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.
When it comes to gifting the dog owner in your life, you know that few things would make them happier than something that either speaks to them as a dog fanatic or directly benefits their pups. Sure, you could get them the usual, tried-and-true calendar of cute dog photos or a fun chew toy and call it a day, or you can go the more unconventional route.
Labradors do tend to be protective of their families and homes but are usually happy to greet company, too. With the strong retrieving instinct, they can develop into destructive chewers if not given appropriate toys and guidance. Labs may tend to "mouth" people and the solution is often simply to give them a toy to carry around, so their mouths are already full! These are very strong dogs and early training is necessary to have a dog that walks nicely on lead.
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!
For those who aren’t athleisure people but still want loungewear personalized with their dog’s face on it, there’s always this luxe, customized pet caftan. As the caftan’s designer, and the grande dame of Bravo’s Southern Charm, Patricia Altschul told us last year: “They combine crystal and pearl embellishments in a custom caftan featuring your very own pet (dog, cat, horse, bird, even fish) — mine is the one with Chauncey, my pug. It’s handcrafted in India, and can be worn from the beach to a barbecue to a cocktail party or black-tie event.”
Labrador Retrievers love, love, love to eat, and become obese very quickly if overfed. Limit treats, give your Lab plenty of exercise, and measure out regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time. And be warned that the Lab's large appetite extends to people food and even inedible items. Labradors will forage in garbage, counter surf, and can make a meal out of chewed-up items like children's toys.
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.
High energy when young. Young Labrador Retrievers (up to two or three years old) romp and jump with vigor. That means things can go flying. If you have toddlers, or if you or anyone who lives with you is infirm, consider adopting an adult Labrador Retriever from a rescue group. Adults have a more settled temperament and you can specifically look for a calm one.
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.
The Furbo Dog Camera will quickly become you and your dog’s best friend. This is a great gift for your pup–or the pup parent who hates leaving Fido home alone. This two-way 1080p camera allows you to not only check in on your dog when you’re away at work, but also toss him a treat to keep him engaged. It features night vision and a bark sensor which will send an alert straight to your phone whenever your dog is getting a little rowdy. With an easy set up, all it requires is WiFi and a power source to get started.
Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colours: black (a solid black colour), yellow (considered from cream to fox-red), and chocolate (medium to dark brown). Some dogs are sold as silver pure-bred Labradors, but purity of those bloodlines is currently disputed by breed experts including breed clubs and breed councils. Some major kennel clubs around the world allow silver Labradors to be registered, but not as silver. The Kennel Club (England) requires that they be registered as "Non-recognised." Occasionally, Labradors will exhibit small amounts of white fur on their chest, paws, or tail, and rarely a purebred Lab will exhibit brindling stripes or tan points similar to a Rottweiler. These markings are a disqualification for show dogs but do not have any bearing on the dog's temperament or ability to be a good working or pet dog.
Once known as the "St John's Dogs," the Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the United States. The Lab is native to Newfoundland, where it worked side by side with fishermen catching fish that came loose from the lines and trained to jump into the icy waters to help pull in the nets. Specimens were brought to England in the 1800s by English ships coming from Labrador. The breed was crossed with setters, spaniels and other types of retrievers to improve its instincts as a hunter. The Labrador is highly trainable and is not only popular as a family companion but also excels in: hunting, tracking, retrieving, watchdog, police work, narcotics detection, guide for the blind, service dog for the disabled, search and rescue, sledding, carting, agility, field trial competitor and competitive obedience.
Labs love to eat, and they will try to eat anything. They are professional countersurfers, and they will eat anything that looks like it might be food. If nothing else, living with a Lab will teach you, your spouse and your kids to put things away if they don’t want them to be chewed up or eaten. Veterinarians call these dogs “Flabradors” because obesity is common once they hit their middle-age mellowing out stage. A measured diet, good supervision and plenty of exercise are a must to keep these happy retrievers healthy and out of trouble.
The Whistle GPS Tracker is a simple clip on device that notifies you (via app and text) if your pet ever escapes from the designated area you create. It also lets you track their location using cellular and GPS technology and monitor their activity and health. Plus, it's water proof... just in case they decide to go for a swim. Just clip it on to the collar they already wear.
Experts have a couple of different theories about how the breed came to be called the Labrador. One is that the name is borrowed from the Spanish word for laborer — labrador — which is certainly a fitting description, or that the breed is related to the dogs that accompanied Portuguese fishermen who trawled the Grand Banks off the coast of Labrador and its neighbor Newfoundland. Those dogs, known as cani di castro laboreiro, performed such tasks as retrieving items from the water, including fish-laden nets, and swimming messages from boat to boat. Sounds like a Lab, all right.
Give your pup’s mealtimes a personalized touch with these ceramic bowls lovingly emblazoned with their name. They’re fully customizable, giving you the flexibility to choose a font that reflects your dog’s personality—the seller will even send proofs of the final design before it goes into production. Measuring 7” in diameter and 2.75” in height, each bowl holds up to six cups of kibble or water and can be hand-washed (dishwashers may cause the vinyl name decal to deteriorate). The seller, Loges and Lily, also offers smaller bowls designed for tinier breeds.
An automatic food feeder might sound like a modern luxury, but it’s actually a great solution for busy pup parents (or those who don’t like to get out of bed to feed their pet, ha). The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder allows you to schedule up to 12 meals in advance which could reduce the burden on a dog sitter (or the need/cost altogether, if the pet has a doggy door to relieve itself). Another benefit is the slow release feature which helps dogs who tend to gobble down their food too fast (an unhealthy and potentially dangerous habit). This item comes in at a higher price but comes with a stainless steel bowl (and it’s dishwasher safe too!). And if you’re feeling extra generous, you can even throw in a dog food auto-ship service!
Dogs love having a job to do, and with the Ruffwear Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack, your dog feels like they are working hard and you don’t have to carry their extra food. The saddlebag style pack has two larger pockets for food and other gear needed for an overnight trip, as well as smaller stash pockets for treats and poop bags. Integrated into the pack is a harness to keep the pack centered and sturdy, and allows for a leash to be attached on the front or on the back. The pack also has a padded handle and is made from a lightweight, durable material. Sizes include extra small, small, medium, and large. Colors include orange, green, and blue.
- Exclusions: Hill's Pet Nutrition food and treats (Hill's Prescription Diet, Hill's Science Diet, Hill's Ideal Balance and Hill's Bioactive Recipe); select Pro Purina brands (Pro Plan, Muse and Beyond); Petsafe Brands (PetSafe, SportDOG, ScoopFree, Pup-Pee Solutions, Piddle Place, Radio Systems, Gentle Leader, Premier Pet, Solvit' and Simpsons Adventure); Educator E-Collars; PetcoOne and WholeHearted Memberships, Repeat Delivery orders and subscriptions; out-of-stock items, prior purchases, Donations, Petco Gift Cards and eGift Cards.
Although not a new product, Canine Journal team members have used Embark and other dog DNA tests to better understand their rescue pups and are big fans. We think it’s the wave of the future and encourage you to give the gift of knowledge and health to your favorite furry friend this season. Embark is our #1 pick for best dog DNA kit (and they are having a big holiday sale through the end of the year!).