Labrador Retriever

2 Mar

I thought it was fitting that the first breed i post about is the Labrador considering it was Maya (chocolate lab) that inspired this blog.



My Maya


Physical Description:

There are two types of Labrador, the English and the American. The English tend to be heavier and stockier, whilst the American is tall and lanky. Generally it is the American lines that make working dogs and the English that make show dogs. They have a double coat, which does not have any waves (that being said, Maya’s does) and they come in either black, yellow/cream and chocolate which vary in shades. It is easy to care for requiring minimal grooming and is also water resistant. There is also the “fox red” but i am fairly sure this is just a dark variation of yellow (correct me if i am wrong :)) . The head of the Labrador is broad and comes to a pointed stop. The teeth should meet in a scissor or level bite. The muzzle is fairly wide and the nose is usually black on black and yellow dogs and brown on brown dogs. Their body should be slightly longer than it is tall. Their eye colour is usually brown or slightly more hazel but occasionally (as in Maya’s case) they have a more green colouration. The ears are medium in size, pendant shape and floppy. They have an “otter” tail which is thick at the base, covered in hair with no feathering. They have strong feet with webbed toes, enabling them to be great swimmers. Generally they weigh between 25 and 30kg but some males can weigh up to 45kg. They will usually reach between 20 and 25 inches in height.


lab pups     labs




The lab was first developed in Newfoundland where it worked with fisherman. It would catch fish that became loose in the lines and was trained to jump into the icy waters to help pull in the nets. In the 1800’s the breed was brought to England where it was crossed with Setters, spaniels and other types of retriever to improve its instincts as a hunter. The labrador is highly trainable and fulfills many different types of jobs as well as being one of the most popular dog companion breeds in both the UK and the United states.

water lab

Health problems:

This is another fairly healthy breed although they are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA, mast cell tumors and eye disorders.



These dogs are fairly average shedders, only really loosing a large amount of fur when they are having their seasonal molt. You should brush them fairly regularly, check their ears, toes and fur for any seeds or parasites that may have latched on and bathe them only when necessary.



It is no surprise that this is an incredible popular breed as they are very loyal, incredibly loving and affectionate, as well as being highly trainable and eager to please. They have a very reliable temperament and will nearly always get on well with other animals and children.  They were bred for the water and very few will pass up on the opportunity to go swimming, or the very least, get their feet wet! They are very energetic and due to their intelligence, and strength they need training early on in life. If they are left to their own devices for two long or not given enough exercise and mental stimulation they can become destructive as they find their own ways of occupying themselves. As a general rule of thumb, english labs are calmer and mature at a quicker rate than the american lines. Lucky for me, Maya is an American line!




Living conditions:

Providing they get enough exercise, a Labrador could live in a apartment however they can be fairly active (especially when young) indoors and so would do best with a decent sized yard or garden area to romp around it when they get excitable. They are very energetic dogs who work and play hard. My dad always says “a labrador will keep going as long as you want him too, you have to tell him when he has had enough because he wont tell you”. They love running beside you on a daily jog, but at the very least need two good walks per day. You must be careful to exercise them well and feed them properly because they are prone to gaining weight easily. Make sure that you make them heel when on a walk, a dog that walks in front thinks that it is the pack leader.


Life expectancy:

10 to 12 years






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