My pet name, Labradorii, Labrador Retriever, often referred to as Labrador, is a type of dog from Britain. It was made by mixing dogs from Newfoundland, now part of Canada. They named it after the Labrador area in Newfoundland. Lots of people have Labradors, especially in Europe.
Labradors are friendly, full of energy, and love to play. They were first bred as hunting dogs, but people kept them as pets. They can also be trained to help blind or disabled people or to work in rescue missions or therapy.
In the 1830s, some British noblemen and their relatives brought dogs from Newfoundland to Europe. They wanted to use these dogs for hunting. Another person who liked these Newfoundland fishing dogs was the 2nd Earl of Malmesbury. He decided to breed them because they were skilled at hunting in the water.
In the 1880s, three important people, the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch, and the 12th Earl of Home, joined forces to make the Labrador Retriever breed. They mated dogs like Buccleuch Avon and Buccleuch Ned, which Malmesbury gave to Buccleuch, with female dogs with the same blood as the ones brought by the 5th Duke and the 10th Earl of Home—all the Labradors we have today come from their puppies.
The Labrador Retriever History (My Pet Labradorii)
The Labrador breed goes way back to the 1830s. That’s when European people living in Newfoundland, Canada, brought some special dogs called St. John’s water dogs to Britain. They got these dogs from ships that traveled between Canada and a place called Poole in Dorset. These St. John’s water dogs were mixed with British hunting dogs, and that’s how the Labrador Retriever was born.
Some important people like the Earl of Malmesbury, the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl of Home, and Sir John Scott liked these Labradors initially. However, some early writers needed clarification. They mixed up the Labrador with the much bigger Newfoundland and the Lesser Newfoundland. One writer, Charles St. John, even thought the Lesser Newfoundland was the same as the Newfoundland.
A man named Colonel Peter Hawker described the first Labrador. He said it was not bigger than an English Pointer, mostly black, and had a long head and nose, a deep chest, nice legs, and a short and smooth coat. These Labradors didn’t hold their tails up high like the Newfoundland dogs. In 1846, in the fifth edition of his book “Introductions to Young Sportsman,” Hawker made a clear difference between the Newfoundland and the “proper Labrador” and St. John’s breed of these dogs.
By 1870, everyone started calling them Labrador Retrievers in England. Some Labradors were a liver colour (now we call them chocolate), and they appeared in the late 1800s. In 1892, there were records of liver-coloured pups at the Buccleuch kennels. The very first yellow Labrador we know of was born in 1899 and was named Ben of Hyde, and he belonged to Major C.J. Radclyffe. The Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1903; the first American Kennel Club (AKC) registration happened in 1917.
Labrador Characteristics (Labradorii)
Labradoriis are special dogs, and they come in different types. Some things make them special, especially in the United States. There might be some differences if you look at Labradors from the UK.
- Size: Labradors are not too small or too big. They should be as long from their shoulders to their tail as from the ground to their shoulders. A boy Labrador dog should weigh between 55 to 80 pounds, and a girl Labrador (sometimes called a bitch) should weigh between 55 to 70 pounds. They should be around 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall for boys and 21.5 to 23.5 inches for girls. But these numbers can change depending on where you look.
- Coat: A Labrador’s fur should be short and thick but not rough. It should keep them warm and dry when they go swimming. Labradors colour can be black, yellow, or chocolate.
- Head: A Labrador’s head should be wide with a raised brow. They should have friendly and kind eyes that are brown or hazel. The area around their eyes should be black. Their ears should hang close to their head and sit just above their eyes.
- Jaws: A Labrador should have a strong jaw. Their snout should be of medium length and not too pointy. Their jaws should hang and look graceful.
- Body: A Labrador should have a strong and muscular body.
- Tail and Coat: The Labrador’s tail and coat are special features. Their tail looks like an otter’s tail, and this is a unique thing about them.
Labradors are not just about their appearance; they also have a special personality that makes them great pets.
Labrador Retrievers come in three different colors: solid black, yellow (which can range from creamy white to fox-red), and chocolate (a medium to dark brown color originally called “liver”).
