All of those characteristics make the Labrador well-suited to a variety of active families. He’s perfect for homes with rowdy older children, but may be a little rambunctious around toddlers, especially as a puppy or young dog. Singles and couples who love the outdoors also match up well with this breed, and his size and even temperament make the Labrador a great companion for active seniors who love to walk and would appreciate a dog who looks intimidating, even if he is more of a lover than a fighter.
We love that it’s made in the U.S. (in Santiago’s home state of Texas), using FDA food-grade and eco-friendly materials. While it comes with a hefty price tag, it pays for itself in no time in the cost a pup parent pays for daycare or replacing destroyed items in the home from a bored dog. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about them breaking the outside because it’s completely replaceable.
Orvis Travel Crate: A fold-flat soft sided (not metal cage) travel crate is a huge boon to pet owners who travel, and I’ve used them for more than a decade at hotels, friends’ houses and in all sorts of on the road scenarios. The problem is that most are flimsy and I went through a few broken zippers and other durability issues before the nation’s oldest mail order retailer, Vermont-based hunting, fishing and outdoor specialist Orvis, introduced this new better version, the Orvis Field Collection Folding Travel Crate. Instead of thin plastic fabric like most, it uses heavy-duty, tight polyester Oxford weave around a strong, tubular metal frame, folds flat, and sets up in seconds, featuring top, side, and front zipped entry doors with ventilated windows. It was designed to keep your dog comfortable and safe in the back of an SUV on the way to and from the field, but works equally well in luxury hotels or wherever your adventures take you and your best friend. It comes in Orvis’ classic rugged dark khaki colors and features leatherette trimmed and rounded corners that protect your floors and auto interior, plus a carry handle for easy transport. It also has removable and machine washable plush, padded Sherpa fleece mat with a water-resistant backing and extra comfort (109-$149).
The Web Master Harness is an anatomically designed harness that provides control, balance, and comfort when walking your dog. It features the ability to customize the fit for a full range of motion. The secure structure keeps even the wiggliest of dogs protected. There are two points for connecting the leash and the harness has a passed chest and belly straps for comfortable, long-term wear.
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. Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient Retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment.

My 8 mo. old kitten is food-obsessed! He is always dragging loaves of bread off the counter, trying to jump into the trash can, & begging at his food dish (despite a clean bill of health from the vet). He figured this egg-shaped food/treat dispenser out quickly & it keeps him busy for 10+ minutes each meal (compared to 1-2). Even better, it wears him down enough he takes a decent nap. Lol Great design (wobbles vs rolls) & easy to clean. Highly recommend!


Named the “Labrador” in 1887 by the Earl of Malmesbury—an English hunter and breeder—the Lab actually originated in 18th-century Newfoundland, Canada. At the time two breeds emerged from the St. John’s Water Dog: the Greater Newfoundland and the Lesser Newfoundland. The Greater Newfoundland dogs worked in teams hauling fish, but the Lesser Newfoundland had a rugged friendliness that fishermen valued. Fishermen marveled that these smaller Newfoundlands kept their can-do attitude even after long days retrieving nets from the sea, playing happily with children back when returning to shore. Soon, these dogs came to Poole, England—the Newfoundland fishing-trade hub—where hunters and sportsmen honed them into skilled hunters and retrievers. In 1903 the English Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever as an official breed. The American Kennel Club certified the breed in 1917.

Don’t let your tiny dog turn into one of those hoity-toity fashion accessories Paris Hilton used to carry around. Toss it into this heavy-duty canvas tote instead, which is both better-looking than your mesh carrier and not nearly as eye roll-inducing as a purse. There’s even a cutout on the side, so Finn can stick his head out without getting caught in the zipper.


