English Labrador

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most common and beloved dog breeds in the world today. Most people get them as their first dogs and grow up with them so they have many fond memories. However, like all dogs, they need to be properly cared for so before you decide if you want to choose an English Labrador Retriever as your new companion, you definitely need to know if they’re a right fit for you and your family.

First, you need to understand that there are actually two “breeds” of Labrador Retrievers – the English breed and the American breeds. You have probably never actually seen an English Labrador Retriever unless you live in England.

The main differences between American Labrador Retrievers and English Labrador Retrievers are their size and body shape. English Labradors are bred to be slightly smaller, medium-sized dogs that have stockier, fuller faces and a nature that’s naturally calmer than American Labrador Retrievers. American Labrador Retrievers are bred to be taller but more lightweight and have a slightly higher energy than English Labrador Retrievers. English Labrador Retrievers are usually born in England although some lines of English Labrador Retrievers do come from the United States.

English Labrador Retrievers are considered the “show breed” while the American Labrador Retrievers are called the “field breed.” The “show breed” has shorter legs, a heavier body, a thicker tail and thicker coat, a shorter muzzle and a wider head. The “field breed” have longer legs, a lighter body, a thinner tail and coat, a longer muzzle and of course a skinnier head.

Because this breed is so common, be careful when purchasing a dog because it’s very easy to fall victim to someone selling a badly-bred dog. You will be able to immediately spot bad breeding in an English Labrador Retriever because they will often have tails that are far too thin, very thin, lanky legs and a pointier snout. They’re bigger as well – their weight can range between 70 and 120 pounds, and they will also be prone to cataracts and painful hip dysplasia.

A typical English Labrador Retriever will weigh between 55 to 80 pounds when fully grown (males average 72 pounds and females average around 62). They do not usually suffer from cataracts or hip dysplasia. Their lifespan is anywhere from 10 to 12 years, although healthier dogs do live longer.

English Labrador Retrievers are the ultimate people dog. Bred specifically to be helpers, they are known for their hard-working natures and are the go-to choice for Seeing Eye dogs, human rescue jobs, therapy dogs and other kinds of jobs that require helping the handicapped in some way. They are also great show dogs.  Incredibly athletic, they can compete in everything from water-jumping competitions to agility competitions. And of course, they’re a great hunting companion, especially for duck hunters, as they love water.

English Labrador Retrievers are great with everyone – including even very young children. And their intelligence and eagerness to please make them a breeze and a joy to train and work with.

English Labrador Retrievers love to spend time around their families. They’re not really “backyard dogs” in that they don’t like being left on their own, and being left on their own too often results in them going stir-crazy and becoming destructive; they’ll chew, rip or dig things up when they get bored. These dogs also require around 30 minutes of activity every day both mentally and physically.

English Labrador Retriever coats are very sleek and easy to care for. The coats have two layers, a topcoat that’s short and thick and a undercoat that’s soft and water resistant. You’ll find them in three colors: chocolate, black, and yellow. They do not require a lot of brushing but they shed quite a lot and very easily, so you’ll definitely need a vacuum around these guys. They only need a bath about every two months – unless they go mud-rolling – because they stay pretty clean on their own.

English Labrador Retrievers are prone to certain health problems. Because they’re so active they can develop hip dysplasia, which is also an inheritable condition. Check into a dog’s family history to see if they have a predisposition towards it and watch for it if they do. They also have elbow problems like elbow dysplasia or OCD, a condition caused by improper growth of cartilage in the joints. You also need to watch for cataracts.

If you’ve got the space and energy, there isn’t a better dog breed to turn to than an English Labrador Retriever.

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