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What is a Labrador Retriever? What is a Labrador? What is a Retriever? Let us talk about what a Labrador Retriever is before we get right into training, we first should understand the breeds history and what this breed requires from us so that we can ensure that a Labrador Retriever is a perfect fit for us.

A yellow or golden Labrador Retriever.

The Labrador Retriever is a breed of dog or K-9 that comes from two different k-9 bloodlines. First the Labrador and secondly the Retriever. These individual bloodlines have pretty much disappeared but have become one in the same over the past century. The Labrador came from as it name implies, Labrador which is now known as the province of Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada. The forming breed of the Labrador was the St. John’s water dog, named after the city St.Johns. 

The Labrador retriever is well known as a great working dog thanks to the high energy and the fact they very trainable. They are often used as service dogs for the blind and therapy dogs for patients with Autism, They have done screening & detection for the police and in the military. But their most famous role as their name implies, they were great retrievers for water birds in the gaming sports as great gun dogs. 

The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is 10-14 years. They are a medium to large dog breed where a male can weigh 65-85 lbs & a female 50-70 lbs. Measured up to the top of their shoulders, they will measure 22-27 inches tall which means that big thick otter like tail will clear coffee tables with ease. They have a sort of water resistant, short, dense coat. The Labrador comes in black, chocolate or yellow which can vary from a pale white to fawn to fox red. Their litter sizes vary between 5-10 puppies. One of the most sought after traits of the Labrador Retriever is their youthful, playful puppy spirit which they carry far into their adult hood. As much fun as this can be, if not properly nurtured it can become problematic which we will discuss later on. 

Another fact we should consider is their medical background and costs. The Labrador Retriever is prone to Cancer, A luxating patella is a common occurrence in the knee where the knee dislocates and goes back into place. Eye problems are also possible in some Labradors, particularly progressive retinal atrophycataractscorneal dystrophy and retinal dysplasia. Labradors are somewhat prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, especially the larger dogs, though not as much as some other breeds. We will discuss later on ways to combat this early before it becomes a problem. Labradors often suffer from exercise induced collapse, a syndrome that causes hyperthermia, weakness, collapse, and disorientation after short bouts of exercise. This is more prone to older and overweight dogs which bring us to the number one thing to watch out for. Of all dog breeds, it is our lovable Labrador Retriever that is most likely to become obese. This obesity has been attributed to a specific gene mutation. This being said, the Labrador Retriever also loves to eat as it needs the fuel to empower their energetic state. A mature male should consume about 4 and a half cups of dry food a day which will bring us into the cost of having one of these great friends in our family.

Cost of a Labrador puppy varies from country to country & breeder to breeder. In the US you can expect to pay anywhere in and around $800-$1500 USD and £650-£850 in the UK. Adoption is always a great choice for nearly next to nothing. Now, your Labrador Retriever’s total estimated cost over its life expectancy of 12 years is $11,810. It could cost $2,185 in its first year covering shots, spayed/neutering, leash, toys (you get the idea) and $875 every year thereafter. That does not include training aids & assuming you have pet insurance, you walk the dog yourself instead of a dog walker service & you have a relative to look after your furry friend while you travel. This cost is based on the following parameters set by the ASPCA such as breeder price of $750 and adoption of $175, premium dry food, recurring medical exams such as de-worming, flea/tick control, vaccines, micro chipping, & blood tests. Vet Insurance health coverage will vary as will deductibles. So here’s a quick recap to see if this is the right breed for you.

So we have a very active breed that will require at least an hour of exercise a day, going to a dog park or a swim at the beach work great, If you don’t maintain this exercise regime, behavioral and health issues can arise. Labs are very loyal & quick to please their owner so training is quite easy. Labs are quite low maintenance as no trimming or stripping is needed but being heavy seasonal shedders due to their dense coats will require frequent brushing to save your furniture and vehicle interior so don’t put that vacuum away quite yet. Labrador retrievers are great with kids but beware they can be a little clumsy around toddlers as they are an excitable breed.  Labs are a great dog for owners that do not have a lot of experience with owning a dog. For the most part, labs are free from most ailments with the exception of obesity. Lastly, you are looking around $12,000USD/ £9300 cost for the lifespan of your Labrador Retriever. 

If this sounds like the breed for you, follow along with me as we dive in more depth to the care and relationship you can have with your Labrador Retriever. If you’re not sure if this breed is for you, be sure to visit your local kennel club, Humane Society or breeder to learn more and interact with some other breeds to find your perfect match.
Please also remember to NOT lock your furry friends in your vehicles on warm or hot days & please DO NOT support puppy mills.

A Labrador Retriever jumping off the end of a dock after her favorite toy.

Like Heidi, let’s jump right into this with what you will need to do & to get, the few days before your puppy arrives. If you have any questions or concerns up to this point, please don’t be afraid to drop me an email at Talk to Jair. I hope this helps answer your question, what is a Labrador Retriever.

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