Breed Group: Sporting
Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inch. at shoulder
Weight: 55 to 80 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 13 years
Good-looking, smart and fun-loving, the Lab has a a lot going for him. He’s large, but not too large, he’s calm and easygoing when he’s not exuberantly fetching a tennis ball or a bird. He’s a do-it-all kind of dog.
Did You Know the Labrador Retriever is Well-Suited to a Variety of Active Families?
The 2008 tearjerker “Marley and Me” told the story of a rambunctious Labrador Retriever puppy and his influence on his family. Marley was played by a Lab named Jonah, who stole the film from co-starts Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson.
The Labrador Retriever has consistently ranked as the most popular purebred dog in the United States for more than 10 years, according to the American Kennel Club. The AKC registers more than a hundred thousand new Labrador Retrievers each year, but when you take into account all the Labs never registered at all, or registered with another organization such as the United Kennel Club, the popularity of this stable, family-friendly dog is truly staggering.
A Labrador Retriever has the kind of versatility that other dogs only dream of. He can be a companion, show dog, hunting dog, canine athlete, guide dog, service dog, sniffer dog, search and rescue dog, and therapy dog. He enjoys jogging (health permitting), boating, swimming, hiking and more. If it’s active, outdoors and with his people, the Lab is ready and willing to participate in any activity.
All of those characteristics make the Labrador well-suited to a variety of active families. He’s perfect for homes with rowdy older children, but may be a little rambunctious around toddlers, especially as a puppy or young dog. Singles and couples who love the outdoors also match up well with this breed, and his size and even temperament make the Labrador a great companion for active seniors who love to walk and would appreciate a dog who looks intimidating, even if he is more of a lover than a fighter.
With adequate exercise, these versatile companions can handle anything from a small city apartment to a vast ranch. What they can’t handle is isolation: if you get a Lab, make him a member of your family, not an outdoor dog.
A nice Lab puppy can usually be purchased for $700 to $1,500. For this price you should expect the puppies to have been raised in a clean environment, from parents with health clearances and show or field championships to prove that they are good specimens of the breed. Puppies have been temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
Other Quick Facts About the Labrador Retriever
The Lab’s short, weather-resistant coat and muscular body are the perfect equipment for outdoor activities like hiking, camping and water sports.
Labs are active dogs who need daily exercise and mental stimulation. Without it they can become bored and destructive. Provide them with the attention, training and activity they need or suffer the consequences.
Labs come in three colors: black, yellow and chocolate.
The Lab has a double coat — a soft, insulating undercoat topped with a short, hard, protective outer layer. Labs shed heavily, and brushing them once or twice a week will help keep the fur from flying.
Labs typically have litters of six to eight puppies. Most breeders like to keep puppies until they are at least eight weeks old. This gives the puppies time to learn how to behave toward other dogs and gives the breeder time to evaluate the puppies’ personalities so she can place each one in just the right home. A bonus is that puppies of this age are more mature and more easily.