Labrador Retrievers are one of the most recognised dog breeds in the world. Known for their caring nature and versatility, this medium size breed has a fantastic reputation.
Labradors are working dogs and are incredibly loyal. You’ll regularly catch them in roles such as therapy dogs or guide dogs for blind people.
They originate from Newfoundland, Canada and were initially bred to help fisherman, (hauling nets, fetching ropes and retrieving fish).
Our popular Labrador friends mature quickly and reach adult height by the time they are just 12 months old. However, you may find that they continue to fill out until they are around 24 months.
How big do Labradors get?
Height and weight ratios slightly differ depending on the gender of a Labrador. Males typically grow between 57-62cm and grow to weigh between 29-36kg as a healthy weight. Females however come up slightly shorter at 55-60cm and a little lighter at 25-32kg as a healthy weight. This puts them in the medium sized dog breed category.
Between 4 and 7 months is when they have their growth spurt. It is important to consider nutritional needs to avoid over growth during this time.
How long to Labradors live?
Labrador dogs generally have a lifespan of 10-12 years – although many do outlive this! Of course, this depends on the quality of their life, any diseases they may face and how they are looked after.
What do Labradors look like?
Labradors are recognised for their broad heads, floppy ears and large eyes.
Their beautiful coats have two layers and come in three different colours; black, chocolate and yellow.
Their undercoats are soft and weather resistant, allowing protection from the cold and the wet. Their top coats are short, thick, straight and relatively easy to groom. Labradors are however high shedders! You can minimise shedding in your Lab by brushing them daily and bathing them around every 6 weeks.
They also have something we like to call webbed feet with longer hair between their toes to aid with swimming. Their nails need to be cut 1-2 times a month.
What are the personality traits of a Labrador Retriever?
Labradors are amazing family dogs and are known as the “people’s dog”. They are loving towards children and adapt well to other or new people in a family.
They are incredibly loyal and friendly with a desire to please. They are intelligent, outgoing and love to learn, making them easy to train. Labs need to be obedience trained from a young age unless you want to be walked instead of do the walking.
They have high energy and need to be exercised regularly – remember that they are working dogs and love to work! Labradors that are left alone for too long, under exercised or bored have a tendency to become destructive. Chewing, barking and digging to name a few can be a result of this.
They are also well-known for their eating habits. If you leave food out around a Labrador, don’t expect it to be there soon after. They love to eat and forage!
What diseases are Labradors prone to?
Obesity is a disease you can avoid if a Labrador is exercised and fed optimally. It is easy for a Labrador to under exercise and over consume if you are not careful. With Labradors being the vacuum cleaners of the dog world, you can see why!
It is essential to maintain your dog’s weight if you don’t want to see a domino effect of other problems as a result of obesity.
Hip and elbow dysplasia are common joint diseases that occur in Labradors and often result in arthritis alongside it. This can be due to many things like genetics, over activity, obesity and ageing. Joint supplements are often recommended to prevent or help ease symptoms of arthritis or dysplasia. Petz Park Hip + Joint for Dogs includes high amounts of Glucosamine, MSM and Chondroitin to create a results-based product to help just this.
When Labrador puppies are allowed to grow too quickly, the cartilage in the joints may not attach properly. This is known as Osteochondritis dissecans, (OCD). It is important not to over supplement vitamins such as calcium to avoid rapid growth.
Allergies related to the environment like pollen, mould or dust affect Labradors in their skin. Skin allergies such as dermatitis regularly show in these furry friends. Feet, belly, ear creases and folds are the most affected. They may show this with excessive licking or scratching or even frequent ear infections. If your Labrador is experiencing skin issues, we have just the thing! Supplements high in omega 3, like Skin + Coat for Dogs, are great for relieving hotspots and the itching they bring as well as minimising external allergies.
Epilepsy is often an inherited condition in Labradors that may require medication for life. If a Lab experiences this, you’ll usually see it begin at around six months of age.
Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, (TVD), is a heart condition where the valve does not close properly. This can cause a backflow into the heart, enabling it to become enlarged. If this continues to increase, it can cause heart failure. It is a congenital condition where the valve doesn’t form correctly during embryonic development. Other congenital conditions that may affect Labradors are cataracts – although this can also be hereditary.
Labradors are kind and gentle dog breeds that are wonderful companions for a high energy or family household. Just like any other animal, they need the correct nutrition, training and a lot of love and care. If you have any concerns about your Labrador Retriever puppy, adult or senior, it is important that you contact your vet for further advice.
If you’re wondering whether a Labrador is the right fit for your household, consider the above information. If they sound like your perfect match, you can ensure you’ll have a friend for life!