Brindle dogs are instantly recognizable for their distinctive coats. Their dark stripes, which extend all the way down to the skin, are usually genetic, although in some cases the stripes appear as a result of a hormonal imbalance.

Brindles with stripes on their necks, faces, and legs are often referred to as “standard” brindles, while those with stripes everywhere are called “full” brindles.

Brindle dogs are a popular choice for pets around the world, and they come in a variety of breeds.

Brindle Dog Appearance

Brindle is a coat pattern that’s described as tiger-striped, though the variations of color are more subtle and blended than distinct stripes. Dogs born with this coat pattern carry a particular recessive gene.

Typically, the pattern features shades of red as the base color with black stripes on top. However, the coloring can vary considerably, depending on other coat genes that are present.

For example, some brindle dogs have a silver, liver, tan, or blue markings. The red base can go from a light cream to a deep red. And the brindle pattern might only be on part of their bodies.

What Is Brindle Coloring?

The brindle coat has been around as long as dogs have been running around on the earth.  The Brindle color coat is one of the recessive genes on the K locus.

It’s characterized by either having black coloring/stripes on an orange background where the orange occasionally peeks through or light stripes over a darker background or coat, almost resembling a tiger’s striped coat in some ways.

The darker or heavier brindle coloring is the traditional color that’s typically the most discussed. The lighter brindle coloring is called a “reverse brindle.”

This type of coat has a lighter color being more prominent on the darker background of the dog’s coat.

Some breeds can carry a more grey or “blue” looking color of the brindle color.  The orangeish/reddish color coats are “red” brindles, while the fawn colors are a lighter orange, almost tan color.

Causes Of A Brindle Coat Pattern

Just like other coat colors and patterns, the brindle color pattern is a genetic trait, caused by a particular combination of genes.

There are a handful of different places (loci) along your dog’s DNA strand that determine her color pattern. These are referred to as gene series, and they are labeled by a letter.

The mutation for the brindle trait is located at the K locus. There are three different variations of genes (called alleles) at this locus.

One makes the dog all black, one essentially defaults to other alleles, and, as you may have guessed, the other one makes the dog brindle. Brindle is dominant over the yellow (default) coloration, but recessive to the black gene.

We should also point out that many different species display a similar color pattern, including cattle, horses, guinea pigs, and some lizards. This doesn’t mean that the conditions are related; it just means that they are visually similar.

Horses usually (but not always) display the brindle color pattern when two embryos fuse – the resulting chimera exhibits multiple colors because it is essentially multiple horses living in the same body.

10 Dog Breeds That Carry the Brindle Gene

There are many brindle dog breeds that carry the color gene, and all of them can look equally beautiful. 

While there’s only one breed that’s guaranteed to carry the brindle color every time, many breeds carry the genes in with other mixed colors, most notably a merle coloring which is almost like a marbling of solid colors mixed with a brindle coat.

We’ve carved out over 20 different breeds that can carry the brindle gene.

While this coat coloring does seem slightly more common in some breeds of dogs like the molosser dogs, it can creep up in many other breeds we look at in detail below.

1. Dutch Shepherd

One of our favorite brindle-coated pups is the Dutch Shepherd.  The Dutch Shepherd in brindle can be absolutely striking in how they look.

They carry the brindle gene and often carry amber-colored eyes with this coat color combination to boot.Dutch Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs and are often used for police work and military work.

This breed can be harder to train for less experienced dog owners, so make sure you are prepared to invest time and money into the training of your pup to ensure you have a well-behaved family companion.

2. Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff carries the brindle gene.  These gentle giants have a relatively high likelihood of having this coat color. Similar to the English Mastiff, this color combo can make them look more imposing than smaller brindle dog breeds. This breed is like the English Mastiff: Stubborn, Headstrong, and can be a bit lazy when they want to be. 

They like to downplay their intelligence and can drive any new dog owner crazy with their refusal to listen.  On the plus side, they are amazing with kids and other animals if properly socialized.  They will also protect their family with their life, making them a great family companion.

3. English & American Mastiff

Both the English Mastiff and the American Mastiff can carry the brindle gene. These huge dogs commonly carry the gene, and the coloring is quite a popular color in the mastiff community. This coloring combined with their size can make mastiffs look even more imposing than the other breeds in this list.

Mastiffs aren’t the best dogs for first-time dog owners, and you should only get one if you are a firm leader with your dog and can spend time training them. Mastiffs are extremely stubborn, and they like to enact that stubbornness regularly which may lead you to think they are stupid.  Make no mistake, they are smart and use it to their advantage at any chance they get.

4. Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound will often fall into the reverse brindle category. Their wiry coats are always on the lighter side, but you’ll see some tiger striping come through which means they still fall into the reverse brindle bucket. Seeing the Irish Wolfhound with reverse brindle coloring is quite common for the breed, although it’s slightly harder to see because their coat is somewhat rough and dense.

The Irish Wolfhound is another dog that’s not recommended for first-time dog owners.

They are similar to mastiffs in where they can be somewhat standoffish with strangers but open up to them once they are known and invited to be part of the family.

This is another giant dog breed, and they are beautiful with their brindle coloring.

5. Glen of Imaal Terrier

This is a lesser-known dog breed to most common dog lovers in the United States.  This breed is in the terrier category, and it’s one of four Irish Terrier breeds.

It’s quite common for the Glen of Imaal to carry the reverse brindle coat and like the Irish wolfhound, they have a rougher and more dense coat.

The Glen of Imaal is a dwarf breed with curved legs and has more moderate exercise requirements when compared to other terriers in the same class.

These pups are extremely smart, making them a decent choice for first-time dog owners. They run with a medium activity range, so you won’t be throwing the ball for hours on end like you will if you bring home a Lab puppy.

They are smart and stubborn though, so be prepared to start training right away.

6. French Bulldog

The french bulldog is one of the more popular small breeds in the United States.  They resemble a full-sized bulldog minus the fact that they look a little like batman with their ears, which happen to be their strongest feature.

These little guys make great family companions and are affectionate with their owners.

This particular Frenchie has a true brindle coat with some merle blended in.  The coloring is beautiful and is offset even more with the yellow eyes that the pup carries.

Brindle french bulldogs are quite common when it comes to coloring, so there’s a good chance you can snag one at your local breeder if Frenchies are your thing!

7. American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terriers are a terrier breed and it’s commonly interchangeable with the American Pit Bull Terrier.

English Staffordshire Terriers were brought up in the 1800s as fighting dogs, which were used for baiting bulls during animal fights.

Am Staffs are the American version of the Staffordshire Terrier and are generally taller and leaner than the English counterpart.

In the US, the Am Staff is most commonly used for fieldwork on farms and is largely kept as a house pet.  This Am Staff has a beautiful red brindle coat.

8.The Boxer

The boxer is another American Favorite that carries a beautiful brindle coat.  Boxers are usually pretty upbeat dogs and make for great family pets.

They like to jump up with their front paws, which is how they were labeled a “boxer” dog.  They are muscular and powerful dogs, despite not having the size of a giant breed.

Boxers are protective in nature but great with their families. They are not as stubborn as mastiffs and are both intelligent and easier to train than some of the breeds that take more repetitions to learn tricks.

This boxer has a beautiful red brindle coat, and brindle boxers are pretty common when picking your pup.

9. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russel Terriers are another dog that many people don’t realize has the ability to have a brindle coat.  This JRT has a beautiful brindle face, with white colorings on the remainder of the body.

Having a brindle coat is slightly rarer in the JRT than other breeds, but it makes for a stunning combination of color and energy.

These pups are extremely smart!  They are one of the smartest dogs you can own, and they train as easily as a Golden Retriever, if not easier.

Jack Russells are also great family dogs and have become one of the more popular breeds in the United States.  They are small and agile and make great companions for hikes or other outdoor activities.

10. Plott Hound

The Plott Hound is a beautiful hunting dog that falls into the coonhound breeds.  They are descendants of German Hanover hounds and are excellent waterfowl dogs.

The Plott Hound is highly intelligent and can be very energetic.  It’s good to walk this breed or give it an outlet for regular exercise.

They also have beautiful brindle and reverse brindle coats.  They are athletic dogs and are extremely resilient.

If you decide to adopt a Plott Hound, you’ll just want to stay aware of the tedious exercise requirements you’ve signed up for.

Are Brindle Dogs More Expensive in Certain Countries?

When it comes to labrador retriever cost comparison, brindle dogs may be more expensive in certain countries due to their rarity and popularity. Some regions value brindle coats more, leading to higher prices for these unique and striking dogs.

6 Best Brindle Dog Breeds

1. Basenji

The Basenji is an ancient breed that bears a striking resemblance to dogs painted on the tombstones of Egyptian pharaohs.

Up until the ’80s, the Basenjis found in the United States didn’t come with brindle markings. Breeders were looking to extend the gene pool of their dogs to combat health problems.

So several dogs were imported from Central Africa, and they brought the brindle gene with them. Basenjis are typically loyal, calm, and gentle. They also tend to be clean and quiet.

2. Cairn Terrier

Brindle cairn terriers are fairly common. But, because their coat tends to be wiry and shaggy, the pattern isn’t as distinct as it can be on breeds with short coats. The color tones can also lighten as a dog ages. Confident, clever, and loving, these dogs are full of character. But they can be prolific barkers and diggers, and they love to chase small rodents.

3. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Considered one of the oldest breeds from the British Isles, the Cardigan Welsh corgi is commonly found with brindle markings.

The brindle gene was thought to have been introduced when these dogs were crossed with the now-extinct brindle herder.

Cardigans aren’t as popular as their slightly smaller Pembroke relatives, but they’re devoted to their family, clever, and playful. 4. Great Dane

Great Danes come in an array of coats, including the brindle pattern. These huge dogs are known for being loving, friendly, and eager to please.

Despite their size, they tend to get along well with respectful children and other household pets. However, living with a Great Dane can have its drawbacks.

You’ll need plenty of space and a considerable budget for their food. Their lifespan also is considerably shorter than the average dog.

5. Greyhound

Because of their short coats, the brindle markings sometimes found on greyhounds are very distinct.

Despite their bursts of incredible speed, this affectionate breed can be a wonderfully chill housemate. Once a greyhound finds a comfy spot on the sofa, it tends to be quite happy.

However, greyhounds generally have a strong prey drive. They often don’t live peaceably with smaller household pets, and they instinctively want to chase wildlife.

6. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire bull terriers are often found with brindle markings, and sometimes the shades can be very dark. Known for being devoted to their families and incredibly affectionate, it’s not unusual for a Staffie to climb onto your lap seeking attention.

Staffies thrive in the company, and they aren’t suited to living in a household where they are left alone often. Separation anxiety can be a problem with this breed.

No matter what breed of pup you are planning on adding to your family, there is one thing for certain – any of these pups listed combined with the brindle color combination can be extremely striking in color. 

This list isn’t exhaustive, but we’ve captured a few of our favorite breeds with the tiger-striped appeal.

If we missed one of your favorite breeds, feel free to drop a comment below, or drop us a note on our contact page.  We will be sure to add any that you point out that we missed out on!  Happy hunting for your next Brindle Pup!

While the Labrador is a very sociable breed, they do not get along with other pets in the household. Labrador Retrievers love to have company, whether it is from family members or other pets.

They are excellent with children and make a great playmate. These amazing dogs have a strong prey drive, so cats and smaller dogs tend to be at risk in a Lab household.

Characteristics Of A Labrador Retriever

If you are thinking of bringing a Labrador into your life you need to know what you are getting into.

This honest review and assessment of Labrador Retriever characteristics and temperament will help you decide whether or not one of these magnificent dogs is the right companion for you at this point in your life.

We’ll be looking at Labrador’s aptitudes and abilities, his personality traits, and his renowned temperament.

We’ll also be finding out what makes this breed so popular in so many parts of the world and where our Labs originally came from.

We’ll be digging down to find out what exactly are the attributes that make a Labrador a Labrador.

Join us as we look at how the Labrador breed has become divided and how the two different types of Labrador Retriever may differ from one another.

Find out about the kinds of problems that can arise if people are unprepared for some aspects of a Labrador’s personality. And at the kinds of roles that the Labrador is most suited to.

The Labrador Retriever was bred to be both a friendly companion and a useful working dog breed. Historically, they earned their keep as fishermen’s helpers: hauling nets, fetching ropes, and retrieving fish from the chilly North Atlantic.

Today’s Lab is as good-natured and hardworking as their ancestors, and they’re also America’s most popular breed. Modern Labs work as retrievers for hunters, assistance dogs, show competitors, and search and rescue dogs, among other canine jobs.

DogTime recommends this dog bed to give a good night’s sleep to your medium-sized Lab. You should also pick up this dog de-shedder for your high shedding pup!

See below for all Labrador Retriever facts and dog breed traits!

The Labrador’s Original Purpose

Before we look at the physical characteristics of the Labrador Retriever and at his personality traits and abilities, it is helpful to briefly note where all these characteristics come from.

The Labrador falls into the category of ‘gundog breeds’ of dogs.

The history of his development as the world’s favorite gundog is a fascinating story.

The origins of the Labrador have had a profound influence on his appearance, personality, and behavior.

The Original Friend Of A Fisherman

The Labrador was originally bred as a fisherman’s companion, working alongside the men and women who inhabited the inhospitable island of Newfoundland, long before modern conveniences, and technology were available.

This was a job requiring a waterproof coat thick enough to withstand very low temperatures, and an ability to swim in strong currents and for long periods of time.

