Labradors are constantly included in the expert lists of the “best”: obedient, hardworking, loyal. These dogs combine qualities that allow them to be both excellent companions and perform official duties..
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Labrador – breed history
The name of the breed appeared as a result of the fact that European breeders did not really delve into the geographic subtleties of the New World. Therefore, the breed, which originated on the island of Newfoundland, was called Labradors, and the dogs, whose homeland is Labrador, were called Newfoundlands.
There are three more versions of the origin of the name of the breed:
- From igneous rock – labradorite, which is abundant on the island of Newfoundland – the homeland of these dogs.
- From the name of the Labrador Sea, where the representatives of the new breed came from.
- The need to distinguish the new breed of dogs from the long-haired Newfoundlands, already well known in Europe in the 19th century.
Labrador is a Canadian breed, formed as a result of crossing a variety of dogs that arrived in the New World with colonists.
One of the ancestors of Labradors is the water dog Saint John, a breed bred to help sailors. This extinct breed performed numerous functions that made life easier for people at sea: they helped to save victims of a shipwreck, delivered messages from one ship of the fleet to another, took out dropped things from the water, and drove schools of commercial fish into the nets.
As a result of rash laws and high taxes on the owners of such pets, St. John’s dogs have ceased to exist, but their genes have been preserved in several modern breeds, including Labradors.
From the island, the Labradors moved to the Old World on the ships of British and Canadian traders who supplied Britain with Atlantic cod. Hunting fans like the British could not help but pay attention to the unusual “swimming” dogs, perfectly executing commands and understanding sailors perfectly. And there were always enough breeders in the British Isles.
In the 19th century, representatives of the breed began to be massively imported to Britain. The dog got its current name at the end of the century. At the same time, the authorities banned the import of any animals without a special license and six-month quarantine. The influx of fresh blood from the Canadian island ended, and from that moment on, the development of the breed was completely dependent on the British..
The first Labrador nurseries were opened in the Hampshire county of Malmesbury and the Scottish Duchy of Bucklew. Aristocrats, who could not imagine life without hunting, appreciated the qualities of the new breed and contributed to its spread in their midst. Meek and hardy dogs have demonstrated impressive skills in finding and delivering shot game to their owner.
For several decades, Labradors were ranked first to one, then to another hunting breed. It got to the point of ridiculousness: puppies of the same litter were assigned to different “branches” of retrievers. The confusion was ended in 1903 when the respected Kennel Club recognized the existence of Labradors. After the official recognition, the number of new nurseries focused on this breed has increased significantly. And in 1916 the Labrador Retriever Club was formed, which still monitors the purity of the breed.
In the early 20th century, Labradors traveled across the ocean in the opposite direction to the United States. American breeders did not hesitate to make their own changes in the appearance of the breed, and disputes about the status of the “American type” are still being conducted by breeders and experts.
Until 1899, the only color of a purebred Labrador was considered black, but a year before the end of the century, a fawn was added to it, and in 1930 the color palette was diversified with a chocolate color..
Labradors are strong, compactly built, large dogs characterized by constant activity.
- Height at withers – males: about 56 centimeters, bitches: about 54 centimeters.
Recently, the European representatives of the breed have been showing a downward trend. It is no longer uncommon for an adult dog to grow up to only 50 centimeters. Experts are concerned about this situation and urge to be more careful about breeding..
- Weight – not regulated by the standard, normal range in males: 29 to 36 kilograms, in bitches: 25 to 32 kilograms.
- Head – balanced, without excessive massiveness or lightness, with a wide skull. The transition from forehead to muzzle is well defined. Wide nose, pronounced nostrils. Jaws of medium length are rather powerful. The teeth are set vertically, the bite is perfect, scissor. The eyes are of medium size, brown or hazel. Ears hang, set back.
- Neck – very strong, graceful.
- Body – with a straight back, wide, powerful loin. The chest is deep and wide. Ribs – sprung.
