A very popular dog breed, Labrador Retrievers are one of the extroverts of the dog world. But, like, mostly Type B extroverts. Sometimes they’re Type A, but usually, they mellow out with age.
Standard lifespan: 10-12 years
Height range: 22.5-24.5 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)
Weight range: 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)
Best In Class At: Fetch. Big hint is in their name “retriever”. They’re in the Sporting Class.
Motto: “I LOVE Everyone!”
The Labrador Retriever is like the most popular kid in high school. Everyone loves them because they’re so friendly and happy. And they, in turn, love everyone back. Their activity level is just like their big, bouncy personality. They love to swim, run, play fetch and go, go, go! If you don’t keep them busy, they get cranky and destroy things.
Good with kids: Labradors love, love kids. They are gentle, sweet natured and are wonderful with kids of all ages.
Apartment or Ginormous yard?: Labradors are high energy dogs. They need wide open spaces (or a large yard) to run and play in. Once they’re older, they’re more content to snooze, but making sure they are able to burn off their energy when they’re young is ideal.
Salon Needs: Labradors shed like crazy due to their thick double coat. It’s also water repellent, and they can get the “wet doggy smell” too. To keep them neat and happy, brush them weekly, bathe them monthly and clip their nails on a regular basis.
Activity level: They need exercise daily. If they’re not active, they can become bored and destructive. Get your lab into agility training (they get diplomas!) and you’ll have a happy dog. Bred for hunting (literally, fetching things and not eating them), they love swimming and running. Think of Labs as triathlon athletes who need to train constantly.
Smarty Pants Degree in: Being the best friend your kid will ever have. This breed is highly intelligent, emotionally empathic, has lots of patience with kids.
The very characteristics that make them great hunters created inherited health issues. Labs should undergo knee, elbow, eye, and hip checks when they have their yearly exams. As the breed is prone to patellar luxation, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)—canine elbow dysplasia. It is rare, but Labs can suffer from diabetes, muscular dystrophy, exercise-induced collapse, tricuspid valve dysplasia, hot spots, cataracts, hypothyroidism, and central progressive retinal atrophy.
Labradors come in three shades: chocolate, black, and yellow. Each color denotes a specific working type. Black Labs are traditionally used for hunting, chocolate Labs are considered pets/companions, and yellow Labs are used for people with disabilities. Labradors are the most popular breed of dogs, according to the AKC, they’ve been “top dog” since 1991. They originated in New Foundland and were known as the St. John Water Dog. Brought to England in the 1880s by the 10th Earl of Home, they were bred as hunting/gun dogs.
Highly active dogs like Labs need nearly indestructible toys *cough Super Chewer *cough. They can chew on them for hours without damaging it. Other great toys include balls (they can play fetch for HOURS, you’ll get tired and they’ll still be raring to go) and ones where they can play tug-o-war.
Active dogs need healthy treats to keep up their energy. For example, carrots, cut into bite-size pieces, are perfect for Labs. Treats are a great way to reward Labs when training, or if you need to get their attention. Most Labs are HIGHLY food motivated (i.e. pigs with fur) so make sure not to overfeed them. Obesity can lead to a ton of health problems later on.
At Game Night They Rock
Tag or touch football; Labs love to run!
At Game Night They Fail
Touch football or anything with a ball. Yes, they love to run, but they won’t give the ball back to you.
Want to get a Lab? Make sure you do your research and adopt from a local rescue or reputable breeder! If you need help scrolling through dogs in your area, try using the app BarkBuddy, where you can swipe right to the right dog for you!
Want the most fun way to bond with your fun-loving Lab? Spoil them with a BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Our treats are made in the USA and Canada, and our recipes never contain any wheat, soy, or corn. Because we want #BarkBoxDay to be incredible for pups AND their parents, every box is wrapped in a fun surprise theme that changes monthly. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $108 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)