Imported to England, the Lab’s role changed to that of a shooting companion, where his skill at finding game, his ability to carry objects in his mouth without harming them, and his intelligence and biddable temperament would make him the world’s finest retriever.

An Abled Dog

From those early beginnings, Labrador Retrievers divergence into many different roles – from a therapy dog to the military dog, to a companion – and his competence at everything he is asked to do, has defined him.

He is clearly a dog of many talents.

Let’s take a look now, at the kind of dog we can expect to meet when we bring a Labrador into our homes.

Physical characteristics of the Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever is a sturdily built medium to large dog.  He may weigh anything from 50 to 80lbs once adult, depending on his breeding.

He has a well-proportioned body with a healthy balance between the length of the leg and the length of the spine. A shape that is often described as ‘short coupled’.

What does a pedigree Labrador look like?

The distinguishing features of the Labrador Retriever are well known.

He has a broad skull with ‘chiseled’ features that are softened by his kindly expression and soft ear flaps.  His body is powerful and well-muscled and ends in a thick tail that tapers to a point.

His full-length muzzle houses a good cooling system and a strong set of jaws with a full complement of 42 large white teeth.

The Labrador Retriever’s Coat

The Labrador’s short dense ‘wash and go’ coat comes in one of three gleaming solid colors and needs little grooming to keep it looking smart.

The coat has a shining slightly oily surface and the individual hairs are straight, although a slight ripple can be seen along the back of some dogs once the adult coat is established.

A thick undercoat and the water-resistant topcoat keep a Labrador warm in the coldest water. And a quick shake on emerging from the sea or lake sees the majority of the water removed from its repellant surface.

The genetics of Labrador coat color is interesting and more straightforward to understand than many other breeds of dog.

Strictly speaking, Labradors come in only three colors.  Yellow, Chocolate (which used to be called Liver), and Black.

You will hear people use all sorts of other descriptions,  but officially there is no such thing as a ‘Golden Labrador’,  or a ‘Fox Red Labrador’, these are simply variations of the color yellow.

The only colors recognized by the Kennel Clubs of the United Kingdom, and the USA are Yellow, Chocolate, Black.

The Overall Appearance Of A Labrador

His sleek water-resistant coat, soft flapped ears, and thick otter tail gives the Labrador an almost seal-like appearance. In the water, this likeness is intensified.

He looks as at home there as he clearly feels, swimming low in the water and confidently powered by strong webbed paws.

On land he is equally sleek and powerful, giving the overall appearance of a fit and healthy canine athlete.  Let’s look a little closer at that athletic ability.

The Athletic Ability Of A Labrador

The Labrador is a versatile dog who can sprint at speed over short distances or maintain an easy loping stride that will carry him for mile after mile.

For a moderately large dog, he is surprisingly agile, capable of jumping heights well in excess of a meter.

The extent of his physical prowess may vary depending on the type or group of Labradors he belongs to, and we’ll look more closely at that in a moment.

Temperament Of A Labrador Retriever

The Labrador’s kind expression is mirrored by his kind nature. His easy-going, tolerant temperament and love of water are hallmarks of the breed, but of course, not all Labradors fit this breed description precisely.
It is fair to say that sometimes poor temperament traits such as aggression and nervousness can appear in the breed.

But is it also fair to say that this is not the norm?

On balance, the labrador’s good reputation is justified, and provided care is taken in the choice of a lab puppy, you stand a good chance of getting a friendly, good-natured dog.

Extraordinary Labrador Breed Characteristics

Born from generations of being bred for retrieving in the shooting field, the Labrador has some special and important breed features

His gentle mouth is capable of carrying delicate items with great care, and his urge to pick up and carry things is strong.

His ability to track items by scent alone is extraordinary and it is no surprise that Labradors are so sought after by bomb disposal teams, customs, and excise authorities and those engaged in sports where tracking is involved.

Personality Of A Labrador Retriever

Many people are convinced that their Labrador has a sense of humor, and some Labradors are extremely playful, and not just like puppies

Others can be bumptious, clumsy, and bouncy, especially when young.

Temperament, abilities, and general personality may of course vary somewhat from individual to individual. But more importantly, in the last half-century, Labrador has been divided into two distinct types.

We’ll take a look at those now because not every Labrador is suited to every home, and some homes are better suited to one type than to the other.

Some of the traits of the Labrador Retriever depend on which group of Labradors he belongs to.

Two Different Types Of Labrador

For over the last fifty or so years, Labradors in both the UK and the USA have effectively become divided into two quite distinctive strains.

Labrador characteristics vary considerably between those bred for the show ring, and those bred for the field.

Characteristics of ‘English’ or show bred labradors

Most people are familiar with the picture book image of the broad-headed, heavyweight show-bred lab, known as the English Lab in the USA and the Show lab in the UK

The AKC describes the labrador as being distinguished by its

“short, dense, weather-resistant coat; an “otter” tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its “kind,” friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence, and good temperament.”

The British Kennel Club breed standard also describes a dog with a broad skull, wide nose, and thick tapering ‘otter tail.

The KC also describes the breed as ‘agile’, though this is a slightly optimistic description of some show dogs.

The show-bred labrador does have a sturdier frame than his working cousins,  but unfortunately many show dogs are also fairly overweight.

Traits of American Or Working Bred Labradors

A large number of Labradors are born each year from working stock,  and their appearance is likely to be very different.

The field-bred Labrador, known as the American Lab in the USA and the Working Lab in the UK,  is an altogether ‘racier’ specimen than his show bench cousin.

He often lacks the characteristic ‘otter tail’.

He is likely to have longer ears, a narrower head, and generally less substance.

His eyes may be closer together/more forward-facing and he is likely to be more ‘sensitive’ in nature,  and more enthusiastic about retrieving and generally racing around.

Whether this division in the breed is a good thing or a bad thing is a matter of argument.

Many Labrador enthusiasts would like to see show dogs carry less weight and field-bred dogs have a more classic labrador appearance,  but we are unlikely to see a convergence of the strains anytime soon.

Retrieving Ability Of Labradors

Most Labradors, even those from show stock have an inborn urge to retrieve things.

This is often reflected in their fondness for carrying things around in their mouths and even chewing things up.

The basic urge to chase and pick things up is of course a result of generations of breeding for the Labrador Retrievers’ original purpose.  The instinct to bring those things back can be more variable!

Good and Bad Characteristics of Labrador Retrievers

The Good

  • Enthusiastic attitude toward life
  • Short easy-care coat
  • Cheerful, tail-wagging nature
  • Thrives on exercise and athletic activities
  • Steady-tempered and dependable with everyone
  • Peaceful with other animals
  • Very responsive to training

The Bad

  • Needs a goodly amount of exercise, not just a couple of short walks around the block
  • High energy and exuberant jumping, especially when young
  • Sheds a lot
  • Risk of serious health problems

Who are Labradors well suited for?

Despite the fact that Labradors are so popular, some people are not well suited to life with a large dog that is boisterous and destructive when young, sheds copious amounts of hair, and has a particular affection for mud and rolling in dead things.

Labradors are social and affectionate dogs who do not like being left alone for long periods of time, so if you work full time, then daily dog care is essential.

If you are not house proud and have time to exercise train, and simply be with, an athletic, affectionate, and powerful dog.

You might well enjoy life with a Lab.


These are dogs with friends, often exuberant, personalities and a sense of fun.

Despite the differences in show and field strains of labrador,  there are still many Labrador characteristics that are common to both types.

In particular their dependable good nature, sense of fun, and love of human companionship which perhaps more than anything else has made them so popular as pets today.

Despite his popularity both as a companion and as a service dog The Labrador is first and foremost a retriever.

His role as such is to remain close to his master at all times until required to retrieve an animal or bird that has been shot.

Anything he is asked to do, including retrieving gently to hand, he is expected to do willingly, unquestioningly, and quickly. 

The Labrador’s highly cooperative and intelligent temperament reflects that role perfectly and it is what has made him such a perfect fit for so many roles in our society

It is not surprising that this lovable and versatile dog is simply the most popular family pet in the USA, UK, and many other parts of the world.

Labrador puppies are very adorable and they are known as “nature’s children”. Labrador puppies like human babies are very active and love to play.

Labrador puppies are very wonderful and friendly pets. Labrador puppies make excellent pets for families with children. Labrador puppies and human babies like to play together. Labrador puppies are known as “nature’s children”.

Labrador puppies like human babies are very active and love to play. Labrador puppies are very wonderful and friendly pets. Labrador puppies make excellent pets for families with children.

Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Labrador Retriever

Finding a nice, healthy pedigree Labrador puppy requires planning and patience. Buying a Labrador from a bad breeder could leave you with a dog with a whole host of health complications down the line.

But how do you tell a good breeder from a bad breeder, and what are some things to look out for when buying a Labrador puppy?

To help you find your perfect Lab, we have put together this Labrador buyer’s guide that will cover everything you need to know about purchasing one of these fantastic, friendly dogs.

Planning a Labrador Retriever Budget

Before you even consider buying a Labrador it is important to consider your budget. This budget not only includes the cost of buying a Labrador Retriever, but also the ongoing costs of owning a dog.

If you can’t afford the ongoing costs of owning a dog do not purchase a Lab.

When it comes to the upfront cost of purchasing a Labrador Retriever it really depends on where you live, which breeder you go to, and how much of a demand there is. For instance, we purchased our two thoroughbred Labs for NZ$500 and NZ$800 (we live in New Zealand) from the same breeder.

To get an idea of how much you need to spend on a good Labrador in your location/country, we recommend that you find some good breeders and investigate how much they charge for a Labrador puppy.

The Constant Costs of Keeping a Labrador Retriever

This is where the real cost of owning a dog is. The price of food, tips to the vets, toys, and more all add up quickly.

Additionally, if your dog develops any adverse medical conditions you may have to deal with paying for the ongoing costs of treatment (which can be very expensive and maybe for the entire life of the dog).

Is Labrador Health Insurance Worth It?

This is a tricky question to answer. We did not have health insurance for our first Labrador and it probably worked out better for us (there were some big costs, but in the end, the insurance would have worked out to be more expensive).

However, for one of our dogs we own at the moment, the health insurance is definitely worth it. He racked up a vet’s bill for nearly $10,000, which was luckily covered by the insurance.

If you do not plan on getting insurance, we suggest that you start an emergency fund for your Labrador. Put the money that you would have spent on insurance into the fund each week/month and don’t touch it unless an emergency comes up.

Making Certain That You Have Enough Time

Owning a Labrador not only costs you money but also costs you time. Many people struggle to find enough time for their friends and family, let alone a dog as well, so if you are one of those people you should reconsider purchasing a Labrador.

The most time-consuming period will be when your Labrador is a puppy.

They need to be trained and cared for, which can take up a lot of time during the day. Young puppies will also need to go to the toilet every 2 or 3 hours, so it is a good idea to have somebody at home at all times who can look after them.

Once your Labrador gets a bit older they will need less time, however, you still need to take them out for walks every day, feed them, play with them, and more.

Getting Assistance

Another option for those with limited time is to hire somebody who can look after your dog during the day.

You can also ask a friend or relative to look after your Labrador, or you could take them to “doggy daycare” when they are a bit older (most places require your dog to be neutered).

Will a Labrador Fit Your Lifestyle?

This sort of ties in with the above. If you like to sleep in on the weekends, travel a lot, or spend lots of time away from your home it is probably not a good idea to purchase a Labrador.

Additionally, if you don’t like dealing with lots of mess and smell a Labrador isn’t probably for you. While you can clean your Lab regularly, they will always have a particular “doggy” smell about them that some people simply don’t like.

Additionally, if you do not believe you can train your dog you should not get a Labrador as a poorly trained one can be a nightmare.

Another thing to consider is your personal fitness. If you can’t see yourself going for walks every day or are simply not strong enough to deal with a boisterous puppy then you should probably look at another breed.

Choosing the Best Puppy Breeder

Select a responsible breeder. Your breeder should be concerned with breeding healthy dogs, rather than focused primarily on selling them. Visit a potential breeder and observe his interactions with his dogs; they should be friendly and relaxed.

  • Look for breeders who are registered with national organizations such as the American Kennel Club or with breed-specific organizations such as the National Labrador Retriever Club.
  • Ask the breeder why these two particular dogs were bred. If they have had other litters, ask for references from people who bought those puppies.

Select a breeder who specializes in raising the kind of dog you want. If you want a gun dog, don’t choose a breeder who primarily raises cuddly pets or award-winning show dogs. These breeders will be able to assess puppies more accurately for the qualities you’re seeking.

  • Look for quantifiable measures. For example, select breeders with litters from parents who have hunt test or field trial scores if you want a puppy who will grow into a good hunting dog.

Adopt a Labrador retriever from a rescue organization. These are organizations that work to find homes for Labradors who need a good home. While these organizations often have many adults and even senior dogs who need homes, they also place puppies

  • Large non-breed specific rescue organizations may also get Labrador retrievers. Contact local humane societies or rescue organizations and let them know that you’re looking to adopt a Labrador.

Don’t participate in an auction. Charities or non-profits may offer Labrador puppies for auction as a means of raising funds. Because these auctions are often conducted without appropriate legal oversight and because they encourage rash decisions about pet ownership, they are opposed by groups such as the National Labrador Retriever Club.  

Getting to Know the Parents

If necessary, meet the parents of your prospective puppy. Many physical and temperamental attributes are inherited. Your puppy’s parents should be healthy and should have the same general temperament and strengths that you are looking for in a dog, whether that’s high intelligence, agility, or an extremely affectionate nature.

