The Labrador Retriever

 The Labrador Retriever

By Terri Estes

The Lab has consistently been the most popular dog breed in the United States for many years, and with good reason. They are intelligent, loyal, friendly and their gentle nature make them great pets and companions. Labs are known for their patience and kind temperament with small children.

The breed originated in England in the 1800s and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1917. They come in three colors, black, yellow and chocolate, with minimal or no white markings. The average height ranges from 20 to 25 inches at the shoulder with females slightly on the smaller side. The average weight should be 45 to 80 lbs.

Labs generally LOVE to eat, so regular exercise, a balanced diet and appropriate veterinary care are crucial in maintaining a Labrador’s overall health and weight.  This breed is very versatile and eager to participate in all kinds of activities. Everything from swimming to frisbee or fetch gets this pup excited. They are highly intelligent and easily trainable. Because of this, they are often used as service dogs, guide dogs and search and rescue dogs.

There are many famous Labrador retrievers, but Marley from the movie “Marley and Me” stole the hearts of millions with his lovable and mischievous antics. Another famous lab was Jake. A rescue himself, Jake, a black lab, was among the 9/11 search and rescue dogs at Ground Zero and also served on the coast of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

There are many, many great qualities that make the Lab the most popular breed and they have very few shortcomings. One of these shortcomings is their dense, double coat that tends to shed – a lot! They are also high energy for the first few years of their life and require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. But their endearing personality and easy-going nature easily overcome their shortfalls. Labs just want to be good dogs. They want to please, and they want to be included in all the fun activities of family life.

So, if you are looking for a loyal companion, or a best friend for your kids, one who will spend hours on end entertaining them, then the Lab may be the dog for you!

Fun Animal Fact:

An adult gorilla is estimated to be about six to 20 times stronger than an adult human male.


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