Labrador Retriever Breeders, Breed Club and Rescue
The Labrador is viewed with the same kind of deep affection as the Golden Retriever; and he is immensely adaptable; he has roles as a working gundog, a guide dog and police sniffer dog, all in addition to being a much-loved family pet in many homes. He is believed to have originated on the coast of Greenland where he would help the fishermen by jumping out of the boat and retrieving the ends of their nets. He is a comparatively new breed in this country compared to many, having only been introduced in the late 1800s by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury.
This is a dog loves water and is wonderfully suited to swimming; his dense outer coat is weather resistant as is the undercoat; his tail is unique, not in any way feathered but very thickly coated giving it a rounded appearance, and is described as an “otter” tail. They are either black, yellow or chocolate/liver in colour,
Some people believe that the different colours carry with them variations in temperament. We have had considerable experience of all colours and do find some variatin. We have, in addition to the following observations, seen some genuinely poor temperaments, mostly nervous aggressive as a result of pets being bred without enough thought.
Chocolate Labradors have grown enormously in popularity over the last 20 years, and as always a sudden increase in numbers is not beneficial for the breed. For one thing the colours are not always very good – many look rather dull and patchy and more cafe-au-lait than chocolate. Their temperaments are generally much less laid back than the yellows or blacks; many appear anxious and some have a strong guarding instinct; they also do not seem to adore their owners in the unconditional way that blacks do.
The blacks are probably the truest to the Breed Standard of “intelligent, keen and biddable with a strong will to please”, though with this there goes a higher energy level than with the yellow and chocolates. The yellows are somewhere between the two; they are less demonstrative than the blacks and show a more independent spirit. However, this is nitpicking; the Labrador is a real family dog as long as they are given the necessary time and exercise.
They stay puppies a long time – we regularly see a 12 year old who is not much less active than she was at 2 years! All this energy needs an outlet and if the owner does not provide it then he will create his own. The working types are much more demanding of exercise than the show types, but whichever way they have been bred, they are a large dog who needs plenty of stimulus.
The Labrador is renowned for being wonderful with children, though as a youngster his boisterousness can cause the odd accident if there are small children in the home.. Firm handling from the outset is essential; he needs to learn to walk correctly on a lead from an early age. Tap into his desire to please and you will be successful; make it battle and it will be an uneven one – with you the loser. He loves his food and can be extremely greedy, so it is important to watch his weight. He is prone to skeletal defects, for which breeding stock should be screened. They should hold certificates issued under the BVA/Kennel Club Hip and Elbow Schemes, and a current (within 18 months of litter registration) BVA/Kennel Club/ISDS eye certificate.
Rescue and Rehoming
If you need to re-home your Labrador, please contact your dog’s breeder for support. If they are unable to help there are many volunteers dedicated to finding new homes for Labradors.
Click to see a full list of Labrador Rescue, Rehoming and Welfare organisations.