You can find puppies of all these colors in one litter of puppies. Their coat color mainly depends on three genes: MC1R, Agouti, and CBD103. A dog with the regular genes for all three will have a yellow coat. If a dog has a specific gene mutation in MC1R, it will also have a yellow coat, regardless of its genes, in the other two places. Dogs with the regular genes for MC1R and Agouti and the black gene of CBD103 will have a black coat.
A 2011 study found that out of 245 Labradors studied, 13 had one copy of the M264V gene mutation responsible for a special mask coloration, and one dog had two copies of it. This trait doesn’t show up on the outside in this breed.
Show and Field Lines
Labrador Retrievers have different traits depending on whether they are bred for field trials or dog shows. In the United States, people sometimes mistakenly call field trial-bred Labradors “American” and show-bred Labradors “English.” However, both field and show types are bred in both countries, and all Labrador Retrievers have ancestors from British lines.
Labrador Retrievers have important jobs:
- Guide Dogs: Labradors are excellent guide dogs. A study in 2006 compared them to other breeds like Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. Labradors and Labrador/Golden Retriever mix did very well in this role, while German Shepherds needed more training.
- Gun Dogs: Originally, Labradors were bred to help hunters retrieve game from land and water. They have special qualities for this, like a gentle mouth, webbed paws for swimming, an otter-like tail, and a waterproof coat.
- Smart Helpers: Labradors are smart and can do special tasks. For example, a dog named Endal learned to assist a person in a wheelchair. It could put them in a safe position, cover them with a blanket, and call for help. Some Labradors can even help their owners get money from ATMs.
- Water Rescue: Labradors are used in water rescue and lifesaving missions. They work with other breeds like Leonbergers, Newfoundlands, and Golden Retrievers. They learn these skills at the Italian School of Canine Lifeguard.
In Wars, Labradors have been heroes too:
- During the Vietnam War, they were used as scout dogs. These brave dogs helped find injured soldiers and locate where the enemy was hiding.
Health Concerns Labradorii
Labrador Retrievers usually live for around 10 to 12 years. They are generally healthy dogs, but there are some important things to keep in mind to ensure their well-being:
- Genetic Health Issues: Labradors can inherit certain health problems through their genes. For instance, some may have missing or incomplete appetite-regulating genes (POMC gene).
- Weight Problems: Many Labradors struggle with being overweight. This might be connected to how their genes control their appetite.
- The color of a Labrador can affect its health. Studies from The Royal Veterinary College and The University of Sydney found that chocolate-colored Labradors tend to live slightly shorter lives (about 10% less) compared to Labradors of other colors. These chocolate Labradors are also more likely to have certain health problems.
- Joint Trouble: Hip and elbow dysplasia can be a concern, especially in larger Labradors. These conditions affect the joints and can cause discomfort.
- Eye Conditions: Some Labradors may develop eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and retinal dysplasia.
- Exercise-Related Challenges: Labradors can face a condition known as “exercise-induced collapse.” This makes them overheated and weak, leading to collapse and disorientation after short bursts of physical activity.
- Obesity and Genetics: Obesity is another issue that can sometimes be linked to the genes responsible for appetite regulation.
Taking good care of your Labrador’s health is crucial to ensure a happy and comfortable life.
In our household, we are fortunate to have three Labrador Retrievers whom we affectionately call “Labradorii.” These dogs transcend the role of mere pets; they have become cherished members of our family. Their amiable and gentle nature makes them ideal companions for families, particularly those with children.
Our children relish spending time with our Labradorii. They engage in joyful play sessions in the yard, eagerly fetching balls and engaging in friendly wrestling matches. These dogs are always eager for adventures and bring boundless joy into our children’s lives.
However, their value extends beyond play; our Labradorii offers comfort and affection precisely when our children need it most. They are excellent listeners and provide warm, reassuring cuddles.
Caring for our Labradorii imparts valuable life lessons to our children, fostering responsibility and compassion towards animals. Our kids learn to feed, groom, and ensure their furry friends receive adequate exercise—an education that will serve them well in the future.
As our children grow, they will create enduring memories with their beloved Labradorii. These dogs aren’t just pets but loyal companions who bring happiness, laughter, and abundant love into our home. The bond shared between our children, and their Labradorii is nothing short of extraordinary.