The Labrador Retriever was bred to be both a friendly companion and a useful working dog breed. Historically, he earned his keep as a fisherman’s helper: hauling nets, fetching ropes, and retrieving fish from the chilly North Atlantic. Today’s Labrador Retriever is as good-natured and hard working as his ancestors, and he’s America’s most popular breed. These days the Lab works as a retriever for hunters, assistance dog to the handicapped, show competitor, and search and rescue dog, among other canine jobs.
If you're looking for a puppy, you'll find that Labs vary depending on what breeder you choose. Some Labs are bred for competitions testing their skill as working dogs, and others are bred to get as close as possible to the ideal look, movement, and temperament of the breed. You'll also find breeders who aim for both looks and utility. Labs bred for the show ring tend to be slightly heavier and more solidly built than those intended for canine careers.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with Oscar).
‘Tis the season to spoil your loved ones! We’ve put together a gift guide filled with all sorts of gift ideas for dog owners, dog lovers, and, of course, your dog. With a variety of goodies for every type of dog person and their pup, we have you covered. From personalized gift packs to breed embroidered hats, jewelry, and ugly sweaters, we guarantee that every person on your list will be smiling or wagging their tail.

The steady temperament of Labradors and their ability to learn make them an ideal breed for search and rescue, detection, and therapy work. They are a very intelligent breed. They are ranked No. 7 in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs. The AKC describes the breed as an ideal family and sporting dog. Their primary working role in the field continues to be that of a hunting retriever.

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.
Everyone needs a comfortable pair of flats, so if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for a teen girl or woman on your list, consider these Skechers Bobs Slip-on Flats featuring a fun dog print. These flats have a tan background with muted colors, so they’re fun while also being neutral enough to wear with just about anything. They make great, comfortable around-the-house slip-ons, but they’re perfectly suitable for wearing out and about as well.
Early in the 1800s, some of the multipurpose dogs used in North America (mostly Canada) by hunters were shipped back to England. Many of these "water dogs" were of the Newfoundland type, but the smaller ones were often designated "St John's" dogs. In England, the breed was developed and refined (probably with some flat-coated retriever input) into the breed we recognize today.
Where dogs are concerned, you can’t go wrong with a bone. This all-natural beef bone from Pet ’n Shape is sure to please, even if it looks a bit morbid under the tree. It’s ideal for larger dogs, especially those with a slightly aggressive chew, and is completely digestible. With no artificial additives and plenty of protein (but little fat), it’s a healthy treat owners say is a big hit with big pups.
In both the United Kingdom and the United States, there are well over twice as many Labradors registered as the next most popular breed.[81][82] If the comparison is limited to dog breeds of a similar size, then there are around 3–5 times as many Labradors registered in both countries as the next most popular breeds, the German Shepherd Dog and Golden Retriever.[81][82]
A colouration known as "Dudley" is also possible. Dudleys are variously defined as yellow Labradors which have unpigmented (pink) noses (LRC), yellow with liver/chocolate pigmentation (AKC), or "flesh coloured" in addition to having the same colour around the rims of the eye, rather than having black or dark brown pigmentation.[15][39] A yellow Labrador with brown or chocolate pigmentation, for example, a brown or chocolate nose, is not necessarily a Dudley, though according to the AKC's current standard it would be if it has chocolate rims around the eyes (or more accurately of the genotype eebb). Breed standards for Labradors considers a true Dudley to be a disqualifying feature in a conformation show Lab, such as one with a thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment along with flesh coloured rims around the eyes. True Dudleys are extremely rare.[39][40] Breeding in order to correct pigmentation often lacks dependability. Because colour is determined by many genes, some of which are recessive, crossbreeding a pigmentation non-standard yellow Labrador to a black Labrador may not correct the matter or prevent future generations carrying the same recessive genes. For similar reasons, crossbreeding chocolate to yellow Labradors is also often avoided.
Another can’t-miss: A stylish and comfortable dog bed. We love this one’s chevron design and plush material—and since the fabric is treated, it’s ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Available in a slew of different colors and sizes, it’s sure to be appreciated by dogs who could use a comfy place to nap (and owners who are tired of looking at a soggy old dog bed).
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]
Labradors have a reputation as a very even-tempered breed and an excellent family dog.[5] This includes a good reputation with children of all ages and other animals.[15] Some lines, particularly those that have continued to be bred specifically for their skills at working in the field (rather than for their appearance), are particularly fast and athletic. Their fun-loving boisterousness and lack of fear may require training and firm handling at times to ensure it does not get out of hand—an uncontrolled adult can be quite problematic. Females may be slightly more independent than males.[15] Labradors mature at around three years of age; before this time they can have a significant degree of puppy-like energy, often mislabelled as being hyperactive.[15][47] Because of their enthusiasm, leash-training early on is suggested to prevent pulling when full-grown.[48] Labradors often enjoy retrieving a ball endlessly (often obsessively) and other forms of activity (such as agility, frisbee, or flyball).
Sh*t happens, and when it does your dog loving friend will be thankful they won’t have to bend over backward to pick it up thanks to Nature’s Miracle Jaw Scoop, our #1 pick in our Best Pooper Scooper. It’s lightweight, picks up from all surfaces and has non-stick plastic, so your friend won’t be stuck in a stinky situation. It’s an affordable and memorable gift idea!
Labradors as a breed are curious and exploratory and love company, following both people and interesting scents for food, attention, and novelty value. In this way, they can often "vanish" or otherwise become separated from their owners with little fanfare.[49] As a breed they are highly intelligent and capable of intense single-mindedness and focus if motivated or their interest is caught. Therefore, with the right conditions and stimuli, a bored Labrador could "turn into an escape artist par excellence".[15][50] Many dogs are also stolen.[51] Because of their curious nature and ability to "vanish," along with the risk of being stolen, a number of dog clubs and rescue organisations (including the UK's Kennel Club) consider it good practice that Labradors be microchipped, with the owner's name and address also on their collar and tags.[49][52]
Just because a baby is a fur baby, that doesn’t make them any less important. Dog moms are a special breed (pun intended) who love their canine family as much as their human family — if not more. If you have a devoted, loving dog mom in your life (or even if that’s you), get her a gift to make her (and Fido’s) life a little easier. Scroll on for presents that celebrate your pal’s undying love for her favorite fluffy friend.
The modern Labrador's ancestors originated on the island of Newfoundland,[16] now part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The founding breed of the Labrador was the St. John's water dog, a breed that emerged through ad-hoc breedings by early settlers of the island in the 16th century. The forebears of the St. John's Dog are not known, but were likely a random-bred mix of English, Irish, and Portuguese working breeds. The Newfoundland (known then as the Greater Newfoundland) is likely a result of the St. John's Dog breeding with mastiffs brought to the island by the generations of Portuguese fishermen who had been fishing offshore since the 16th century. The smaller short-coated St. John's Dog (also known then as the Lesser Newfoundland) was used for retrieval and pulling in nets from the water. These smaller dogs were the forebears of the Labrador Retriever. The white chest, feet, chin, and muzzle – known as tuxedo markings – characteristic of the St. John's Dog often appear in modern Lab mixes, and will occasionally manifest in Labradors as a small white spot on the chest (known as a medallion) or stray white hairs on the feet or muzzle.
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.