  • A responsible breeder will always let you meet at least one of the puppy’s parents; if they refuse, you should not buy from them. In the case of a rescue organization or shelter, of course, meeting the parents might not be possible.

If you choose a show dog, make sure your puppy’s parents follow the breed standard. For example, do they have the characteristic “otter” tail, thick and tapering without any feathering? Are their coats thick, dense, and coarse? Labradors may be black, yellow, or chocolate in color, but they must not have brindle or tan markings.

  • Ask to see the parents’ American Kennel Club registration papers or equivalent documentation. This is important if you want to be able to register your puppy with the organization in order to participate in shows and competitions.

Ask if the parents’ hips and elbows have been screened for dysplasia. These are joint abnormalities that can be inherited and may be detected by x-ray before symptoms are apparent. Both parents should be free of hip and elbow dysplasia.

Inquire if the parents’ eyes had been checked. Labradors can inherit several vision problems, including progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, and juvenile cataracts. Your puppy’s parents should be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist to rule out these problems.  

Choosing Your Puppy

Look for a Puppy that is in good shape. A healthy Labrador puppy has clear eyes and a glossy coat. He should be clean and energetic, with no signs of infection or parasites such as worms, fleas, or ticks. The whole litter should look healthy and well-fed.

Check to see if the dog has been properly socialized. Puppies should not be fearful or spooked when interacting with people. Play with your prospective puppy and cuddle her to get a sense of what it’s like to interact with her.

Examine the puppy’s attitude. Spend time with your puppy and ask about any behaviors that concern you, such as biting or cowering. Ask the breeder how she assesses temperament and be clear with her about what you are looking for in a puppy: affection, physical courage, gentleness, or keen intelligence, for example.

Rather than sex, choose a puppy based on temperament. Unless you plan to breed or show your dog, have your puppy spayed or neutered at an early age. Spaying your female dog is a slightly more complicated and expensive procedure than neutering your male dog. An unspayed female dog will have to be carefully monitored during her estrus cycles, while an unneutered male dog may have a tendency toward dominance that will require firm training. However, individual temperament determines far more than sex, and claims that female dogs are easier to train, for example, are more anecdotal than factual.

  • Ask your breeder how she assesses qualities in her puppies. For example, if she is selling gun dogs, does she have a process for assessing interest in prey and self-confidence?

Check to see if your dog has been vaccinated. You should receive a certificate of vaccination outlining what vaccinations the puppy has received. In addition, ask about whether the puppy has been tested for worms or treated with deworming medication.

Where can I get a Labrador puppy near me? The answer to this question can be a bit complicated. There are so many factors that must be considered when deciding if you can get a Lab puppy from a breeder near you.

Is this a reputable breeder? Are they a member of a canine breeder’s association?  What is your family situation? (Do you have children? If so, do you have a fenced-in yard for the puppy to play in?)

Where Can I Find a Labrador Puppy?

The American Kennel Club’s Labrador Retriever puppy finder is an excellent tool for finding a quality puppy from a quality breeder.

You may also look through your local classifieds for unregistered litters, although we do not recommend it.

Even though Labradors are a generally healthy breed, it is important that both parents get screened for any health issues prior to breeding.

Adopting unregistered litters will also significantly increase your chances of encountering a puppy mill.

No matter where you adopt from, it is essential that you meet both parents and access a history of good health for each parent before adopting a puppy from the facility.

The amount of maternal care a pup receives prior to adoption influences the adult temperament of your Labrador.

If you want to adopt a Labrador puppy, it is important that you transact with a breeder who understands quality maternal care is essential to your puppy’s development.

A responsible breeder will not remove your puppy from its mother before it is ready.

A study at the Kyoto University found that a Labrador Retriever’s adult temperament relates to the temperament of its owner.

In the study, Labs belonging to extroverted owners had better social skills than those belonging to introverted owners.

As a Lab owner, you will need to commit to daily exercise and frequent socialization to maintain your pet’s health.

How Can I Have A Labrador Puppy?

Labrador Retrievers are famous for being friendly and companionable to both humans and other dogs.

This makes the Labrador an ideal breed to keep as a family dog.

There are factors, however, which need to be considered before choosing a Labrador puppy.

Where Can I Find A Labrador Retriever For Adoption?

The easiest way to adopt a Labrador Retriever would be through a rescue that specializes in Labrador Retrievers. A great place to start would be by starting a breed search on The search will show you all the available Labrador Retrievers in your area.

Shelters and Rescues of Labrador Retriever

There are animal shelters and rescues that focus specifically on finding great homes for Labrador Retriever puppies. Browse the list of Labrador Retriever rescues and shelters near you, below.

Purchasing From a Breeder

The best place to find registered breeders online if you are in the USA is through the American Kennel Club.

In other parts of the world, use the puppy search tool on the website of your regional kennel club or equivalent authority.

You may also ask a local veterinarian for a reference to a quality breeder.

Another option is to keep an eye out for someone with a purebred Labrador and request information on where they adopted from.

The pros of buying from a breeder are that your puppy’s parents will have been screened for any existing health problems prior to breeding, alleviating the risk of your puppy encountering health issues down the road.

Registered breeders use only top-of-the-line animals as parents.

Puppies from responsible and registered breeders are given the appropriate amount of maternal care and not released to a new home until they are physically and mentally mature enough to do so.

This lays the foundation for an affectionate and even temperament in adulthood.

The cons of adopting from a breeder are higher costs and often long wait times.

Responsible breeders require a pre-adoption home check to ensure that their puppies are appropriately homed.

You may also need to travel some distance to find the right breeder.

Registered breeders usually breed a maximum of only twice per year.

This maintains parental health and allows sufficient time for the puppies to progress.

These breeders often have waitlists for upcoming litters before they are born, sometimes before the parents are even bred.

While these practices maintain value, they also mean the puppies will cost a little more and take longer to bring home.

Ads by Individuals

Private ads for puppies can be found in online classifieds or in your local newspaper.

You may also spot them on the bulletin boards of various local businesses.

The benefits of sourcing a puppy from a private ad are that the breeder is likely to be located nearby, and the puppies will be available relatively quickly, if not immediately.

The cons of taking this route are that you do not have pedigree parents to your puppy, and the risk of health complications down the road is much higher.

Puppy farms will often advertise through private ads.

For these reasons, we do not recommend sourcing a puppy through a private ad.

Pet Stores

We do not endorse purchasing puppies from pet shops, because the credentials of both parents and breeder cannot be provided.

Parents of pet shop puppies may have been overbred, mistreated, or in less than optimal health.

It is impossible to know without verified records.

The puppies themselves could have experienced conditions and trauma that will negatively impact their behavior in adulthood, such as being separated from their mothers too soon or physical abuse.

Choosing Your Puppy

Labrador Retrievers are friendly by nature and tend to get along well with other dogs.

This breed very rarely shows aggression and must be provoked to do so.

When it comes to children and other pets, a Labrador puppy would be a valuable family addition.

Labs are companionable and socialize well.

The Labrador Retriever is a high-energy breed and will need enough time and space each day to receive sufficient exercise.

These exercise needs will continue to grow as your puppy matures.

A Labrador is not designed to be an inside-only dog.

This breed needs lots of activity to stay mentally and physically fit.

Consider that your fully grown Lab will be between 21.5 and 24.5 inches in height and weigh between 55 and 80 pounds.

We recommend that you take your Lab out for daily outdoor activities such as swimming and fetch.

A Labrador that does not receive enough exercise time may rebel by engaging in destructive behaviors within the household.

What Is The Cost Of Having A Labrador?

According to Pets4Homes, the UK’s most popular classifieds website for various kinds of pets, the average cost for a Kennel Club registered Labrador is £780, with a non-registered Labrador costing an average of £597.

This is just the purchase price, of course, there are also ongoing costs. These include equipment such as a collar, lead, toys, bedding, and a dog guard or car harness.

You should also budget for the cost of food, pet insurance, and regular vaccinations, flea and worming treatments. There may also be additional costs, such as training classes.

Conclusion: The decision to purchase a Labrador should be based on your lifestyle.

When making the decision to own any kind of dog or puppy, it is important to give real consideration to whether or not they are suitable for your lifestyle.

Labradors have an abundance of energy and require plenty of exercises, hence the frequently asked question, ‘At what age do Labradors calm down?’

If you have the time, space, and energy for a large and lively breed and enjoy walking, then a Labrador may just be the dog to fit in with your lifestyle.

However, it is natural to worry about what will happen if you have to leave your new best friend to go away on holiday, for work, or for a non-dog-friendly occasion such as a family wedding.

Barking Mad Dog Care offers the perfect solution for dog owners who don’t wish to place their canine companions in kennels.

As more and more dog owners are looking to Labrador as potential companions, there are lots of questions about their breed. For example, how many lab puppies can a Labrador have?

Labradors have a reputation for being patient and gentle with their pups, so it’s no surprise that most breeders recommend waiting as long as possible before you have another litter. This means the question of how many Lab puppies can a Labrador have, is one that many people are curious about.

How To Find Out If Your Dog Is Pregnant?

Just like human pregnancies, dog pregnancies are complicated and sometimes confusing. An understanding of dog pregnancy is crucial especially if your dog is pregnant or you are planning to breed your dogs.

There are many things you need to know about dog pregnancy, from the signs of pregnancy to caring for your little puppies is born. Here is some information about dog pregnancy that should help you out.

How Long Does A Dog Carry Their Puppies In Her Belly?

For female dogs, sexual maturity is reached between the ages of 6 to 12 months. This means they can get pregnant at just 6 months of age. Dog pregnancies normally last for nine weeks (approximately 60 days), although they might give birth sooner or later.

Signs of Dog Pregnancy

A Larger Belly

Pregnant dogs will have a bigger belly as the pregnancy progresses, just like humans. However, a bigger belly could sometimes be a symptom of the disease.

Increased Appetite

Be alert to any changes in your dog’s appetite. A dog that is pregnant may eat more than usual. However, a pregnant dog may also have morning sickness that causes it to lose appetite and vomit, just like humans. Unlike humans, morning sickness in pregnant dogs ends fast. It normally lasts for just a few days.

Increased Breast and Nipple Size

The size of the breast of a pregnant dog will increase significantly and its nipples will become swollen. You might even detect some milky fluid as well.

Body Fluids

You will notice a constant mucous discharge from the vulva if your dog is pregnant.

Increased Weight

As the pregnancy progress, the pregnant dog’s weight will start to increase. She is likely to gain 15% to 25% of weight depending on the number of puppies she is carrying.

Phantasm Pregnancy

Some dogs could experience phantasm pregnancy where the dog shows the signs of pregnancy but she’s actually not pregnant. A dog might gain weight, have larger breasts and nipples, display nesting behavior, and even produce milk, but she’s actually not pregnant.

This is a rare phenomenon that happens only in dogs. If your dog is having a phantasm pregnancy, consult your vet for a solution.

How Many Puppies Can A Labrador Actually Have?

Although Labs don’t lose their charm even after they grow up, the cuteness of small puppies is unmatched. So you may wonder how many puppies are usually born when a female Lab gets pregnant.

While results vary based on a number of factors, researchers have arrived at an average litter size you can expect. So, how many puppies do Labradors have? According to a study conducted by the American Kennel Club, Labradors usually have 5 to 10 puppies in a litter.

Litter sizes vary due to size, age, health, diet, and genetic diversity. A female Lab’s first litter is typically smaller than average. The largest recorded litter to date is 15.

It’s important to understand how the above-mentioned factors can impact litter sizes. If you’re looking to breed your Lab, there are many things that can be done to influence how many puppies Labradors have. I’ll discuss each of those throughout the article. Additionally, I’ll cover when you should breed, how often, and how many litters a single female is capable of having.

Determining Your Labrador’s Litter Size

As we’ve said, the number of puppies inside a Labrador’s belly varies greatly. Your pet can have anywhere from one to over twelve puppies. The average litter size is five to ten, but it is heavily influenced by several factors (more on that later).

Your veterinarian can actually help you find out exactly how many puppies there are inside a Lab’s uterus. They can take X-rays of the pregnant female and count the skeletons of pups in her belly. This is an acceptable way to determine litter size in dogs. 

Although it’s not sure-fire—because it’s easy to miss one of the puppies—this process gives you a good idea of how many little wigglers to expect. You have to wait until six weeks of pregnancy for puppies’ skeletal system to develop. Ultrasound scans and abdominal palpation are other ways to estimate litter size.

Average Litter Size For Labradors

In 2011, a comprehensive study was performed to answer the question of litter size in dogs. The researchers analyzed 224 breeds and more than 10,000 litters, and they calculated the average litter size to be 5.4.

However, there was a clear difference between miniature and large breeds. The former only had 3.5 pups per litter, while the latter produced 7.1 pups on average.

The above research is for all dog breeds. But the AKC analyzed over 85,000 Labrador litters to conclude that Labs have a typical range of five to ten puppies, with an average of 7.6.

So we can safely say that Labradors, being a large breed, will likely have a larger litter size. Though cases of producing just a puppy or two are not unheard of.

Overall, if you have a pregnant Lab mother, expect her to give birth to about half a dozen babies.

On average, Labradors usually have between 6 and 10 puppies given that they are a large breed. Of course, this is only an approximation because there are many factors that can influence the number of pups a dog might give birth to. In some rare cases, the dog can have up to 14 puppies.

The Biggest Labrador Litter Size On Record

Now you know how many puppies to expect when your Lab gets pregnant. And you’re probably wondering, “But what’s the maximum they can pop out?” Well, you’ll be shocked to find out that it’s twice the average litter size!