Your friend is always insisting that his Chihuahua is smarter than your honor student. Why not put that claim to the test? This “chess” puzzle challenges brainy pooches to manipulate plastic and rubber cones and slides to find treats. With adjustable levels, the game can be adjusted for any dog, from a scatterbrained puppy to the next Paw-by Fischer.
Not every Labrador visit to the vet is for a genetic problem. Broken toes and torn toenails, cuts and scrapes, and foxtails embedded in the skin are just another day at the office for these big, active dogs. And like human athletes, Labrador Retrievers are prone to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. The cause of these types of injuries is not yet clear. Researchers are looking into whether anatomy or genetics are predisposing factors.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

The Labrador Retriever has consistently ranked as the most popular purebred dog in the United States for more than 10 years, according to the American Kennel Club. The AKC registers more than a hundred thousand new Labrador Retrievers each year, but when you take into account all the Labs never registered at all, or registered with another organization such as the United Kennel Club, the popularity of this stable, family-friendly dog is truly staggering.
Whether you’ve brought home an older dog from the shelter or just got a new puppy, teaching them to use a potty bell will help immensely with accidents. The Potty Bell by Caldwell’s Pet Supply Co. is 26 inches long and easily slips over a door handle or knob. From there, work with your dog to learn cue words about going outside to use the bathroom, and give them treats near the bell to get them to nose it. Eventually, they’ll learn to ring the bell whenever they want or need to go outside. Colors include black, blue, brown, green, red, and yellow.
Personalized Dog Gifts From Susabella: Susabella.com is an online gift company that specializes in unique pieces from artists, all handmade, so no two pieces are identical, and many of them are customizable to the recipient. They have a whole section of pet gifts that includes this personalized ceramic dog bone-shaped holiday tree ornament (just $20), as well as different sized food bowls, treat jars, food scoops and leash hangers ($20-$50). For personalization in time for Christmas, orders must be placed by December 11.
This holiday season, don't forget about your four-legged friend—nor the two-legged friends who are passionate about their pets. Shop our Christmas gifts for dog lovers, including pet houses, bowls, and beds that are actually stylish. Along with gifts for dog owners, we also included gifts for dogs (hello chew toys and tasty treats!) that will get a few tail wags. Plus, check out these purr-fect gifts for cat lovers and cats.

For the active pup, a portable bowl is a must, especially on hot days or in dry areas. Use the Port-A-Bowl collapsible food and water bowl from Outward Hound. The bowl is made from a durable, quick drying nylon that is lightweight and folds flat. Size includes a 24-ounce bowl that holds 3 cups of food and is 3 inches high and 4.5 inches in diameter, as well as a 48-ounce bowl that holds 6 cups of food and is 3.5 inches high and 6 inches in diameter.
"We watch The Dog Whisperer frequently, and we know what he means when he says to pick the pup out of the litter that is the most laid back. Most people go and pick out a dog based on their playful attitude because if a pup runs up to them they think the pup "chose them" when really it is just probably going to be a more challenging, hyper pup. We know this information now, but we did not know it when we went to get Bruno (or when we picked out our first two dogs), however he was the last male puppy left so we did not have a choice. I asked my husband why he thought Bruno was the last male left out of the litter and we later realized it was probably because he did not come leaping and bounding up to the other callers. The people that owned the pups had to go pick him up and bring him to us because he just sat at a distance observing the activity. When we first brought him home he went and sat in the corner all by himself after allowing the other dogs to greet him. We thought it was because he was so young and he was in a new environment. As the weeks passed Bruno was easily housetrained, never chewed anything up, and never "got in our face" for attention as the other dogs that we have liked to do. To this day if he wants attention he will just come and lie at our feet or sit by our side calmly. If we do not acknowledge his presence he will go lie by the door. When we took Bruno for his first set of shots, the vet said that he was extremely calm for a Lab puppy and said that he "was 1 in 100." Bruno will be 1 year old in January and we still have one of the best behaved dogs in the world with him."
Exercise Because of their high energy level, Labs require plenty of exercise—overeating and obesity can be a concern for this breed, and regular exercise will help maintain a proper weight. Running, swimming, fetch, and hiking are examples of activities the Lab enjoys. And of course, treks into the field are a wonderful form of exercise for this ideal gundog.

Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?


