Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Sporting > Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

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with kids
with seniors
with other animals
Training Needs
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Size: Large (60 to 100+ lbs.)
Lifespan: Medium (8 to 12 years)
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Labrador Retrievers enjoyed their 17th straight year as #1 on the American Kennel Club Most Popular Dogs ranking in 2007. The Labrador Retriever is one of the all-time favorite family pets in this country--if not the world. Prized for their friendliness, sociability, and patience with children, its no wonder. Retrievers need to be around people to be happy. If left alone or kept separate from the family, your Lab may become hyper and destructive. As with most large dogs, Labs need plenty of exercise. They are always up for a quick swim or a game of fetch. If properly exercised, Labs can make an excellent apartment dogs, tending to be most active in the morning and evening. Labs' high intelligence and friendliness are just two of the reasons that they're the most popular breed of guide and assistance dogs for the disabled and elderly, and are frequently trained as search and rescue dogs assisting law enforcement.

Jake, a black Lab helping with search and rescue efforts after 9/11, was awarded a hero medal for burrowing through white-hot smoking debris in search of survivors, and also helped with efforts after Hurricane Katrina. While in office, former President Bill Clinton owned a Lab named Buddy, and now owns another Lab named Seamus. Russian President Vladimir Putin has a Lab named Koni.

General Care

The Labrador Retriever comes in four colors: black, silver, chocolate, and yellow. The Labrador lives about 12 to 15 years and is a large, stocky dog weighing upwards of 80 pounds. Due to their friendly nature, Labs have a tendency to become obese from consuming too many treats, but are also known as one of the Top 5 Frisbee Breeds--so get yours exercising. If a Lab is allowed to become overweight they run a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and diabetes (common health problems in this breed). Labrador Retrievers are also prone to knee problems and ear infections. Due to their steady popularity, many people look for a Lab first when they decide to get a dog. Although easier to care for then most large dogs, Labs still require plenty of exercise and attention. People greatly underestimate the level of care a dog requires in general, making a lack of education and first time dog ownership as the number one reason these dogs end up in shelters.

For more information on Labrador Retriever ownership and care, check out the Central California Labrador Retriever Rescue.

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