Back in 2014, when a black Scottish Labrador named Anne was pregnant, the vet predicted that she would have three to six puppies. Little did they know, the proud mama kept popping out babies one after the other until there were 15 of them!

A more recent case was reported a few months back in April 2020. Here, A Labrador called Bella produced 14 fur babies, just one shy of the record set in 2014. The labor lasted for seven hours, and Bella gave birth to eight black and six yellow Labs.

Fun fact: Anne’s 15 kids are a lot, but the Guinness World Record for most puppies is set by Tia, a Neapolitan mastiff. She gave birth to 24 puppies in November 2004. Of course, she couldn’t do it all by herself and had to take the help of a Cesarean section.

Factors That Influence The Number Of Puppies

An average litter contains 6 to 10 puppies; however, many factors can influence the size of the litter, which can contain less or more. The first thing to be aware of is the fact that the size of the litter can vary for the same bitch. This will depend on:

The Dog’s Size and Genetics

Factors that affect the number of eggs released in the womb.

Its Age

After the bitch has been in heat four times, the size of the litter tends to increase.

Your dog’s diet and nutrition, as well as its general health and well-being.

When The Dog Is Bred

If your dog is mounted during the two most fertile days, there is a greater chance of a larger litter. On the other hand, if it is done one or two days before her most fertile days, although the male dog’s sperm can survive in the female’s body for up to 48 hours, fewer eggs are likely to be fertilized, meaningless puppies are born.

Nutrition and Health

This one is a no-brainer. If your Lab is happy and healthy, she’ll give birth to more puppies, and the babies born will be healthier as well.

The mother needs to be in perfect health so that she and her pups survive the birthing and whelping process. Not only the female but the male Lab should also be healthy if you want to avoid complications.

Nutrition is crucial for your Labs throughout their entire lives. And when it comes to breeding, diet directly affects the litter size. Both male and female Labs will produce healthier and larger litters if they’ve been fed a high-quality diet.

Other Factors also Include:

The Breeding Type

Natural breeding results in more puppies than artificial insemination (AI). Using AI can decrease litter size by as much as 15 percent.

The Season

Usually, if a Lab gives birth in spring, she produces more puppies. But if the breeding takes place in summer, the litter size is smaller.

The Frequency of Mating

Litter size is smaller if the female is bred only once. So it’s recommended to mate the Labs every other day until the female refuses to mate.

Some families may want a Labrador simply because it makes a wonderful companion; however, the breed does have a reputation for being protective.

Although a Labrador by nature is not an aggressive breed, the dog may instinctively sense that you are under threat.

Even then, the dog will likely be protective of you and may choose to bark rather than to attack to alert you to the danger.

Are All Labrador Protective?

All breeds of labrador are capable of protective behavior.

Young puppies aren’t protective – from a survival point of view, they are the protectee, not the protector!

Protective behaviors usually start during adolescence, as a dog reaches social maturity.

There is no evidence of a difference in protective behavior between male and female dogs.

But a female dog who has never shown protective aggression in the past may suddenly do so while she is rearing a litter of puppies.

Likewise, dogs of either sex might display increase protective behavior if a new baby joins your household.

Labrador – Protection Vs Possession

An easy mistake to make is confusing protective behavior with possessive behavior.

Many dogs, including Labs, guard resources which they perceive as having a high value.

And sometimes dogs protecting their family are mistakenly described as resource guarding them.

However, some vets are concerned about including humans in the list of things that can be resource guarded.

Because possessive aggression and protective aggression are two different things.

Possessive aggression (resource guarding) is how a dog keeps something desirable to themselves.

And protective aggression is how they try to prevent “one of their own” from being harmed.

This means a Labrador which resource guards isn’t necessarily protective as well.

Do Labradors Protect Its Owners

Labradors are not widely regarded as strong candidates for human-protection roles.

In fact, some evidence, such as this Dutch study, indicates that Labradors are more likely to be protective of their home or territory than their owner.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Excessive protection of their owner is one of the most common behavior problems reported by dog owners.

And it can be time-consuming and frustrating to overcome, not to mention expensive in trainer and behaviorist fees.

But to understand why Labs aren’t very protective, it helps to understand what motivates a dog to behave protectively in the first place.

Protective Aggression

Controlled protective behavior in dogs is actually very difficult to teach.

Most dogs that perform successfully in guardian roles actually come from breeds that have a hereditary instinct to behave protectively hardwired into them.

Such breeds include German Shepherd Dogs and the Mastiff breeds.

Their protective instincts are closely linked to an innate mistrust of unfamiliar people, animals and things.

In practice, when people train GSDs and Mastiff to work as livestock guardians, they do it by encouraging their puppy to form strong social bonds with their herd at a young age, through careful socialization.

As they mature, their handler also rewards them for being attentive to the whereabouts of their herd, and what’s going around them.

Finally, behaving protectively of the herd follows as a natural combination of being bonded and attentive to them, and wary of everything else – it doesn’t need to be taught.

Labrador as a Guard Dog

A guard dog is trained to protect the property or the people. Unlike a watchdog, they are not always alert. A guard dog is expected to react aggressively, but this doesn’t mean attacking anything or anyone. However, if the dog can sense any threat, it will attack.

A guard dog is normally big in size, to appear more threatening to the attacker.

A Labrador is a medium-sized dog, which is good. However, it doesn’t have the required temperament to be a proper guard dog.

Their friendly personality can prevent them from properly attaching the threat.

To answer the question, if Labradors can be guard dogs, my answer is, a no.

It may fit the physical requirements, but it fails at the mental requirements. A guard dog is supposed to be threatening and aggressive, and a Labrador is far from that image.

You may use them for hunting because Labradors were also bred to be hunting companions. It can sniff out the prey and flush it out to the open field.

Labrador as a Watchdog

No, I’m not referring to that watchdog. This is about a watchdog, which is also known as an alarm dog. Unlike a guard dog, a watchdog is only meant to keep an eye out for any dangers.

It is not trained to attack the threat. A watchdog is expected to stay alert at all times, and to alarm you about any intruder. It will alarm you the best way it knows how to – barking, lots and lots of loud barking.

Though Labradors can’t become guard dogs, they do make an exceptional watchdog. Lucky for you, it is a quick learner. A Labrador is really easy to train because it can quickly learn all sorts of tricks.

While training it to be a watchdog, simply give your lab a treat every time it barks at you after someone comes into the house. Over time, it will naturally begin barking after spotting anyone it doesn’t recognize.

Don’t worry; it will not hurt anyone, Labrador’s are too friendly to do that. It’s one of the reasons why I love them so much. But its past experience in hunting could help it become a vigilant watchdog.

You can sleep at ease, knowing that the lab is on the lookout.

Just keep a bat or something close, by since the lab will only alarm you, it won’t be attacking anybody.

Does A Labrador Willing to Protect me?

By now, I think you know that a Lab is willing to protect you. But you aren’t the only thing it’s going to protect. A Labrador will go the extra mile to protect a couple of other things. What are they?

  • Bed – The first thing you need to protect is your own property. In the dog’s case, it’s the bed.
  • Family – How could it not? Labradors love their family, possibly more than the love a family has for them. It will protect you if the need arises.
  • Food and water – As far as time can go back, it’s always been a survival of the fittest. Even the friendliest pets will fight to protect their food and water.
  • Other pets – The Labrador is loyal to its family, including the pets. It will protect the adopted brothers and sisters if it has to.
  • Property – The bed isn’t the only property they are willing to protect. If trained properly, a Labrador is willing to protect your property.
  • Seat in the car – Did you really expect it to give up the opportunity to stick its head out the window. Try to take their seat in the car, and be prepared to have your couches torn to shreds.

To be clear, when I say a lab is willing to protect, I mean that it will bark, or under some rare circumstances attack. But it’s mainly a loud and threatening bark.

Training Labrador To Be Protector

Through the right training, a Labrador could even become a guard dog. It’s surprising, I know! To train a lab to become a guard dog, you can reach out to an expert.

If you don’t want to go with an expert and plan to do it on your own, follow the steps below;

  • Get prepared – put on safety gear before you set out to train a dog to be aggressive. Cover your arms with something that will protect you if the dog ever bites.
  • The next step is obedience training, which will be a nice warm-up session for the actual training.
  • Then, every time a dog barks to inform you about someone coming near the house, give it a treat.
  • Now it is time to teach the dog to bark on command. To do this, you can use everyday situations like eating and walking to train them to respond to your command.
  • Step 5 is to take the dog out for a walk around the block. This will help it get familiar with the area you want it to protect.

What is step 6? There is no step 6; all you need are the 5 steps mentioned above. A friendly tip, you could also train a friend to disguise themselves as an intruder to test if the dog reacts the way you want it to react.

The Labrador’s Personality

To get a better understanding of how you can train the Labrador, you will need to dig deeper into their personality. More specifically, dig deep into their instincts and drives.

Before I go into the details, let’s clarify the difference between instincts and drives.

What is instinct? Instinct is defined as a reaction to an event. When you’ve successfully trained the dog to bark on command, it becomes an instinct to bark, whenever you tell it to. How is it different from the drive? A dog’s drive is described as a biological urge to achieve a goal or satisfy a need. In this context, a dog’s drive would be to eat food to stop feeling hungry.

What are a dog’s instincts and drives? Good question, you can read all about it in the section ahead. We found the 9 instincts and drives, in specific, that shape up a Labrador’s personality as we know it.

  • Fight, Flight or Freeze
    If any dog ever feels threatened, it will defend itself by either fighting, fleeing, or freezing. A Labrador has a high flight drive, meaning it will run at the first sign of trouble. However, you can train it to either fight or freeze.
  • Food
    It doesn’t matter if it’s a Labrador or a Beagle; all animals have a strong food drive. We all need to eat to survive. Some dog breeds can be picky eaters, but not your lab. No, no, a lab will lick the bowl clean, till it has no food left. As a result of this high food drive, your Labrador is in danger of becoming overweight. Be careful of how much you feed it.
  • Guard
    Dogs with a high guard drive are very protective of their toys and bed. They are also very protective of their family. A Labrador has a low guard drive, and it is not aggressive in nature. The Labrador isn’t very protective by nature; it likes to share its toys. But if you want it to be high in this drive, you can train them. Simply follow the steps mentioned in the section above.
  • Herding
    The herding drive refers to an animal’s urge to keep the pack together. A Labrador doesn’t have a high herding drive. It likes the pack, but it doesn’t have a strong sense of looking after the people in the herd. Don’t mistake this for disloyalty or insufficient love. A Labrador will still love you and remain loyal to you till its dying breath.
  • Hunting
    Since Labradors are retrievers, they have a high hunting drive. A Labrador was bred to hunt and retrieve, which is why it has all the characteristics you need for a dog with a high hunting drive. They can use the smell and tracking senses to hunt. In addition, a Labrador really enjoys hunting and retrieving.
  • Pack
    Labradors have a high pack drive; they like to socialize with other animals and humans. Due to the high pack drive, they feel a very close connection to their family. This is why, they are so eager to have your attention at all times. Having a strong pack drive also has some drawbacks. When you leave them alone, it could make them anxious and scared, leading to destructive behaviors like chewing out the sofa.
  • Play
    A Labrador is willing to play, whether it is the middle of the night, or if you are in the middle of eating your dinner. Unlike other dogs, an adult Labrador will be as playful as it was in puppyhood.  A lab’s high play drive can let you use it as a reward too. I don’t see a downside to this, who doesn’t want a playful and loving dog that never matures?
  • Prey
    Labradors aren’t aggressive, but they are an animal that preys. It has a good prey drive, which you can control with training. To counter the prey drive, you can take the Labrador to hunting activities. I do think, it is important to reduce this drive; otherwise, you’d risk the Labrador bringing a small animal back home.
  • Sex
    All animals, including humans, have a sex drive because we need it to survive. Labradors also have a sex drive, which is very noticeable when it’s high. When the lab has a high sex drive, you will often find it humping or mounted on something. You could either let have it spayed/neutered or simply let it mate.

Guard Dog vs. Watch Dog

To reiterate, there is some benefit from having a large dog when it comes to protection and guarding your home. Most criminals are opportunists and they are looking for the easiest home on the block. A large breed dog, or even a small yappy dog, can make a burglar move onto another home.

What we are talking about here is not a guard dog. It is a watchdog.

Some dogs can be trained to alert their family or owners if something is out of place or there is a threat present. This is what you saw Lassie doing in those old black and white TV shows.

Some dogs just do it instinctively.

Most watchdogs, however, will back up or retreat once they have alerted you to the danger.

The benefits, however, may end there. If a criminal chooses your house even though you have a dog in the home, you really don’t know how your pooch will react.

A guard dog, unlike its counterpart the watchdog, is trained to alert (loud barking) and also to engage if the barking does not do the trick. They will be trained to display signs of aggression before biting. Biting, however, will be an option in the event that aggression does not dissuade the perpetrator.

Unfortunately (if you were hoping Labs would do this), Labradors have what is called a soft mouth and they are not known for biting down hard. They can definitely do so in some situations, but typically they “mouth” things rather than biting down.

It is just another one of the traits that most Labs have that make them unsuitable for guard dogs.

With guard dogs, the bigger and the more intimidating, the better. Think about Rottweilers and Dobermans. They are awesome guard dogs because of both their temperament and breeding as well as their intimidation factor.

