Labrador Retriever: A Complete Guide

If you are looking for a dog that has a muscular build yet is a regular sweetheart, with nothing but love and affection towards his family?

Do you want to have a dog with the looks and temperament of a Golden Retriever, but a much better guard dog? You should definitely consider the Labrador Retriever.

This is an extremely popular breed all over the world, and it has valid reasons for that.

The Labs have a reputation of having great instincts and one of the friendliest natures in the dog world.

But, even though this is one of the best breeds for families, choosing a puppy that will turn out to have all the positive traits of the breed can be quite complicated.

Since this breed is this popular, many “breeders” with little or no experience with this breed want to be a part of the action and score a profit.

Furthermore, in most cases, they don’t test clear the parents for hereditary diseases, the puppies from the litter are usually “ticking time bombs” and you can expect a bunch of genetic health issues to appear as they age.

Also, you can forget about having a well-tempered dog because their stud selection is poor and they don’t actually care about the mentality of the pups, they just want to sell.

So, to help you avoid such breeders and end up with a healthy, well-mannered puppy, we present you our Labrador Retriever in-depth guide.

In this guide, you will get much familiar with this breed and learn how to find a perfect breeder with high-quality pups.

Likewise, you will know what to expect with your life together with the pup, and how to take proper care of it so that it grows up into a great representative of its breed.

For starters, let’s take a look at some of the most important things you should know before you buy a puppy.

The Labrador Retriever Puppies – Before You Buy…

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever is a perfect pet.

Buying a puppy is actually quite easy. But, buying a high-quality puppy is a completely different story.

So, before you make the purchase, here are the most important things you should know and pay attention to.

What price are the Labrador Retriever puppies?

Before making the decision to buy a Labrador Retriever puppy, you need to make sure your budget can handle it.

You don’t want to fall in love with the breed and then find out you can’t afford it, right?

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When it comes to Lab puppies, the price range you can expect goes from some $800 to $1500.

Of course, pups that are meant to be just petted and not compete in dog shows will be closer to that $800 mark.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a puppy that comes from a champion bloodline and has all the predispositions to win prizes and be a great genetic material for breeding, the price will be much higher.

How to find reputable Labrador Retriever breeders?

When it comes to choosing the breeder you want to buy the puppy from, you need to make sure he is recognized by the national association and that he is reputable.

Such a breeder will make sure that you get exactly the pup that matches your needs.

Also, his pups will be already socialized, and that will make the entire training an socialization process much easier for you.

And finally, he will provide all the medical history records and necessary health tests clearances for both parents, and in some cases even for grandparents.

Now, when you make sure that the breeder can be trusted, there are a few things to keep in mind when the time comes to actually choose a puppy from the presented litter.

The first thing you should do is take a good look at the whole litter.

Note how they act in general. If the majority of the pups are shy or reserved, you might have problems with socialization later and that can be a problem.

On the other hand, if most puppies are aggressive and tend to bite each other, it would be best to skip that litter as you would have a hard time with the training and smoothing out that temperament.

The best scenario would be if all the pups show interest in you when you call them and come to play with you.

This will tell you much about their temperament and personalities and what to expect in the future.

Also, you should ask the breeder to meet both parents. By observing their behavior, you will get an idea how your pup will behave when it grows up.

3 Little-known facts about the Labrador Retriever puppies

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever is popular all over the globe.

Now that you’ve covered the research and finding the right breeder process, it’s time to get more familiar with what to expect once the puppy is at your home.

  • They need plenty of bathroom breaks
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While they are pups, Labs need often bathroom breaks outside the home.

In fact, in the first few days, because of the stress of separation from the mother and his brothers and sisters, your puppy will need to have such breaks every 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Be aware of the Silver Labrador Retriever puppies

Recently, Silver Lab pups became available on the market.

However, they are not yet registered with the AKC and not much is known if they have some genetic health issues. So, you might want to avoid getting a Silver puppy, even though it looks adorable.

  • Labrador Retrievers are nearly waterproof

Due to their Northern Fisherman heritage, over the generations, Labs have developed a double coat that prevents hypothermia when submerged in the icy waters.

Also, they are excellent swimmers and even have webbed toes, and are pretty much waterproof and the water can’t even get to their skin!

Physical Traits of the Labrador Retriever

This is the section of our guide in which we discuss the full-grown size and the life expectancy of the Labs.

How big is a full-grown Labrador Retriever?

If we are looking at the official AKC standard, the size range of a Labrador Retriever should be from 21.5 to 24.5 inches.

And, their weight range should be anywhere in between 55 and 80 pounds.

However, it doesn’t mean that your dog can’t be a few inches taller or a few pounds heavier.

On the other hand, if the dog is below the standard, then it might have some development or genetic issues.

What is the life expectancy of the Labrador Retriever?

When it comes to how long your Lab will live, it all comes down to how well you take care of him.

Assuming that it comes from a high-quality, health-wise genetically clean bloodline, of course.

For such Labs, the life expectancy goes from 10 to 12 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers have great instincts.

One of the biggest highlights of this breed is their temperament.

If raised with proper training and socialization, the Labrador Retriever should be eager to please, not aggressive towards animals and people, kind, and outgoing.

This is the cornerstone of their personality, however, each Lab has his own version of these traits.