Walking two dogs isn’t always the easiest task. With Dual Doggie Pet Leash by Wigzi, your dogs won’t get tangled and neither will you. The leash is suitable for dogs up to 50 pounds, and uses two leashes attached to one holder for less mess. Both extend 10 feet, plus the holder has a stop button for each leash so you can manage each dog individually.
Start training early; be patient and be consistent and one day you will wake up to find that you live with a great dog. Even so, there are a couple of Lab behaviors that you should expect to live with throughout his life. They are part and parcel of being a Lab, and nothing you do will change them. Labs are active, Labs love to get wet, and Labs love to eat.
Personalized Dog Gifts From Susabella: Susabella.com is an online gift company that specializes in unique pieces from artists, all handmade, so no two pieces are identical, and many of them are customizable to the recipient. They have a whole section of pet gifts that includes this personalized ceramic dog bone-shaped holiday tree ornament (just $20), as well as different sized food bowls, treat jars, food scoops and leash hangers ($20-$50). For personalization in time for Christmas, orders must be placed by December 11.
One of the most popular breeds in the USA, the Labrador Retriever is loyal, loving, affectionate and patient, making a great family dog. Highly intelligent, good-natured, very willing and eager to please, it is among the top choices for service dog work. Labs love to play, especially in water, never wanting to pass up the opportunity for a good swim. These lively dogs have an excellent, reliable temperament and are friendly, superb with children and equable with other dogs. They crave human leadership and need to feel as though they are part of the family. Labs are easily trained. Some may be reserved with strangers unless very well socialized, preferably while they are still puppies. Adult Labs are very strong; train them while they are puppies to heel on the leash, and not to bolt out doorways and gateways before the humans. These dogs are watchdogs, not guard dogs, although some have been known to guard. They can become destructive if the humans are not 100% pack leader and/or if they do not receive enough mental and physical exercise, and left too much to their own devices. Show lines are generally heavier and easier going than field lines. Field lines tend to be very energetic and will easily become high strung without enough exercise. Labs bred from English lines (English Labs) are more calm and laid back than Labradors bred from American lines. English Labs mature quicker than the American type.
While this product doesn’t scream “I’m a dog mom” to those who aren’t in the know, the Second Chance Movement is taking dogs out of high-kill shelters and moving them to no-kill shelters around the country where they have a chance at a forever home instead of euthanasia. This water bottle funds 4 miles of transport for a dog at risk of euthanasia. What better gift for a dog mom than helping to save the life on an innocent dog?

The Lab’s thick, tapering tail—an “otter tail,” it’s called— serves as a powerful rudder, constantly moving back and forth as the dog swims and aids the dog in turning. As for the breed’s characteristic temperament, it is as much a hallmark of the breed as the otter tail. “The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and nonagressive towards man or animal,” the breed standard says. “The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog.” When defining a Lab’s primary attributes, the most important might be temperament since his utility depends on his disposition. “If a dog does not possess true breed temperament,” wrote a noted dog judge, “he is not a Labrador.”


Labradors are an intelligent breed with a good work ethic and generally good temperaments. Common working roles for Labradors include: hunting, tracking and detection (they have a great sense of smell which helps when working in these areas), disabled-assistance, carting, and therapy work.[53] Approximately 60–70% of all guide dogs in Canada are Labradors; other common breeds are Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.[54] Labrador Retrievers have proven to have a high success rate at becoming guide dogs. A study was recently done on how well four different breeds (Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever/Golden Retriever Mix, and German Shepherds) trained to become guide dogs. In this experiment, German Shepherds had the highest chance of not completing it. Labrador Retrievers and Labrador Retriever/Golden Retriever Mix had the highest success rate. However, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers had a higher success rate after going through longer training than the training required for Labrador Retrievers.[55][56]
Making a donation on behalf of your friend in her dog’s honor is an excellent alternative to standard gift-giving. Consider local shelters or the ASPCA (read our interview with ASPCA’s CEO to learn about some of the great work they’re doing to help shelter animals all over the country). Most animal rescue organizations have online donation forms that allow you to pick the amount. As an added bonus, the ASPCA even lets you pick out a card design to be emailed or mailed to the recipient!
Another option for a GPS tracker is the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker. This small, lightweight tracker attaches to your pup’s 1-inch collar or harness and is able to determine their location, as well as their active minutes throughout the day by using cellular, GPS, and wi-fi technology. If your dog leaves the designated safe place (say, your yard or your house), you’ll get notified right away via email, text, or through the app. The tracker is waterproof and has a battery life up to seven days. The app is available for iOS and Android. Subscription plans are sold separately.
Not every Labrador visit to the vet is for a genetic problem. Broken toes and torn toenails, cuts and scrapes, and foxtails embedded in the skin are just another day at the office for these big, active dogs. And like human athletes, Labrador Retrievers are prone to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. The cause of these types of injuries is not yet clear. Researchers are looking into whether anatomy or genetics are predisposing factors.

