How can we put this delicately? Dogs get stinky. Even if your pup hates baths, they are sometimes necessary. If your fur baby rolled in something that smells more noxious than a skunk, you need Earthbath All Natural Vanilla & Almond Pet Shampoo. It's safe and gentle, plus it will leave your dog's skin and coat soft and moisturized. It's so good, it's our top pick for best dog shampoo.
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).
Dozer the Labrador Retriever at 3 years old—"Dozer is my best friend, he goes everywhere with me. Some of his favorite places to go are anywhere he can swim, dog park, hiking, the beach, doggy day care, swimming, DockDogs, swimming, and in case I didn't mention it, swimming. As I just mentioned Dozer and I love competing in DockDogs. His farthest jump is 17ft and we are working on Speed Retrieve. We are also going to start Agility and Flyball classes soon; both of us are super excited about that. Dozer also loves learning new tricks some of his favorites are sit handsomely (that's where he sits up) circle, How was your day (he will bark saying it's been real rough), Play dead, hold it (he will hold just about anything in his mouth), and crawl (just to name a few). I love my doggy soul mate."
**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.
And before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Labrador Retriever might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dog of your dreams. An adult Labrador Retriever may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive and demanding than a puppy.

Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.  They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for these defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in.
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.

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.
The Lab has the reputation of being one of the most sweet-natured breeds, and it's well deserved. He's outgoing, eager to please, and friendly with both people and other animals. Aside from a winning personality, he has the intelligence and eagerness to please that make him easy to train. Training is definitely necessary because this breed has a lot of energy and exuberance. The working heritage of the Lab means he is active. This breed needs activity, both physical and mental, to keep him happy. There is some variation in the activity level of Labs: some are rowdy, others are more laid back. All thrive on activity.
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?
“My favorite dog-related item that I personally own is a gift I gave myself when I got into the business of dog training: a specially sized Bone Toggle Collar from Wagwear, an New York City–based doggy accessories boutique,” says Anthony Newman, a certified canine-behavior consultant who founded Calm Energy Dog Training. “I’ve worn it on my wrist now for nearly ten years, all day every day; it expresses my love for dogs and it’s truly unique, with beautiful hand-stitched leather and brass. Though I suppose you can also use it as an actual dog collar, as founder and designer Amy intended it.”
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.
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.
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.

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.


When it comes to displaying photos of a beloved pet, it’s impossible to choose just one. This photo frame holds four 4×6 photos, making it the perfect gift for the dog lover on your holiday shopping list this year. It’s also printed with “Let the dog in” and “Let the dog out” twice, so it’s also a humorous reminder of just how demanding our four-legged friends can be.

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).
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.

Let your favorite dog mom show her puppy love with this stylish bracelet. The charms represent an eternal love for dogs and the paw prints they leave on your heart. All the strands are different, to show that not all dogs all the same, but they are all beautiful in their own way. This fashionable faux leather bracelet has an adjustable lobster clasp and chain closure.

"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."


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.

As a dog owner, you become more acquainted with another species’ bodily fluids than you ever wanted to. If a dog owner is really brave, get them this UV urine flashlight and let them find out exactly what they’re dealing with. Like the prospectors of old who flocked to the western mountains, the intrepid seeker of (liquid) gold knows the next bounty could always be right around the corner. Give them the tools to get the job done right.

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!
Prey Drive2More info +[caption id="attachment_55015" align="alignnone" width="680"] (Picture Credit: Haydn West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)[/caption] Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by — cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars — can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.See Dogs That Have Low Prey Drive

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 is the one toy guaranteed to turn heads at the local dog park. The Cannon shoots tennis balls 30 feet down the field, saving your arm from unwanted wear and tear. Simply pull back the handle to deploy the rubber band inside, load up a tennis ball, and then squeeze the trigger to send your pup sprinting downrange to chase down the ball. [$16.99; amazon.com]
The head should be clean-cut and free from fleshy cheeks; the bony structure of the skull chiseled beneath the eye with no prominence in the cheek. The skull may show some median line; the occipital bone is not conspicuous in mature dogs. Lips should not be squared off or pendulous, but fall away in a curve toward the throat. A wedge-shape head, or a head long and narrow in muzzle and back skull is incorrect as are massive, cheeky heads. The jaws are powerful and free from snippiness- the muzzle neither long and narrow nor short and stubby.
Alone Time While they may be left alone for up to eight hours during the day, the gregarious Lab needs plenty of human interaction. Labs require at least an hour of exercise per day—more than just a short walk. Loneliness, boredom, and too little activity may be the root of undesirable behaviors such as destructive chewing. Ensure your Lab has enough quality attention throughout the day to prevent this behavior.

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!

The Friend took home the National Book Award for good reason. Nunez’s novel renders questions of loss, love, and art in sparse, elegant prose. But let’s face it: The best part of the book, as with any great work of literature, is the dog. In The Friend, it’s the curious bond between a lonely writer and a Great Dane named Apollo, who lumbers into her life after grief strikes them both. Give this to the loved one who reads with their own best friend curled in their lap or at their feet.


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.
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.
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.

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 lightweight sleeping bag will act as a perfect light dog bed after a day exploring the trails. When the temperatures drop, you can actually zip your pup up inside the bag to retain heat. The polyester fabric shell is stain resistant, quick drying, easy to clean, and, best of all, the whole thing packs small enough to fit on the outside of your pack. [$99; ruffwear.com]
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.
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.
Sasha, awarded the Dickin Medal for conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict. Located 15 improvised explosive devices, mortars, mines, and weapons while serving in Afghanistan, with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. In July 2008 Sasha and her handler were killed in a Taliban ambush by a rocket-propelled grenade.[113][114]
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!).
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.”
The bloodlines as traced by Vanderwyk each lead back to three black Labradors in the 1880s—Buccleuch Avon (m), and his sire and dam, Malmesbury Tramp (m), and Malmesbury June (f). Morningtown Tobla is also named as an important intermediary, and according to the studbook of Buccleuch Kennels, the chocolates in this kennel came through FTW Peter of Faskally (1908).[27]
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.
Labs are healthy dogs overall, and a responsible breeder screens breeding stock for conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, heart disorders, hereditary myopathy (muscle weakness), and eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy. A condition called exercise induced collapse (EIC) can occur in some young adult Labs; a DNA test allows breeders to identify carriers and plan breedings to avoid producing the disease. Like other large, deep-chested dogs, Labs can develop a life-threatening stomach condition called bloat. Owners should educate themselves about the symptoms that indicate this is occurring, and what to do if so.
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.
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Needless to say, this line is bred for intelligence, gentleness of temperament, tolerance, and a balance of energy with composure. They are as happy with a romp through the park as they are with a quiet evening at the hearth. No matter what differences in lines, all Labrador Retrievers are expected to maintain the characteristics that originally made them working dogs: stamina, energy, strength, and the ability to retrieve dependably, along with balanced structure and vitality.
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