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Labrador Retriever basic information

The Labrador Retriever ("Labrador" or "Lab" for short), is one of several kinds of retriever, and is the most popular breed of dog (by registered ownership) in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The breed is exceptionally friendly, intelligent, and good natured, making them excellent companions and working dogs. Labrador Retrievers are known to be one of the fastest learning breeds of dog and respond well to praise.

Labradors are relatively large with males typically weighing 27 to 36 kg (60 to 80 lb) and females 23 to 32 kg (45 to 70 lb). They are energetic, outgoing dogs. Their coats are short and smooth, and can be black, yellow, or brown (called "chocolate") in color, in that order of frequency. Puppies of all colors can potentially occur in the same litter. The color is determined primarily by two genes. The first gene (the B locus) determines the density of the coat's pigment granules: dense granules result in a black coat, sparse ones give a chocolate coat. The second (E) locus determines whether the pigment is produced at all. A dog with the recessive e allele will produce little pigment and will be yellow regardless of its genotype at the B locus[1]. Variations in numerous other genes control the subtler details of the coat's coloration, which in yellow labs varies from white to light gold to a fox red. Yellow labs can have black or pink noses; chocolate and black labs's noses match the coat color. A very light color sometimes called 'silver' is not officially recognized, but is sought by some owners and therefore unusually light colored yellow and chocolate labs may be described this way by unscrupulous breeders.

As with some other breeds, the English and the American lines differ slightly. Labs are bred in England as a medium size dog, shorter and stockier with fuller faces than their American counterparts which are bred as a larger dog. No distinction is made by the AKC, but the two classifications come from different breeding. Australian stock also exists; though not seen in the west, they are common in Asia.

The breed tends to shed hair regularly throughout the year. Lab hair is usually fairly short and straight, and the tail quite broad and strong. The otter-like tail and webbed toes of the Labrador Retriever make them excellent swimmers. Their interwoven coat is also relatively waterproof, providing more assistance for swimming. The tail acts as a rudder for changing directions.

Many people unfamiliar with retrievers find that the Lab is quite similar to the Golden Retriever in size, general shape, and general color, especially when young and especially to those Goldens with lighter coats. Their personalities are also quite similar, with both breeds being intelligent, friendly, receptive to praise and easy to train. The most obvious difference is the short straight coat of the Labrador Retriever (the Golden has long wavy fur) and the Lab's thick, otter-like tail compared to the Golden's plumed tail.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Labrador_Retriever".
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