A surprise to some (but not dog insiders), the Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in almost every geography across the USA. For families, individuals, and various government needs, the versatile and trainable Labrador Retriever makes its appearance in roles ranging from house pet to bomb sniffing all across America.
The breed has a long-standing reputation for its friendly nature, dense coat, and eyes that seem to glimmer in the opinion of many. Most dog historians agree that the origins of the breed trace back to Newfoundland waterdogs. However, it was not until the English began to interact with Canadians that the breed began its ascent as an internationally known and popular type of dog. We believe the blend of classic look along with its keen ability to hunt and retrieve are two of the many factors that drove English nobles into a scramble to obtain the Labrador Retriever, and the rest is history.
Today the ideal temperament and the rich and dense coats are attributes almost any dog lover is familiar with when they think about the Labrador Retriever. Few other breeds outside of the Golden Retriever have attained such a sterling reputation in the eyes of American families and popular culture. For many dog experts, the Labrador Retriever is one of the first dogs that come to mind when thinking of the perfect dog temperament for a family. According to the American Kennel Club, the breed rose to the top of AKC registration roles in 1991, and ever since then has held on to that number one position.
Labrador Retrievers have plenty of energy, notably as puppies. Depending on their training and daily regimen in their adult life this energy level can wane.
Lab Food and Health
The food every dog eats plays a major role in both their internal health, as well as the density, coloring, and overall health of their coats or fur as well. The Labrador Retriever is adaptable enough to eat almost any type of dog food. However, depending on the age, the geography, and the daily regimen, we recommend the owners consider different types of food.
Another key factor to consider is what sort of bowl does your Labrador Retriever eat this food from and drink water from? As puppy owners, we have seen our share of bowls that become toys, bowls that are flipped over, and other events that most owners want to avoid. We recommend non-flip bows such as this Loving Pets Bella bowl which includes anti-skid features, or these two stainless steel bowls, which also solves for the water bowl need.
Once your Labrador Retriever is no longer a puppy, the feeding situation may change. We have seen many instances where the Labrador Retriever is a very food-motivated dog, and many owners have challenges with ensuring slow eating habits and see instances of gluttony. The best set of dog bowl solutions to this problem are “puzzle bowls” and we recommend the Outward Hound dog bowl. For treats, consider this pet bone toy puzzle as well.
In warmer climates like the southern part of the US we highly recommend portable water bowls. The Gulpy water dispenser is a great product at a reasonable price, and our guidance is buy a few of them so they are in your car and your dog backpack at all times. Heat can create incredible health risks for your Labrador Retriever, and if you combine proper hydration along with shade and cool places, you decrease the risk of this happening to your bundle of joy.
After your Labrador Retriever is eating and drinking the right food from the right bowl, we think you should consider the required shoots, vaccines, and overall Labrador Retriever health. Dog insurance is a product we believe every Labrador Retriever owner should consider. Because of their larger size, their endless curiosity, and their active lifestyle, there are risks of a medical bill at some point in your Labrador Retriever’s life. We recommend Pet Insurance from Nationwide, and from ASPCA as they have great track records and trust over many years in the industry.
Leashes and Collars for your Labrador Retriever
When your growing Labrador Retriever puppy goes for a walk, you need to be a step ahead and have the proper leash. For puppies we recommend 4-8 feet in length leashes so you can keep the puppy close to you, and so that they are not at risk of cars of dangers from being to far away. A standard reflective leash will get this job done while also promoting safety for you and the puppy.
Once your Labrador Retriever is full grown we recommend a couple of leashes. The Primal leash is heavy duty and will be able to handle all issues with the larger Lab once he is an adult. If you are going to run or hike a lot with your lab we also believe the hands free leash method is a wise one for many reasons. The Paw Lifestyles leash is a great product with a history of performing under the challenges of the great outdoors.
In colder US climates, and for those with wrist injuries or disabilities we recommend a hands-free bungee leash that can help reduce risks of wrist injuries.
