The Labrador Retriever (simply Labrador, or Lab for short) is one of several kinds of retriever, a type of gun dog. Even-tempered and well-behaved around young children and the elderly, Labradors are athletic and playful, and are the most popular breed of dog by registered ownership in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States (since 1991). A favourite assistance dog breed in these and other countries, Labradors are frequently trained to aid blind and autistic people, act as therapy dogs, and perform screening and detection work for law enforcement and other official agencies.
Labradors are relatively large, with males typically weighing 29 to 41 kg (64 to 90 lb) and females 25 to 32 kg (55 to 71 lb). Labradors weighing close to or over 100 lb (45 kg) are considered obese or having a major fault under American Kennel Club standards, although some Labradors weigh significantly more. The majority of the characteristics of this breed, with the exception of colour, are the result of breeding to produce a working retriever.
As with some other breeds, the Conformation (typically 'English', 'show' or 'bench') and the Field (typically 'American' or 'working') lines differ, although both lines are bred in both countries. In general, however, Conformation Labradors tend to be bred as medium-sized dogs, shorter and stockier with fuller faces and a slightly calmer nature than their Field counterparts, which are often bred as taller, lighter-framed dogs, with slightly less broad faces and a slightly longer nose; however Field Labradors should still be proportional and fit within AKC standards. With field Labradors, excessively long noses, thin heads, long legs and lanky frames are not considered standard. These two types are informal and not codified or standardised; no distinction is made by the AKC or other kennel clubs, but the two types come from different breeding lines. Australian stock also exists; though not seen in the west, they are common in Asia. These dogs are also very good with children.
The breed tends to shed hair twice annually, or regularly throughout the year in temperate climates. Some Labradors shed considerably; however, individual Labradors vary. Labrador hair is usually fairly short and straight, and the tail quite broad and strong. The webbed toes of the Labrador Retriever make them excellent swimmers. The webbing between their toes can also serve as a 'snowshoe' in colder climates and keep snow from balling up between their toes- a condition that can be painful to other breeds with hair between the toes. Their interwoven coat is also relatively waterproof, providing more assistance for swimming.
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrador_Retriever
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