Labrador Retrievers are the lovable, family-friendly dog we all know and love! Labs have been the most popular breed in the United States for 25 years running. One of the older recognized breeds, Labradors were originally bred to be strong, active retrieving dogs that excelled in hunting and swimming. The breed, named after the Labrador Sea where it originated, continued to be developed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and was recognized by the AKC in 1917.
Today, these dogs are known for their outgoing and energetic personalities, and are extremely intelligent and devoted pets. The Labrador Retriever is consistently warm, loyal and good-natured, making it a wonderful companion for individuals and families of all ages. Muscular and athletic, these pups have a fairly high energy level and therefore require a significant amount of exercise.
Labs are an incredibly versatile breed, as they can excel at anything from K9 police work to agility to service work for the disabled. Full grown labs are medium sized, typically weighing in at about 55-75 lbs. Labs have short, low-maintenance coats and only require minimal bathing and brushing.
This breed comes in three colors—yellow, black and chocolate. While today it is America's most popular dog, Labs were almost extinct by the 1880s, until English fans of the breed saved it.
California is located on the far southwestern side of the U.S. and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico. The capital of California is Sacramento, and the largest city by far is Los Angeles with San Diego and San Jose trailing behind. California is a highly desirable place to live. It is the third largest state in the country and has been the most populous state since 1964. California is very diverse; from the thick green forests of the north, to the rocky beaches of the west and the Sierra Nevada mountains of the east, each region has its own distinctive characteristics and landscapes. Most of California has a Mediterranean-type climate with dry summers and cool, rainy winters, but the temperatures of the north can vary greatly from the hot deserts of the south. Death Valley, California stands in sharp contrast to most other regions in the state with the highest average temperature in the western hemisphere, sometimes reaching a whopping 130oF. California's beautiful beaches and eight national parks, scattered throughout the state, make it a perfect destination for the outdoor enthusiast. California also has much to offer in the way of entertainment, including a very large number of amusement parks (more than any other state!). Major attractions in the Los Angeles area, one of the major cities of California, include Disneyland, Universal Studios and the shops of Beverly Hills.
California state law requires that all puppies four months and older are vaccinated for rabies. A rabies vaccine can last from one to three years. Another shot that is highly recommended is the DHLPP vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that includes protection against parvovirus, distemper and four other diseases. This vaccine should be given at 9, 12, and again at 16 - 20 weeks of age, then followed up with a booster annually. Finally, the bordetella vaccine, which protects against kennel cough, is not required but highly recommended - especially if you plan to board your dog in a kennel. The cost of vaccinating a dog varies based on location and each veterinarian's rates, but it is safe to expect to pay at least $20 - $150 the first year of your dog's life, and $10 - $100 each year thereafter. There are many low-cost pet vaccinations services available all over the state of California. Rabies vaccines can often be obtained for $10 or less, and if you adopt your dog from a shelter or rescue, the first round of shots is often included in the adoption fee.
Leash laws in California are different from county to county, but most city ordinances require that dogs be kept on a leash whenever they're not on the dog owner's property. Keep in mind that California enforces very strict liability for any owner whose dog bites someone, regardless of prior knowledge of viciousness. Even if your dog is very friendly, it is advisable to always keep him or her on a leash when going for a walk. Better safe than sorry!
It is a law in California that you must license your dog annually. This process is not difficult. You simply fill out a form and mail it along with proof of rabies vaccination to your local animal control department. The cost for licensing depends on the area in which you live. In Los Angeles, the fee is around $20 with proof of sterilization. Los Angeles and many other counties charge a much higher fee for dogs that are not "fixed." In addition to proof of rabies protection, the license has an added benefit for you. It gives you the hope of getting your dog back if she becomes lost. A more permanent form of identification is the microchip, a small device which is implanted just under your dog's skin. When scanned, it provides contact information so your dog or puppy can be safely returned to you. The microchip does not replace a dog license but it is becoming more and more common. Many shelters in California are now implanting microchips in all dogs that are offered for adoption. It may soon become mandatory for all shelters to implant chips in puppies and dogs that are either adopted or returned to their owners.
It is illegal in California to have a dog in the back of an open vehicle unless the dog is caged or cross-tied. An exception is made for vehicles where the sides and back are at least 46 inches high. Violators can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to a $250 penalty if caught.
In 1979, the first dog park in the world opened in Berkeley, California. There are now hundreds of dog parks and dog beaches scattered throughout the state. The dog parks often considered California's best are located in Santa Barbara, Lake Tahoe, Pasadena, Laguna Beach, San Diego and San Francisco. Although many dog parks are public municipal parks, there are a growing number of private parks where dog owners pay a membership fee. These parks are often safer for many reasons. They have a more controlled environment; dogs are carefully screened and rules are more strictly enforced. If your dog is social with both people and other dogs, dog parks are a great way to encourage her to make a new pup pal without being overbearing. If she is healthy and knows how to obey basic commands, then you can probably feel comfortable taking her to a dog park.
California's mostly mild climate makes it the perfect place for all kinds of activities with your pooch. There are two especially unique events that take place in Long Beach, one of the most dog-friendly cities in the state. First, a Bulldog Beauty Contest on Valentine's Day each year, and the Haute Dog's Howl'oween Parade, which features over 400 dogs parading down the city's streets in costume. If your dog is more the athletic type, there are all kinds of walkathons held in different areas for you and your dog to participate in. Flyball, which was invented in California, is another sport dogs enjoy. Finally, you can't mention California without talking about surfing - Imperial Beach and Huntington Beach are two places that offer surfing competitions for dogs of all sizes.