Once upon a time, the black labrador was the only one to meet the breed standard. And although today it is inferior in number to its fawn brethren, its shiny charcoal coat looks much more advantageous than its light one. Let’s figure out the features of the black Labrador retriever and the specifics of its content.
A Brief History Of The Origin
The homeland of black Labradors is the Canadian island of Newfoundland. Experts suggest that their ancestors were brought there by the Vikings. Later, their descendants were divided into large and small Newfoundland dogs.
The first were distinguished by their large size and long shaggy hair. The latter were smaller in stature and had a short, stiff awn. It is the small Newfoundland dogs, used as assistants to fishermen and rescuers, that are the direct ancestors of black Labrador retrievers.
They came to Great Britain in the 18th century. But English dog handlers showed real interest in black Labradors only in the 19th century.
Interesting! For a long time, only the black labrador was the standard. Pale dogs were culled until 1899. And the Chocolate Labrador Retriever gained recognition in 1930.
Interesting Facts About Black Labs
- It is believed that black Labradors are smarter than their fawn and chocolate counterparts. According to hunters, dark dogs are better looking for shot games.
- According to one version, the breed was named after the blue-black mountain stone labradorite.
- Black Labradors are capable of diving 10 meters deep. Dogs of this breed can swim at least 20 m underwater.
Description of the breed, standards and appearance
The Labrador Retriever is a compact, sturdy, medium-sized dog with well-developed muscles. The characteristics that a typical representative of this breed must meet are collected in the AKC standard :
- The head is proportional, not too massive, but not thin-boned either. The skull is broad with a pronounced stop.
- The jaws are strong, moderately long. Scissor bite. White teeth included.
- The nose is wide, well pigmented with prominent nostrils.
- The eyes are medium in size. The look is lively, intelligent. The eye color is brown or hazel.
- The ears are set far apart, small, drooping.
- The body is compact with a straight topline. The neck is powerful and strong. The chest is wide, deep with well-sprung ribs. The loin is strong and short.
- The limbs are straight with developed muscles. Feet are round, compact with hard pads and webbed toes.
- The tail is of medium length, thick at the base, gradually tapering. Has a characteristic “otter” shape. The breed Labrador Retriever never folds its tail over its back.
Labrador color and coat type
Representatives of this breed have a warm “fur coat”, which they inherited from their ancestors who lived in harsh climatic conditions.
Both light and dark Labradors have a water-repellent, coarse coat that is free from waves and feathers. Under the short, shiny awn of the retriever, there is a developed undercoat.
Labrador is not only black. The standard allows for the existence of several color options. According to it, in addition to coal labs, there are also chocolate and fawn dogs.
The shades of the coat can be varied. The most common hepatic, golden, and light cream, almost white Labrador. A small white patch is allowed on the chest of Black Labrador Retrievers.
Initially, only Labradors of this color were kept alive, a popular belief wanted only these to be able to carry out daily chores, only then was a chance also given to puppies born with a different coat pigmentation ( honey labrador ) and never choice was more apt.
As we know, the color of the coat is given by the presence of melanin (a substance that gives color and is produced by specific cells called melanosomes).
The color of melanosomes is linked to the amount of melanin that they themselves contain, in the hair, so there can be two types of this particular element: eumelanin which determines the presence of the black or brown color, and pheomelanin which instead determines the yellow color of the mantle.
The black color is due to specific genetic conditions and the necessary one is the presence of the B gene; here are the genotypes necessary to obtain this particular pigmentation:
- BBEE genotype with the dominant B gene (black)
- BbEE genotype we will also have here a black Labrador but with the brown (b) recessive gene, therefore a black subject that transmits the color of the chocolate Labrador
- BbEe genotype (here you will have both the recessive brown and yellow gene but our Labrador will have a black pigmentation) – black that transmits yellow and brown
- genotype BBEe (also black with recessive yellow) – black that transmits yellow.
Character and behavior
Black Labrador is an obedient, loyal, reckless, executive, and completely non-aggressive dog. It’s able to make decisions with lightning speed, for which hunters especially appreciate it.
Black Labrador Retrievers have a stable psyche and quickly become attached to their owners. The dog does not like to be alone for a long time and begins to yearn.
The Labrador Retriever has a friendly and loving personality. It treats children well and gets along well with cats. Black Labradors are very difficult to unbalance and make to attack a person. But if necessary, the dog can stand up for its own.
On a note. Black Labrador Retrievers do not single out one owner for themselves. They treat each member of the family with the same respect and love.
Black Lab Puppy Care
Labrador puppies require a lot of attention. From the first days, they need to be accustomed to a certain regimen and to a diaper.
As soon as the little Labrador Retriever receives all the vaccinations, he is taken outside and taught to relieve himself outside the house.
The puppy is fed about the same food as adult black Labradors. Only the small Labrador Retriever is given food in small portions at regular intervals.
