The Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is currently the most popular dog in the Canada. The main reason for their popularity is the amazing versatility of the breed. Labs excel as guide and therapy dogs, in the show, obedience, rally, and agility rings, as hunting companions, in search and rescue work, and, of course, as family pets.
Labs are friendly, loving, energetic dogs who make wonderful family members. One reason that Labs adapt so well in households is their background as duck hunting dogs. When used for duck hunting, a Lab is expected to stay quietly in a duck blind for long periods of time, followed by a short burst of vigorous activity as he plunges into the water and retrieves the ducks. Then he returns for another long, quiet wait in the duck blind. This means that Labs can be perfectly happy spending long, quiet hours in the house, as long as they are provided with several short periods of very active play. Because these dogs love to retrieve, fifteen minutes of chasing a tennis ball or a plastic retrieving bumper can provide them with suitable energy release. They also love to hike, jog, and run with their owners. A short walk around the block will not provide enough exercise for a Lab.
Labs are very people-oriented dogs and are happiest when they are with their families. They do not adapt well to being outside-only dogs, and tend to develop unfortunate behaviors such as barking, digging, destructive chewing, and landscape rearrangement when they are left alone outside for long periods of time. They are not guard dogs, although most will provide acceptable alarm barking when needed.
Aggressive behavior is a serious temperament fault in a Lab.
Labs are low-maintenance dogs. The only time a bath is needed is when they have encountered a skunk or rolled in something unspeakable! Weekly brushing with a slicker brush will keep their coats clean and shining. Frequent bathing will remove the natural oils from a Labrador's coat and can result in a variety of skin problems. Labradors shed their heavy winter coat in the spring, and owners can expect to find moderate shedding throughout the year.
Labs come in three colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. There is no difference in personality, temperament, or activity level among the three colors. All three colors may occur in the same litter of puppies.
Labrador pups love to chew and can be quite destructive unless provided with a constant supply of chew toys. They are very slow to mature and are mentally and physically puppies until well over two years of age, regardless of their size.
Both sexes make good pets. In general, male Labs are more dependent and love to stay close to their owners, while females are a bit more independent.
There are two types of Labradors: working lines and show lines. Labs from working lines tend to have a more slender build than the stockier build of the show lines. Dogs from working lines often have a very strong drive to retrieve and may have more energy than the typical family is prepared to handle. Dogs from show lines usually have a more laid back temperament. Many Labs fall somewhere between these two types and make excellent pets and hunting dogs.
Labs are very intelligent dogs, and given appropriate guidelines for behavior, they can adapt to almost any living situation. An untrained Lab can be an unmitigated disaster! A well trained Labrador is a welcome addition to almost any family.