To be sure, the dog is loyal. But why, on that account, should we take him as an example? He is loyal to man, not to other dogs. ”― Karl Kraus

Labrador Retrievers need many different kinds of nutrients to survive.

These are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. Due to the breed’s propensity to easily pack on the pounds, you will need to ​closely monitor your Lab’s diet to ensure he is not overeating​.

He also gets adequate exercise throughout his life to keep him lean, fit, healthy, and happy.

The best diet for Labradors is a protein-rich high-quality diet consisting of 18-22% protein. Dogs can also obtain nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and grains.

However, they should have the right balance of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber for optimum health and longevity.

Feeding To Maintain Optimum Weight

Your goal in feeding appropriate amounts of food to your Lab is to achieve a ​healthy balance in satisfying her hunger while maintaining an optimum weight​.

Unfortunately, Labrador retrievers are drawn to food. Fondly known as “bottomless pits” by Lab aficionados, it seems they can’t eat enough, and they’re not particularly fussy about what it is they consume!

With Labs, you must maintain a constant vigil on their caloric intake and try not to let that sweet face and those pleading eyes break down your resistance when it comes to treats and table scraps.

Of course, feeding a diet consisting of high-quality animal protein, complex carbohydrates, and the proper fat ratio is paramount.

Seek advice from your veterinarian, breeder, or from tons of online resources such as the AKC and the websites of some of the most popular commercial brands of dog food for nutrient and feeding guidelines.

Labrador Retriever Food Choices

When developing a diet for your Lab, you have several things to consider, most importantly, what type of food will it consist of, how much of it will you feed your dog on a daily basis, and at what intervals.

If you feed her a commercial kibble, should you select one that’s breed-specific or an all-breed one? Some dog foods are specific to the dog’s stage of life, such as adult or senior. Most lines of commercial kibble offer a puppy version to meet an immature dog’s unique requirements.

Or maybe you have the kitchen savvy, time, and inclination to whip up your own homemade dog food, and don’t forget a third diet type, the controversial raw meat, and bones diet, also known as BARF (Bones and Raw Food Diet), which has its proponents and detractors in the veterinary community and among dog breeders.

Such a vast array of dog foods precludes any quick and easy decision; only research will help make clear what’s best for your dog, your lifestyle and the convenience factor, and, of course, your budget.

The main nutritional requirement of Labradors is protein. Protein has several functions such as building and repairing tissues, providing energy, and keeping the immune and musculoskeletal system strong. The amount required by puppies and adult Labradors is different:

Growing Lab puppies require a minimum of 22% protein whereas adult dogs require a minimum of 18% protein.

The protein is measured on a dry matter basis which means once all the water from the food has been removed.

For example, fresh chicken contains 70-75% water, but the percentage of actual protein is somewhere between 10-20% after this is removed. The second main nutritional requirement for your Labrador is fat. 

Fat comes from protein and provides energy. It is also necessary for the normal function and development of body cells, nerves, muscles, and tissues. Again, the amount required for puppies and adult dogs differs.

The recommended fat content for growing Lab puppies is 8%, and for an adult dog, 5%.

A dog’s precise nutritional requirements will depend on many factors such as life stage, breed, size, activity level, and general health. For example, a lively and growing puppy may need double the calories of an adult dog of the same breed. Senior dogs may need 20% fewer calories than middle-aged dogs.

Adult Labrador Food Guide

All commercial dog foods feature feeding guidelines specific to their food on the package label. Consequently, there is no gold standard for how much to feed your dog — it will vary between foods since each contains a different caloric value. Even within the manufacturer’s guidelines, you will need to make adjustments in how much you feed your dog depending on his age, activity level, and temperament, says Eukanuba in regard to their breed-specific dog food for Labrador retrievers, which has 23% protein.

For example, these are the manufacturer’s general recommendations for daily rations of Eukanuba Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food:

  • For a 50-pound Lab feed 2-1/2 to 3 cups daily.
  • For a 60-pound Lab feed 3 to 3-1/2 cups daily.
  • For a 70-pound Lab feed 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups daily.
  • For an 80-pound Lab feed 3-1/2 to 4 cups daily.
  • For a 100-pound Lab feed 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups daily.
  • For a 120-pound Lab (yes, some are that big!) feed 4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups daily.

Another popular, high-quality Labrador-specific dog food is Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food, which has 28% protein, and breaks its handy Labrador food guide into not only pounds but also activity level:

  • For a 57-pound Lab with low activity feed 3-3/4 cups, medium activity feed 4-3/8 cups, and high activity feed 5 cups.
  • For a 66-pound Lab with low activity feed 4-1/4 cups, medium activity feed 4-7/8 cups, and high activity feed 5-1/2 cups.
  • For a 75-pound Lab with low activity feed 4-5/8 cups, medium activity feed 5-3/8 cups, and high activity feed 6-1/8 cups.
  • For an 84-pound Lab with low activity feed 5 cups, medium activity feed 5-3/4 cups, and high activity feed 6-5/8 cups.
  • For a 97-pound Lab with low activity feed 5-5/8 cups, medium activity feed 6-1/2 cups, and high activity feed 7-3/8 cups.

To avoid any gastrointestinal issues and bloat, divide the daily portions into two or three meals.

Labrador raw food diet

Dogs are indeed predators, and as such, eating a diet they would consume in the wild makes perfect sense for people who feed a raw diet to their Labs.

If you are weighing the pros and cons or sitting on the fence about the benefits and risks of a raw diet, join the crowd and do your research.

While the percentage of dog owners who do feed raw is growing, key elements of the diet, for example, feeding raw bones and the dangers such as choking are a huge consideration.

On the other hand, benefits include the exercise of his jaw and positive impact on the teeth, less chance of bloat, and many others.

As a feeding guideline for a raw diet, Pippa Mattinson of The Labrador Site suggests to feed 2 to 3% of your dog’s body weight a day for an adult Labrador.

Overweight Labrador Diet

To prevent an issue with your dog being overweight, it may help to visualize a not-so-pleasingly plump, lazy, and uncomfortable dog who is not behaving like the active, fun-loving Lab she was born to be, and who seems much older than her years — that’s the picture of an overweight dog.

Dogs like Labs that are not only highly intelligent but also highly motivated by food are a cinch to train, and humans quickly learn that treats are also the trick to getting their Lab to behave, explains Mental Floss.

But surely, those treats add up, and can lead to the bad habit of begging. Keep in mind that if you give in to your Lab’s seemingly constant hunger, overweight is a slippery slope into obesity, and that’s dangerous.

​Canine obesity causes a multitude of health problems​, from strain on the joints that compromise mobility to chronic diabetes, lung disorders, immune dysfunction, and heart disease that ultimately shortens the lifespan.

If your Lab has become overweight — sometimes the pounds creep up on your dog without you even realizing it — Donna Spector, DVM has a simple solution to whittle your dog’s waist down to size: ​consume fewer calories (eat less) than she burns (exercise more)​.

Therefore, to achieve the weight loss you should reduce her treats to zero, decrease the amount of food she eats by about a third less says The Labrador Site, and get active with your dog by taking more walks and other light exercises appropriate for her overweight condition — consult a dog food calculator to determine the proper serving size.

As she slims down and becomes more agile and fit, she will regain her enthusiasm for fun and that irrepressible joy for life that is so captivating about Labs, eagerly looking forward once again to her favorite activities like swimming, playing fetch, and jumping for a Frisbee.

Buying food for a Labrador Dog

When buying food for your Labrador dog, make sure it’s high quality and will satisfy all of his nutritional needs. For instance, Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food is perfect for when your pup is still little. It means the nutritional needs of purebred Labrador Retrievers that are eight weeks to 15 months old, and the donut-shaped kibble will help them eat slowly.

It helps a puppy’s developing immune system with its complex of antioxidants like Vitamin E, and it promotes weight management and healthy growth of bone structure with its balanced energy intake and precise mineral content.

As your Labrador gets older, he can start eating Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition™ Labrador Retriever Adult Dog Food. It’s for purebred Labradors that are 15 months and older and it supports bone and joint health with DHA, glucosamine, and EPA.

It also reinforces the skin barrier by providing essential nutrients that support healthy skin as well as dense undercoats.

Are Labradors Carnivores?

Many people like to think of dogs as pure carnivores, but are they just meat-eaters?

Labradors are not carnivores, but omnivores. Whilst protein makes up most of a dog’s diet, the domesticated dog also now obtains nutrients from not only grains but from fruits and vegetables.

Dogs have adapted to a starch-rich diet over thousands of years of domestication. They have evolved to become omnivores and have shown that they can flourish on a variety of foods all of which are a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

We know that the domesticated dog is a direct descendent of the grey wolf. This study showed that wolves were adaptive true carnivores, whereas modern-day dogs differ in many digestive and metabolic traits associated with omnivores.

What Foods Can Labradors Eat?

We now know what nutrients dogs need, but exactly what foods can Labradors eat? Let’s take a closer look at the main foods Labradors can eat?

Labradors can eat a range of foods that are perfectly safe and healthy. These include proteins – such as beef, lamb, pork, and chicken; grains such as wheat, oats, corn, and rice; dairy such as yogurt and cheese; and fruit and vegetables such as apples, berries, carrots, and peas.

  • Meats should be lean with all the fat removed. Avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausage as they contain a lot of salt and seasoning.
  • Most vegetables should be cooked first to help with digestion however raw carrots and green beans are fine.
  • Remove all pits and seeds from fruits as they are a choking hazard. They also contain cyanide which is toxic to dogs when consumed in large quantities.
  • Don’t feed raw eggs or raw fish due to the risk of salmonella or listeria.
  • Nuts are not recommended due to their high-fat content which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. They are also a choking hazard.
  • Avoid dairy foods if your dog is lactose intolerant.

Dry Foods

Dry foods are one of the most popular types of dog food. There are two varieties of complete dry dog food. These are KIBBLE and COLD-PRESSED DOG FOOD.

Cold-pressed dog food is currently only available in the UK and Europe where it has recently become very popular. It is deemed a higher quality of kibble due to how it’s cooked.

Kibble is simply ground up ingredients made into pellets of different shapes and sizes. This is made either through an extrusion process or through oven baking under high pressure or temperatures.

All kibble is made the same way by using the same kind of machinery. Even high-quality kibble made with the best ingredients is made using the same process. 

What is cold-pressed dog food? Cold-pressed dog food is made by a unique cooking method. Complete dog food is produced at a much lower temperature so that the food retains greater nutritional value, vitamins, and flavor.

Both kibble and cold-pressed provide more nutrients per bite than wet food because they contain less moisture. This means you won’t have to feed as much to satisfy your Labrador’s appetite.

When comparing dry food with canned wet food, dry costs less per meal and there can be less waste as it can be left in your Lab’s feeding dish longer, unlike canned, which needs to go back in the refrigerator.

Dogs with dental problems may also benefit from dry food as it helps to clean their teeth and gums.

Dry dog food is the most practical choice for a medium-large dog, such as a Labrador, however, kibble and cold-pressed comes in all shapes and sizes, so smaller breeds can choose a smaller variety.

Dry food may be fed dry, or you can occasionally make it into a tasty “gravy” by adding warm water. Some owners also like to add a topping to their dog’s food such as cooked meats, fish, or vegetables, and this is exactly what I like to do with my dog.

Although I feed my dog a top brand of cold-pressed dog food, I often add a small amount of chicken, beef, turkey, or even a spoonful of Greek yogurt to her food, just to mix it up for her and vary the taste and texture. However, this isn’t really necessary if you choose a good quality product.

She also likes tuna in oil which helps to keep her coat and skin shiny and healthy. When I add a topping I slightly reduce the quantity of her dry food to ensure that she is not putting on extra weight.

Canned Wet Foods

Canned wet dog foods contain around 75% moisture whereas dry foods contain up to 10%. Therefore, the higher the water content, the fewer nutrients, so your Lab has to consume more food to get all the nutrition he needs.

Another thing to know is that not every brand of canned food provides sufficient protein that your Labrador needs.

Therefore, a wet diet can work out more expensive, especially if you have a medium-large breed of dog but may be ideal if your dog enjoys eating a larger portion. Also, a wet diet may be better for smaller breeds.

Be cautious of lower quality canned foods too as manufacturers often add thickeners such as wheat flour, white rice, or other grains.

Wet food may be more suitable if your dog is a picky eater or if you have a senior Labrador who has lost his appetite and who may find wet food more appetizing.

You can buy semi-moist dog foods however these are not as popular as they offer the least nutritional value and can also be expensive.

Unfortunately, dog food companies add substances such as sugar and salts to preserve moisture and shelf life. Many semi-moist foods are also loaded with artificial color, chemical preservatives, and chemical flavor enhancers. 

A semi-moist diet may not be appropriate for your Labrador Retriever especially if he is on the heavy side and needs to lose a few pounds.

However, semi-moist food may be the best choice if your Lab finds it difficult to digest all other types of food. He may also enjoy the meaty taste and find this type of food more palatable if he is an extremely fussy eater.

If you are contemplating this type of food you should seek the advice of your vet to determine the calorie content of the food and an appropriate daily portion for your Labrador.

A Mix of Dry and Wet

Some dog owners choose a mix of both dry and wet foods. The foods can be mixed together at each meal or you can alternate, giving wet in the morning and dry in the evening (or vice-versa).

I’ve also heard of Labrador owners, who generally feed dry food, occasionally use wet food as a topping in their dog’s bowl.

If you choose a mix of dry and wet foods, it’s best to stick with the same brand. Make sure you’re not increasing your dog’s calorie intake if mixing these foods, and as above, seek professional advice to make sure that your dog is getting the correct nutrition.

