Labrador Retrievers hail from the island of Newfoundland, off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada. Originally called St. John's dogs, after the capital city of Newfoundland, Labs served as companions and helpers to the local fishermen beginning in the 1700s. The dogs spent their days working alongside their owners, retrieving fish who had escaped hooks and towing in lines, and then returned home to spend the evening with the fishermen's family. Although his heritage is unknown, many believe the St. John's dog was interbred with the Newfoundland Dog and other small local water dogs. Outsiders noticed the dog's usefulness and good disposition, and English sportsmen imported a few Labs to England to serve as retrievers for hunting. The second Earl of Malmesbury was one of the first, and had St. John's dogs shipped to England sometime around 1830. The third Earl of Malmesbury was the first person to refer to the dogs as Labradors. Amazingly, Labs — now America's most popular dog — were almost extinct by the 1880s, and the Malmesbury family and other English fans are credited with saving the breed. In Newfoundland, the breed disappeared because of government restrictions and tax laws. Families were allowed to keep no more than one dog, and owning a female was highly taxed, so girl puppies were culled from litters. In England, however, the breed survived, and the Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever as a distinct breed in 1903. The American Kennel Club followed suit in 1917, and in the '20s and '30s, British Labs were imported to establish the breed in the U.S. The breed's popularity really began to take off after World War II, and in 1991, the Labrador Retriever became the most popular dog registered with the American Kennel Club — and he's held that distinction ever since. He also tops the list in Canada and England. Today, Labs work in drug and explosive detection, search and rescue, therapy, assistance to the handicapped, and as retrievers for hunters. They also excel in all forms of dog competitions: show, field, agility, and obedience.

7. Name That Cookie Custom Cookie Cutter ($16+): Is your friend’s dog so adorable you could just eat them up? While we definitely don’t recommend nibbling on pets, we do suggest making custom cookies (or even pet treats) with these made-to-order cookie cutters that come in a variety of pet breed shapes and can have the dog’s name added to the mold.
Give dog lovers a choice of any superpower, and you might be shocked at how many would choose something like this: a hand that shoots streams of water so they can wash their dog whenever they want. It doesn’t matter if it makes any sense to you. The handy design (pun alert) allows the wearer to control water flow by opening or closing their palm, and the plastic nubs offer a pleasant massage for their pet. Just hook it up to a shower head or garden hose and it’s ready to go.
The sleek and easy-care Lab coat has two layers: a short, thick, straight topcoat, and a soft, weather-resistant undercoat. The two-layer coat protects him from the cold and wet, which helps him in his role as a retriever for hunters. The coat comes in three colors: chocolate, black, and yellow. Black was the favorite color among early breeders, but over the years, yellow and chocolate Labs have become popular. Some breeders have recently begun selling "rare" colored Labrador Retrievers, such as polar white or fox red. These shades aren't really rare — they're a variation of the yellow Lab.Grooming doesn't get much easier than with a Lab, but the breed does shed — a lot. Buy a quality vacuum cleaner and brush your dog daily, especially when he's shedding, to get out the loose hair. Labs need a bath about every two months or so to keep them looking clean and smelling good. Of course, if your Lab rolls in a mud puddle or something foul, which he's apt to do, it's fine to bathe him more often.Brush your Lab's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition and prevent your legs from getting scratched when your Lab enthusiastically jumps up to greet you. His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear. Because ear infections are common in Labs, also clean out the ears after bathing, swimming, or any time your dog gets wet. This helps prevent infection. Begin accustoming your Lab to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult. As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.
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.

Fitness trackers are all the rage these days, but did you know they make them for dogs too? You can even sync them up with human activity trackers to have everyone’s data all in one place. The small tracker clips onto the collar (or comes as part of a collar). Then it syncs with your smartphone’s app to transmit data including the dog’s activity level and sleep patterns. Other tracked health information may include heart rate and more. Not only is it fun to compete and make sure they reach their activity levels, but it can also help dog owners detect potential illnesses when there is a change in behavior. Our top pick is the FitBark which comes in a cute little bone shape in a variety of colors. This is a great idea for the active dog lover in your life.
The AKC describes the Labrador's temperament as a kind, pleasant, outgoing and tractable nature.[5] Labradors' sense of smell allows them to home in on almost any scent and follow the path of its origin. They generally stay on the scent until they find it. Navies, military forces and police forces use them as detection dogs to track down smugglers, thieves, terrorists and black marketers. They are known to have a very soft feel to the mouth, as a result of being bred to retrieve game such as waterfowl. They are prone to chewing objects (though they can be trained to abandon this behaviour).

