The below information is from Dogz Online. More information can be found using the link and the attachment to the right.
The Labrador Retriever
- Weight - Approx. 30 kg
- Life Span - Approx. 12 years
- Grooming required - Minimal
- Activity level - Medium to high
The main characteristics of Labradors are their
coat, tail, head and temperament. They have a double coat: a soft downy
undercoat that keeps them dry and warm in cold water and a hard outer coat that
helps them repel water. Even though their coat is short it is very dense, Labs
shed a lot of hair when they moult. Their tail, best described as an otter
tail, is thick at the base and tapers to a narrower point. Their head is clean
cut and somewhat broad, with hanging ears. Their expression is alert and intelligent
and conveys a kind, friendly temperament.
Labradors come in three colours: black, chocolate and yellow. Yellow Labradors are often mistakenly called Golden Labradors. The term yellow refers to a range of colour from nearly white to gold to fox red.
Labradors were originally found, not in
Labrador as the name implies, but in Newfoundland, where they were used in many
capacities by cod-fishermen. With their short but exceptionally dense coat,
they were well suited to cope with freezing salt spray, snowy and icy
near-Arctic winds, and with their willingness to help and please which persists
to this day, they must have been the most useful helpers.
They were expected to retrieve the fish that slipped out of the net and flapped on the icy surface of the sea. They had to carry the rope end from the boat to the shore in the strongest of tides and stormiest weather. They were strongly built so that they could pull a heavy sled carrying firewood, barrels of fish, and other necessities of life in a place where horses would be useless.
They had to survive and indeed thrive and breed, on the scantiest of food – probably half frozen fish guts, a piece of dried meat, and a surreptitious chew at their own leather harness.
All these activities took place in terrible weather conditions, needing the dense waterproof coat which had to be short enough not to ball up in the snow and freezing salt spray. As the work was done in water and on land, in forests, snow drifts and over slippery rocks, an extremely active, well made and balanced dog was required without any structural weakness in its frame, and free from exaggeration anywhere.
The Labrador of today still works in strong tides, and on slippery rocks, in woods and on snow and ice, and exactly the same type of dogs are required today as was used by the fisherman of the cod banks.
In the early 1880’s, in the north of England, a few landowners mated together a handful of Labradors that had survived from an earlier importation. These landowners were quick to realise the value of the dogs as a sporting and working dog, and a breeding strain was soon established.
Most early Labradors were black, the yellow making its appearance when, in
1889, Hyde Ben was whelped in a litter of blacks from black parents. The odd
yellow continued to turn up in black litters, but were regarded with great
suspicion by breeders and were mostly drowned until one or two people saw their
possibilities and proceeded to establish the colour, and did it to such effect
that today yellows outnumber blacks. Chocolates were well known in England at
the turn of the century and today form an integral part of the breed.
In 1916 the Labrador Club (Eng) was formed to ensure purity of the breed, and it was they who drew up the Standard.
In the early 1930’s, a Mrs Austin imported the first Labradors into Australia.
Labs are loving, people oriented dogs. They are happiest when they are with you. Labs are retrievers and will bring you things they find lying about your house and yard.
They tend to be quite patient with children and wonderful family dogs. They are not guard dogs. They may bark protectively but will generally not act more aggressively.
Labs are wonderful people dogs more likely to lick someone to death than hurt them. They tend to be stable, not easily upset by strange things or occurrences. They will take many things in their stride.
The multipurpose abilities of the Labrador, indicated by their use as guide dogs, drug detector dogs, bomb detector dogs etc is the best indication of their superior stability of temperament and trainability, which of course makes them the most popular family pet.