Home About Labradors A Basic Care Guide for the Yellow Lab

A Basic Care Guide for the Yellow Lab


There’s no doubt the Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the US. The yellow lab is probably best known for its role as a guide dog for people who are blind. They are a strong dog with lots of energy, and they make a great companion or service animal. They need a large place to be able to play and get plenty of exercise, but they are as loyal and trainable as they are playful. 

History of the Yellow Lab

The ancestors of your yellow lab came from Newfoundland. People traveled there from England and settled in the 18th century. The early dogs were used basically as fishing and hunting companions, but they were split into two breeds. These included the Newfoundland dog and the St. John’s dog, which is the ancestor of the Labrador. Later, St. John’s dogs were taken back to England. That is where they were bred to create the breed of Labrador we have now. Early Labs were almost always black. The genetic information that forms the yellow lab’s color must be present in both the sire and the dam if the pups are to have yellow fur.

However, early on, the yellow Lab was not preferred. Breeders culled yellow-colored pups if they showed up in a litter. This made the yellow lab rare for a long time. The yellow lab’s personality helped it start to gain some popularity, and today, they are one of the most desired breeds. The yellow color can range from a light creamy shade to a darker almost gold hue. Sometimes the yellow lab has unique shades of red. For many years, the lighter shades of yellow labs were the most sought after. Because of their great personalities, they have become some of the most popular pets today, especially for families.

Personality and Temperament of the Yellow Lab

The Labrador breed is typically easy to socialize as they are warm and friendly. Their personalities are a bit like people’s in that they can range from inquisitive and reserved to over-the-top silly. They were bred to be working dogs, and they are true companions. This is perhaps why they do not like being left alone for long periods of time. The yellow lab is content to be with its family and likes to be by your side always. They will end up being your shadow if you let them.

In general, the yellow lab is easy going, calm, and obedient. This comes from the desire to please their humans. Despite of this calmer nature, Lab pups, in particular, can turn a bit curious and destructive. They require close monitoring, especially when they are younger to keep them from chewing up things around the house or developing destructive behaviors. They usually grow out of these types of behaviors. Training them well and keeping them active usually curbs bad behaviors. The Labrador is known for being a good dog, but they don’t just magically grow up to be a perfect dog. They need lots of TLC, consistency, time, and attention. But as long as their human remains actively involved with them, they will probably be one of the best companions a person or family could hope for.

Energy Levels of the Yellow Lab

Labradors are built to work and be active. This makes them a high-energy dog. Because they are easy to train, they are often a popular choice when it comes to police work. They make excellent search and rescue team members. Because they have so much energy, they are a great running companion. They tend to love outdoor time and enjoy activities like camping, swimming, and hiking.

Your yellow lab will need between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise every day to keep them healthy and in shape. As the lab parent, it’s important for you to provide them with plenty of playtime, mental stimulation, and exercise. This will keep them calmer, healthier, and happier.

Socializing Your Yellow Lab

The lab is easy to socialize because of their temperaments. They need exposure to people inside and outside the home, and other dogs. The Labrador is friendly by nature and usually does well meeting new people. Check with their vets first, before socializing them outside the home. They will need to be protected by the early vaccinations before venturing out to the local dog park or other public places dogs and their humans may hang out. It is essential to introduce them to new dogs in neutral areas. Otherwise, they may tend to want to protect their territory. Once they have been vaccinated, they can be socialized at parks, pet stores and even the vet clinic. This provides them with opportunities to meet and interact with other dogs and different kinds of people. Another part of socializing your yellow lab is introducing them to a variety of environments. This can be done by taking them to the city, the beach, or on a hiking or camping trip. Exposing them to various situations lets them become accustomed to a variety of smells and noises.

Size of a Yellow Lab

The Labrador is a relatively large dog. The adult male will usually reach a height between 22.5 and 24.5 inches. The female lab will usually be just under that between 21.5 and 23.5 inches tall. The adult male can weigh as much as 65 to 80 pounds and females may reach somewhere between 55 and 70 pounds. Even though there are larger breeds, the yellow lab is considered a large-breed dog.

Taking Care of Your Yellow Labrador

The yellow lab is not a difficult breed to take care for. They are typically cooperative and affectionate, and they will have a desire to please you. They’ll need food, exercise, shelter, and lots of love.

