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The Labrador Retriever

I remember “Prince”, a stunning black Labrador I used to walk in Germany when I was 16. I was in love with this dog and I loved to walk him. He was a dog with high energy, loved to run and play. He was the first Labrador I’d ever met and I have only good memories about him. He was the reason I always wanted a Labrador… so let’s talk a little about this breed.

The Labrador Retriever is known as a playful, friendly, energetic family dog. There two types of breeds: The English-bred lab: heavier, thicker and blockier; and the American-bred lab: tall and lanky. They appear in different colors of chocolate (brown), yellow (tan), black and silver. I had not seen a silver lab before but saw pictures today, so adorable! Some people say it’s a mix with a Weimaraner.

Labradors love to play and are good swimmers. Most of the people I know who want to become pet parents always think of a Labrador – especially if they have kids. Like the Golden Retriever, this breed is one of the most popular breeds in the USA; loyal, loving, affectionate and patient, making great family dogs (I think I already said that). Highly intelligent, good-natured, very willing and eager to please, they are also among the top choices for service dog work. They’re often seen walking next to a wheelchair, guiding the blind or assisting people with disabilities. A trainer told me once that he loves to train Labradors, “because they are easy to train.”

The standard colors: Yellow, Black and Chocolate (Photo: Wikipedia)

Where do they come from? Once catching fish next to the side of a fisherman, the Labrador is native to Newfoundland. Labrador is the distinct, northerly region of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In the 1800’s they were brought by English ships from Labrador to England. The breed was crossed with spaniels, setters and other types of retrievers, proving to be one of the most talented dogs for  hunting, tracking, retrieving, police work, service work and search and rescue.

Some of my rescue friends say, “You can never go wrong with a Lab,” particularly if they were socialized at an early age. Know, however, that Labradors have high energy and can turn this energy toward destructive behavior if they do not receive enough mental and physical exercise (like almost any other breed). Even though they are much loved and enjoy a high demand in the U.S., many dogs get euthanized every day in pounds and shelters.

I saw a Craigslist ad today again, offering puppies for a minimal rehoming fee with suspicious breeders advertising “excellent blood lines.” I also went to the shelter today to take some pictures and I saw 2 Labradors sitting next to each other in a kennel, looking at everyone who passed.

It broke my heart when I read “Owner surrender” on the ID-Card. Both were very friendly with the typical Lab disposition, yet were surrendered by their owners, and now sitting on the concrete floor of an animal shelter after they had served their families… for 10 years.

This is one of the many purebred Labrador puppies waiting for a forever home in one of the U.S. shelters.

How can people be so cruel and heartless as to give up on their dogs after 10 years? “They moved to a new place – they don’t allow dogs” said the shelter volunteer. Why do people move to places where they don’t allow dogs? I just don’t get it. Aren’t there enough places you can live with dogs in the U.S.? I think it’s often an excuse, and the easiest way to get rid of your old dog (one of the dogs is suffering from elbow dysplasia). Once fetching ball for the kids, they are now waiting to be rescued or adopted together. I had no phone and no camera with me and couldn’t take pictures. I tried to find them online to post here – unfortunately they are not listed yet. I found some others; like the two dogs in the pictures, they available for adoption.

Please let me know if you are interested and I will pass you the information.

This is a young yellow Lab waiting at the high-kill Downey shelter. Please adopt and don't shop! Check shelter listings first.

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