Home Produced Diet

Some Labrador owners like to feed their dog a home-produced diet (known as home-feeders). Due to the convenience and variety of both dry and wet dog foods, this got me wondering exactly why someone would choose to be a home-feeder?

Here are the main reasons I discovered:

  • Home-feeders sought alternatives to commercial pet foods as they were concerned about the nutritional value of the ingredients used.
  • Home-feeders simply enjoyed preparing the food and strengthening the bond with their dog, or satisfying their views.
  • Home-feeders believe their pets will simply not like or refuse to eat commercial dog food.
  • A home-prepared diet may be needed to help with a diagnosis (eg, for a food elimination trial) or if a dog has several diseases for which no commercial diet exists.
  • Home-feeders sought comfort for dogs with a chronic or terminal illness.

There are several disadvantages to the home preparation of dog food. It can be achieved, but it takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and it may end up being more expensive than the best quality dog food you can buy.

Home-made diets can provide complete nutrition, however, you need to make sure your Labrador gets the correct mix of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. This can be quite difficult to do daily.

If you choose to prepare a home-cooked diet for your dog, it’s best to consult your vet first. You can also find professional pet nutritionists, certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, who have the expertise to customize a healthy diet for your Labrador.

It is recommended to cook all animal products to kill bacteria that could make your Labrador sick unless your dog is used to a specially prepared raw diet. Vegetables and grains should also be cooked to make them easier for your dog to digest.

My final thoughts on helping you decide on whether to feed your dog a home-produced diet would be:

  1. Do you have the time to prepare your dog’s daily meals?
  2. There are many top-quality commercial dog foods on the market that have all the nutritional requirements your dog needs.
  3. Your dog will need regular health checks to make sure he doesn’t have any nutrient deficiencies.

Raw Diet

From three to four weeks onwards, it’s safe to start feeding your Labrador puppy raw food. Raw feeding is controversial but it’s based on the principle of feeding dogs the foods that they would have naturally consumed before domestication.

Although sled dogs and racing greyhounds have long eaten a raw food diet, every now and again there will be a trend for feeding dogs an all-raw diet consisting of raw meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and some dairy.

However, there are two important factors to consider when deciding to feed a raw diet to your Labrador. The first is to ensure that your Lab is getting a complete and balanced diet and all the nutrients he needs to keep him healthy and free from disease. This is particularly important when feeding a growing puppy.

Like home-made diets formulating raw diets can be difficult as you need to ensure you are not either under or overfeeding key nutrients, especially if your Labrador is either pregnant, lactating, or sick, and therefore has different nutritional requirements.

The second biggest concern is food safety issues relating to bacterial or parasitic contamination in raw meat. Food poisoning is a major threat to both human and dog health when feeding raw foods.

If you are considering feeding your Labrador a raw food diet, you should make sure you are fully aware of the safe and proper handling of raw foods and all associated food safety issues.

Many raw-feeders will claim that feeding a raw diet has numerous health benefits, ranging from higher energy levels, better digestion, a shinier coat, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, and generally living a healthier life.

Dehydrated And Freeze-Dried

You have the option of feeding your dog a dehydrated or freeze-dried diet and both have become more popular over the past few years.

Both of these diets are similar in that they have their moisture removed to preserve the food so artificial preservatives are not required, however, they do have quite a few differences.

Dehydrated foods are partially cooked at low temperatures to remove most of the water. The food is heated but not fully cooked so nutrients and enzymes remain intact. They are a complete diet and are often seen as a step-up from regular extruded kibble.

When preparing dehydrated dog food, you just need to add warm water. The result is food similar in texture to canned wet food but far less processed. These foods are convenient to feed, easy to store as they do not need refrigeration, and have a long shelf life.

A dehydrated diet is a good choice if your dog has a sensitive stomach as the food is easier on the digestive system due to the gentle cooking process.

Freeze-dried foods are essentially a raw diet presented differently.

In freeze-dried dog food, the raw ingredients are frozen first and then added to a strong vacuum that converts the moisture into vapor. The food is then packaged in an airtight container. This process decreases the number of bacteria such as salmonella, unlike a true raw diet.

Freeze-dried food has the appearance of kibble and does not have to be rehydrated before being eaten, however, your Labrador may find it more palatable and easier to digest if some water is added first.

They are usually very high protein diets with fruits and vegetables occasionally added. Freeze-dried is a great alternative if you want to feed a raw diet but don’t like to handle raw food but want to feed a healthier and less processed diet.

You can incorporate freeze-dried into your dog’s diet by mixing it with other types such as kibble or wet.

These foods are more expensive than regular kibble but since the food has most of the moisture removed they are more nutritionally dense, so you feed your dog less.


Many pet food companies have invested millions of dollars into researching what ingredients contain the maximum levels to achieve a healthy, balanced diet to aid not only essential puppy growth but also mental and physical development.

It’s your job to do your due diligence and choose the best one for your doggo! If your dog is eating a complete and balanced diet, there’s no need to feed additional supplements unless recommended by a veterinarian. So, here’s my best advice:

Choose a diet that suits your dog’s life stage, your beliefs, and your lifestyle, and buy the best quality dog food you can afford. If you do this your dog will live a longer and healthier life and you will both be happier. 

While both the toy poodle and mini poodle are cut from the same cloth, they are very different dogs. If you’re deciding between which type of poodle to adopt.

here’s what you should know.      

Toy Poodle vs Miniature Poodle History

Breeds that seem quite similar from the outside can often have quite similar histories.

Learning your favorite breed’s history can be really fun, as well as interesting!

So what about the Toy Poodle and Miniature Poodle breeds?

Toy Poodles and Miniature Poodles both descended from the Standard Poodle breed.      

Standard Poodle History

The Standard Poodle was originally used as a duck retrieving dog so spent a lot of time in the water!

But the purpose of the breed changed a little as time went on. Miniature Poodle History

The Miniature Poodle became popular with richer classes in France.

Smaller Standard Poodles were bred to create the Miniature Poodle breed.

The Toy Poodle was created a little later.    

Toy Poodle History

This breed originally started out in America in the early 1900s.

The Toy Poodle was bred to be a companion dog.

And its size made it the perfect choice for this role.

So the two breeds had very similar purposes and origins, although one is a little older than the other.

As you might imagine, the history of the Miniature and Toy Poodles are mixed with the history of the regular sized, or Standard, Poodle.

The Standard Poodle is an old European breed, used for hunting and retrieving waterfowl.

Eventually, these dogs became the canine companion of choice for French nobility, and thus the national dog of France.

Standard Poodles have been around since the 15th century, at least.

By the 18th century they were the main companion dog in Spain.

Starting in the 18th century, smaller Miniature Poodles started becoming popular as companions in French royal houses.

In the 20th century, Toy Poodles started being bred in the U.S. as a good companion for people who lived in cities.

All three sizes of Poodle are recognized by the American Kennel Club and the British Kennel Club.

Both the Miniature and Toy are simply considered smaller varieties of the Standard, and are bred to the same standards.

However, some studies show that Miniature Poodles from North America may be a distinct breed compared to Standard Poodles!

Toy Poodle And Mini Poodle Appearances

Standard Poodles are generally considered to be more than 15 inches at the shoulder.

They set the size standard for Poodles in general, in that the other types of Poodle are compared to the Standard to determine which variety they are.

Miniature Poodles should generally be between 11-15 inches at the shoulder.

Toy poodles are even smaller than that, at 10 inches tops!

Size is really the only difference in appearance between these dogs.

All three breeds carry the same official breed standard.

They have curly, dense hair and are usually of solid colors.

Blues, grays, silvers, browns, cafe-au-lait, apricot and creams, sometimes in varying shades.

Poodles carry themselves proudly, look alert, and are elegantly well-proportioned.

Toy Poodle And Mini Poodle Temperament

All poodles are active, intelligent dogs.

They are known for their steady and calm nerves and hardy constitutions.

They make wonderful companions and do well if treated as part of the family.

Poodles are very people-oriented and may suffer from separation anxiety.

You should know that as working dogs, they have stronger marking and hunting drives than many companion breeds.

Poodles are generally not aggressive and thus are fine with other animals and children.

But the smaller the poodle, the more careful you must be to teach kids proper handling and playing.

So, for small children, Miniature Poodles might be your best bet.

You might expect the smaller dogs to be more likely to bark, but this isn’t necessarily true.

All poodles can become habitual barkers without training or enough attention.

Toy And Mini Poodle Training

Poodles are eager to please and quick to learn, which makes them very trainable.

You may think that, as these are smaller dogs, they don’t need as much training or socialization.

But with Poodles, that’s not necessarily the case.

Poodles have a tendency toward excessive bonding with their owner, and don’t do well alone for long periods of time.

Socialization can be super important to stave off separation anxiety.

Additionally, some lines of poodles can be high strung or shy.

Socialization can be important in helping to overcome these personality quirks.

Poodles are agile and graceful and benefit from training in agility, obedience, and tracking activities.

You should be consistent and positive with them since Poodles can be sensitive as well.

This goes for all varieties of Poodle size, toy and miniature.

Toy And Mini Poodle Exercises

Both Toy and Miniature Poodles should have some exercise every day, and plenty of mental stimulation.

As hunting, working dogs in their past, they can get easily bored.

They have a high energy level and love activity.

They can be even livelier than the Standard Poodle!

Both poodles may benefit from fetching games and walks with their humans.

They will probably enjoy swimming and retrieving.

Still, because of their size, their exercise requirements can be different.

Miniature Poodles might need to stretch their legs a bit more than Toy Poodles.

Indoor play and short jaunts outside might be enough for the tiny Toys.

However, both types of dog will still need plenty of mental exercise.

And those agility, obedience and tracking activities mentioned before are good for their minds and their bodies.

Toy And Mini Poodle Health

Miniature and Toy Poodles are both generally fairly sturdy little dogs.

A history of good breeding means these dogs generally live long and healthy lives.

Their life expectancy runs about 10-18 years.

Interestingly, Miniature Poodles have more genetic diversity than Standard Poodles.

This may make them even slightly healthier than their larger counterparts.

But you should know that Toy Poodles, because of their small bones and size, are more likely to suffer from injury.

Their size makes them more fragile.

Genetic issues

All poodles are prone to certain genetic issues.

These include certain autoimmune disorders.

Including Addison’s disease, and sebaceous adenitis, which is an inflammatory disease affecting hair follicles.

These also include epilepsy, hip dysplasia, diabetes, hepatitis, hypothyroidism, atrial septal defect (of the heart).

And a bleeding disorder called von Willebrand’s disease.

They may also experience eye disorders.

Miniature and Toy Poodles also experience certain orthopedic problems.

Especially Legg-Calvé Perthes (a bleeding disorder of the hips), and luxating patellas.

With Miniature and Toy Poodles, recommended health tests include a hip evaluation, an ophthalmologist evaluation, a PRA optigen DNA test, and a patella evaluation.

Miniature And Toy Poodle Grooming

Poodles are a low-shedding breed, but this does not mean they have low grooming needs.

Poodle coats must be brushed daily completely to the skin in order to keep from matting near the roots.

If you don’t do this, your dog’s hair may eventually have to be shaved because it has gotten too matted!

This is often why many Poodle owners take their Poodles to be professionally groomed once or twice a month.

You must take this into account if you want a Poodle of any size.

An alternative is to keep the coat very short. This may work well in the summer.

Also, for those of you who want a hypoallergenic dog.

You should know there’s no such thing.

However, the Poodle’s infrequent shedding means that they cause fewer reactions in allergic people, which may help those who suffer but still want a dog.

If you have allergies, doctors recommend that you expose yourself to the individual dog you want and see how you react to him specifically.

What Breed Makes A Better Pet?

Honestly, if you’re trying to decide between a Miniature and Toy Poodle, there’s really just one main factor to consider: size.

These aren’t separate breeds. They are simply different size varieties of the same breed.

Do you want your dog to be under 10 inches at the shoulder, or above?

A smaller dog will require less exercise because she’ll have smaller legs.

The Toy Poodle is slightly more fragile, and thus may be a better option for older kids who can treat a puppy more gently.

The Miniature Poodle is still on the small side, but will require a bit more exercise.

Miniature Poodles are sturdier than Toy Poodles, which may be a consideration for certain people.

Yet both dogs are relatively healthy, lively, smart, affectionate creatures that can make great additions to your household.

Any differences in terms of health, temperament, personality and other aspects of the dogs will be down to individuals, or to the breeders.

Thus, it’s important for you to look for the most responsible breeders you can find.

You should make sure your breeder has no issues with you visiting or with providing the health testing information for both parents of your potential pup.

Sizing Up The Difference Of Toy And Mini Poodle

Bred from the larger Standard Poodle, the Toy and Miniature Poodles are often considered one and the same. However, these dogs differ in temperament, as well as size and weight. Here’s a closer look at each of these pint-sized Poodles.

The Toy Poodle

The average Toy Poodle stands about 10 inches tall. This tiny dog weighs between six and nine pounds—some even less. The Toy Poodle is a clever, lively, and loyal companion.

And, as one of the most intelligent breeds, he’s also easily trained. The Toy can be good with children but is usually recommended for older kids. Without proper training, the Toy can display unpleasant behavior, including growling, snapping, and nervousness.

The Toy Poodle is prone to more health problems than the Miniature, including:

  • Ear infections
  • Skin conditions
  • Eye disorders
  • Heart disorders
  • Epilepsy

What Are the Key Differences Between Toy Poodles and Miniature Poodles?

