Breed Guide: The Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever, more commonly just known as the “Labrador” is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Originating in Canada, it was developed to work alongside hunters and retrieve the game they shot down. As much of this work took place in or around bodies of water, the Labrador is a natural swimmer and has retained this characteristic. The Labrador is now most commonly found as a companion, but is still used as a police and military working dog around the world.
The Labrador is a medium-sized dog that comes in three main colours: black, chocolate, and yellow. Coat colour does not appear to impact a dog’s personality. Temperamentally, Labradors are highly intelligent, energetic and puppy-like until they reach approximately four, and very affectionate. Their gentle nature makes them extremely popular with families, and they are known as being one of the best breeds for children.
Because of their intelligence, Labradors thrive when kept busy. In addition to long daily walks, we recommend games based around food, scentwork, and article retrieval as good forms of enrichment for them. As with any breed, rigorous obedience training and early socialisation around both other dogs and people are key.
Labradors have short, dense coats that come in two layers. This helps insulate them from the cold waters they traditionally worked in, and is naturally oily to provide a level of buoyancy. It is best practice to never shave a Labrador as this would remove part of its coat which serves an important natural function. Labradors are moderate shedders, with this being most pronounced during the spring and summer. Their short coats make them relatively easy to groom.