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Labrador Retriever: What Owners Need to Know!

Yellow Lab Puppy Sitting in grass

The Labrador Retriever is a fun-loving ball of energy, a goofy pup that stands above the rest as America’s most popular dog breed! Coming in a variety of colors from yellow to black to stunning chocolate, these dogs are considered gorgeous and great pets for the family. Athletic, loving, and endlessly playful, these happy puppers will make a wonderful part of almost any family. Whether you are looking for a friend to play with, a companion to cuddle, or a partner-in-crime, the Labrador Retriever is an excellent choice!

History of the Labrador Retriever

Once known as the “lesser Newfoundland,” these dogs were bred from the same families as their larger cousins. Don’t let their size fool you, though, as they were quickly found by hunters and fishermen to be wonderful helpers! Originally known as one of the “water dogs,” called so for their water-resistant topcoat, they were utilized to assist on fishing boats and by duck hunters. In the early 1800’s visiting English nobles became enamored with the dogs and took some back home with them, cementing the pups’ international popularity. While not confirmed, it is thought that the name Labrador came from the dogs being bred in Northeastern Canada at the Newfoundland and Labrador provinces. No one knows for sure, but the name stuck and the dogs have been known as Labrador Retrievers ever since.

Common Health Information

While highly athletic and fit, Labrador Retrievers are still prone to a few common health issues. These pups tend to live between 10 and 12 years, and understanding their potential health issues will help you take care of your furball. It’s important to keep an eye on your friend’s behavior in order to make sure they live long, happy lives!

Like many mid-sized and large-sized pups, the Labrador Retriever is prone to hip dysplasia. This occurs when the ball joint and socket at the hip do not fit together properly, which can cause pain in the dog and can even cripple it if not taken care of! They’ll let you know if they’re aching with a swaying walk, a narrow stance, and limping. If you notice any of these symptoms please contact your veterinarian immediately. Labradors also fall prey to eye problems as they age. Cataracts are common, as is retinal dysplasia. Getting your pup’s eyes, knees, hips, and elbows checked regularly will help make you aware of any problems and kept to keep your fluffy friend comfortable and happy.

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Grooming Instructions

These pups are wonderfully simple to groom! Their waterproof, double-layered coat is perfect for repelling not only water but dry soil and grime. Since they are happy swimmers, it’s a good idea to give them a rinsing after their aquatic frolic to keep chlorine and mud from settling in their fur as it could damage their coat. Their ears are also prone to infection, and thoroughly drying their ears out will ensure you have a happy pup! Otherwise, just make sure you keep an eye on the other two basics for grooming dogs - nails and teeth. Never let your Lab’s nails grow too long as they could snag on something and your pup might get hurt. Also, make sure to brush their teeth regularly. Check with your vet about what you should be using to clean your pup’s teeth and you’ll have a happy, healthy pupper!

Personality and Training

What a wonderful addition these pups can make for a family! Outgoing, fun-loving, and playful, the Labrador Retriever is always ready to make a new friend. Excellent with children, other dogs, and even visitors to your home, your fluffy friend will be excited to meet everyone in your life. These pups are wonderful as therapy and service dogs as well, obedient and affable once trained properly, and can make excellent companions for those who need a friend. The ease of training them comes due to a multitude of factors, from their loving temperament to their high level of intelligence, and they’ll be eager to please their human friends. All of these characteristics make them excellent family dogs and will assure their place in your heart!

Energy Level

These energetic fuzzballs will need lots of exercises! The Labrador Retriever is a natural swimmer, with a tail known as an “otter’s tail,” that serves as a rudder to steer through the water while their muscular legs propel them. As their name might suggest, they are also excellent at marathon games of fetch and will happily retrieve toys for their humans. These characteristics make them excellent hunting and exercising companions. Keep an eye on them as puppies, as a bored an untrained Labrador can become a destructive chewer. Make sure your youthful friend has plenty of toys to chase and chew on if you want your furniture to remain intact! Because of their fun, playful energy, they can be an excellent addition to a family willing to go the extra mile to keep them active! A warning: these pups are prone to exercise-induced exhaustion, so it’s important to keep an eye on them while playing as they will wear themselves out rather quickly.


Labrador Retrievers will be just fine on dry dog food that is created for their size. Problems will arise, however, from your pupper scarfing their food too quickly. These dogs are prone to bloating and it can be a significant problem if left unchecked. Over-feeding can also lead to an overweight dog, which can cause them to experience back problems and add to their chances of experiencing joint pain. Regulating their food and regular checkups will assure you a healthy dog!

Labrador Retrievers remain America’s most popular dog for a variety of reasons. These pups are a blast to have as a member of the family, a loyal friend, and a loving companion for those in need of a therapy dog. Whether enjoying playtime, going for a swim together, hunting through the forest, or even just lounging on the couch, these playful furballs continue to make their humans happy and provide loyal friendship for many years.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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