Labrador Retrievers have always been a favorite among dog lovers. For the past eighteen years, the AKC (American Kennel Club) has labeled the Labrador as the most popular breed of dog registered in their database. Because of their loving qualities, as well as their charming personality, Labradors have been a preferred choice for families all over the world.
Black Labradors have the most common color characteristics of the Labrador breed. Most Labradors are black, however Yellow and Chocolate Labradors are not uncommon. Black Labradors have a thin layer of fur close to their skin, and a thicker layer of fur on top of that. Despite this fact, and the thickness of their coat, they are still considered short hair dogs. Having two layers of fur allows for the Labrador to swim in the cold while retaining most of its body heat.
Many people claim that Black Labradors are the best of the Labrador breed, but there is no evidence to suggest that fur color affects any other aspects of a Black Labrador’s personality. Black Labradors have a constant need for human companionship, which gives them an unparalleled sense of loyalty. They are very friendly with humans, including children, which makes them a very popular dog for families. Though they have an active oral fixation (the need to have objects to chew/carry), they also have good control over their jaw muscles, being able to carry delicate objects without damaging them. This is another reason why they are favored for hunting retriever dogs, since they are able to return the fallen game un-damaged.
Because of the Black Labrador’s ability to learn both simple and complicated commands, they are used extensively in law enforcement, rescue agencies, as well as servicing disabled and blind patients. They make very good “therapy dogs” as well, because of their naturally loving and gentle temperament.
Black Labradors are a medium to large breed, usually having an athletic build. Labradors are generally 21-24 inches, varying between gender and specific breed-based characteristics. The average weight is from 55-75 pounds, though there have been records of dogs weighing more than 100 pounds.
Black Labradors do have a few breed specific health problems, like most purebred dogs. The hip, elbow, and knee joints tend to be the most common of problems. They can be severe, though not as bad as the hip problems inherited by other breeds (such as German Shepherds). The scientific term for this condition is “dysplasia”, which is a disease in the cartilage connecting select joints. This term can also refer to developmental abnormalities in the joints which become apparent when a Labrador is several years old. Black Labradors can also develop some serious eye conditions, such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (gradual loss of eyesight), and retinal dysplasia (a non-progressive condition that negatively affects eyesight).
Black Labradors are very active dogs, and should have a good amount of space to play. Playtime for labs is a very important time, given there loving nature. Labradors can easily become overweight from excess feeding, thus it is recommended they are fed in moderate rations throughout the day. This allows for a faster metabolism, resulting in a fit dog.
As with any pet, exercise is important for Black Labradors. Since they’re very energetic and active, it’s important to exercise a Labrador on a regular basis. An ideal exercise routine would involve a brisk 20-30 minute walk on a daily basis. This is important for pet owners as well, and can be a good bonding experience between owner and pet.
The average life expectancy is 12-13 years, it is possible for Black Labradors to live much longer with a healthy lifestyle and proper care. The oldest Labrador on record is Scoop who is 24 years old as of this writing, and still alive.
Grooming a Black Labrador is important for several reasons. The primary reason is that it promotes a beautiful outward appearance. Another, perhaps more important reason, is that it assists in building a strong pet-owner relationship bond. Keeping your Black Labrador clean and trim will keep your dog attractive, as well as leave you with less shedding to deal with. Labradors should be brushed daily, and have their nails trimmed manually on occasion. A Labrador can be bathed by hand, but this should be kept to only a few times per year. Too many baths will remove the natural oils from their fur, which can bring on additional health-related problems.
Historically, the Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland. The breed was first formed as a cross breed of Newfoundland dogs and the small water dogs that populated the area. During the 1800’s, the Labrador was brought from Newfoundland to England, where it began to gradually grow in popularity. Today’s Labrador actually evolved from the “St. John’s Waterdog”, a breed that was used primarily for water hunting/fishing and game retrieval. In England, these dogs would retrieve fish that had escaped from fishermen’s hooks, and also assist in dragging heavy, fish-laden nets from the ocean to the shore.
Labradors became famous as a hunting dog, and for this reason were soon brought to America. In 1917, the first official registration of a Labrador in America was documented. The special skills of the Labrador in game retrieval for hunters greatly assisted their increase in popularity, as they eventually displaced the previously popular American hunting dogs; the Chesapeake Retriever and the Springer Spaniel. During World War II, the number of Labradors registered in households skyrocketed, their popularity continuing to climb even to this day.