When it comes to labradors vs pitbulls aggression, toy poodles generally have a more docile and friendly demeanor compared to miniature poodles, who can be more aloof and reserved. Additionally, toy poodles are smaller in size, typically weighing around 6-9 pounds, while miniature poodles can weigh 15-17 pounds.

The Miniature Poodle

Slightly larger than the Toy Poodle, the Miniature Poodle stands at about 15 inches tall and should weigh in somewhere between 12–20 pounds.

Miniature Poodles are extremely smart, adaptable and easy to train, so it’s no surprise that they were once very popular circus dogs.

Miniatures love being around people and are able to form bonds with each member of the family. They are considered ideal family dogs because they are patient and playful with children of all ages.

The Miniature Poodle is prone to certain health issues, such as:

  • Cataracts
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy

Toy or Miniature, these petite Poodles pack a lot of energy and personality into a small package.

Basic Types of Poodle

1. Standard Poodle

The standard poodle is the largest form of the breed, and they stand at least 15 inches at the shoulder (most are between 20 and 23 inches tall) and weigh between about 45 and 80 pounds.

Although they are not that visually intimidating, standard poodles actually make pretty good guard dogs, as they are alert, brave, and protective of their owners.

2. Miniature Poodle

A mid-sized poodle by American standards, the miniature poodle is usually 11 to 15 inches tall and weighs 14 to 18 pounds.

Although they are smaller than their standard counterparts, these pups have just as much personality, and they make great pets for families.

3. Toy Poodle

The tiny toy poodle is the smallest of the three AKC-recognized size variants, and weighs less than 10 pounds (usually between 6 and 9 pounds).

They usually stand about 8 to 10 inches high at the shoulder, making them perfectly pint-sized. If you are looking for a loveable lap dog, it is hard to go wrong with a toy poodle.

4. Klein (Moyen) Poodle

There are a ton of Klein poodles in the US, but they are not recognized by the AKC as a valid size variant. The UKC treats them much like standard poodles, with whom they compete in dog shows.

Klein poodles are akin to small standard poodles, and most stand between 15 and 20 inches in height and weigh about 40 to 50 pounds.

5. Teacup Poodle

Teacup poodles are not recognized by most of the major breed registries; instead, they are an unofficial name breeders and poodle enthusiasts give to very small toy poodles.

There aren’t any clearly defined size guidelines for teacup poodles, but most dogs that enjoy the label are in the 5- to 7-pound range.

We don’t generally recommend purchasing teacup dogs, as they’re often bred to be un-naturally petite, and suffer from a multitude of health issues as a result. Make sure to do your research before considering a teacup dog!

Poodle Daily Brushing

But if you don’t want to do this, you’ll have to be prepared to groom your Miniature or Toy Poodle daily.

You need to groom your Poodle’s fur all the way to the skin to prevent matting close to the roots.

Alternatively, many people choose to take their Miniature or Toy Poodle to a groomer so they don’t have this stress!

Alongside fur care, you should regularly trim your Miniature or Toy Poodle’s nails and check its ears for excess wax build ups.

What Kind Of Poodle You Have?

If you already have a poodle, you might already know their size and family history. However, if you have a rescue, you might not know if they are a miniature, toy, or teacup size. That’s what we’ll cover here.

As I mentioned above, the smallest poodle varieties include the miniature, toy, and teacup. There are several factors that separate these poodles and help you distinguish which variety you may have.

Your Poodle Might Be Overweight

If your pet is heavier than they should be based on the chart, don’t panic. First, be honest with yourself. Is your pup obviously overweight?

If you are unsure, consult with your vet to make sure your pet is a healthy weight. If your pup gets the all-clear, there is nothing to worry about.

However, if your poodle is overweight, your vet might suggest more exercise and/or less food. Remember: don’t make these changes on your own; always talk to your vet about your pet’s dietary needs. 

They can give you some professional advice on how to proceed.

Poodle Might Have Parents Of Different Sizes

If your pet is heavier than others in their size class, but it is still healthy according to the vet, your dog might also fall between weight classes because they have parents of two different sizes.

For example, if your poodle’s parents were a miniature poodle and a toy poodle, it’s possible for your pet to be a hybrid in one particular trait—such as height, eye color, or fur color.

The same goes for weight. This means your dog’s weight is simply due to genetics.

If your pet poodle weighs more or less than their size recommends, it might be due to their gender, being overweight (or underweight), or have parents of different sizes.

Just because your poodle weighs more or less than they are supposed to doesn’t mean there is cause for worry, but if you think there’s something wrong, check with your trusted vet.

Poodle Is Taller Than They Are Supposed To Be

If your miniature poodle is taller than average for their size (for instance), you shouldn’t worry.

Take other animals into consideration. Fish, for example, grow to fit their environment if they have the right nutrients in their diet.

Your dog could be doing the same thing; they could be getting taller because they are healthy and thriving.

As long as they aren’t having trouble moving and don’t break bones easily, things should be fine.

Poodle Is Shorter Than They Are Supposed To Be

If your miniature poodle is shorter than average for their size (for instance), you should take into account their overall health before you worry about them. 

While taller poodles are likely thriving due to their good health, it is possible shorter poodles are unhealthy.

For example, if your pet is in their formative years (up to two years of age), it’s vital they are getting the right food in the correct amounts, getting regular exercise or walks, and receiving proper treatment from the vet—including all necessary shots and medications.

Keep in mind these are important habits at any age, but if your dog doesn’t get these habits down in their formative years, it can affect their health and growth including their height.

Here are a few issues that can stunt a puppy’s growth:

Parvo and intestinal viruses: viruses that affect the digestive tract interrupt a puppy’s eating habits can stunt their growth if they have the virus long enough. Parvo is one example of such viruses; parvo is particularly dangerous because it spreads so easily.

Broken bones: Usually, when puppies break bones, they damage growth plates because they are still small. This can stunt their growth, later on, causing them to be shorter than they were supposed to be.

Malnutrition: If your pet suffered malnutrition in their formative years, they are likely to have health troubles later on, and this can include being shorter than they’re supposed to be.

Unless your pup has any of the above troubles (or did in the past), there’s probably no need to worry. If you have a rescue pup, keep in mind there could also be something they went through that you don’t know about. As always, if you have any concerns, be sure to discuss them with your vet.

If your poodle doesn’t fall into their respective height class, it could be because of their gender, pedigree, or health.

Some poodles are a little taller or shorter than others, but it’s usually no call for alarm. If you have questions, be sure to consult your vet for proper advice.

The Average Lifespan Of Poodles

The lifespan of miniature, toy, and teacup poodles varies slightly. While miniatures can live for 12-15 years, toy poodles can live for an average of 11-15 years.

Teacup poodles, however, live for between 10-14 years. To remember this, keep in mind larger poodles have longer lives.

However, you should note this is contingent on a variety of factors, including diet, exercise, and overall health.

You can, for example, give them different food, less food, or change their feeding schedule. You can also take them for more walks or longer ones. Playtime can be exercise, too!

While you can help change your poodle’s diet and exercise habits, sometimes you can’t change their overall health; sometimes, disorders or diseases they face are simply due to genetics (as is the case with things like diabetes and seizure disorders).

Below is a list of common health problems your poodle might face regardless of size:

  • Cushing’s Disease: Cushing’s disease is one that target’s your pet’s adrenal gland, where tumors form and disrupt your pet’s normal functions. Lifelong medication and/or surgery might be required.
  • Blindness: Blindness is common in poodles—especially older ones. You might notice your dog’s vision grows worse with old age.
  • Diabetes: This is the same problem many humans might face as well. Altering your poodle’s diet and exercise regimen might help, but medications like insulin might be needed.
  • Thyroid Problems: This is another common problem among poodles. The thyroid controls your dog’s metabolism, so if you notice sudden changes in their appetite or weight, it’s important to tell your vet.
  • Epilepsy: Poodles of all sizes are prone to epilepsy, which is a seizure disorder. If your pup has seizures, be sure to get them checked out right away. There is medication available for epilepsy as well.

These illnesses and health troubles affect poodles of all sizes, but not every dog will have these—or any—ailments.

There are some distinct differences between a Toy Poodle and a Mini Poodle, and if you are interested in either of these breeds it’s important to understand the main differences between the two. For the most part, the differences between Toy Poodles and Mini Poodles are limited to size, weight, and grooming requirements. The majority of both Toy and Mini Poodles are bred as companion dogs, but some are bred to compete in dog shows. When it comes to size, the Mini Poodle is the smaller of the two. With both breeds, females are smaller than males.

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Can you give puppies milk? If you’re a pet owner, you’ve likely wondered this at some point. After all, puppies are very similar to babies in the way they look, act and eat.

But, while it may be tempting to share a glass of milk with your puppy, it’s actually not a good idea. Here’s why.

Tips And Guide For Feeding Puppies:

how to bottle feed puppies properly: step by step guide

Orphaned, abandoned or rejected puppies (or a small/weak puppy who can’t nurse) need you to give them the nutrition that will keep them alive. Bottle feeding is usually the answer.

If you’re faced with a tiny puppy (or a whole litter of them) who aren’t able to nurse from their momma, it can be a very scary situation.

You might be wondering how on earth you’re going to keep them alive let alone thriving!

But don’t panic, many (MANY) other dog owners just like you have learned to bottle feed puppies and hand-raise them successfully.

You can too, the advice and information on this page will help you get together everything you need, and show you how to make sure the pup/s get the nutrition they need.

How To Feed Newborn Puppy

Brand new puppies receive important protection from germs through antibodies in their mother’s milk during the first few days of nursing.

Dog moms produce a milky-textured substance called colostrum that gives puppies’ bodies the ability to fight off infections. 

It is essential to let your puppy nurse as long as possible from their mother to receive this substance. If their mother dies or rejects them, you’ll need to call your veterinarian to make sure you get the supplements that puppies need to survive.

After the first few weeks, puppies that can’t nurse can be fed by you. If you’re unsure how to do it, ask your veterinarian for some tips on getting the puppy to nurse from a bottle or tube. If a puppy is having a problem taking the bottle, you should see your veterinarian immediately — they may need to be fed with a stomach tube.

You’ll need to make sure that you purchase formula made for canines. Work with the pups to ensure that they can nurse from the bottle. 

Puppies should be fed while lying on their stomach. Other positions may cause them to choke. Similar to human babies, you should warm the milk to about 100 degrees or body temperature. 

However, don’t use your microwave to heat the formula — place the bottle in a cup of warm water. If you can touch the warmed milk to your skin and feel slight warmth, the milk is warm enough. After feeding, gently pat your puppy on their back to help them burp up any air that they may have swallowed.

How To Bottle Feed Puppies

When you’re bottle feeding puppies, it’s important to use a puppy milk substitute that meets their special dietary needs.

Commercial puppy formulas that are carefully prepared to do just that can usually be bought at your veterinarians office or from large pet stores.

If your dog is pregnant, I would recommend getting some puppy milk in advance, so it’s handy if you should need it.

Feeding new born puppies is very similar to feeding new born human babies in that they need to nurse frequently! Every two hours during the day and probably once or twice during the night in the very beginning.

Okay, so let’s take a look at how to bottle feed puppies yourself, and the equipment that you need:

Momma’s milk is the best food for a new born puppy. Try to encourage the mom to allow the pups to nurse for at least the first 24 hours if possible, as this is when they can receive the benefits of the colostrum (powerful anti-bodies and infection fighting pre-milk). Obviously this isn’t always possible, but makes a big difference to the puppies.

Depending on the size of the breed your pups belong to, you can feed newborn puppies using:

  • A small syringe (3ml) (check out the Miracle Nipple syringe)
  • Special bottles designed for puppies or kittens
  • Baby bottles (nipples that are specially designed for premature babies often work well)
  • A sponge
  • A tube 

If there are no holes in the nipple, use a needle (held over a flame to heat and sterilize) to pierce two holes. Milk should drip out SLOWLY when the bottle is held upside down. If it runs out the pup could choke or aspirate (breath in) the milk.

  • Puppy milk replacement formula. The ready-made is easier to use, but quite a bit more expensive. If you’re using the powdered version, be sure to mix it well as you don’t want any lumps in it.
  • Cool formula and room temperature before feeding it to a puppy. You can test it on the inside of your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold, it should feel barely warm.
  • Always feed a puppy face down on your lap or a table top, never hold it on it’s back or upright, as this could cause it to choke or breath in the milk. This can lead to pneumonia and possible death.
  • Newborn puppies who are being bottle fed usually do well on 6 feedings per day. They should be able to go from 11pm until 6am as long as they are receiving 6 feeds in 24 hours. Smaller puppies may still need to be fed in the night for the first few weeks.
  • By three weeks old, 4 feeds a day is enough, and weaning can begin at around 4 weeks of age.

3.5 – 3.75 calories per ounce of body weight, every 24 hours: Puppies under a month old needs.


A 6 oz puppy would need approx 22.5 calories per day.

Most puppy milk replacers have about 1 calorie per ml, so that 22.5ml of formula can be divided between the 6 feeds.

This means a 6 oz pup needs approx. 3.75ml of milk per feed.

Of course, this is a rough estimate, some puppies need more, some less. 

As a general ‘rule of thumb’, it’s better to feed smaller feeds more often, than larger amounts less frequently.

Weaning to Solid Food at About 3 to 4 Weeks Of feeding Puppies

At about 3 or 4 weeks, as you see your puppy begin to explore his little world, you can take the next step when it comes to feeding puppies.

