Labrador Retreiver - Breed and Grooming Tips

The gentle, intelligent and family-friendly Labrador Retriever from Canada continues to be the most popular breed in the United States, according to AKC®. This versatile hunting breed comes in three colors – yellow, black and chocolate – and because of his aptitude to please his master they excel as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams or in narcotics detection with law enforcement.


A Look Back

Labrador Retrievers, originally from Newfoundland, were initially used in work alongside fisherman, helping to pull in nets and catch fish that escaped from fishing lines. 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.


Right Breed for You?

An ideal sporting and family dog, the Labrador Retriever thrives as part of an active family or as a trusted hunting companion. A double-coated breed which sheds seasonally, regular grooming keeps his coat at its water-resistant best. Because of his even temperament and trainability millions of Americans own a Labrador Retriever as a pet.


Source:  American Kennel Club - www.akc.org


Grooming

General: The Labrador Retriever is a sporting dog that has a dense “water resistant” coat. Do not let the short hair fool you, they actually have quite a bit of undercoat and require regular grooming, especially during shedding seasons of summer and fall. As like most of the sporting group the Labrador is very energetic and needs plenty of exercise and obedience training. Weather running in a field or lying on the couch, the lab needs regular baths in 4-8 week intervals to keep up on nails, ears and removal of undercoat.


Ears: Monthly ear cleaning with Ear Care is advised to be sure no ear problems that might need vet attention arise. Field dogs and dogs that spend a lot of time in water will require weekly ear care.


Paws: Paw Balm should be used weekly to keep paw pads soft and pliable. This makes the pads less likely to dry and crack.


Bathing: : Labs are a sporting breed and are bred to flush game in the field and may need to be bathed as often as weekly or bi-weekly to keep them in good shape. The first bath is for general cleaning to take off the dirt and grime. Follow up with the second bath and target the need of the dog. Outdoor and field dogs may need flea shampoo or a tea tree after flushing game. Labs with an oily coat may need Energee Plus Shampoo. Labs with normal skin and coat can be bathed with any of our wonderful conditioning colognes products for long lasting fragrance. Be sure to end the bath with conditioner. This will help keep the coat hydrated to protect against harsh weather conditions. Simple Shed Shampoo and Simple Shed Treatment during the spring and fall shedding season will help release undercoat so the seasonal coat can come in properly.


Coat Care: Because of the short flat double coat of the breed, brushing is essential. Simple Shed and Static Spray as you brush during shedding season, or Aloe Hydrating Spray in between shedding cycles is recommend to help protect the coat. Many people think that shaving their lab will help keep them cooler during the hot summer months, but in actuality they will keep cooler if the undercoat is removed and the outer guard coat is left to provide shade for the dog.


Show Dog Tips: High Sheen Finishing Spray will add that extra bit of shine before entering the ring while not leaving an oily residue. Aloe Hydrating Spray between shows will keep away dander and keep the coat hydrated and looking its best,


Tools: An undercoat rake works well during the shedding cycles, it helps remove the dead coat while keeping the top guard coat. In between the shedding cycle a general slicker brush or a shedding blade, which works a lot like a furminator, is a good choice of tools to use.

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