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The Labrador Retriever: heart of gold

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It is no coincidence that it is one of the most popular dogs years after the year in the world. A harmonic physique, a sweet and intelligent look, and a charming temperament are the calling cards of this wonderful breed. Versatile like few others, an excellent family dog, a tireless sportsman, a rescue dog, a guide for the blind, a hunting retriever… Let’s learn everything about the Labrador Retriever.

 

1. Passion for water

Considered a breed of English origin, there are different theories about the real beginning of the breed. One of the most accepted is the one that dates the ancestors of the Labrador in the 19th century, on the island of Newfoundland (present-day Canada). These dogs helped fishermen, as they were trained to jump into the icy waters when the ship approached the port and pick up the ends of the nets full of fish with their mouths, thus towing them to dry land.

It seems that some of these specimens were transferred to the United Kingdom, where they began to work with hunters (crossing them with English hunting breeds of the Setters or Pointers type). Those primitive “Newfoundland dogs” had two different sizes: one was known as Newfoundland (the ancestors of the current and giant Newfoundland) and the other, smaller in size and short fur, as Saint John’s dog (due to its geographical location). These smaller dogs are the ancestors of the Labrador Retriever breed.

 

2. Strong and active

The Labrador Retriever is a medium-large-sized dog, 54 to 57 centimeters at the withers and an average weight of 30 to 35 kg. It is a strong but elegant-looking dog, with a graceful and cheerful movement.

But without a doubt, the great reason for its immense popularity is its incredible character. The Labrador is sociable, docile, “outgoing and affectionate” (they love to greet everyone!), balanced, affable, intelligent, and easy to train.

For this reason, in addition to being an excellent companion for the whole family, the Labrador is a great collaborator of man in many facets: a guide dog par excellence but also an enthusiastic participant in dog sports, a magnificent police dog in search of narcotics, an effective auxiliary in rescue work and an exceptional assisted therapy and service dog. Its intelligence and ease of learning as well as its vocation to help its owner or guide make it one of the most versatile breeds that exist.

 

3 . Why are they so gluttonous?

All of you who have a Labrador at home will already know that they have an almost insatiable appetite, they always want to eat and they do it quickly, eagerly.

We should think about the origin of all the modern breeds of dogs that we know today since this could help us understand not only their morphology but also some peculiar traits and characteristics of each one.

Let us think of that ocean of almost frozen waters and those first Labradors who jumped into it to tow a load as heavy as nets full of fish, and swimming with the effort to bring them to shore, how many calories would they consume in that task! There could be one of the plausible explanations for the legendary appetite of this race. For this reason, it is so important to provide a lot of exercise to the Labrador, as it is already an active breed and with a notable propensity to be overweight and obese.

A study on the canine obesity gene (Cambridge University) has recently been published, in which the first gene related to canine obesity has been identified, discovering variants of the DNA sequence in the Labrador, related to a greater appetite.

4. Three colors and unique hair

The Labrador comes in three colors: yellow (which can range from pale cream to “fox” red), black (which must be intense and shiny), and chocolate (also called “liver” color). ).

The coat is a distinctive feature of the breed: it should be short and dense without ripples or fringes and to the touch it should feel quite harsh. It has a layer of waterproof undercoat, which insulates it from humidity, and that owes its origins as an “aquatic” dog. Although we are talking about a breed with short hair and easy maintenance, it is advisable to brush it regularly since during its molting periods it sheds a lot of hair.

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