Things to Know Before Owning a Labrador
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Labrador Retrievers, often referred to simply as ‘Labs’ are typically medium to large dogs with a thick coat that can be straight or wavy. Labs often have beautiful, expressive eyes and floppy ears. Some Labrador Retriever mixes may retain these characteristics while others may have a very different appearance. Size, color, coat and even the shape of the head, ears and eyes will vary dependent on the mix.
Dog breeds that have the thick double coat such as Labrador Retrievers will shed heavily at certain times of the year due to changing weather. Labrador Retrievers and Labrador Retriever mixes that that have inherited this coat require frequent brushing to minimize shedding. But Labs should be bathed as seldom as possible to avoid removing the natural oils in their coat.
All dogs require some degree of exercise and mental stimulation. The Labrador Retriever is no exception. In fact this breed is happiest when retrieving, swimming, or actively interacting with people and other dogs.
Labrador Retrievers are social by nature and love to have companionship in the form of people or four legged friends. They do well in multi dog households. Labs and Lab mixes are best suited for active families or individuals. Though they do enjoy hiking, swimming, jogging and retrieving but you can satisfy your Lab’s need for activity with backyard games and occasional visits to parks, lakes, or jogging trails. Labs that are not provided with adequate exercise tend to become overweight and develop weight related health issues such as arthritis.
Those who share their home with Labrador Retrievers and Labrador Retriever mixes frequently describe them as warm and loving companions that are great with all people including young children. Most are also very accepting of other animals in the home or on the property. But while the average Lab or Lab mix is happy to sit quietly with its loving people please don’t forget that they need daily exercise and mental stimulation!
The Top 5 Reasons to Consider Adopting Over Buying a Labrador from a Pet Store or Labrador Breeder:
Adoption is More Affordable - Typically, adoption fees are much less than you’d pay for a Labrador dogs and puppies for sale at a pet store, or even a reputable Labrador breeder. Adopting is especially a great deal because usually rescued dogs and puppies have already been to the veterinarian for a check-up, had a round of vaccinations, and have been spayed or neutered. It all adds up, but when you choose pet adoption you are paying less for a dog or puppy who is just as perfect as one you’d find for sale!
Near Purebreds & Healthy Mixes - Looking for a specific type of dog or puppy? It is estimated that 30% of all shelter animals are purebred, including Labradors. There are also Labrador rescue organizations specifically devoted to rescuing and adopting out only Labradors. On the other hand, you can find your own one-of-a-kind, amazing mixed-breed dog in a shelter. We love those fabulous mutts! Due to a larger gene pool to draw from, often mixed-breed dogs have fewer behavioral problems or health issues, and can even live longer than purebred dogs. In short, whatever you’re looking for you can find at your local shelter or rescue group, and right here on Adopt-a-Pet.com.
Be a Hero - Selecting a Labrador rescue group or going to your local animal shelter means that you are saving a dog's life. In truth, you are also making room for another dog to enter the shelter; therefore, you are saving another! When you choose to adopt, you’re an instant hero.
Adult Adoption = Less Stress - Adopting an adult dog has many advantages. Adult dogs in shelters often have already been in homes, and many have already be housebroken or have had obedience-trained. Also, since adult dogs’ personalities are already established, it is easy to tell if they are good with children, or familiar and comfortable with other pets. One thing is certain; adult dogs require less attention and less work than puppies do. Best of all, any rescued dog will be forever grateful you saved their life.
Finding the Right Match - Often rescue group and animal shelter staff and volunteers know the personalities of animals, meaning they will know the individual Labrador dogs and puppies in their care. They will be able to better match you up with a dog that fits your lifestyle and activities. This is one of many advantages to finding an adult Labrador dog for adoption, rather than for sale.
Labrador Traits & Characteristics
Physical Traits: The Labrador breed is unique because there are actually two different types of Labs – the English and the American. English labs are thicker, stockier and resemble the Rottweiler breed. American labs are lanky and often look like “teenage” dogs until well into their lives. However, both versions of Labrador come in three different solid colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. There is occasionally a gray or silver color that occurs that the AKC refers to as a shade of chocolate. These fun-loving canines can get to around 100 pounds, but generally stay in the 70-80 pound range. Pure labs all have webbed feet used to help the dog swim.
Personality and Ideal Companions: Labs are known for being affectionate, intelligent, loving and loyal to their human companions. Both the English and American Labradors rank in the top ten list for most popular breeds in the US. These dogs also make exceptional service dogs, as they are eager to please their owners and love to be put to work. Labradors are best known for their inability to pass up a romp in the water – they absolutely love to swim. Labs are friendly and are often excellent with children of any age, other dogs, and even felines.
Health: Labs are extremely healthy for their breed, and suffer from very few consistent problems. Occasionally, a lab may develop eye disorders or blindness later in life, and sometimes mast cell tumors are seen. The most common health issues are hip and elbow dysplasia, especially if the dog is overweight for a long period of time. The life expectancy for labs is shorter than the average for most large dogs; they usually live a little over a decade, but rarely much longer.
Labrador Focused Rescues
Below you'll find many Labrador focused rescue organizations. This is not a complete list! If you are a Labrador focused rescue and would like to be included, please sign up for an Adopt-a-Pet.com account here, then submit your request using the Contact Us link after you login to your Adopt-a-Pet.com rescue or shelter account. Thank you!