Hunting dog, companion and family friend -- it's no wonder Labrador retrievers are the most popular dog in America year after year, according to American Kennel Club statistics. Though they were bred to retrieve fowl and other game, Labradors are loyal, friendly and intelligent. They come in three colors: yellow, black and chocolate. Aside from coat color, there is no difference between the dogs. One litter of Labrador puppies can boast all three coat colors. If you are considering adding a yellow Labrador to your family, do some research to make sure the dog is truly right for you.
Labradors are a large breed, weighing on average 55 to 80 lbs. They have short fur that easily sheds water. They were bred to retrieve fowl from water and are powerful swimmers. They have a thick tail and webbed paws that help them move through water. In general, Labs love to swim, though some individuals may be less fond of water. Labs are flop-eared, meaning that their ears hang down rather than stand up straight.
Don't be surprised if your yellow Lab wants to be where you are. They are social dogs that crave human attention and affection. They thrive in families and are patient and gentle with children. Labradors are social and want to be part of the action. They are affectionate with strangers as well as their family members, and they tend to get along well with other dogs and pets. Labs are eager to please, intelligent and playful.
Labradors' willingness to learn and please their humans makes them easy to train. They are obedient if their training is consistent. Labs are sensitive dogs, however, that crave affection, and they respond best to positive-reinforcement training methods. Reward your yellow Lab with treats, praise and play when it displays a desired behavior or obeys a command correctly. Interrupt mischief with a noise and reward your Lab for stopping the behavior. Don't punish your Labrador or you can cause resentment, fear or even aggression. You should also help your Labrador get plenty of exercise every day to prevent boredom from leading to bad habits and behavior problems. Labradors are extremely energetic and need at least two 30-minute walks per day, along with play time and bones or toys to chew on. Bored Labradors can get into trouble and will be less easily trained.
In general, Labrador retrievers are healthy dogs if they are well cared for. They are susceptible to some genetic disorders however, including hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems (such as cataracts or retinal dysplasia) and gastric torsion. These problems can be identified early if you have your yellow Lab examined by a veterinarian on a regular basis. Take your Lab in for annual checkups and keep it up to date on vaccinations to help it stay healthy.