Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

Don't listen to all those people who say it’s weird to dress your dog up in fancy clothes, or tote them around in a stroller approximately the price of a Prius. Those people are all just jealous. This holiday season, go nuts. Get your best friend something they’ll love (or, I guess, love to shred with their teeth). And make it something you’ll love as well—any good gift for your pet should be at least half for you anyway. That’s what your dog really wants. She loves you unconditionally, after all. Looking for other ideas? Check out our other gift guides.


Lab mixes are one of the most popular mixed breeds available from shelters and rescues. Labrador Retriever mixes can share common traits with any number of other breeds, but resemble Labs in physical characteristics and personality traits. However, many shelters do not have genetic evidence of a Lab mix’s background, so breed heritage and personality traits cannot be stated with certainty.

The high intelligence, initiative and self-direction of Labradors in working roles is exemplified by dogs such as Endal, who is trained to, if need be, put his wheelchair-bound human in the recovery position, cover him with a blanket, and activate an emergency phone.[59] A number of Labradors have also been taught to assist their owner in removing money and credit cards from ATMs with prior training.[60]
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
The Labrador Retriever must be brushed once a week, twice when shedding. Like other large breeds, it is susceptible to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Some Labs are prone to PRA (an eye disorder) or ear infections. Ever the food connoisseurs, Labradors are prone to obesity, so don’t let their charming personality connive you out of maintaining a healthy diet for them. Labrador Retrievers have a lifespan of 10-12 years. They can live outdoors in warm weather, but prefer indoor life with the family. Their high intelligence makes them adept at staging elaborate escapes, so proper precautions should be taken.
North Carolina State University is looking for DNA samples from Labrador Retrievers for a genetic study that evaluates unique DNA changes that may be associated with the congenital heart disease, tricuspid valve dysplasia. At this time, we would like to collect DNA samples from 100 Labrador Retrievers. We need DNA from both healthy Labrador Retrievers... Read more »
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.
The introduction of a 'dilute' gene at some unknown point in history has resulted in silver-toned chocolate Labs and dilute-colored black and yellow Labs. These colors are not officially recognized by the AKC, and controversy surrounds these unique colorings. Some believe Weimaraner genetics may exist in the bloodlines of a silver, grey, or otherwise dilute Lab, though this idea has not been substantiated.
While most shelters and rescues cannot determine a dog's exact breed, some facilities may utilize DNA tests to determine the genetics of a mixed breed dog, and AKC registered Labs may be surrendered to a shelter. Even with proof that a dog's heritage includes Labrador Retrievers—and though the dog may show the physical characteristics of the breed—the individual dogs' personality traits may differ from the breed standard.
The Labrador Retriever is the descendant of the St. John's Water Dog, a working dog from the island of Newfoundland. The 2nd Earl of Malmesbury is said to have seen St. John’s Dogs retrieving nets for fishing boats, and then had the dogs imported to England. These dogs from Newfoundland were subsequently bred to develop the Labrador Retriever we know today.
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.
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).
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.
Chewy offers a wide selection of gifts for dogs that are perfect for any holiday or occasion. If you want your beloved fur friend to be dressed to the nines as a pet birthday gift or for a special occasion, you can find fun dog clothes that will have them catching everyone’s eye. A cute dog bandana or bowtie, like the Blueberry Pet dog and cat bow tie set, will let people know that it’s a day of celebration for you and your dog. If you are celebrating another year of time well-spent with your best furry friend, you can have them wear a dashing birthday hat like the Frisco birthday cake dog hat. A fun dog hat is sure to create the perfect photo opportunity that captures all the fun memories.
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.
The Cleverpet is the worlds first game console for dogs – and utilizes a series of lights and sensors to dispense treats based upon your dogs interactions. It works by guiding your dog through a series of increasingly difficult challenges in order to earn rewards. The device even pairs with a mobile app so that you can see when your dog is playing while you aren’t there – or even limit the amount of treats it will dispense!
With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.

