sometimes liken their Labs to angels. However they are playful and you may have to retrieve 50 tennis balls from under the sofa !

The breed originated on the island of Newfoundland, off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada. Originally called the St. John’s dog, after the capital city of Newfoundland, he was bred to help the local fishermen — hauling nets, fetching ropes, and retrieving fish that had escaped the nets — as well as to be a family dog.
The Labrador is not a very old breed with its breed club being formed in 1916. Labs found fame in field trialling . Labs are believed to have been introduced to the UK in the late 1800s by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury. You can find more about this here.

Today, many Labs are pets and spend their days being pampered and loved by their people. However, many Labs still serve as indispensable working dogs, making excellent guide dogs, sniffer dogs and shooting companions.

The Lab’s sweet nature makes him an excellent therapy dog, visiting homes for the elderly and hospitals, and his intelligence makes him an ideal assistance dog for the handicapped. Most guide dogs in the UK are Labradors. He also excels as a search and rescue dog or as a retriever for hunters, thanks to his athletic build, strong nose, and courageous nature. And Labs have also become the breed to beat at dog sports such as agility and obedience competitions — especially obedience.  There’s one dog job that Labs are hopeless at: Guard dog. In fact, owners say their sweet, helpful Lab is likely to greet an intruder and happily show him where the goods are stashed !
Labrador Retrievers have proven their usefulness and versatility throughout the breed’s history, easily shifting from fisherman’s companion, to field retriever, to show dog, to modern working dog. One role has remained constant: wonderful companion and friend.

Highlights

Labrador Retrievers love to eat, and their greedy nature means they become obese very quickly if overfed. If you follow our exercise and feeding guidelines you can keep your dog happy , healthy and fit.Remenber also that the Lab’s large appetite extends to people food and even inedible items. Labradors will forage anywhere they can.
Labrador Retrievers were bred for physically demanding jobs, and they have the high energy that goes along with being a working breed. They need at regular exercise every day . Without it, they can vent their pent-up energy in destructive ways, such as barking and chewing.

Labs have such a good reputation that many people think they don’t need to bother with training. But Labs are large, energetic animals, and like all dogs, they need to be taught good canine manners. Sign up for puppy and obedience classes as soon as you bring your Lab home.

Labradors are categorized by the Kennel Club under the Gundog group, which means they were originally used for hunting game. As an energetic hunting machine specializing in retrieving fowl from water and field settings, expect your Lab to be very active, especially when young.  Lab puppies are definitely lively, but most will slow down a bit as they grow up. However, they usually remain fairly active throughout their lives.
Labrador Retrievers are not known to be escape artists, but with the right motivation — such as a whiff of something yummy — a Lab will take off. Make sure your Lab has current identification tags and a microchip.
To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder or puppy farm. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments. You can see more about health testing here.
If you’re looking for a puppy, you’ll find that Labs vary depending on what breeder you choose. Some Labs are bred for competitions testing their skill as working dogs, and others are bred to get as close as possible to the ideal look, movement, and temperament of the breed. You’ll also find breeders who aim for both looks and utility. Labs bred for the show ring tend to be slightly heavier and more solidly built than those intended for canine careers. We like to think our pups will primarily be your family dog, but capable of showing or working should you so desire

When you combine boundless stamina with an enthusiastic attitude toward life, you get a breed that is eager to please and be involved in your life. This is a dog that is happy when you give him a job, which can be something as simple as fetching a Frisbee at the park or retrieving a can of beer from the fridge. If you can channel this breed’s energy and intelligence through training, you get a dog that can bring oodles of satisfaction. It is for good reason that Labradors are proudly one of the top choices for therapy and service dog work.

Labradors are considered the perfect family dog for a very good reason: They are mostly calm and pretty much get along with everyone. With a kind, outgoing, tractable nature, these dogs don’t have a mean bone in their body and are typically not aggressive in any way. These mellow fellows make poor watchdogs but can be your ideal companion if you love being outside, enjoy action and have tons of energy to survive the almost endless puppyhood stage.