The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion.
In general, Labrador retrievers are excellent family dogs, as long as you keep in mind their need for exercise and training. These are dogs bred to work and work hard and they love to have jobs to do, particularly retrieving.
Labs are usually good with other dogs, other pets, and children as long as training has toned down their natural exuberance. They are strong dogs and need some obedience training at an early age or they can be seen dragging their owners down the street at will.
Owing to their energetic nature, Labradors who are left alone or not well exercised can become destructive — chewing, digging and barking to excess.
In Labradors, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, EIC, and heart clearance; and from the OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
Luckily for us, caring for a Labrador Retriever isn’t as demanding as it is for many other breeds. Well-bred Labradors are relatively low maintenance, fit and healthy dogs.
But your Labradors continuing health and well-being does depend entirely on you.
A nutritious diet, regular exercise, grooming, preventive measures and regular visits to the vet are the real key to maintaining a high level of wellness and good health.
All these actions are your responsibility and solely under your control.
Recommended daily amount: 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Labradors are a short-haired breed that don’t need much brushing for most of the year. But during the moulting season you’ll want to brush them regularly to remove shed hair if you want to limit the amount that covers, well, every surface of your home.
Brushing also helps to shake loose dirt out of and spread the natural oils throughout their coat for that desirable, healthy glossy look we know and love.