Labrador breed information and advice

If you’re looking for a playful, loyal, loving dog to join your family, then look no further. Labradors are one of the most popular dog breeds, they’re caring with lots of energy and ready for playtime. This handy guide will give you information about everything you need to know, from their temperament and personality to their eating habits and insurance.

Labrador facts

Lifespan 10-14 years
How much £650-850
Size 21.5-57cm
Weight 27-34kg
Colours black, yellow, chocolate, light cream and fox red
Grooming once a week
Temperament loving, obedient and patient
Exercise regular, daily exercise



Labrador insurance

Pet insurance gives you peace of mind when caring for your dog. You can relax knowing that your dog is covered for any unexpected illness or injury. Labrador insurance helps you to cover the cost of vet bills, including treatment, medication and even surgery.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank can provide new dog insurance cover for your Labrador from 8 weeks and up to 8 years of age. Once you have cover in place with us, you can insure your dog up to any age as long as you keep renewing the policy without a break.

How to care for a Labrador

Food and nutrition, grooming, exercise and health care are all important parts of looking after your pet. It’s important to make sure you know about the needs of this breed, before buying your new pet.

The ideal weight for an adult Labrador is between 27 and 34kg. They’re known for their big appetites and can easily become overweight. To keep your dog at an ideal weight, you need to measure their food. How much to feed a Labrador will be dependent on their age and size. You’ll be able to find a food amount guide on the back of their food packaging.

As puppies, a Labrador will need to be fed 3-4 times a day. As they get bigger, adult dogs will only need to be fed once or twice a day. If you do get your Lab as a puppy, it’s recommended to continue feeding it the same food as the breeder. If you want to change the food, you’ll need to do this gradually, over a short period of time. Sudden changes in a puppy’s diet can cause give them a stomach upset.

Labradors have a reputation for being greedy, so you should make sure their food is out of reach or locked away. If they can reach the food, they’re more than likely to eat it. This also goes for any human food left unattended.

Labradors have a short coat that is easy to groom. Brushing once a week will help keep your dog’s coat clean and shiny.

Labradors do shed throughout the year, but as the seasons change you should expect heavy shedding. This is when you’ll need to keep up with their grooming. The more you brush out, the less there is to fall out. Add grooming to your puppy training so that they get used to it. Professional groomers will be able to provide you with more grooming advice.

Labradors do have a tendency to roll and eat things when they shouldn’t. Keep an eye on them when you take them for a walk; otherwise, you’ll have regular baths to contend with too. Though unless they have had a roll in the mud, the good news is you won’t need to bathe your Labrador regularly. Thanks to the natural oil in their coat, a bath every few months will be fine.

Labrador puppies have lots of energy and will need daily exercise. Adult dogs will need a couple of hours of exercise every day. You can split this time between walking and playing games outside. Labradors are very good at playing fetch, which is a great way to burn off extra energy.

Exercising will stop your dog from becoming overweight and decrease the chances of health problems later in life. A Labrador’s energy levels don’t seem to change much as they get older. Even an elderly dog will still want to fetch a ball and go for a walk.

Labradors are obedient and easy to train, they’re quick to learn and eager to please. How to train a Labrador is most effective with a Reward-based training technique, using small treats to reward your dog for good behaviour. The more you practice, the quicker your dog will learn.

House training is an important step and you should start puppy toilet training as soon as you take your pet home. Getting your puppy into a good toileting routine will help them get used to the idea of going outside. Take them out first thing in the morning, at regular intervals throughout the day, after naps, after meals and before bedtime. If you take them to the same spot every time, the scent will help prompt them to do their business.

Every time they go, give them a reward and lots of praise and soon indoor accidents will be a thing of the past.



Temperament and behaviour

Labradors are affectionate and love human interaction. Their patience makes them perfect family pets, an ideal furry friend for your children.

Because they’re energetic and intelligent, they’ll need plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Playing with them and teaching them tricks will help keep them entertained. Make sure there are plenty of toys for your dog to play with. It will give them something to do, make them happy and keep them out of mischief.

Common health problems

There are a few common health problems linked to Labradors, which are listed below. Making sure you have Labrador insurance can help cover the cost of vet bills for these conditions.

Hip dysplasia is a common disorder where the ball-and-socket joint of the hip doesn’t fit together properly. This affects the stability of the hip joint and causes pain and lameness. Arthritis can also develop later in life.

Your vet will give your dog anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain and inflammation. To treat the problem, hip replacement surgery may be needed.

PRA is a group of inherited eye diseases that lead to blindness. Early signs of PRA include poor vision at night or in low lighting. They’ll bump into things, struggle to find toys and bowls, and won’t want to go outside at night. While there’s no treatment for PRA, they will adapt to the condition..

Cruciate ligament rupture refers to torn knee ligaments. This is caused by a twist while running or jumping. The dog will not be able to put any weight on the affected leg.

Rest may be enough to repair the damage. But surgery may be recommended to prevent the problem from happening again.

Epilepsy causes fits or convulsions due to abnormal brain activity. Because it’s not a single disease, it’s separated into different groups. If you think your Labrador has had a fit, your vet will be able to do some tests. There’s no cure for epilepsy, but it can be controlled by medication.



So, is a Labrador right for you?

Labradors are one of the most popular breeds of dogs. With their fun personality and gentle temperament, they make great pets for any home. Just make sure you have the time to keep them well exercised and don’t forget plenty of dog toys to keep them entertained.

How long do Labradors live?

The average life expectancy of a Labrador is around 10-14 years. Diet and exercise can play a part in their life expectancy, so you should make sure they have the right amount of food and get plenty of walks. Genetic and hereditary problems can have an effect too.

How much is a Labrador?

Labrador puppies are generally available for £650-850, the price can vary depending on colour. The most common colours are black, chocolate and golden. Fox red, silver and white are less common.

You may also pay more for a Labrador that has completed some basic training.

When is a Labrador fully grown?

By the time your Labrador reaches a year old, it will be fully grown.

A Labrador’s weight can continue to change throughout its life. Your dog should weigh around 27-34kg. Male dogs tend to weigh more than females.

Why are Labradors guide dogs?

Labradors are commonly used for guide dogs due to their temperament and size. They’re patient, obedient and easy to train. They’re also the ideal height for the role and don’t require much grooming.

They’re a loyal breed and build strong connections with their owner. This is an important characteristic for a guide dog as trust is key.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon

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