Most of us can attest to the fact that the most common dog you see in your neighborhood is the Labrador Retriever, the German Shepherd, and the Golden Retriever.. Although the German Shepherd is most easily trainable as a police dog, the Labrador Retriever is most adaptable to family life as is the Golden Retriever.
About the Labrador Retriever
According to the American Kennel Club the Labrador Retriever has the number one ranking in America followed by the German Shepherd as number two and Golden Retriever as number three. We did an article recently on the Golden Retriever as the most popular dog with families and audiences across the country, however, according to the AKC, the Labrador Retriever still places as number one.
The Labrador Retriever comes in three colors: black, chocolate, or yellow. You will often hear them referred to as the Chocolate Lab, the Black Lab or the Golden or Yellow Lab. The water resistant coat is short rather than the long coat of the Golden Retriever. This loving companion is part of the AKC Sporting Group and is known for its agility and loving, playful nature. They have excelled as guide dogs for the blind as well as in search and rescue; also by police in narcotics detection.
Originally from the Netherlands their in-breeding with various retrievers enabled them to hone their skills as hunting dogs, however that is not the attribute that has made the Labrador an all American favorite. Their even temperament allows them to become an integral part of the family.
What About the Children
Labs are known to be “extremely children friendly” and adapt well to most family situations as loving and tolerant. As puppies they are often overly exuberant and difficult to train. Once they have matured, however, they become faithful and obedient companions. Many of you will recall the book and movie, Marley and Me by John Grogan, which depicts the Yellow Lab as outrageously volatile in nature yet loveable as the family pet. The title actually says it all: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog. The various escapades of Marley brought notoriety to the owner as well as the breed.
Health Problems of the Labrador
Labradors are generally healthy and robust dogs living between ten to fourteen years or longer. Their double coat needs consistent grooming and they shed profusely during the season changes. Their weight is between 55 to 75 pounds.
They do not seem overly affected by cancer or infections. For the most part the greatest concern in Labradors is the problem of obesity which can follow with lack of exercise. This brings along the risk of diabetes and other joint related problems. Hip dysplasia has been noted as well as stomach issues. As with humans, it is imperative to maintain a healthy weight to enjoy good health in our later years. As obesity is a problem in America with humans, it also can be attributed to many diseases occurring in animals today. An occasional treat for an animal is good reward, but people food should not be given as it contains too much fat and additives which can be harmful to your dog.
Regular yearly check-ups and vaccinations as suggested by your veterinarian should be part of your wellness plan. As a rule of thumb, keeping your Labrador slim, will ensure a long a healthy life.