HDLRC FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where did the Labrador
Retriever come from?
The ancestor of the Labrador comes from Newfoundland and mention
of them dates back to the early 1800s when the Earl of Malmsbury
reputedly saw the dogs brought to England by fishermen. He arranged
for the importation of some of these dogs. In time, import taxes
and quarantine laws practically stopped the importation into
England. Thereafter, selective breeding with other types of hunting
dogs began to bring about the characteristics that formed the
appearance of the dog that we know today as the Labrador Retriever.
The Labrador was first recognized as a separate breed by the
English Kennel Club in 1903.
In America, the 1920s brought
about many fads. One of these was an interest in Scottish pass
shooting. This encouraged wealthy land owners to bring over British
gamekeepers, and with them, many British dogs, which included
the Labrador. The Labrador Retriever Club Inc. was formed in
1931 and the Labrador has held its place in field trials since
that time. The first Labrador Retriever Club Specialty was held
on May 19, 1933.
Originally bred to assist his
master in retrieving game, he is equally at home as a companion
animal, and is used to assist his human owners in such areas
as guiding the blind, alerting the deaf, and aiding people confined
to wheelchairs. The dog is also reliable in use by officials
in the location of drugs, bombs, fire accelerants, and the location
of humans in disaster areas. He is also a reliable obedience
dog. The ability of the Labrador to accomplish all of these tasks
makes him truly an all purpose dog.
What is the typical
Living with a Labrador is somewhat like living with Peter Pan....they
never really grow up. A Labrador will always greet you with his
tail fiercely wagging ( knocking everything off the coffee table
in the process). He understands that when a human is knocked
to the ground after the dog accomplishes a record breaking running
long jump onto the chest of his owner, that the human knows he
is greatly loved. The Labrador goes to great lengths to show
you his love by constantly doing excavations in your yard, understanding
that soil must be turned over regularly.
A Labrador is loyal (to whomever
feeds him on any given day) and would protect you with his life,
if he only understood that there really are bad people in the
If you own a Labrador, you understand
that everything mentioned above is absolutely true, and to be
expected by the owners of a Labrador. It is part of the charm
of the breed, that they are comedians and always looking for
a good time. A Labrador would never consider eating the neighbor
children. He asks only for your love and a good meal now and
then. In return, he will guide your way if you are blind, he
will find anything you ask him to find, tell you if there is
a sound you should hear if you are deaf, carry your belongings
if you are in a wheelchair, and least not forget... bring home
dinner if you are a hunter. He will watch your children, and
be a playmate. He will do almost ANYTHING you ask of him.
The Labrador is an active dog,
that requires daily exercise to maintain his physical and mental
fitness. Without it, he may become overactive and difficult to
live with. Obedience training is an essential part of responsible
dog ownership, and a great benefit to the Labrador owner.
Does a Labrador require
The Labrador adapts well to many living conditions, and is easily
maintained with a minimum of grooming, proper feeding, and proper
veterinary care. The Labrador can be expected to live from 10
- 13 years of age.
Grooming a Labrador is much easier
than with many other breeds of dog. We often joke about them
being wash and wear dogs. In fact, that is very close to the
truth. The Labrador needs no special shampoos or other coat products
to keep his coat and skin in good condition. In fact, over-grooming
will strip the coat of natural oils necessary in maintaining
a healthy coat. Twice yearly, the coat of the Labrador will become
dry and discolored. It will fall out as a new coat grows in.
This process keeps the Labrador coat appropriate for the weather
conditions. As the Labrador has a very thick, dense coat, this
can be a messy process for the average family. Daily combing
of the coat at this time will pull out the dead hair, helping
to keep it out of your carpets and furniture. The sooner that
the dead coat is gone, the sooner the new coat can grow in its
When should I spay
or neuter my dog?
The proper time to spay or neuter a dog is at about six months
of age. It is the duty of all pet owners to assure that their
dog will not reproduce and add to the population of unwanted
dogs in America today. This procedure will help to keep your
dog healthy as well, as it is shown that the risk of breast cancer
is increased with each season a female dog goes through, and
the potential for infection and unwanted pregnancy increases
with each season. In the male, this procedure will decrease his
chance of prostate problems and injury caused by roaming.
What if I should
decide to breed my dog?
No dog should be bred without the owner having invested a great
deal of time learning about the breed. Responsible breeding involves
the purchase of a dog representative of the breed, having a working
knowledge of the background of the dog in question, and all clearances
for genetic problems obtained. The goals of a responsible breeder
are to improve the breed, proper socialization of his puppies,
and careful selection of a proper home for his puppies. Careful
selection of a breeder and a well-bred puppy is rewarded by years
of happy companionship for the Labrador owner.
What genetic problems
does this breed typically have?
