The Labrador is a large, playful dog, affectionately referred to as a ‘Lab’. It is the most popular dog breed in Australia*, said to be because they make such loyal companions. There are two types of this breed; the English Labrador, which is heavy and thick, and the American Labrador, which is tall and lanky. Their coat is smooth, and they come in the colours of solid black, yellow or chocolate. They weigh from 25 to 40kg, and a full sized male Labrador will stand around 56-57cm tall, and females 54-56cm tall.
These dogs are very friendly and often employed as guide and service dogs because of their intelligence and training ability. Having said that, just like other dog breeds, Labs will not train themselves. Their incredible strength will prove difficult if they are not trained from a young age. They are boisterous by nature and if they are not taught appropriate behaviours as puppies, then they will certainly be a handful as adults!
Labradors are greedy gutses, so when you feed them make sure you are strictly controlling the quantity. Labs need to be fed premium dog food to promote strong and healthy bones so that they can carry all that weight! You will also need to walk them every day to burn off the food and energy. 20 minutes walking a day will not only keep them fit, but it will reduce an energy build up that can sometimes make them destructive.
Most owners will tell you that they can’t keep their lab away from the water. They love to swim so a visit to the beach will definitely have you in the good books! They are great with children, but remember that they are very big so they must be taught not to jump on people. They are very easily taught to be obedient, so they make a great house pet. It is best to designate them a bed in the house and train them to stay in it, because allowing them to walk freely around the house often leads to them clumsily knocking things over with their big tails.
Here is a quick list of things that you should check off before getting a pet Labrador:
- Large Yard; a lab needs a fair bit of room to run around and explore
- Spare time; you will need to train them as puppies and then walk and play with them every day to stimulate their brain and stop naughty behaviours
- Money; Labradors eat $10-$15 worth of food a week and their size means that needing to hire a groomer is quite likely
- A plan; Labradors live for 10-15 years, so make sure you consider where you’ll be in 15 years time
- The essentials; a food and water bowl, dog food, a collar and lead (harness if desired), kennel with bed, toys, microchip, and treatments and vaccinations.
If you are looking for a pet that is full of life and love, then a Labrador will make the perfect addition to your family.