The number of feedings depends on the age of the puppy:
- 1-2 months – 6 times a day;
- 2-3 months – 5 times a day;
- 4-5 months – 4 times a day;
- 6-10 months – 3 times a day.
In the future, the black Labrador is transferred to two meals a day.
Care and maintenance of an adult black lab
The Black Labrador Retriever is an unpretentious dog that easily adapts to different conditions. It can be kept in a spacious open-air cage with an insulated booth, and in a city apartment.
Home care comes down to regular walking, proper nutrition, and basic hygiene procedures.
Owners who do not have time to prepare food for their pets will prefer to feed black Labradors with dry food. This type of nutrition will provide your dog with all the essential vitamins and minerals.
Labrador retrievers are best suited for brands such as ProPlan, RoyalCanin, Acana, and Josera.
For those who prefer to feed their black Labradors natural food, you need to remember that the following foods should be in the diet of dogs:
- Raw meat (beef, turkey, lean lamb, or chicken breast)
- offal (liver, heart, kidney and rumen);
- vegetables (zucchini, carrots, pumpkin and beets);
- cereals (rice, buckwheat and oatmeal);
- sour milk (cottage cheese and kefir);
- sea fish;
It is strictly forbidden to feed the black Labrador with pasta, buns, sausages, sweets, tubular bones, potatoes, onions, smoked meats, pork and leftovers from the master’s table.
Important! The Black Labrador Retriever is a big food lover. If it is not limited in food, the dog will quickly gain excess weight, and this is fraught with health problems.
Walking and physical activity
The Black Labrador is an active and agile dog that needs a long stay in the fresh air. They walk with it in any weather for at least 1.5-2 hours a day.
While staying on the street with a dog, you can not only calmly wander along the alleys, but also run, play active games and work out the learned commands.
If possible, a black Labrador retriever is taken out to the pond for a swim.
Training and education
Labradors are very smart dogs. They are endowed with a lively mind and excellent memory. Even a beginner who has no experience in raising dogs will be able to train a black Labrador retriever in basic commands.
So that the puppy does not lose interest in classes, the first lessons are carried out in a playful way, and make sure that they last no longer than 5-10 minutes. In the process of training, a black Labrador retriever is necessarily encouraged with a treat and verbal praise.
In order for an adult dog to adequately respond to stimuli, a dog is taught from an early age to be calm about strangers, different types of transport, and loud sounds.
Care and hygiene
To ensure that black Labradors always have a neat and presentable look, their fur is regularly combed out with a special brush or mitten. At normal times, this is done a couple of times a week, and daily during molting.
Although the black labrador loves to swim, it is not advisable to wash it frequently with shampoo. Bath procedures are arranged no more than once a month. And after washing, the dog is rinsed with clean water, wiped off with a towel, and dried with a hairdryer.
The hanging ears of a Labrador are regularly cleaned with a cotton pad dipped in a special lotion. Failure to do this increases the risk of developing otitis media and other ear diseases.
The eyes of a black Labrador retriever are daily wiped with a swab, which has been dipped in boiled water or chamomile broth in advance.
A dog’s nails are usually grinded down naturally. But if necessary, they are cut off with a nail clipper.
Vaccinations and disease propensity
To prevent the black Labrador from catching the virus, it must be vaccinated. The vaccine is given only to a healthy dog that has been previously treated for fleas and worms.
The first vaccination is given to a puppy at the age of 8-9 weeks. After 21 days, the drug is re-administered. Subsequently, the dog is vaccinated annually using a complex drug that protects:
- from the plague of carnivores;
- viral hepatitis;
Black Labrador Retrievers are in good health and, with proper care, can live for about 10-12 years.
But dogs of this breed have a predisposition to such diseases:
- dysplasia of the elbow and hip joints;
- atopic dermatitis;
Buying a Labrador puppy and Price
It is better to get a black Labrador Retriever puppy from a specialized breeder, kennel, or through a kennel club. This reduces the risk of buying a non-purebred or sick dog.
A black lab puppy has an average price of $1200-$2000. Some Breeders could even offer black lab puppies for $2500 or even higher.
The price would depend on many factors, such as the pup’s lineage, its parents, its health, and the breeder’s reputation.
Aside from the puppy’s price, it would be best to consider the expenses that would come with it. For instance, you may want to get the essential things for your puppies like grooming tools, food, and shelter.
Pros and cons of the breed
|Lack of aggression
|The need for long walks
|Ability to get along with children
|Comparatively large size
|Attachment to owners
Black Labradors are cheerful, active, and agile dogs that retain their puppy spontaneity until old age.
They are highly intelligent and trainable.
Thanks to their outstanding mental abilities and the complete absence of aggression, this breed makes excellent companions, rescuers, dog therapists, and hunters.