It is done! Thanks for the comments. They helped.
In addition to being a wonderful family companion, the Labrador retriever is the most popular breed of dogs in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club Labs have led the pack for over 15 years. Over 137,000 Labradors were registered with the American Kennel Club in 2005 alone. But thousands of Labs are abandoned by their owners or surrendered to a shelter or rescue each year because the people have not made the commitment to understand the needs of the breed.* Before getting a Lab, there are several things to know.
• The AKC standard describes the Labrador retriever in part: “The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.”
• There are three colors: Black, Chocolate, and Yellow-* Yellow runs from almost white through fox red
• There is no such thing as “rare color, silver”, “golden” or “white” Labrador retrievers.
• Labs shed. They shed every minute of every day 365 days a year. Sometimes more often
• The body of the cute little Labrador puppy grows to 60-90 pounds in less than a year.* The mind of that little puppy takes about four years to catch up.
• Labrador retrievers are susceptible to several hereditary orthopedic conditions, a heart condition called Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, and an eye disease called Progressive Retinal Atrophy that causes blindness as well as other heritable conditions such as epilepsy.
• The Labrador lives 12-16 years
• The Labrador is an energetic dog that needs daily exercise and attention
• They enjoy chew toys and if they become bored, they chew other things
• A good Lab is a tired Lab
• Labs are people dogs.* They are not happy kept away from their people.
If you decide to get a Lab, decide before hand:
• What the role of the dog will be
• Who is going to care for it?
• Does our lifestyle suit a Lab?
Lab Proof the house – Anything within mouth range belongs to the dog
Microchip the dog and get a dog license
Find and use the services and advice of a veterinarian
Take the Lab to obedience classes
Find something fun to do on a regularly with the Lab for the next 12 to 16 years
The Puppy Route
Pet Stores mostly get their stock from brokers and commercial breeders often referred to as Puppy Mills.* Puppy Mills are notorious for the conditions the dogs live in and the often poor health of the dogs.* Not a good place to find a long time companion.
Newspapers and bulletin boards are used by people sometimes referred to as backyard breeders whose dog got pregnant or are lured by money, or just want their dog to have puppies because they are so good. These dogs may or may not have been medically certified, little to no thought goes into minimizing genetic faults and bettering the breed, and more often have not competed and been judged to conform to the breed standard.
Some breeders advertise on The Internet, accept credit cards and will ship their dogs anywhere to anyone. Not a good sign, particularly if they breed more than one or two breeds.
Responsible breeders show their dogs in conformation and hunt trials and selectively breed for the betterment of the breed. Getting a mortgage at favorable rates is easier than getting them to sell one of their dogs. There are usually waiting lists, the breeder will ask lots of questions and if not satisfied, will not sell a dog.* If they do sell, it is by contract, you will probably need to spay/neuter, and if you decide to get rid of the dog, it goes back to the breeder. They will also provide lots of information and be available to answer questions.
Labs end up on the street for all kinds of excuses.* From running away, chewing up shoes, shedding, knocking over the baby or not matching the décor or being too old. The number of dogs that end up in shelters and Animal Control facilities each year is staggering.* Animal Control will hold a dog for a finite period of time.* If the dog is not claimed, it is euthanized because they do not have room for the number of dogs they pick up.* Shelters try, but the number of kill shelters outnumbers the no kill.* Both types of shelters are on very tight budgets and occasionally sick animals infect healthy ones.* The lucky dogs are picked up by rescue organizations.
Rescue organizations evaluate and pull Labs from shelters and animal control facilities, nurse the dogs back to health and care for the dogs until forever homes are found.* They also receive owner surrendered dogs.* The number of Labs that need rescue far outpaces the ability to place them in forever homes.*
Adopting an adult rescue has many good points.* It gives a Lab a second chance.* They have been evaluated, they are past the puppy chewing stage, usually have had some training, and they are looking for companionship.* Some Labs may have had health issues, some may have been injured, some may have been abused and require special care, many just need a forever home and the love they have to offer is unconditional.
A Dummy’s Guide to Labrador retrievers
An Idiots Guide to Labrador retrievers
The Life of Your Lab
The Labrador retriever Handbook
Marley and Me
The Other End of the Leash
How to Speak Dog
Adopting from shelters and rescues
Second-Hand Dog: How to Turn Yours into a First-Rate Pet (Howell Reference Books) by Carol
Adoptable Dog: Teaching Your Adopted Pet to Obey, Trust, and Love You* * John Ross, Barbara McKinney
Successful Dog Adoption Sue Sternberg
Adopt the Perfect Dog by Gwen Bailey
Adopting a Dog: The Indispensable Guide for Your Newest Family Member (Paperback)
by John Ross, Barbara McKinney
Second Chance A Tale of Two Puppies Judy Masrud (Author), Cathy Pool (Illustrations by)
Kippy: Second Chance Dog Susan E. Mann* ISBN: 0-7414-2745-1 ©2005
Very good article! A big thumbs up.
Glad to see you covered the info about high kill shelters and rescues. Up until I rescued Lexi almost a 1 1/2 years ago, I never knew about lab rescues.
My pretty girl, Lexi!
One remaining error -- the sentence beginning "Find something fun to do on a regularly ....." needs to be rewritten; regularly is an adverb but you're using it as if it's a noun -- eliminating the words "on a" would let it modify "do".
You might also include a brief mention of the difference in body builds between "field" and "bench".
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
Very good Andy.
♣ Laura ♣
Great article LabDad. Thanks................
there is one big problem though. You have spent a lot of time and effort on this and it is going to be lost. Can it be stickyed (yes not right word, but sounds right for here).
I hope it will be around and available for all to see whenever they need to. Even us oldies need reminding sometimes.
Buddy has a blog on his MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/buddyinpines.
Some people are actually reading it as I've received messages pertaining to it.
I'd like to post your article there, if it's ok with you. You covered just about every lab issue imaginable.
If it's ok, please send PM or email. I wouldn't do it w/o your ok.