- Front limbs – with strong bones, from the elbow to the ground – straight, with long slanting shoulders. Long, angled shoulder blades provide a wide stride. Feet are quite compact, round, with powerful pads.
- Hind limbs – muscular, croup not sloping. Angled knee joints, hock joints low set.
- Tail – thick at the base, tapering towards the tip. Middle length. No dewlap, but short and thick coat on all sides. Does not bend over back, keeps low.
- Wool – short, straight, coarse, very dense, with a powerful undercoat.
- Color – solid black, chocolate (brown, liver), fawn (from light cream to red). A small white patch on the chest is allowed by the standard.
Unofficially, Labradors are divided into several types: European and American, old, heavy, modern, classic … But this matters only when specialists talk, for a more accurate description of the individual. The only accurate description of the breed is in the standard.
Show and working dogs differ from each other. Show Labradors are heavier with shorter legs, while workers are athletic and fit.
Physical activity for this breed is a vital necessity. Without them, the state of health worsens, the dog loses interest, gains weight, which leads to serious health problems. [/color-box]
The owner will have to plan long walks. Breeders’ recommendations are unambiguous: at least half an hour in the morning, at least two hours in the evening. Having received a sufficient load, the dog will keep fit, forget about boredom and pranks in the house.
Other procedures required for a Labrador are fairly standard and do not differ from caring for other breeds..
- Combing – at normal times – at least once a week, using a stiff brush. During molting, twice a year, you will have to carry out this procedure every day..
- Water procedures – no more than once every two months. If you wash your Labrador more often, you can harm the skin and coat, disrupt the natural defenses.
- Teeth cleaning – regularly.
- Ears – it is necessary to inspect from time to time and remove dirt and sulfur with a swab – this will prevent infections.
If the dog is worried, nervous, its behavior has suddenly changed, and the reason for this is unclear, it is worthwhile to immediately contact the veterinarian.
Health (Labrador Disease)
Labradors are a healthy breed, but like any purebred dogs, due to the limited set of genes, immune and hearing problems are possible – either from birth or over time.
Most Labradors don’t need regular vet visits. If the puppy got without vaccination, you need to attend to routine vaccinations.
Proper nutrition, care and maintenance allows these large dogs to live between 10 and 12 years..
Diseases to which Labradors have a predilection are common in other large dogs:
- problems of the musculoskeletal system;
- dysplasia of the pelvis;
- eye diseases: cataract, retinal atrophy; corneal dystrophy.
Obesity is the main problem that Labradors face.
Obesity negatively affects the duration and quality of a pet’s life, leading to serious health problems:
- vision problems;
- dysfunctions of the musculoskeletal system.
Strictly adhered to a diet, a well-thought-out diet, and serious physical activity are the only way to deal with extra pounds.
The price range for labrador puppies is quite large.
- from 5 to 20 thousand rubles can be paid for a puppy without pedigree and any documents – the risk is quite high: it is possible to get a baby of an unknown breed or a dog with serious health problems;
- from 20 to 35 thousand a puppy with all the necessary documents and deviations from the standard, which does not allow to take part in exhibitions, costs rubles – an ideal option if you just need a companion and a faithful friend;
- from 40 to 60 thousand rubles are asked for puppies whose parents have titles, and the appearance fits perfectly into the breed standard, which allows you to exhibit your pet at various events and count on prizes.
The Labrador is a popular breed, so there are many unscrupulous people trying to quickly make money from them. These breeders keep both adult dogs and puppies in unsanitary conditions, not thinking about the quality of the diet and exercise. Of course, these factors negatively affect the development and health of babies.
Before choosing a puppy, you should choose a reputable and respected kennel. When buying, a personal visit to the nursery is mandatory, where you can look at the conditions for keeping animals, see babies, get acquainted with veterinary and breeding documents. In this case, you can count on a healthy, strong baby, a future family member..
- Young Labradors are playful, characterized by irrepressible energy and curiosity, happily make contact.
- A healthy baby has a shiny coat, eyes and ears clean, no discharge, and an excellent appetite.