Labrador Retrievers are often categorised in one of two ways: English Labs or American Labs. The differences are principally behavioural, though there are differences in appearance as well. Behaviorally, English Labs tend to be more easily trainable, and are often considered better for non-professional owners to keep as pets or hunting companions.[22] American Labs tend to be more energetic and, having been bred to compete in field trials, are better suited for professional owners with more experience and time to devote to training. In terms of appearance, English Labs tend to more prominently exhibit the 'blocky' heads for which Labrador Retrievers are known, whereas American Labs tend to be leaner and longer-legged.[23][24]

Ah, the classic dog sweater. It’s undoubtedly one of the go-to Christmas gifts for pups, and with good reason: They’re adorable. We especially love this one from Lanyar, which has a holiday-ready pattern featuring reindeer and snowflakes against a bright red that all but shouts “Christmas!” Available in sizes from extra small to extra large, it’s easy to find the right fit for your dog (just follow the measurements on the listing). Made of 100% acrylic fiber, it has a wool-like feel that’s sure to keep your pooch warm all winter long.
The physical and temperamental breed traits, so familiar today to millions of devotees around the world, recall the Lab’s original purpose. A short, dense, weather-resistant coat was preferred because during a Canadian winter longhaired retrievers would be encrusted with ice when coming out of the water. In its ancestral homeland, a Lab would be assigned to a fishing boat to retrieve the fish that came off the trawl. Accordingly, in addition to having natural instincts as a retriever, the dog required a coat suited to the icy waters of the North Atlantic.
With the Lab’s physical strength and high energy level, early socialization and puppy training classes are vital. Gently exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations between the ages of 7 weeks and 4 months and beginning obedience training early on will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult. Puppy training classes serve as part of the socialization process and help the owner learn to recognize and correct any bad habits that may be developing. Labs are devoted, intelligent, and enthusiastic companions who need to be included in family activities.

KONG is one of the best-known brands out there for chew toys. They’re especially known for their classic, bulbous design, which is often filled with peanut butter or other treats. This one is a little bit different. Shaped like a tire, it’s perfect for games of fetch and tug-of-war. Available in two sizes (small and medium/large), it’s great for any breed—and sure to become a favorite toy.
Labs are famously friendly. They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike. But don’t mistake his easygoing personality for low energy: The Lab is an enthusiastic athlete that requires lots of exercise, like swimming and marathon games of fetch, to keep physically and mentally fit.

A dog could sure use a fitness tracker this time of year. All holiday season, ham and turkey has been mysteriously “falling to the floor,” right in front of an all-too-willing doggo. The Whistle 3 Pet Tracker tracks your portly pup’s steps and whereabouts, and it displays it all to you on the Whistle app. It’s an easy way to keep track of Pooh Bear’s fitness—whether or not you’re also tracking your own.


Every dog needs a great collar to hold his name tag, connect to his leash, and make him look handsome. If you want to get a new high-quality collar, you can't go wrong with the Lupine Original Dog Collar. It has a heavy-duty design, big range of colors, multiple sizes, and a lifetime guarantee that even covers chewing. It's our top pick for dog collar overall.
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