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Every year the AKC releases its rankings on dog breeds based on the number of registered dogs in each breed, and for the past 21 years that breed has been the Labrador retriever.
What makes Labradors so popular? According to the AKC , “After being crossed with Setters, Spaniels and other Retrievers, the Labrador Retriever honed its skills as a true retriever. From this point in the breed’s history, “Labs,” as they are affectionately called, were bred primarily to perform as an efficient retriever of game, with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of activities beyond hunting.”
Their versatility is no doubt one of the things that has led to their popularity. Just a few of the jobs they’ve held are: guide dogs for the blind, service dogs, search and rescue, narcotics detection, therapy work and of course the job they were originally bred for, retrieving.
Labs are a large dog, averaging 65 to 80 pounds, and they have a short, dense coat that comes in three different colors: yellow, chocolate and black. They are bred to have an outgoing, non-aggressive temperament which makes them wonderful pets for active families.
However, a lab is not for everyone. They do best in homes where they can receive the attention and interaction with their owners that they crave. Also, as a sporting breed, they won’t be happy as couch potatoes, they want and need to get up and go.
If you think a Labrador retriever may be the dog for you, you can find more information on them at www.thelabradorclub.com and www.akc.org . Also, like many popular breeds there is no shortage of Labradors in shelters and rescues in need of good homes, www.petfinder.com is a great place to start your search.