“The best gift I’ve ever received as a dog lover was from my mom, for my oldest dog Buster who’s currently 14 years old,” says Fraser, a dog trainer. It’s “a cozy, personalized blanket embroidered with Buster’s name on it,” and it’s a great gift for both dog and owner. “He loves having comfy blankets around to snuggle, and I love knowing that it’s a keepsake I’ll have for years and years to come.” We at the Strategist are not immune to the charm of a personalized gift, and have recommended this L.L. Bean plush blanket in the past.

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.

Labrador retrievers are easily recognized by their broad head, drop ears and large, expressive eyes. Two trademarks of the Lab are the thick but fairly short double coat, which is very water repellent, and the well known "otter tail." The tail is thick and sturdy and comes off the topline almost straight. The feet are described as "webbed," with longer skin between the toes to aid in swimming. Color can range from black through chocolate to a red/yellow or even almost white.
If your dog isn't on a leash or he escapes the house and gets lost, you have to be able to find him. The Link AKC Smart Dog Collar is the perfect solution. The genuine leather collar has built-in GPS and activity tracking, so you know where your dog is and if he's exercising enough. To use the GPS tracking, you have to pay for a service plan, which costs $9.95 per month, $95.40 for one year, or $166.80 for two years.
The sleek and easy-care Lab coat has two layers: a short, thick, straight topcoat, and a soft, weather-resistant undercoat. The two-layer coat protects him from the cold and wet, which helps him in his role as a retriever for hunters. The coat comes in three colors: chocolate, black, and yellow. Black was the favorite color among early breeders, but over the years, yellow and chocolate Labs have become popular. Some breeders have recently begun selling "rare" colored Labrador Retrievers, such as polar white or fox red. These shades aren't really rare — they're a variation of the yellow Lab.Grooming doesn't get much easier than with a Lab, but the breed does shed — a lot. Buy a quality vacuum cleaner and brush your dog daily, especially when he's shedding, to get out the loose hair. Labs need a bath about every two months or so to keep them looking clean and smelling good. Of course, if your Lab rolls in a mud puddle or something foul, which he's apt to do, it's fine to bathe him more often.Brush your Lab's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition and prevent your legs from getting scratched when your Lab enthusiastically jumps up to greet you. His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear. Because ear infections are common in Labs, also clean out the ears after bathing, swimming, or any time your dog gets wet. This helps prevent infection. Begin accustoming your Lab to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult. As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

6. Momenti di Vita Personalized Pet Mug ($17+): Even if your bestie has to leave their precious puppy at home during the workday, they can still gaze at this charming mug as they sip their morning coffee and remember what they’re working so hard for. These mugs can be personalized with their dog’s name and come in 20 different dog breed illustration styles.
The Labrador Retriever should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
A nice Lab puppy can usually be purchased for $700 to $1,500. For this price you should expect the puppies to have been raised in a clean environment, from parents with health clearances and show or field championships to prove that they are good specimens of the breed. Puppies have been temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life. 
Puppies of all colours can potentially occur in the same litter. Colour is determined primarily by three genes. The first gene (the B locus) determines the density of the coat's eumelanin pigment granules, if that pigment is allowed: dense granules result in a black coat, sparse ones give a chocolate coat. The second (E) locus determines whether the eumelanin is produced at all. A dog with the recessive e allele will produce only phaeomelanin pigment and will be yellow regardless of its genotype at the B locus. The genes known about previously[36] have had their number increased by the introduction of the K locus, where the dominant "black" allele KB is now known to reside.[37] Black or chocolate Labradors therefore must have the KB allele. Yellow Labradors are determined at the E locus, so the K locus is irrelevant in determining their colour. Variations in numerous other genes control the subtler details of the coat's colouration, which in yellow Labradors varies from white to light gold to a fox red. Chocolate and black Labradors' noses will match the coat colour.
11. Pooch Selfie: The Original Dog Selfie Stick ($10+): If there’s one thing your BFF struggles with daily, it’s how to get that perfect pic of their pooch for the ‘gram. This phone attachment makes taking photos a snap, since it taps into the pup’s number one philosophy: Keep your eye on the ball. Your friend simply puts it on their phone, and their canine kid is guaranteed to follow the camera wherever it goes.