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.
Early in the 1800s, some of the multipurpose dogs used in North America (mostly Canada) by hunters were shipped back to England. Many of these "water dogs" were of the Newfoundland type, but the smaller ones were often designated "St John's" dogs. In England, the breed was developed and refined (probably with some flat-coated retriever input) into the breed we recognize today.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

Labrador retriever, breed of sporting dog that originated in Newfoundland and was brought to England by fishermen about 1800. It is an outstanding gun dog, consistently dominating field trials. Standing 21.5 to 24.5 inches (55 to 62 cm) and weighing 55 to 80 pounds (25 to 36 kg), it is more solidly built than other retrievers and has shorter legs. Distinctive features include its otterlike tail, thick at the base and tapered toward the end, and its short, dense coat of black, brown (“chocolate”), or yellow. The Labrador retriever is characteristically rugged, even-tempered, and gentle. In England it has been used in military and police work, as a rescue dog, and as a guide dog for the blind. An ideal family pet, the Labrador retriever became in the 1990s the most popular dog breed in the United States.

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.

"This is our newly adopted black Lab named Dozer. He is one and a half years old in this picture and we adopted him from the pound. Like most Labs he loves the water (as you can see in the picture); in fact, he loves it a little too much. We need to work with him on not obsessing over the water so much, but he is so eager to please that it shouldn't be too hard. We take him on two walks a day with him carrying a doggy backpack, one being a three-mile walk with at least a half hour of swimming. I watch the Dog Whisperer all the time so I know that with following his methods and with Dozer being so eager to please that whatever issues he has we will be able to improve them."

If yours is the type of dog that can’t sit still, a hearty game of fetch is just what the doctor (er, veterinarian) ordered, and the Chuckit ball is a great upgrade from your ratty tennis balls. This unique fetch toy comes in small and large sizes, with color options of either glow-in-the-dark green or bright orange, but the basics remain the same. Made from canvas, rubber and foam, the Chuckit has a grooved design that is both aerodynamic and allows your dog to easily pick it up and bring it right back to you. It floats in water and rolls as well.
This art print is an upcycled dictionary page featuring Maynard the Old Dog in a business suit. Classic yet quirky, it makes a great addition to an office, bedroom, or anywhere throughout the home. Get a classic photo frame to complete the gift. Offered through Amazon Homemade, it’s an ideal gift for the eco-conscious loved one who appreciates supporting small businesses (and of course, loves dogs!).
If yours is the type of dog that can’t sit still, a hearty game of fetch is just what the doctor (er, veterinarian) ordered, and the Chuckit ball is a great upgrade from your ratty tennis balls. This unique fetch toy comes in small and large sizes, with color options of either glow-in-the-dark green or bright orange, but the basics remain the same. Made from canvas, rubber and foam, the Chuckit has a grooved design that is both aerodynamic and allows your dog to easily pick it up and bring it right back to you. It floats in water and rolls as well.
Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. A dog need not receive good or even passing scores on the evaluations to obtain a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of soundness or absence of disease, but all test results are posted on the CHIC website and can be accessed by anyone who wants to check the health of a puppy’s parents. If the breeder tells you she doesn't need to do those tests because she's never had problems in her lines and her dogs have been "vet checked," then you should go find a breeder who is more rigorous about genetic testing.
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.
You’re playing fetch with only your arms? You’re doing it wrong. This simple contraption turns you into a ball-throwing monster. One flick of your wrist hucks a tennis ball hundreds of feet instead of dozens. You’ll go from playing fetch in the backyard to sending your dog up and down a football field. And trust us: your dog will be stoked about your newfound fastball.
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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.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from two of the most common health problems: obesity (which makes joint problems even worse) and eating inappropriate objects. Keeping a Lab at an appropriate weight has been proven to add two additional years of life, and close supervision of what he’s chewing on can save you big bucks at the veterinary hospital. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
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.
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