Whatever they were called, the dogs were known for their keen sense of smell, ability to find downed birds, and speed. British visitors to Newfoundland appreciated the dogs’ abilities and brought them back to England. There, they caught the eye of the Earl of Malmesbury, who acquired some of the water-loving dogs to hunt the swamplands surrounding his estate. The Earl’s son began breeding the dogs and it was he who gave them the name Labrador. The Kennel Club in England made the breed official in 1903.
Chewy is like Amazon, but for pets (and also better). Like Amazon, you can get pretty much anything your pet might need delivered in just one or two days. Unlike Amazon, the experiences are tailored for your pet, so you can even get prescription medications and set up recurring refill deliveries. Membership is free, and orders ship at a flat rate—for a shopping experience that's tailored for pet owners, we think it's a pretty doggone good deal.
In the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Labrador's breed club have set the breed standard to accommodate the field-bred Labrador somewhat. For instance, the AKC withers-height standards allow conformation dogs to be slightly taller than the equivalent British standard.[45] However, dual champions, or dogs that excel in both the field and the show ring, are becoming more unusual.[46]
They also found that the lesser Newfie was useful for serving as the occasional tow barge. The strength and endurance of this breed was never lost to size. Also of great benefit to fishermen were the natural physical traits the lesser and greater Newfoundlands shared. Both are equipped with webbed toes and a two-layered coat, with a top-coat that repels water, and a tail that is broad at the base, serving as a sort of rudder while swimming.
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.
Monthly, curated boxes of goods delivered directly to your door are all the rage for humans. Whether it’s kitchen ingredients, clothes, or personal care products, having experts put together a killer package of the best in any product category is a proven business model in the new economy. The problem is, dogs have been feeling left out, and nobody even realized it. Except dog people (did we mention they’re a little different?). Every Bark Box includes toys, snacks, and chewables that will have dogs and their owners rolling with joy for weeks at a time.
Best Made in USA Dog Toys: Because of all the work I have done reporting on the food industry, I’m frankly scared to give my dog chew toys made in China - which means almost all chew toys on the market. That’s why I love West Paw, a Bozeman, Montana-based company that makes all of its great products to exacting standards right here in the USA. My dog has always loved their plush toys (she still sleeps with one) but now she has grown into a powerful chewer and avid retriever, and because it’s almost impossible to find domestically made tennis balls, we use the durable Jive Dog Ball, made from a latex-free, BPA-and-phthalate-free, solid rubbery material that she hasn’t been able to even dent. It bounces, floats, and comes in three sizes. It’s part of the bigger Zogoflex line, all made of the same safe, clean and ultra-durable material, in a wide array of chew toy shape and sizes. These are great for outdoor play.
Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Labrador Retrievers were developed to be hunting dogs. They are athletic dogs who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored, which they may express by becoming rambunctious and destructive. Control your Labrador Retriever's bounciness AND keep him mentally stimulated by following the training program in my book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
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.
Did your dog-loving friend recently buy a new house? Dog-inspired art is a thoughtful idea to spruce up their doghouse. The designs come in all sizes and designs, including modern prints (like the one pictured, pun intended) to more traditional Art Deco pieces. Canvas on Demand sells high-quality prints, and you can browse by breed or search the database of collections from hundreds of artists. Don’t know what your friend’s taste is? You can give a gift card and let them decide.
You can choose from charm sets that announce “Best Friends,” “Life Saver,” “Soul Mates,” and “You Rescued Me.” Why not purchase them all so mommy and pup can accessorize based on their mood and style for that day? A woman can never have too much matching jewelry with her dog, that’s what I always say, or at least what I will always say from now on.

I love the idea of this toy but unfortunately even the small was too large and intimidating for my 10lb, food-motivated chihuahua. The small size stands about 6" tall and 4.5" wide, the treat hole is 1.5", and the toy as a whole is fairly heavy considering the size of dog it's intended for (it's not that easy for a small dog to wobble). Even after trying to teach her how to use it, she was unable to figure it out. She won't nudge it to make it wobble but instead tries to dig under it. The material is a hard plastic and she tends to back away for fear of it hitting her (when I wobble it for her). I think this would probably suit a larger dog or one with better problem-solving skills, but mine seemed very uninterested which is a shame because I was hoping it might ... full review
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.
There is literally nothing a dog loves more than going for walks — even in the worst weather. Get your pup a nice new leash that looks great and will last you over many strolls through the park. The Max and Neo Reflective Nylon Leash is the perfect choice for an everyday dog leash and, it is covered by a lifetime warranty. It's so good, it's our top pick for best dog leash.
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