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).
Our chihuahuas just don't 'get' it. I think the problem is that they aren't getting rewarded quickly enough to keep their attention and connect 'roll the ball' with 'get a treat'... even on the easiest setting. I've noticed that the treats dispense when the ball is rolled faster than they roll it, so maybe it just isn't the best option for toy breeds.
A weekly combing is all that is needed for a Labrador Retriever, since their water resistant coat is also designed to be soil and rubbish resistant. While brushing is a luxury rather than a necessity since its coat is designed to naturally care for itself, it does go along way to improving your Lab's natural beauty and overall health. Regular exercise, on the other hand, is of the utmost importance. The Labrador is a high-energy dog that loves to play, and it should be given the opportunity to do this on a daily basis. When possible, Labrador Retrievers should be allowed to swim, as it is one of their favorite activities. Pools, beaches, rivers, lakes; all are sporting fun for a Lab. Just as with a child, you will want to safeguard your young Lab while it is in the water, to make sure it feels safe and has a way of getting out of the water. Over time, and with confidence, it will learn, but young swimmers can panic or tire quickly.
A perfect birthday gift or Christmas gift for a dog Mom. This traditional 11 ounce white ceramic coffee mug is perfect for any hot beverage. Wide mouth and large C-handle allow for easy, every day use. Whether drinking your morning coffee at work, or sipping on a hot cup of tea at home, this mug is up to the task. Microwave and dishwasher safe for your convenience. All designs are lead free.
Now that Easter is behind us, Mother’s Day is right around the corner on May 13. Just because some children have fur doesn’t make somebody any less of a mother. Have you thought about what to get your favorite dog moms this Mother’s Day? If not, there’s no need to panic. We have plenty of ideas on how to show the dog moms in your life that they are appreciated. Have any ideas that we didn’t include here? Let us know in the comments!
OK, so maybe you’ll never get fully in your dog’s head, but you can at least see the world through her eyes. Drop your GoPro in the Fetch mount, strap the harness around their midsection, and you’ll get to see what it’s like to be on the other end of the tug-of-war or in full romp on the beach. It’s the next best thing to knowing what in the world they’re smelling on the sidewalk.

The Labrador Retriever was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1917, but pedigrees for this breed can be traced to 1878. The breed is split into two main types: field-bred, or American Labrador, and show-bred, or English Labrador. While both types come from the original Labradors bred in England, there are differences between them. Show-bred Labradors tend to be stocky, with a calm demeanor, while field-bred Labs are leaner and more energetic.
Ruffwear Car Hammock: If you ever take your dog in the car and don’t know about hammock-style seat covers you will be kicking yourself when you check these out - I’ve used them for years. This is the best way to go for both the dog and the car, period. These hook to the headrests behind and in front of the back seat, giving the dog more room by turning the otherwise wasted leg space into an extension of the seat surface. They catch all the dirt, come in and out of the car in seconds, and can be washed in the machine, while leaving the seat underneath totally clean. While the concept is great, I went through a few bargain versions that eventually broke (usually the headrest strap) before I found Ruffwear’s Dirtbag seat cover, which has several advantages. First off, it’s tough, durable and totally waterproof - even for the muddiest dog. Secondly, it has ingenious extra flaps that slide into the space in the seat where the seatbelts are, something I have seen on no other model, which better anchors the installation and makes it lay flat, creating more usable surface area. It has convenient zippered slots where seatbelts come through, and also works very well on bench style seats without a front headrest, like in a minivan or large SUV. Finally, extra side flaps keep the ends of the seat by the door clean, and the non-slip surface is easier on your dogs. Highly recommended!

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.
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