Feeding the Yellow Lab

It’s crucial to provide the proper diet for your yellow lab to keep them healthy and happy. Especially when they are puppies, they tend to eat anything and everything – just because it’s there, not because they are hungry. They may require more supervision to make sure they don’t eat something that is harmful to them. It’s best to avoid exposing them to human food and to provide them with a well-balanced dog food instead. Later on, human food may be introduced as a treat, but it should not constitute their whole diet.

One of the main things to remember about feeding the yellow lab is that they are a high energy canine. They will need proper nourishment to ensure they can keep up with the calories they burn. Talk to your vet about the right kinds of food for your yellow lab. When they are puppies, you’ll want to provide dog food with a special formula for pups. As they mature, you will switch over to dog food formulated for large breed dogs. Your veterinarian can help you learn more about what formulas are best for your Lab and inform you when it’s time to switch from a puppy formula to an adult variety.

Yellow labs will have an appetite that matches their energy levels. This basically means you’ll want to calculate their weight and age to figure their serving sizes. They need adequate amounts of food without being overfed. They need sufficient calories to replenish their energy. But there is a danger to overfeeding the lab. Your vet can help you with the serving sizes and intervals that are best for your dog’s size.

Grooming Your Yellow Lab

You won’t have to worry about the expense of a professional groomer for your yellow lab. They are easily groomed at home and usually only need regular brushing to help with shedding. Brush them about once a week. You’ll also need to trim their toenails from time to time. You can pick up a dog toenail trimmer at your local pet store. They’ll need their toenails trimmed about once a month. The yellow lab has a natural love of water and they enjoy a good swim. This makes bathing easy. However, it’s not good for their coat to bathe them too frequently. If they roll in the dirt, get exceptionally dirty, or come inside smelling awful, they will need a bath for sure.

Common Health Issued for Yellow Labs

Each canine breed has its one health concerns and conditions they are prone to develop. Typically, the Labrador breed is healthy without a lot of serious health concerns. Most of the time, proper attention, grooming, and care avoids most health problems. But there are some common health concerns particular to the Labrador breed.

  • Hip Dysplasia is a condition where the thigh bones and hip joints don’t fit properly. This can lead to the development of arthritis. It is hereditary. Not allowing your yellow lab to jump from high places and keeping them from running up and down stairs too much can help prevent hip dysplasia. You can also give them supplements to help keep joints healthy. Ask your vet which ones are best, or if a dog food that includes these supplements is best for your yellow lab.
  • Elbow Dysplasia is also hereditary in large breed dogs. The joint in the elbow has too much laxity.
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans, or OCD, is an orthopedic condition. It occurs when the cartilage in a joint (usually the elbow) doesn’t grow properly. It is easily detected in young pups.
  • Cataracts are white, cloudy spots that appear in the dog’s eyes. They are similar to what humans get, and they can impair their vision.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye disease where the retina gradually degenerates. It can cause vision loss over time.
  • Ear Infections are common for the yellow lab. The way their ear is structured, and their love of water can leave them with frequent ear infections. However, checking their ears closely each week can help prevent serious problems with their ears.
  • Dermatitis is a skin condition in which the skin becomes red and inflamed. It can be caused by bacteria. Your vet or your local pet store may recommend an appropriate medicated shampoo.
  • Obesity is a major concern with the yellow lab since they have a great appetite. It’s easy for them to become overweight, which can lead to more serious health problems.

If any questions or concerns about the health of your yellow lab ever come up, make sure to consult with a veterinarian. Most health issues can be prevented or at least minimized by providing proper care and regular visits to the vet for checkups.

Is a Yellow Lab Right for You?

The yellow lab is a great choice when for individuals or families who are looking for a dog. However, not every family is the right setting for a Labrador. It’s important to have the time to commit to providing for the yellow lab to ensure they remain happy and healthy. A single person who lives in a small apartment might not be able to properly care for the Lab. It needs room to move around, places to play, and a lot of companionship. If you work all day and don’t have the time to devote to this beautiful animal, it might not be the pet for you. The Lab loves company, they are not a solitary animal and they want to be with their humans. Their lifespan averages around 12 years, so they will be members of your family for a long time.

In general, the yellow lab is the perfect family pet. They just need love, training, and attention to be content. They will follow you around while you clean the house and they will sit at your feet. They’ll also follow you outside to play. If you are looking for an active outdoor companion, the yellow lab is the perfect option. Their sweet, warm nature and intelligence are appealing, but so is their desire to be active. They love an outdoor adventure, and they can keep you on the move for many years. If you are ready to devote enough time to this beautiful animal, you’ll be welcomed with loving paws.