Christmas With Your Labrador: A Guide To The Lab Breeders Near You
by David R. Anderson
The following are some things I’ve learned from my years of working with dogs and their owners around the world:
1) There’s no such thing as a “good” lab mix.
Some are very good at what they do, while others aren’t so great. They all have strengths and weaknesses that make them perfect for certain jobs or not so much.
2) Labradors are wonderful family pets.
They’re loyal, affectionate, and love to play. However, they don’t always live up to their potential when it comes to work ethic or obedience training. (I’m looking at you Fox Red!)
3) Labradors can be trained to perform many tasks well.
If properly socialized and taught proper commands, they’ll do just fine in most situations.
4) Labradors are intelligent animals.
They learn quickly and adapt to new environments very easily. So if you want your dog to become a responsible member of the household, then you need to take care of him right from birth!
So here’s how I’d like to present this guide: Each section will include a brief description of the type of lab involved, along with links where readers can read more about each breed. It’s important to note that there are many different types of lab mixes out there. The ones I’ve chosen to highlight are dogs that resemble purebred labs the most and can be found in large numbers across North America.
When it comes to breeding, not all dogs are created equal. When breeders decide which pairing would produce the “best” puppies, it’s important to remember that not all puppies from a litter will grow up looking the same or having the same skills as their parents. For this reason, it’s necessary to look at each type of lab mix as an individual dog with its own personality traits and physical attributes.
As I mentioned in the introduction to this guide, I’ve chosen to highlight lab mixes that have “similar” characteristics to their purebred counterparts. This isn’t a guide that will tell you everything about every lab mix out there!
Just keep in mind that each one of these mixes will have different personalities, skillsets, and appearances. I’ve only provided a broad overview of some of the more common and well loved mixes that I get to work with on a regular basis.
Now let’s begin with one of the most popular lab mixes out there: The American Water Spaniel!
The American Water Spaniel is a medium sized dog reaching heights between 21-24 inches and weighing between 45-70 pounds. It has an otter-like tail, round head, and short legs.
This dog has a short, stiff, water-repelling coat that can be black, brown, or chocolate in color. The American Water Spaniel also has a strong tail that it uses as a rudder when swimming. It has webbed feet and a deep chest to help this swimmer move through the water with ease.
Its eyes are small and dark for helping it see under water.
These dogs are natural swimmers, and have been used as working water dogs for centuries. They were bred to assist hunters on waterfowl hunts in the bogs of England. This breed uses its webbed feet and powerful chest to swim through muddy, deep waters that other dogs could not.
It will swim under water to retrieve ducks that have been shot down, then the hunter will use the dog’s strong swimming skills to guide it back to shore. These dogs are hard workers and they work with their owners to bring down as many ducks as possible.
Temperament: American Water Spaniels are cheerful, energetic, and playful. They are affectionate towards their families and will want to stay close to them whenever possible. This dog is also intelligent, so it can be easily trained.
This breed loves playing in the water, but it’s not a great swimmer (compared to other water dogs like Newfoundlands, for example). The AWSpaniel gets along well with children, but its short legs make it less than ideal for toddlers who might accidentally knock it down. These dogs are natural swimmers, so they will seek out open water whenever they get the chance.
Although this breed is friendly towards everyone, it does have a strong sense of independence that will cause it to act on its own at times. Owners of the AWSpaniel need to be firmly established as pack leader, otherwise this dog will try to take charge. These dogs are fully capable of learning and are very people-oriented, but they should only be trained with positive reinforcement methods since they have sensitive temperaments.
If these dogs are not given the activity or leadership that they desire, they will begin to engage in activities that they see as more interesting.
American Water Spaniels have an average life span of 11-13 years.
Grooming: The AWSpaniel has a short coat that is easy to care for. It only requires weekly brushing and regular baths, it’s important to pay attention to the ears when bathing this breed since water can easily get in and cause an infection. This dog should also have its teeth brushed two to three times a week and its nails should be trimmed when they get too long.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The Labrador Handbook: The definitive guide to training and caring for your Labrador (P Mattinson – 2015 – books.google.com)
- CHRISTMAS IN LABRADOR (WT Grenfell – Quiver, 1912 – search.proquest.com)
- Your Labrador Retriever Puppy Month by Month: Everything You Need to Know at Each Stage of Development (DG Jarvis – 2014 – Flanker Press Limited)
- The Ship of Health: The Story of the MV Christmas Seal (T Albert, D Eldredge, D Ironside, B Ironside – 2016 – books.google.com)
- THE SHIP OF HEALTH: THE STORY OF THE MV CHRISTMAS SEAL JENNIFER MCPHAL AND JENNIFER ZYMANTAS (J McPhal, J Zymantas – 2009 – prism.ucalgary.ca)
- A marketing research study on the Christmas tree market of St. John’s and surrounding areas. (J MCPHAL – pdfs.semanticscholar.org)
- The Symbolism of Christmas Mummering in Newfoundland (H Levin – 1997 – Beacon Press)