Did you know that the Labrador Retriever is America’s favorite dog? They may also be Minnesota’s: these cute, lovable pooches almost became our state dog! Legislation was introduced in 2019 to make them our mascot. A local Lakeville, MN vet discusses the beloved Labrador Retriever in this article.
The Labrador has been around since the 1830’s, when the 10th Earl of Home acquired some Newfoundland fishing dogs, pups that were renowned for their ability to retrieve fish and nets. 50 years later, their descendants were bred with dogs raised by the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch, and the 12th Earl of Home. Thus, the adorable, lovable pooches we know today came into existence. They were first photographed way back in 1856, and were recognized by England’s Kennel Club in 1903. Fido cracked the ranks of the AKC in 1917.
Labradors are known for having absolutely wonderful temperaments. They’re typically very friendly, gentle, and obedient, and really do take pride in being ‘Good Boys.’ They are great with other pets and children, and love collecting belly rubs and ear scritches. Labradors are also very smart. Today, they are very popular working dogs, and work in many fields, including as assistance dogs, service dogs, and search and rescue pups. Of course, many of them are just fun, lovable family pets.
One thing that is important for new Labrador owners to understand is that these pups are very active, especially when they are young. Fido will need plenty of exercise! Otherwise, he may channel all that energy into mischief. They absolutely love to swim, and often take to the water like furry, four-legged ducks. (It’s worth noting that, like their waterfowling ancestors, Labradors have webbed paws, which helps them with swimming.) They also do very well at doggy sports like dock diving, tracking, and agility.
Labradors have thick, water-repellant coats. They officially come in black, yellow, and chocolate. However, the actual color variations range from reddish to almost silver in color. They have double coats, which means that they do shed quite a bit. You’ll need to brush and bathe Fido regularly. Just like any other pup, your furry friend will need nail trims and dental care as well.
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