The friendly Labrador Retriever is loved for its sociable nature, easygoing temperament, and ability to learn quickly. Often described as smart, kindly, and loyal, Labs have a reputation as the ultimate family pet. Not only a companion in the home, this breed is prized in the field, the show ring, and as a service dog. The hardy Labrador was bred to work, and his energy never seems to cease. Webbed feet and a water-repelling coat provide an advantage in the water—one of his favorite places.
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]
The most well known health issues are related to the malformation of hips and elbows ( hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, respectively). Eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts are potential concerns. So is exercise-induced collapse, a muscle abnormality that affects the dog’s strength, stamina and movement. Other health problems that may affect the breed include heart disease, an orthopedic problem called osteochondrosis, panosteitis (growing pains), epilepsy and allergic skin disease.
The Labrador Retriever has consistently ranked as the most popular purebred dog in the United States for more than 10 years, according to the American Kennel Club. The AKC registers more than a hundred thousand new Labrador Retrievers each year, but when you take into account all the Labs never registered at all, or registered with another organization such as the United Kennel Club, the popularity of this stable, family-friendly dog is truly staggering.
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]
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.
All the best things come in large packages! Treat your large breed dog to some appropriately sized goodies this holiday season. From the squeaky donut and stuffing-free Christmas Critter in the “Happy Howliday” Christmas Pack to overstuffed dog sofas and festive dog collars, we’ve got your big dog covered. This pup will sure to be wagging their tail on Christmas morning!
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.
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.
Labrador Retrievers are one of the most recognizable breeds of dogs. Even people who aren't dog lovers can recognize a Lab! They make great therapy dogs, service dogs and guide dogs, gun dogs retrieving upland game and fowl, search and rescue dogs, and are the best all-around family dog. Their health problems are similar to most large dogs. They are susceptible to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. Diabetes can also be a serious problem if your Lab suffers from obesity.
Over time, most dog owners will come to love everything about their companion. With the possible exception of their signature stench. This powerful air purifier, designed specifically for pet owners, is like a magic box that removes that part of the experience, while leaving everything else just the way it is. It also removes the pet-related allergens from the air, so they won’t have to listen to Aunt May whine about her runny nose when she visits.
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).
Last (but certainly not least) is one of our favorite ideas: giving your pet loving friend pup sitting services via Rover.com. Depending on the amount you select your friend can redeem for a variety of services including dog walking, grooming and overnight stays. Users can search for qualified dog sitters who can watch after their pup at a moment’s notice. They even have the option to have sitters drop off, pick up or stay in their home. This is a gift that both your friend and her dog will no doubt appreciate!
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.
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.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
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.
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.
Breeders should sell puppies with a written contract guaranteeing they'll take back the dog at any time during his life if you become unable to keep him, and with written documentation that both the puppy's parents (and if possible, his other close relatives) have had their hips, eyes and elbows examined and certified by the appropriate health organizations. Seek out a breeder whose dogs are active in field trials, hunt tests, agility, obedience and other sports that require athleticism and good health, and not just ribbons from the show ring.