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Labrador Retrievers
With a Labrador Retriever, crate training is an important part of their development. Our experts with decades of experience as veterinarians and dog training agree that the crate is a very similar experience to the dens that dogs lived in for generations in the past. With Lab puppies we recommend the Midwest Homes crate and the Amazon Basics single door crate. Both of these are great crates for a puppy.
Into adulthood in warmer climes we recommend this collapsible dog crate by Expawlorer for those who intend to travel at all with their lab. This crate can easily take in the breeze or air conditioning, and is not that heavy either. This crate also comes in a variety of sizes as your lab grows. For cold climates in the northern parts of the US we recommend the iCrate due to ease of covering it with blankets or including blankets inside of it as well.
We also recommend the Pawz blanket for your dog, regardless of climate. This product is great for a number of situations if your dog gets chilly. Combined with our recommended dog towel, your Lab will be ready for almost every situation.
Labrador Retriever Toys
When your Labrador Retriever is a puppy between 8 weeks and 6 months he or she will be teething. As a result, you will want specific toys that help promote gnawing as the young lab deals with aspects of new teeth coming as old teeth fall out. One of our top recommendations for puppy toy’s for a lab is the kong extreme dog toy. The great thing about this product is you can use it for teething over and over due to small treats or peanut butter you can put inside of it.
Toys that make some noise can also provide positive feedback to the lab puppy as he is growing and gaining knowledge. A range of these toys is available for purchase together here and we are confident most puppies will enjoy these. youngever durable dog chew toys can also be a great tool for the teething lab puppy as well.
When the lab is first coming over from its pack / mother we recommend at least 2-3 toys that have the scent of the mother and the rest of the litter. This can be a toy listed above or a stuffed animal that is not quick to fall apart. Another idea is a trixie pet products that our research shows performs well from Outward Hound.
When your lab gets older we believe thinking about the retriever part of their lineage is important. For retrieving you can use about any device that you can throw. For throwing the tennis balls we recommend this chuckit dog ball launcher. Without it your arms will be exhausted quicker than you think, labs can retrieve for a long time. Another exciting option for your adult lab is dogwood durable real wood dog chew toy like these that are naturally sourced. With these two buckets of toys you can help maintain energy and teeth as well!
Grooming Insights for Labrador Retriever owners
Grooming and hands-on care for your Labrador puppy are key to socialization and allowing growth into adulthood free of fear. Our research guides us to recommendations across the full spectrum of grooming and hygiene products, even if you do use a groomer frequently. For a Lab puppy we recommend at the least a set of puppy clippers, puppy shampoo, a brush, as well as toothpaste and a toothbrush.
If you are near any body of water then you should ensure you Lab puppy has shampoo that will help get the scent of water (which may be dirty), off of their body without harming them. The pro pet works natural oatmeal for dogs products have a great performance in our research, and we recommend them for use even with a Lab puppy who requires regular bathing since they are natural and do not dry out the puppy’s coat.
In colder climates in the northern part of the US, or in the wintry stretches in the south, drying your lab after a bath is vital. Once again, we recommend the dog towel for your Lab, and our analysis and research around the product leads us to believe you will be impressed and we are confident it will come in handy given how much these Labs love to get wet.
Labrador Retriever Accessories
Every accessory for your Labrador Retriever depends on both where you live as well as what you intend to do with your pet. If you are in the northern parts of the US you will almost certainly need to have some jackets for the coldest part of the winters. In our research we have been impressed with the Krousers, and think you will be as well. If you are keen on keeping your Lab dry in the rainy seasons, we recommend a raincoat which has a h1 showing in our research.
In most cases a Labrador will not need either shoes or boots. However, if you decide it is right for your case we recommend looking at the dog boots which have a great track record with larger dogs. We also believe that for your Lab puppy a backpack may make sense, but once full-grown this is probably not practical due to the size. If you prefer legs and dog out front for posture reasons then check out the FurryFido sling carrier for dogs.
Strollers are items to consider when your Lab is a puppy if you need to cover major distances, and we recommend the Pet Gear pet stroller given how light it is and easy to travel with.
The Labrador Retriever is an amazing dog, a great friend, and we hope our research and perspective can be helpful to you and your friends. Come back for more assistance, as we are always researching and analyzing new products for every breed of dog.