Everything You Need To Know About Labradors
Labradors are one of the most popular dog breeds for owners, and it’s no surprise. These loveable dogs are unique in their personalities and their larger size makes for some pretty great dog cuddles.
But if you are considering getting a Labrador, it is a good idea to research the breed and find out what you can before deciding if they are the right breed for you.
To help you with this I have put together this article to tell you all you need to know about Labradors.
The Types of Labradors
There are different breeds of Labradors, chocolate, black and yellow Labradors. Yellow Labradors are also sometimes known as golden Labradors.
The main differences between these breeds are, as you can expect, the colour of their coats. Before specific breeding came into place, Labradors were mostly black as that coat colour is the predominant gene in Labradors.
- Weight: 24-36kg on average.
- Height: 12-24 inches from the ground to the shoulder.
- Life Span: 10 to 12 years on average.
Personality Of A Labrador
Labradors are known for being very loveable creatures and they have boundless amounts of energy. They are also good dogs to train and are often used as working dogs in the UK because of that.
These happy and energetic dogs have a reputation for their loveable demeanours and that reputation is well deserved. They are very docile breeds and are loving, loyal companions to have.
However, their energetic personalities do mean that they require both mental and physical stimulation and if they do not get this stimulation, it can lead to behavioural problems.
Common Health Problems
Whilst it is horrible to think of your pet being unhealthy in any way, you should be aware of the common health problems that may afflict your pet. It will help you to spot any signs of ill health and also make you aware of the possible costs getting a Labrador can incur.
- Hip Dysplasia – This condition usually only causes problems in dogs when they reach older age. It is a condition wherein the thighbone does not fit correctly with the hip joint and can cause a lot of pain in older age and lead to quite serious arthritis. This condition can only be diagnosed by x-ray scans and you should not breed any dogs with hip dysplasia.
- Elbow Dysplasia – Similarly to hip dysplasia, dogs with this condition should not be bred. This condition is caused by different bone growth rates which can affect how the joints slot together and it can cause severe pain, particularly in older age. Medication given by the vet can control this pain but in more serious cases they may recommend surgery to correct the condition.
- Cataracts – This is very similar to human cataracts and can be identified in the same way, by cloudy spots covering the eyes. In some more serious cases this can lead to loss of vision, but a lot of the time it does not affect the vision. There is surgery available to correct this condition and it has a very high success rate.
- Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD) – This condition is sadly rising in numbers throughout the Labrador population. It is a heart problem which is present from birth and is because of a malformed valve inside of the heart. This condition varies greatly in severity, some dogs never show any symptoms whilst for others it can be very severe and sadly cause death. Due to its rise in recent years, there is now a lot more research going into this condition so hopefully there will soon be more ways to identify and treat this condition. Currently it can only be diagnosed by an ultrasound scan.
What Should I Feed My Labrador?
Whether you decide to feed your Labrador on a raw, dry or wet food diet, the most important thing is to make sure you are feeding them high quality and nutritional food. The amount that you should feed your Labrador largely depends on their weight and what type of food you get them, most foods will have a guide on how much you should feed your four-legged friend.
Dry food is the most highly recommended for Labradors as it helps keep their teeth strong and healthy and will prevent plaque build-up and other oral health problems.
You also need to make sure that you are giving your Labrador high quality treats. Treats filled with additives and non-nutritional content can easily make your Labrador overweight. So, make sure you’re making use of all-natural treats like ours.
How Do I Take Care Of My Labrador’s Coat?
All breeds of Labradors have two layers. The bottom layer, closest to their skin, is a protective and weatherproof undercoat. The top layer is a short and thick overcoat to help keep them warm, they will shed a lot of this coat during the warmer summer months.
You will need to book a grooming appointment for your lab about every two months, though this will vary depending on your individual dog. You should still brush your Labrador every day, particularly in summer, brushing your dog will help remove any dead and loose hairs and it will be a lot nicer for your dog if these are removed.
How much do Labradors cost?
There is no set cost for buying a Labrador puppy as, in the UK, it is illegal for pet stores to sell dogs. This means you will be looking at private breeders and they will set their own costs for their lovely puppies.
However, Labradors are quite a popular breed and due to this the average cost of one in the UK is around £700.
I Want To Adopt A Labrador, Not Shop For One.
If you have your heart set on a Labrador but your local shelter does not have one, there are rescue groups specifically for Labradors that you can look at. For example, The National Labrador Retriever Club Inc. help with rescuing Labradors and if you wish to contact them, they will help point you to your nearest lab rescue location.