Although there are many genetic problems seen in all breeds,
the most common in the Labrador are the following:
Joint Diseases of several types, that could cause lameness in
a dog at an early age.
Retinal Atrophy, which can lead to blindness.
- Retinal Dysplasia
- Retinal folds
Do not consider
breeding without medical clearances!
How will obedience
classes help my dog?
A good obedience lesson can do more for you and your dog than
any other single activity you can become involved in.
In just one obedience lesson,
you will see a change in the behavior of your dog, and in the
way you relate to your dog.
There are many advanced levels
of obedience, but for now, lets concentrate on beginning obedience
for you and your dog.
Obedience classes will teach
you to communicate with your dog in both a verbal and physical
manner. Good communication is the key to being both a good pet,
and a good pet owner. Your dog wants to do what is right, but
without good communication skills, he can not understand the
meaning behind what you are trying to convey.
Basic obedience will teach your
dog to pay attention, walk calmly on a leash, sit at your side,
lie down on command, come when called, and obey you with other
What about field work?
You need not be a hunter to enjoy field work with your dog. We
all enjoy a good game of fetch, and field work takes that game
to new levels.
Most Labrador owners get a great
deal of fun watching our dogs retrieve from the water. In field
work, the dog learns to retrieve on command, to watch for the
item to be retrieved, to come back to you and deliver that item
into your hand.
There is no single activity that
a Labrador takes more seriously than retrieving. That, after
all, is what he was bred to do.
If you enjoy a good hunting trip,
and have always wanted to teach your dog to retrieve birds, you
can teach your dog to be a reliable retriever without sending
him away to some school to do it for you for a fee. In the long
run, you will enjoy your dog more, and he will learn better if
taught by his owner.
Field work is more easily taught
if the dog has had some basic obedience.
If you want to have a fun day
getting wet, field work is for you.
Canine good citizen
Many of us enjoy taking our dogs wherever we go. Be it just a
trip to Aunt Janes house, the local store, or on vacation with
us. In many Labrador homes, the dog is part of the family, and
we want to be able to take that family member with us.
The Canine Good Citizen test
is to demonstrate that the dog as a companion of man, can be
a respected member of the community, and can be trained and conditioned
to always behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence
of other dogs in a manner that will reflect credit on the dog.
To pass a C.G.C. test, the dog
must pass the following categories
- Sitting politely
- Appearance and
- Walking on a
- Walking through
- Sitting, lying,
and staying in place.
(calming after play or praise)
- Reaction to
- Reaction to
- Supervised isolation.
What other activities
can I enjoy with my Lab?
Have you ever been to a company picnic that had competition where
the people had to make it through an obstacle course to win a
prize. Most of us enjoy watching this sort of contest.
Imagine if you will, watching
a team of dogs doing the same thing.... running through tunnels,
over bridges, around obstacles, over a see-saw, and through a
hoop. If you think its fun to watch, you should see how much
fun the dogs have doing it.
Agility is an event where everyone
has a great time. Watch one and see!
As with most activities, it helps
to have gone through basic obedience before attempting agility,
as the dogs do perform off leash.
Ribbons and prizes are great
rewards for just having a great time with your dog.
The kids especially will enjoy
Showing your Labrador:
Showing in conformation can be great fun for you and your dog,
but unlike many other activities you can become involved in where,
in the beginning, you compete against yourself (trying to improve
your scores etc.), in the conformation ring your dog is being
compared to the other dogs in the ring. One must expect that
there will likely be other very nice dogs in the ring. Even if
you have a very nice dog, until you learn how to present it,
you may not find yourself in the ribbons at first. Then again,
you just might.
There is much to learn about
the conformation of a dog and about the process of showing.
Simply by attending shows in
your area, you can learn a great deal from watching the procedure.
You will have the chance to meet some of the people who have
experience with showing, and can give you pointers. Eventually,
you and your dog will have to just get in the ring and try it
Why should I join
a local Labrador club?
Becoming involved with a breed club will help you, as they usually
have seminars, classes, and newsletters that will teach you what
you need to know.
A Labrador Retriever Club is
one way to meet the people who will guide you in the direction
you wish to go with your Labrador. Your fellow members can help
you through the most simple of problems, to guiding you through
tough issues that you may face with your dog. Be these behavior
problems, or a need for education for you and your dog, there
is someone in the membership who can assist you.
For permission to print this
info, contact us here at HDLRC
|DISCLAIMER: These pages are provided for educational
purposes and the club does not offer any dogs or puppies for
sale. This site is for the purpose of showing our club members'
love and concern for the breed. HDLRC, Inc. is a non-profit organization
and we do not represent, nor do we receive any compensation from
thekennels or services we link to within these pages.