The Labrador Retriever is one of several kinds of Retriever, classified in the Gundog Group. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed's original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. The Labrador is the most Popular Breed of dog by registered ownership in several countries, which are as follows:
Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States (since 1991).
It is also one of the most popular assistance dog breeds in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States and many other countries, as well as being widely used by police and other official bodies for their detection and working abilities. Typically, Labradors are athletic and love to swim, play catch and retrieve games, are good with young children, elderly, and for protection.
Labrador pups generally are not brought to the home before they are 8 weeks old. Their life expectancy is generally 10-12 years (although I have had several dogs pass this age range) and it is a healthy breed with relatively few major problems. Many Clubs have integrated Health Screening Test to try and eradicate Health Disorders associated with the breed, breeding only from stock with good scores/less likely to pass faulty genes. Notable issues related to health and well-being include the following:
Labradors are somewhat prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, especially the larger dogs, though not as much as some other breeds. Hip scores are recommended before breeding and often joint supplements are recommended.
Labradors also suffer from the risk of knee problems. A luxating patella is a common occurrence in the knee where the knee dislocates and goes back into place.
Eye problems are also possible in some Labradors, particularly progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dysthrophy and retinal dysplasia. Dogs which are intended to be bred should be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist for an eye score.
Hereditary myopathy, a rare inherited disorder that causes a deficiency in typeII muscle fibre. Symptoms include a short stilted gait or "bunny hopping," and in rare cases ventroflexion of the neck accompanied by a kyphotic posture.
There is a small incidence of other conditions, such as autoimmune diseases and deafness in Labradors, either congenitally or later in life.
Labradors can suffer from exercise induced collapse, a syndrome that causes hyperthermia, weakness, collapse, and disorientation after short bouts of exercise
Strongly built, short-coupled, very active; broad in skull; broad and deep through chest and ribs; broad and strong over loins and hindquarters.
Good-tempered, very agile (which precludes excessive body weight or excessive substance). Excellent nose, soft mouth; keen love of water. Adaptable, devoted companion.
Intelligent, keen and biddable, with a strong will to please. Kindly nature, with no trace of aggression or undue shyness.
Head and Skull
Skull broad with defined stop; clean-cut without fleshy cheeks. Jaws of medium length, powerful not snippy. Nose wide, nostrils well developed.
Medium size, expressing intelligence and good temper; brown or hazel.
Not large or heavy, hanging close to head and set rather far back.
Jaws and teeth strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Clean, strong, powerful, set into well placed shoulders.
Shoulders long and sloping. Forelegs well boned and straight from elbow to ground when viewed from either front or side.
Chest of good width and depth, with well sprung barrel ribs - this effect not to be produced by carrying excessive weight. Level top line. Loins wide, short-coupled and strong.
Well developed, not sloping to tail; well turned stifle. Hocks well let down, cow hocks highly undesirable.
Round, compact; well arched toes and well developed pads.
Distinctive feature, very thick towards base, gradually tapering towards tip, medium length, free from feathering, but clothed thickly all round with short, thick, dense coat, thus giving ‘rounded’ appearance described as ‘Otter’ tail. May be carried gaily but should not curl over back.
Free, covering adequate ground; straight and true in front and rear.
Distinctive feature, short dense without wave or feathering, giving fairly hard feel to the touch; weather-resistant undercoat.
Wholly black, yellow or liver/chocolate. Yellows range from light cream to red fox. Small white spot on chest permissible.
Ideal height at withers: dogs: 56-57 cms (22-221/2 ins); bitches: 55-56 cms (211/2-22 ins).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Note Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum