Puppies of any description tend to be an immediate crowd-pleaser, and are one of the few things upon which the global community of the internet can even begin to universally agree. After all, who doesn’t like to watch a cute puppy trying to understand the world around it? The curiosity and trust puppies tend to display towards one and all only adds to this effect, and there are few, if any people, who will not express at least some kind of affection should a puppy come over to greet them.
Regrettably, puppies don’t stay young forever, so don’t just take one that looks cute. The responsible pet owner will seek out a dog that they can realistically keep and support for an extended period of time and will take into account all of the possible implications of an adult dog as well as the puppy they see at the time. What is now a small, playful puppy, can grow into an enormous animal for which the homeowner may not have room or resources. The easygoing juvenile temperament can easily give way to the aggression and territorial behavior of puberty.
While there are certain breeds that, for this specific reason, should be left to the exclusive care of an experienced handler or trainer, you as a pet owner are not left without options for a docile and enjoyable house pet. There exist many breeds picked specifically for their agreeable nature and friendly disposition; some were even created for that specific purpose.
One such ‘designer breed’ is the golden Labrador, made, as its name suggests, by crossing the golden retriever with the Labrador dog. The result is an enormously even-tempered and highly complacent animal, with qualities that have made it the first choice among many families seeking a dog that will be enjoyable even when fully grown.
Golden Labradors, or goldadors, have a relatively short history as a breed, starting only in the middle 1900s. While there may have been some specimens before then, the widespread popularization of the goldador breed and its rise to prominence as one of the best non-combat service dogs in the world only happened over the last century or so. As the global community became more connected and the technology and science involved in crossbreeding became more exact, the goldador was rapidly selected for its gentle disposition, exceptional intelligence, and the ease with which it took to complicated commands and stressful situations.
Since the turn of the millennium, goldadors have become the dog of choice for medic alerts, bomb detection, narcotics work, arson investigation, and numerous other roles in which the high energy and speed of the more stereotypical German shepherd is not required. These dogs are also regular choices for families looking for a companion dog and hunters wanting a companion in the bush, combining the two retriever strains of the Labrador and golden retrievers to achieve an unusually well-developed bird-dog instinct that one might not find in a purebred dog.
As golden Labradors are a hybrid dog, they can demonstrate the physical attributes of either side of their parentage – unlike a purebred, they have no single set of physical standards to which they tend to adhere. This said, there are some characteristics that tend to express themselves more than others. A golden Labrador will, of course, display the distinctive yellow coloration that gave golden retrievers their name, and tends to have their trademark smile too.
The Labrador side tends to express itself in a golden Labrador’s short, straight fur and the dog’s skeletal build and gait. Golden retrievers tend to be somewhat larger than Labradors, with long, wavy fur, but do not pass this trait on to golden Labradors. The shape of the dog’s head and ears are a toss-up between the two breeds and can mimic either a golden retriever or Labrador equally.
Golden Labradors are of medium build, and weigh between 60 to 80 pounds when fully grown, although this number can vary drastically based on parentage and diet. They stand approximately two feet high at the shoulder, and carry their tail down and their head at a middle angle.
Taking on a golden Labrador puppy is a more complicated task than one might think, largely because of the puppy’s hybrid status as a crossbred dog, the commanding majority of authoritative bodies on the subject refuses to recognize it at all. The American Kennel Club, for example, will issue neither a pedigree nor certificate of pure breeding. As it is considered by many the gold standard in canine certification, the rest of the dog enthusiast world generally follows suit.
Although such a certificate isn’t necessary to get a good dog – as mentioned, golden Labradors have found their way to many critical roles in our society without such documentation – it makes it decidedly more difficult to source your puppy. A purebred dog’s parentage is thoroughly documented almost by definition, and one can easily find the breeder responsible for the litter and check on the conditions and standards in which the dog was raised. A golden Labrador puppy has no such record to work with, and one can easily wind up with an inhumanely raised pup if one does not take the proper precautions.
While a golden Labrador is originally the product of crossing a Labrador and a golden retriever, they tend to breed true to form, meaning that future generations will, as a rule, be golden Labradors as well. Additionally, it means that each successive litter of golden Labrador puppies will more closely resemble a common archetype than the preceding one.
This has given a certain amount of hope for enthusiasts of the breed, as the American Kennel Club views breeding true to form as one of the signs of a breed being a distinct subspecies of dog rather than a defect in the lines of the parents. This, combined with the continually refined archetype of the golden Labrador for comparison purposes, means that there exists the real possibility of the golden Labrador gaining AKC recognition for future breeding.
Care And Feeding
Caring for puppies of any description is never as easy as it looks or sounds. They may be small, but puppies will soon be able to walk around, bite things, and generally get into all manner of trouble just as independently as a grown dog, particularly if they have already stopped nursing. If they have not, they should not be separated from their mother. Dogs can be bottle-fed, but the change can throw off their eating cycle and is only rarely worth the time it takes to make the switch.
Your puppy or puppies should first of all be given a proper sleeping area, ideally lined with something soft, inexpensive, and easy to clean. This will make them used to coming back to the same place at the end of each day and forms the basis for the routine that is so important to teach an adolescent dog. Add to this a single food and water bowl, up to three puppies at once; should there be more, try to keep it to one bowl for every two puppies.
Dogs at any stage in their life cycle should have ready access to water throughout the day, and should be made used to the idea of eating at the same time and place all the time; this will make the rest of their training easier on you and plays easily to the dog’s natural instinct to learn and perform. Serve both food and water only in pet-safe, BPA free utensils. Additionally, take care that the bowl in question is not large enough for the puppy to biome trapped inside, and does not include any sharp rims or edges that might damage the puppy’s delicate mouth or pads.
Selecting food for your puppy is a finicky but crucial part of its care, and should be approached with a certain degree of scientific readiness to engage in trial and error. A few false starts are no reason to give up on getting your puppy the nutrition it both needs and deserves. Thankfully, a considerable degree of scientific thought has already gone into this question, and pet foods today are labeled according to a whole slew of variables. You can search for the right food for your dog by age, weight, breed, lifestyle, and a number of specific medical conditions, among many other possibilities.
Overall, you should look for a dry kibble made from high-quality ingredients and labeled as being for athletic or active dogs, and cross-reference to see if there is a formula for that same kibble that is measured for puppies. Wet kibble can be good as the occasional treat, but should be avoided long-term for the oral and dental health issues it has been known to cause. Table scraps should be a similarly rare occurrence and allotted only if you know the food is both digestible for dogs and not damaged in some way by the cooking process.
Should you find that your local pet supplier doesn’t have a food that answers this description exactly don’t get too worked up. Most pet foods are made of roughly the same ingredients and can be fed to dogs that do not perfectly match the prescribed category if there is no other option. Ask the shopkeeper or a trusted veterinarian to find a food that most closely simulates the ingredients and ratios in the food you intended to buy and make sure to switch to something more appropriate as soon as it becomes available.
The same cannot be said about medication, although it is often labeled the same way; if your medication does not exactly match your puppy’s description, it should be set aside for a different dog and medication of the proper dosage acquired instead. Do not try to accommodate for the differences by using half-doses or other approximate measures.
Many canine medications can be bought without a prescription from a veterinarian, but it is the rare case in which consulting one anyway is a bad idea. A quick call or text message can prevent a mistake that could seriously injure your golden Labrador puppy.
Recommended medications for the golden Labrador puppy include a full vaccination schedule and both internal and external parasite killers. Puppies of any breed are frequently born with intestinal worms, and their thinner skin and fur makes them more attractive to ticks and lice than their parents. It is important to treat these problems with a proven preventative agent that will rid your puppy of pests in a hurry and protect it from such things as tick fever or malnutrition as it grows.
Vaccinations, like any injection, should only be issued by someone trained in doing so; they are also legally required for a domesticated dog in many locales, so make sure that your veterinarian thoroughly documents each dose. Medication against parasites is recommended whether or not your dog has ever had any, or at least any that you know about, and can be administered without a veterinarian’s presence or prescription as long as one follows the instructions included with each dose.
Puppies should be allowed to exercise at least once a day, and socialized with other pets and people to make sure that they will not become aggressive in their presence. Some puppy owners prefer a number of shorter walks spaced out through the day, as this gives the puppies less chance to soil their cage.
A golden Labrador is highly trainable and is in fact used for some of the world’s most crucial and demanding detection work. Training should include discipline and obedience, and specialization in whatever the puppy will need for later in life; additionally, and indispensably, house-train your puppy as soon as possible.
The golden Labrador puppy starts out as a cute yellow fluff ball and rapidly grows into a large, strong dog with a healthy social streak. If you can handle it for the first few years, your golden Labrador will become a perennially friendly and optimistic pal around the house.
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