Begin to introduce solid puppy food, but do not immediately stop bottle feeding. Ask your vet what brand of high-quality puppy food she recommends. Buy the best you can. Remember, what goes in, especially at this early stage, affects your puppy’s future health.

At this stage, begin feeding puppies by spooning a little of the formula you have been using over the solid food just to get the puppies started. Offer solid food four times a day in small quantities and supervise your puppy’s eating to make sure he doesn’t choke or fall into the bowl.

Discard uneaten food and put out fresh food the next time. Do not expect your puppy to immediately begin to gobble up this new food in spite of the fact that he seems to put everything else in his mouth. Puppies really love to nurse, so chewing may not appeal initially.

For reluctant puppies, you might try putting a very small bit of the new solid food in his mouth and encouraging him cheerfully. If your puppy isn’t ready, don’t force him, but wait a few more days and try again.

As you introduce solid food when feeding puppies, it is also time to introduce water. Boiled and cooled or filtered water is safest for young puppies.

Put your puppy’s water in a small, shallow bowl, not one deep enough for him to fall in, and keep it fresh. Alternately, start with a water bottle with a ball and drip spout affixed to the side of the puppy’s crate. Show him how to approach the water and have him take a few drops from your hand initially. Continue to introduce him to the water until he drinks on his own. Water is essential for non-nursing puppies.

Introducing Puppies to Solid Food at About 6 to 8 Weeks

Make sure that feeding puppies is a positive, happy event. Remember that patience with training puppies yields cooperative and trusting adult dogs. By about 6 to 8 weeks, your puppy can be weaned off the formula and onto solid food. As your puppy grows, naturally, make the portions bigger, but remember, the idea is to support healthy growth, not a chronically plump little chowhound. Regular check ups with your vet will help you to ascertain if your puppy is attaining the proper weight.

As your puppy approaches his adult weight and size, reduce feedings to twice a day and remember to ask your vet when it’s time to either change to a junior food or to move on to adult food. As your puppy reaches adult size, he will need to eat less since he is growing less. Again, encourage growth in bone and muscle not fat. Once he’s reached his adult size he can only grow out, not up.

If your puppy is overweight, see what to do if your puppy is overweight.

Kindness to your new puppy begins with nutrition and patience with feeding and builds trust for a lifetime.

Weaning your puppy to solid food should not be an overnight endeavor but should ideally take place over the course of two to three weeks.

First select the brand of puppy food you intend to feed. Puppies have high caloric and nutritional needs and so the food selected should be a high quality brand of puppy food. Talk to your veterinarian for specific recommendations but generally the best puppy foods will be a good source of protein, calcium and calories.

Whether you’ve just welcomed a new puppy into your home or are planning to add a new puppy to your family in the near future, it’s always important to learn as much as you can about caring for your new puppy.

Fortunately, one of the most important things to learn about is the nutrition puppies need.

That’s because puppies grow fast and need more nutrients than adult dogs.

While it’s important to feed your puppy a high-quality puppy food that meets its nutritional needs, it’s also important to supplement that food with other foods to ensure your puppy is receiving all of the nutrients it needs to grow into a healthy adult dog. 

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The Labrador origin story dates back to the very beginning of time. The first dogs were a breed of wolf that was the descendent of Irish Wolfhounds which were imported to Europe by the Romans.

The Romans called the breed Lupa, which was Latin for “Wolf”. The wolves were brought to England by the Vikings, and eventually, the word Labrador was created by Dutch-speaking people to describe the area where the Vikings had settled.

Labrador History Overview

The Labrador Retriever is the traditional waterdog of Newfoundland, long employed as a duck retriever and fisherman’s mate. The breed began its steady climb to supreme popularity in the early 1800s, when Labs were spotted by English nobles visiting Canada.

These sporting earls and lords returned to England with fine specimens of “Labrador dogs.” (Exactly how these dogs of Newfoundland became associated with Labrador is unclear, but the name stuck.) During the latter half of the 19th century, British breeders refined and standardized the breed.

The physical and temperamental breed traits, so familiar today to millions of devotees around the world, recall the Lab’s original purpose.

A short, dense, weather-resistant coat was preferred because during a Canadian winter longhaired retrievers would be encrusted with ice when coming out of the water. In its ancestral homeland, a Lab would be assigned to a fishing boat to retrieve the fish that came off the trawl.

Accordingly, in addition to having natural instincts as a retriever, the dog required a coat suited to the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

The Lab’s thick, tapering tail—an “otter tail,” it’s called— serves as a powerful rudder, constantly moving back and forth as the dog swims and aids the dog in turning.

As for the breed’s characteristic temperament, it is as much a hallmark of the breed as the otter tail. “The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards man or animal,” the breed standard says.

“The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence, and adaptability make him an ideal dog.” When defining a Lab’s primary attributes, the most important might be temperament since his utility depends on his disposition.

“If a dog does not possess true breed temperament,” wrote a noted dog judge, “he is not a Labrador.”

The Kennel Club (England) recognized the Lab in 1903, and the AKC registered its first dog of the breed in 1917. Labs topped AKC registrations for the first time in 1991 and have reigned as America’s favorite breed ever since.

Are Labrador and Labrador Retriever The Same?

All Labs should meet the same standard, Labrador and Labrador Retriever are the same dogs. There is no difference, there’s just only one Labrador Retriever (Canis familiaris).

In the Labrador breed standard, there is only one Labrador Retriever.

Where Did Labrador Retrievers Come From?

Although the name might suggest Labrador Retrievers came from Labrador, Canada, the breed actually originated in Newfoundland in the 1500s.

At the time, small water dogs were bred with Newfoundlands to create a breed called the St. John’s Water Dog or Lesser Newfoundland. These dogs were owned by fishermen and jumped into icy water to bring back fish that had fallen off the fishing hooks. They would also pull in fish-filled nets.

The breed was perfect for these jobs because their coat repelled water and their webbed paws made them excellent swimmers.

The dogs continued to live exclusively in Newfoundland until the early 1800s when they were imported to Poole, England.

The Earl of Malmesbury had seen the breed in action and immediately brought them home. In 1830, a British Sportsman named Colonel Hawker described the dogs as “the best for any kind of shooting… generally black and no bigger than a Pointer, very fine in legs, with short smooth hair… is extremely quick running, swimming and fighting.”

Both the Earl and Duke of Malmesbury used them in shooting sports and began to call them their “Labrador Dogs.” The name stuck and the Earl’s son began breeding the dogs. By 1903, Labradors were recognized by the English Kennel Club.

The breed began to grow in popularity. In the early 1900s, hunters and farmers from the United States learned of the breed’s work ethic and began incorporating “Labs” into their daily lives. The American Kennel Club recognized Labrador Retrievers in 1917 and the breed became a loving pet to many families.

Today, Labrador Retrievers are still ready to work and please their pet parents. They are also affectionate, outgoing, intelligent, and friendly to humans, especially children, and other animals. They don’t need much grooming but need a considerable amount of daily exercise.

They enjoy regular and vigorous walks, a game of fetch, or even a swim in a safe area. They regularly top the AKC list of most popular breeds.

From St. John’s Dog to Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever’s earliest origins are found across our northern border, in the Canadian province of Newfoundland. If that sounds a bit confusing to geography buffs, that’s because it is:

Yes, the Labrador Territory after which the breed is named is actually northwest of the island of Newfoundland. And, yes, there already is another breed from Newfoundland, called, logically enough, the Newfoundland.

To sort through these seeming contradictions, we have to rewind about 500 years, when enterprising Europeans were finding their way to the Canadian coastline.

Long before any European nation planted its flag on Canadian territory, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English fishermen were venturing to its Atlantic coast, presumably bringing their dogs with them.

These various breeds commingled on the huge but isolated island, creating a landrace that became known as the St. John’s Dog, after the capital of Newfoundland.

The St. John’s Dog can no longer be found today, save for the bronze statues that stand in Harbourside Park in the city from which their name derived. These dogs of Newfoundland came in various sizes, the larger of which became the eponymous Newfoundland, and the smaller one the dog we are discussing here.

In short order, these prototypical Labrador Retrievers became well known for their infatuation with water, and their skill operating in it. Working in Newfoundland’s burgeoning fisheries, they hauled nets and long lines, dived for cod that had slipped off the hook, even retrieved the hats of fishermen.

The short-haired dogs were reportedly preferred over their longer-coated brethren, as the ice did not accumulate on their water-resistant coats. As a whole, these dogs were black, with dramatic “tuxedo” markings on their faces, chests, and legs.

Newfoundland’s fishermen were justifiably proud of their dogs. So after their ships packed with salted cod crossed the ocean and docked in Poole on the southern English coast, they had their clever dogs perform for the gathered crowds, having them retrieve objects tossed into the water.

“These dogs are remarkable for their diving powers,” wrote Irish dog authority H.D. Richardson in 1847. “I saw one some years ago with an officer, who was quartered at Portobello Barracks, Dublin, which dived repeatedly to the bottom of the canal, between the lochs, when full of water, and fetched up such stones, etc., as were thrown in.”

Eventually, the sale of these dogs became a lucrative sideline for enterprising Canadian sailors, and the St. John’s Dog became a popular export to England. There, it was incorporated into various dog lines, becoming the progenitor for all the modern British retrievers, from Flat Coats to Curly Coats.

One of the appreciative onlookers at those harborside displays in Poole was the Earl of Malmesbury, who concluded that the dogs would excel at duck hunting at his Heron Court estate.

In short order, a breeding program was established, and it is due to this titled family that the early name “Labrador Dog” became associated with the breed.

Does The Labrador Breed Come From Labrador?

It seems reasonable to assume that our much loved and lovable Retriever is called a Labrador Retriever because it retrieves things and comes from Labrador in North America!

In fact, the dogs that formed the foundation of the Labrador breed in England in the 1800s were imported not from Labrador but from Newfoundland.

Two areas tended to get lumped together for general discussion purposes.

What is more, those Newfoundland dogs were almost certainly not natives of Newfoundland at all.

Origins and Timeline

The Labrador Retriever is a retriever in the class of Sporting dogs.  They are considered a ‘flushing’ dog that will retrieve the game for the hunter once down.  They are generally used to hunt both upland game birds and waterfowl.

More recently some have worked on perfecting a pointing characteristic with Labradors. No matter what its AKC classification, Labradors have come to be one of the favorite family house pets in America today due to their wonderful personality, gentle disposition, and loyalty.

Labrador Retrievers were recognized in England as a Kennel Club breed in 1903 and first registered by the AKC in the United States of America in 1917.

Labradors were originally called a St. John’s Dog or Lesser Newfoundland dog. The breed was in Newfoundland in the 1700s and imported to England beginning the early 1800’s.  The Labrador’s exact origin unknown but some speculate the Greater Newfoundland dog or the French St. Hubert’s dog is part of the cross that made the St. John’s dog.

In 1887 the Earl of Malmesbury first coined the name Labrador in a letter he wrote referring to them as his Labrador Dogs.  The Territory of Labrador is just Northwest of Newfoundland geographically.

Richard Wolters in his book the “Labrador Retriever” writes that the 19th century Brits lumped that area together as the same landmass, so it could have referred to dogs from that area. 

Newfoundland was settled by English fishermen as early as the 1500s and the St. John’s dogs seemed to develop along with the fishing occupation. The English fisherman in Newfoundland used the St. John’s dog to retrieve fish that had fallen off their hooks as well to help haul in fishing lines through the water.  

The St. John’s dogs were considered “workaholics” and enjoyed the retrieving tasks given in the fishing environment. This breed was very eager to please and their retrieving abilities made them ideal for hunting companions and sporting dogs.

In today’s world, many see their hunting companion as living for the sport.  He will break the ice to retrieve birds only to return and wait for the next one to come down.  You have to keep an eye on the dog in warm weather as he will gladly work beyond his physical abilities and even overheat if you don’t watch him.

It was said that the dogs would work long hours with the fisherman in the cold waters, then be brought home to play with the fisherman’s children.

The wonderful temperament of the Labrador Retriever is documented back to its early days in England and has made them ideal family pets as well as accomplished sporting dogs. 

The Labrador has a dense, short coat that repels water and provides great resistance to the cold and water. Labradors come in 3 colors; black, yellow, and chocolate.  Black is the most well-known color and it is dominant in Labradors.

Black was also the color commonly preferred and bred for up until more recent times. It should be noted that the colors chocolate and yellow have been noted in the original St. John’s dogs from Newfoundland.  They are recessive genes and were referred to as the color ‘liver’ or sometimes ‘golden’.

In 1807 a ship called brig Canton carried some St. John’s dogs destined for Poole, England as likely breeding stock for the Duke of Malmesbury’s Labrador Kennel.

The Canton shipwrecked and two dogs, one black and one chocolate were found and believed to have become part of the breeding program (along with other breeds) that created the Chesapeake Retriever.

So we know that chocolates had been a color in the original St. John’s dogs which later became established under the name Labrador Retriever. As recessive colors, the yellow and chocolate pups would occasionally appear in litters throughout time.

During the earlier breeding programs, these ‘off colors’ were often ‘culled’ until they were finally accepted by the British and the American Kennel Clubs and registered. Some people still favor blacks saying they are the best Labradors.

We think it is a more personal preference as long as you have a good well-balanced pedigree and breeding program behind your dog.  

Labradors almost became extinct a few times and the St. John’s dogs that Labs came from are now extinct in Newfoundland.  It was only through some events and efforts of some key people that we have the wonderful companion we call the Labrador today.

Copyright © Generally Pets, 2021 
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