You’ve seen them everywhere! Labs are one of the most common dogs in North America, if not the world. Why are Labrador Retrievers so popular, anyway? Along with Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, this breed consistently scores top marks for a variety of reasons. Here’s what you should to know about this beloved dog:
History of the Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers originally hail from Newfoundland in Canada as the ideal duck retrievers and impressive swimmers, making them perfect partners for hunters and anglers. By the early 1800s, their popularity grew and English people in Canada began bringing breeds with them to their home country as sporting dogs. It’s unclear why the breed isn’t referred to as a Newfoundland Retriever, but that’s a mystery lost to time.
Over time, they were acquired not just by sportsmen but by families and individuals for their loyal, gentle, and outgoing nature. Their short but dense coats allow them to live and swim in cold temperatures. Therefore, they are also often used as search and rescue dogs.
Why Are Labs So Popular?
As briefly mentioned above, Labs are known for their gentle nature, but here are some details that is special about Labradors?
- They Have Infectious Energy: If you’re like us, you just love a Lab’s energy. They are playful and love to engage children, adults, and other dogs. Are you looking for a dog to help keep you in shape? Look no further than the Lab.
- Labs Learn Fast: The intelligence of the Labrador Retriever cannot be understated! The breed is known to catch on quickly and is easily trained for basic obedience and more.
- Easy to Groom: Labs are easy to groom. Their short hair requires a bath every-so-often, along with some occasional brushing.
- They Have a Lot of Love to Give: Labs are cuddle-bugs. Whether you’re sitting on the couch or in bed, these big, affectionate dogs are ready for a snuggle. Be prepared for lots of physical attention.
- The Perfect Dog for Families of All Sizes: Individuals or families with lots of kids, and everything in-between, get along with Labrador Retrievers. These dogs are patient with children and happy to live in an kid-free household as long as they are stimulated and well cared for.
Popular Lab Mixes
Labrador Retrievers are so popular, they got their own spin-offs. We’re not talking about TV shows! All the traits of this amazing dog made it very attractive to breeders looking to create new, interesting Lab mixes. Here are some of the most common Lab Mixes:
The Afador is a mix between an Afghan Hound and a Lab. They make great pets for families but tend to do better with older children. If you’re in need a guard dog, Afadors are alert and will let you know when strangers approach.
What happens when you mix a Border Collie and a Lab? You get a Borador! These energetic pups are best suited for active owners who like to exercise. Boradors tend to be a bit smaller than purebred Labs, so they can live comfortably in homes of all sizes.
Did you guess it? The Goldador is a Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever mix that offers the best of both breeds: social, energetic, and easy to care for.
This exceptionally popular dog is a combination of a Poodle and Lab. These dogs were developed to be hypoallergenic versions of their purebred predecessors. The result? A naturally jovial dog with low-shedding coats that you can’t help but love!
6 Tips for Caring for a Labrador Retriever
1. Keep Up with Grooming
Like we said before, Labs need very little grooming. However, if you avoid common maintenance such as nail cutting and brushing, your dog will be uncomfortable. So, remind yourself at least once monthly to have a doggie spa day.
Labs have LOTS of energy that can last them nearly a lifetime if they are healthy. And you will keep them healthy if you engage them in lots of exercise and socialize them well with other dogs and people. If you plan to be away from your dog while you work, it might be a good idea to get them into a dog daycare. That way, while you’re hard at work, they are getting the exercise and stimulation they need.
3. High-Quality Diet to Avoid Obesity
Some Labs are known to become overweight. That being said, you should feed your dog high-quality commercial food (or homemade with a vet’s blessing). The more active your dog is, the more they need to eat. The less… well, you get the picture.
4. Regular Vet Visits and Vaccinations
The bare minimum for your dog’s healthcare is regular preventative visits to the veterinarian for vaccinations and a check-up. While Labs are generally healthy dogs, it’s always a good idea to have them checked by a professional.
5. Lots of Love & Attention
Why are Labrador Retrievers so popular? This one tip captures the most important aspect of the Lab’s behavior: their charming personalities. Their unwavering charm and love for their caregivers is something to appreciate, but that means Lab owners need to hands-on. Labs need lots of love and attention. It’s how they bond, and it’ll make you both happier.
6. Watch Out for Genetic Health Issues
Despite their energy, Labs can suffer from joint issues. Namely, they struggle with hip dysplasia and joint pain. If you see your dog limping, having trouble getting up from laying down, or difficulty navigating stairs, bring them in to see your vet.
Why are Labrador Retrievers So Popular? A Summary
Now you can see why Labs are so popular. They are loving, energetic, intelligent, and easy to care for. People all over the world, including us at K9U, have fallen in love with this simple dog from Newfoundland.