Therefore, you can find Labs that are not meeting strangers and are more reserved, while others are clowns and love to meet new people or animals.

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Some even say that their personality depends on the color of their coat. However, we believe that it mostly depends on how the breeder wanted them to “turn out”.

For example, Labs who were bred to become champions in field trials, are usually more complicated when it comes to training and exercise.

You won’t find these dogs laying around in their corner of the home while you are out working. On the contrary, they might be problematic when left alone and bored.

On the other hand, Labs that come from breeders who breed them to be family dogs, are generally with a more relaxed personality and they won’t be so demanding and mischievous.

But, despite their origin, and the well known nice personality of this breed, one fact remains the same for every Labrador Retriever, they are problematic teenagers.

During their adolescent stage, Labs are known to be really active and in most cases destructive.

They can often be seen eating socks, children’s toys, and even rocks.

The damage part aside, this is dangerous for them and in most cases, these dogs needed surgical removal of the thing they swallowed.

Therefore, you should start the training as soon as possible, so that by the time your dog becomes an adult, which is between the second and third year of life, it already has nice manners.

During the training, all you have to do is be consistent and patient, and you will see how, as he grows up, your dog shapes into a calm, well-mannered citizen.

However, even the finest training can’t suppress three things – High activity, love for water and swimming, and appetite. This is how Labs are, and no one can change that.

These dogs are only not active only during their sleep, so the old saying “A tired dog is a good dog” especially implies for this breed.

In fact, we believe that this breed was the inspiration for this saying.

However, their love for being active is what people who decide to own a Lab actually love about them.

They are fun, and there are so many ways that you can keep them occupied that it actually represents a mental challenge for you.

And, if you like coming up with new physical and mental challenges for your dog, this is the perfect breed for you.

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You will be amazed how your Lab loves swimming or running alongside you while you ride a bike, or even taking a long hike in the great outdoors.

For people with families, the Labrador Retriever is the perfect nanny/trainer combo for kids.

What’s more, they will make each other tired, so much during the day, that you will have an early bedtime for both the kids and the dog, each night.

All in all, your Labrador Retriever is a smart dog and highly trainable, but you need to invest patience and time in his training.

If so, you will have a wonderful companion that is great with kids, excellent home protector, and a perfect partner for all your adventures, or laid back times on the porch.

Labrador Retriever Diet

If you decide to feed your dog with a raw food diet (meat, vegetables, carbs), giving him his portion once a day will be fine.

But, if your food choice lands on kibble, then your Lab should have two meals during the day (morning and late afternoon).

However, when it comes to pups, your little furball should have 5 smaller meals spread throughout the day (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner).

In the end, there’s no standardized diet for Labs because, like people, they are all different.

Just remember to choose higher quality food in case you decide to feed him kibble.

And, don’t forget that your dog should be slim. So, pay attention to not overfeed it.

How much Exercise does a Labrador Retriever need?

Labrador Retrievers could exercise the entire day. However, their overall health and their joints don’t allow them such a regime.

To make sure his joints aren’t overstressed, take him out for a couple of half-hours walks each day, combined with a 15-minute running session each time.

But, once the dog is fully developed, and if you are an outdoorsy type of a person, your Lab will have no problem hiking with you the entire day.

He will sleep like a baby in the evening, with all his daily physical and mental demands satisfied.

The Labrador Retriever Health and Conditions

Labs are generally a healthy breed. But, as many other breeds that are healthy, certain issues and genetically heritable conditions do trouble them.

What you should keep in mind are the following conditions, Osteochondritis dissecans, canine hip dysplasia, and Patellar Luxation.

And, from time to time, depending on the genetics and care from the owner, Labs can also have problems with entropion, muscular dystrophy, distichiasis, and cataract.

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All of the mentioned health issues should be included in the usual health testing by your dog’s vet.

My final thoughts on the Labrador Retriever

With the Health section, we have reached the end of our Labrador Retriever in-depth guide.

Whether you have already made your mind to become a Lab owner, or you are having second thoughts, know that by welcoming a Lab puppy into your home, you are at a beginning of a wonderful journey.

Those types of journeys that bring plenty of great memories and fun times with the entire family.

But before we conclude this guide, here are a few things to remember.

Your puppy should be between 7 and 9 weeks old when you take him from the breeder. This is the golden window of opportunity for adjusting to a new family and for starting the training and socializing.

How he lives with you and your family in those first few weeks, will characterize his behavior as an adult dog.

Our recommendation is to dedicate plenty of love and care and to spend as much time as possible during that period.

The training during that early stage should be in short sessions, with extra care for his joints, meaning no jumping and stairs.

And, you will notice how your Lab puppy develops nicely and has a great attitude towards living in a family.

In the end, it’s no wonder why this breed is so popular all over the globe. They are with minimum negative traits such as possessiveness, aggressiveness, and destructiveness.

And, with all the best things the dog world can offer.

Choosing a Labrador Retriever will definitely be one of your greatest choices in life.

Thank you for sticking with us till the end, and make sure you share this guide on social media if you found it useful, and wish for more people to get familiar with this amazing breed.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

OVERALL SUMMARY

5.5
Cost to Buy
10
Cuteness Level
9.5
Family Safety
9.5
Friendliness
7
Health Concerns
6
Life Span
5.5
Exercise Required
5
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 7.3 / 10

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