There are in fact two different types of Labrador; the English and the American. Their general appearance is quite different with the English bred Labradors being heavier and stockier and the Americans being taller and lanky. Both types of Labradors have a smooth double coat that does not have any waves. Their coat colours come in a solid black, yellow or chocolate. It’s believed there is also a rare mutation of a silver/grey colour which the AKC consider a ‘shade of chocolate’, it’s quite a controversial subject between Labrador breeders and some claim it’s a Weimaraner, Labrador cross, though others say it’s a true mutation.
The Labrador is native to the Newfoundland and were once known as the ‘St.John’s Dogs’. It was here they worked side by side with their fisherman and would catch any fish that became loose from the lines. They were trained to jump into the extremely cold waters to help pull in the nets. In the 1800’s some of them were brought over to England on ships coming from Labrador (hence their name). They were cross bred with setters, spaniels and other similar retrievers to improve their instincts as hunters. It didn’t take long for them to become an extremely popular pet and hunting dog and they’ve gradually become one of the most popular breeds throughout the U.S and Australia.
The Labrador is a highly intelligent, trainable breed. They are well known today for their work as Seeing Eye Dogs, Guide Dogs and sniffer dogs throughout the police force and airport work. Their loving nature and eagerness to please is the reason they are such a great family pet. Unfortunately, for some people it’s easy to forget that these bouncy bundles of joy are a working dog, meaning they need constant daily stimulation, both physically and mentally. They can easily put on weight if over fed and under exercised and are prone to hip and elbow displacer. It’s highly important that their weight is kept at a healthy level from the early stages of life to prevent these issues further down the track. An overweight Labrador lives a shorter and unhealthier life then healthy weight Labrador.
As working dogs their minds are always on the go, for this reason plenty of mental stimulation is a must! Training must be started from a young age to assert that you are the pack leader. Labrador’s can grow into large, solid dogs and while jumping all over everyone may be cute as a pup, as they continue to grow this can become very unwelcoming. A dog jumping on you is also their way of showing dominance and means your dog doesn’t see you as the pack leader. Their natural line of work shines through when it comes to water play, Labradors just love it! They love to be a part of a family and are excellent with children and other dogs. They fit well into any environment as long as they can get plenty of human attention, exercise and stimulation.
They are an average shedder and their short, double coat is easy to groom. Brushed regularly and bathed only when needed will help to keep it easily maintained.