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The Labrador Retriever

The gentle, intelligent and family-friendly Labrador Retriever from Canada continues to be the most popular breed in the United States, according to AKC registration statistics. This versatile hunting breed comes in three colors - yellow, black and chocolate - and because of his aptitude to please his master they excel as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams or in narcotics detection with law enforcement. As an ideal sporting and family dog, the Labrador Retriever thrives as part of an active family or as a trusted hunting companion. A double-coated breed which sheds seasonally, regular grooming keeps his coat at its water-resistant best. Because of his even temperament and trainability millions of Americans own a Labrador Retriever as a pet.

General Appearance
White Labrador Puppy The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion. Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment.

The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.

Physical Types**
Labradors do seem to come in distinct physical types (referred to by various names). The shape of the head, the set of the tail, and the texture of the coat vary somewhat among the various types. This "typing" is not an official designation, and descriptions depend on who is making the divisions among the types. Such designations include "upland Labs," "water Labs," "American Labs," and "English Labs." While there are subtle differences among all of these, in general, "field," "upland," and "American" types are taller, longer in the body, and lighter boned than their "show," "water," or "English" counterparts. Many also agree that the so-called English type is calmer and more laid back, as well as stockier, wider, and smaller than the American type.

White Labrador Puppy Temperament
True Labrador Retriever temperament 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 non-aggressive towards man or animal. The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog. Aggressiveness towards humans or other animals, or any evidence of shyness in an adult should be severely penalized.

Above all, a Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or work in the field with little or no effort. The typical Labrador possesses style and quality without over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness. The Labrador is bred primarily as a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance.

People who love labs (and who doesn't) choose the breed primarily for its trainability. If you long for a dog with energy to spare, an enthusiastic outlook, and a happy demeanor, the Labrador may be just right for you. If you have multiple enemies, the Lab is not a reliable protector. However, if you have lots of friends, your Lab will be eager to share them with you. They are definitely people-orented dogs.

Size, Proportion and Substance
Size--The height at the withers for a dog is 22.5 to 24.5 inches; for a bitch is 21.5 to 23.5 inches. Approximate weight of dogs and bitches in working condition: dogs 65 to 80 pounds; bitches 55 to 70 pounds. However, I have seen large males who tipped the scales at over 100 pounds.

White Labrador Puppy Characteristics of the Labrador**
Unlike some other breeds, the Labrador is an excellent choice for the responsible first-tme dog owner. In fact, the Lab may spoil you for other breeds! These are happy, friendly, adaptable, intelligent, and optimistic dogs. They thrive on love, are easily bored, and enjoy life most if they are given something interesting to do. In fact, the Labrador is one of the main breeds used for guide and rescue.

You can make a good argument that Labradors are, all things considered, the very best family dogs. They excel at most events in the dog world and love swimming, playing, or just hanging around with you. They are great with children and other pets and are gentle with the elderly and disabled. In addition, they are smart, athletic, loyal, and trainable. Many people agree that this is one of the most intelligent dog breed.

Reference Links:
*American Kennel Club "Meet the Breeds"
**The Labrador Retriever. Diane Morgan.