A Labrador retriever puppy is an iconic image of the American family dog. These wiggly bundles of fun make a great addition to almost any family. Learn about what to expect when you are expecting a Lab puppy.
History of Labrador Retrievers
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The Labrador retriever ancestors can be traced to 16th century Labrador in Canada. The dogs were bred to help with hunting by retrieving birds from both land and water. As the breed was perfected, the modern Labrador retriever was recognized in the early 19th century in Newfoundland. Labradors were first recognized as a breed in 1903 by the English Kennel Club and in 1917 by the American Kennel Club. Today, there are twice as many Labrador retrievers registered in the United States and United Kingdom than any other breed.
Breed Standards for a Labrador Puppy
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There are two recognized types of Labrador retrievers: English and American. English labs are smaller and stockier than their more agile, leaner American counterparts. Both types of Labs have some common characteristics. Lab puppies should be stocky and well proportioned, in the same ratios as the breed standards for adults. Puppies should have a broad head and a wide nose. The puppy's chest should be broad and deep. Tails should be thick at the base and taper toward the end of the tail. Labrador ears are floppy, so erect ears would indicate a muddled breeding line. The coat should be short, straight and dense, and in one of three recognized colors: black, yellow or chocolate.
Possible Hereditary or Congenital Defects in Labradors
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Labradors are among the most popular purebred dogs in America. As a result, overbreeding of Labs is common, so you must be choose your new Lab puppy carefully to minimize the risk of congenital defects. The pup you choose should move freely, with no hesitation or unevenness when it runs or walks. This is particularly important to notice, as Labs are highly susceptible to hip dysplasia. Labradors are also prone to retinal dysplasia, which causes blind spots as dogs age. A reputable breeder should be able to provide certification that the puppy's breeding line has not shown evidence of retinal dysplasia. Without congenital health defects or development of a terminal illness, Labrador retrievers have a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years.
Temperament of a Labrador Puppy
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Labrador retrievers are such a popular breed because of their generally pleasant temperament. A well-socialized Lab puppy should be friendly, outgoing and playful. Shy or aggressive puppies may indicate a lack of proper socialization with either people or other dogs. Labrador puppies are often very active and have a strong drive to chew, so proper exercise and durable chew toys should be provided. Labs are also very food motivated, and will tend to overeat, if allowed. Feed Lab puppies a healthy food with the appropriate proportions, or they will likely turn into overweight adults.