Spotlight On The Labrador Retriever: A Very Good Boy

The Labrador Retriever is a cute, wonderful dog that deserves to be celebrated. We’re more than happy to put Fido in the spotlight: his special day is January 8th! Labs are among the world’s most popular dogs, and it’s easy to see why. Read on as a local Aurora, CO vet discusses Very Good Boys, which has an exuberant personality, playful antics, intelligence, and loyalty.


Are Any Specific Health Issues Associated With Labrador Retrievers?


Fido is usually pretty hardy, so you should be able to keep your pooch healthy with a good diet, proper exercise, and regular veterinary care. However, Labradors are susceptible to some specific issues. Hip dysplasia is a common one. Fido may also suffer from heart problems, hereditary myopathy (muscle weakness), eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy; and ligament ruptures. Some specific health tests, such as eye, hip, and elbow evaluations, are generally recommended.


Talk to your veterinarian about your canine companion’s feeding habits. You may also need to take steps to prevent bloat, another common problem. Symptoms include a swollen and/or hard belly, dry heaving (retching without vomiting), panting, drooling, and general signs of discomfort and pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your Aurora, CO veterinarian immediately.


Labrador Retriever Temperament: What Is Fido’s Personality? 


Labradors are incredibly charming and are renowned for their friendly, affectionate natures.  Fido’s favorite things include making new pals, getting treats and belly rubs, and playing with his buddies. He’s also fond of car rides, dog parks, learning tricks, and taking naps. Actually, this is the dog that loves everything and everyone. You may very well melt when you see how cute your pet looks carrying his favorite toys around. ( Note: Labs chew a lot, so make sure you provide Fido with plenty of toys.)


The Lab may very well be everything you could wish for in a dog. They’re really cute, incredibly loyal, affectionate, fun, smart, and obedient (most of the time.) In fact, Fido was America’s favorite pooch for three decades! The French Bulldog knocked him out of the top spot ust last year. (We wouldn’t be surprised if Fido reclaimed his title next year.) Speaking of titles, the Lab was nominated as the state dog in Maine and Ohio, though he has yet to get that official title. 


That isn’t to say that the Lab is perfect. Fido can be clumsy and overly enthusiastic, but he always has the best intentions and always wants to please his humans. However, potential adopters should be aware that Labs have very high energy levels and require lots of physical activity and playtime. They also tend to retain their puppyish demeanor long after reaching adulthood. 


Of course, every pooch is unique. Fido’s history will also factor in. Socialization is crucial to all dogs’ mental and emotional development. 


What Are Labs Good At?


The Lab is a very versatile and skilled breed. Its most notable skill is swimming. Fido’s slightly webbed toes make him a natural in the water. He loves to jump off a dock after his favorite ball. These guys are also good at dock diving, flyball, agility, freestyle, and frisbee. 


Due to their good nature, intelligence, and trainability, Labrador Retrievers make wonderful working dogs. They are also used for drug and bomb detection, search-and-rescue, and therapy work.


Labrador Retriever Breed History


Fido’s history goes back to the 1500s in Newfoundland, where breeders combined local water dogs with larger pups. This resulted in a new breed, known as the St. John’s Water Dog or Lesser Newfoundland. The pooches were renowned for their remarkable swimming prowess, thanks to their thick, water-resistant fur and webbed feet. Their talents proved useful for retrieving fishing nets and hauling fish from the frigid North Atlantic waters. They also served as valuable companions to humans, assisting with tasks such as towing boats and transporting ropes between vessels.


Some of those dogs were introduced to Europe during the 1830s by the 10th Earl of Home and his nephews, the 5th Duke of Buccleuch and Lord John Scott. After arriving in Britain, the pooches were bred with local hunting dogs. In the late 1800s, the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury recognized that the dogs were exceptional at retrieving waterfowl, and bred them with his own puppies. The result? What may very well be the best dog ever.


Fido eventually crossed the Atlantic again, becoming popular with American farmers and hunters in the early 1900s. He became a member of the English Kennel Club in 1903, and joined the American Kennel Club in 1917.


What Are The Ups And Downs Of Owning A Labrador Retriever?


Dog breeds aren’t inherently good or bad: most of our canine pals were bred to perform specific roles, and often have those ‘jobs’ hardwired into their systems. The most important thing is choosing the right puppy for you and your family. Labs are high-energy dogs and can sometimes get into trouble, like rolling around in puddles or chasing squirrels. They may be a great pet for an active family with a pool, but may be a bit much for an apartment dweller who prefers to read than play Frisbee. 


In addition to being loving, sweet, and fun, these dogs are also high-energy and capable of shenanigans. And while Fido, like most dogs, will calm down as he ages, don’t expect him to slow down very quickly. Labs tend to have long puppyhoods, and often don’t lose their youthful exuberance until well into adulthood. (They’re also super cute as seniors, but that’s a different topic.) 


Just be sure to do plenty of research before choosing a canine companion. It’s very important to find the right dog! 


What Are Some Famous Labrador Retrievers?


Several Labs have risen to stardom. These include Luath,  from The Incredible Journey; Spike, who played Old Yeller on Family Guy; Little Boo, the therapy dog assigned to Big Boo on Orange Is the New Black; and Clifford the Big Red Dog. 


What Kind Of Grooming Do Labs Need? 


Labrador Retrievers have two coats: a coarse, thick top coat and a soft undercoat. As far as beauty care goes, they are about a medium: they do not shed a lot, but do require regular brushing and baths. (Note: Labrador Retrievers often love playing in mud puddles, which is both adorable and frustrating to watch. If Fido comes across a few puddles, he may need a few additional baths or hose-downs.) Nail trims and dental care are also important, not just for your pet’s beauty but also his health. Ask your Aurora, CO veterinarian for more information.


What Colors Are The Lab?


The Lab can sport one of three outfits: yellow, black, or chocolate. There is some controversy regarding this. For instance, you may hear dogs referred to as red Labs or white Labs. These pups are actually yellow Labs that are just wearing different shades of yellow. Then there’s the adorable Silver Labrador Retrievers. The AKC does not recognize them, and many breeders insist they aren’t purebreds. However, they are still very good boys. 

Do you have questions about caring for a Labrador Retriever? Contact us, your local Aurora, CO pet hospital, today!

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