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Labrador Retrievers consistently top the popularity charts as America’s No. 1 breed. And it’s no wonder. Labs are affectionate, friendly, docile, intelligent and eager to please. Whether you’re looking for a new member to join your family or have a job in mind for this affable canine, the Lab practically defines the ideal dog for all.
The Labrador is probably the most versatile of all breeds, which is why it’s so popular. Labs are not the least bit aggressive, so they make great family dogs and get along with kids of all ages. Labs enjoy activity, so if you add a Lab to your family, be sure you have a large yard where he can play, or take him on lots of long walks. He also welcomes the companionship of other pets, although he might try to retrieve your pet duck, if you have one!
Labs are highly intelligent and fairly easy to train, so they’re often the breed of choice for guide dogs and are often used in therapy, drug and bomb detection, search and rescue and many other working dog roles. And unlike other dogs, whose initial traits were “bred out” over time, Labs remain true to their gun-dog roots. They’re prized for waterfowl hunting because of their medium-to-large size (55 to 75 pounds), athletic build, endurance, short and weather-resistant coat and powerful yet gentle mouth.
Finding a Good Labrador Breeder
You might think the Lab’s popularity makes it easy to find a good Lab puppy or even an adult Lab who needs a new home. But just like with people, being too popular is not always a good thing. The large number of Labs in this country means that you can find ads for affordable Lab puppies almost anywhere. But beware the “backyard breeder” who might not fully understand which bloodlines to breed together to produce a healthy litter that conforms to AKC breed standards.
You can find a reputable breeder by searching the Labrador Retriever Club website. They are the best source for finding a Lab that possesses the physical traits to function as a retrieving sport dog, the quality to win in the show ring and the temperament to be a family companion.
Look for Labs who are black, yellow or chocolate. Color has no effect on temperament, but silver is an indication of impure breeding, as are other coat markings such as brindling, spots or a pink nose. A small white chest mark is beautiful, but undesirable if you want a dog that conforms to the AKC breed standard.
Labrador Retrievers are generally hardy, happy and healthy. Give your Lab quality food, regular veterinary care and lots of love, and in return you’ll have a loyal, lovable companion for 10 to 14 years.
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