We usually imagine a nice-natured Labrador Retriever with a golden coat when we think of them. A Lab’s hair is short, thick, and straight most of the time, but every once in a while, a Labrador with long silky locks appears. What is the significance of this, and what does it imply for dog owners and
According to the American Kennel Club, a Labrador’s “normal breed standard” is short hair, and coats that are waving, woolly, sparse, or silky “are not typical of the breed and should be severely penalized.”
Sounds kind of harsh.
However, if you want to display your long-haired Labrador in a dog show, that’s only if you planned on it. There’s no need to be scared of the length of the dog’s coat if you just want a fun and loving family pet. A fluffy Labrador is still an excellent companion, despite its longer appearance.
In this article, we’ll explore;
- Why do some Labrador Retrievers have long hair
- Shedding and grooming requirements of the long-haired Lab
- Temperament and personality
- Cost and where to buy a fluffy Lab
So, if you want to know everything there is to know about the long-haired Labrador Retriever to determine whether or not this lovely breed is appropriate for you, you’ll be disappointed. Let’s get started!
Are There Long Haired Labs?
Long-haired Labradors have a longer coat than other breeds. This is due to a recessive gene and is less frequent than short coats. All three colors of purebreds have the fluffy coat type, which comes in yellow, chocolate, and black.
Labradors have long been used as gun dogs, and their thick, short coat was perfect for hunting in inclement weather. The lengthy, wavy, gleaming coat of the long-haired Lab is less suited to this sort of work than the short-haired Lab’s compact hair.
Nowadays, most Lab owners do not bring their dogs out shooting with them, and the preference for Shorthair has diminished somewhat.
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Why Do Some Labs Have Long Hair?
To explain how long-haired Labradors came to be, we must discuss heredity, dominant qualities, and recessive characteristics.
Due to a recessive trait of a gene called fibroblast growth factor 5, known as FGF5, some Labradors have long hair. To manifest the lengthy coat, two copies of the genes from each parent are required. Puppies that inherit one copy of the gene will have normal short coats regardless of whether they are carriers or not.
Each parent contributes a different form of the hair length gene to their Labrador pup. An allele is a variant of a gene. The FGF5 DNA sequence contains the dominant characteristic of short hair, while long hair is recessive.
Because short hair is dominant, it shows up if any copies of that gene are present in the Lab’s genetic make-up. If the pup has one short hair allele and one long hair allele, both of which are recessive to each other, the short hair trait cancels out the long hair. When both of a puppy’s alleles have the recessive condition, only then does the long hair trait show up.
The parents’ long-haired Labrador’s coat will also rub off on their pups. If they mate with another dog that has at least one copy of the recessive gene, there’s a good chance their child will be a long-haired Lab as well.
Dog Coat Types – How Genetics Affect Coat Types…
Do Long-Haired Labs Shed?
Long-haired Labs, like their short-haired counterparts, shed a lot of hair due to having a double coat. They shed all year and more than usual twice a year, usually in the spring and winter, when they change their coats ahead of the season.
The Labrador’s undercoat is softer, grows faster, and keeps the dog warm. This is the coat that you’re most likely to see. The undercoat is coarser, slower-growing, and less dense. If you’ve ever run your fingers through a dog’s fur and gathered a handful of fluff, this is what it feels like when his or her undercoat comes off!
Because Labradors have a thicker undercoat than most double-coated breeds, they shed more. The dog will “blow” the undercoat during shedding seasons (spring and winter). You’ll always notice your Labrador shedding, but you may expect prodigious tumbleweeds of fur throughout your house during these periods. My recommendation is to invest in a Roomba!
Are Long-Haired Labradors Purebreds?
Long-haired Labradors are a pure breed. Long-haired Labs, except for their hair length, have the same ancestry as short-haired Labs. They are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, and they are severely penalized for conformation, although a little downward curl at the back is permissible.
For dog shows, dogs must meet very strict standards for appearance. Breeders go to extraordinary lengths to eliminate this characteristic in Labradors. This is one of the reasons why most Labradors have short hair.
The UK Kennel Club’s purebred Labrador Retriever breed standard also takes a similar view. “Coats should be short dense without wave or feathering.”
How Much Do Breeders Charge for Long-Haired Labs?
The average cost of a Labrador puppy ranges from $400 to $2000, depending on the seller and the bloodline. Adopting your Lab from a rescue center is considerably less expensive, starting at $50 and going as high as $600.
Make sure you acquire from a respectable breeder if you go the breed route. If the price appears to be too good to be true, it’s most likely because it is. This suggestion mainly applies to people who buy purebred dogs from breeders. The stakes in the purebred dog market are much higher.
Unfortunately, some breeders have been accused of selling mixed-breed puppies as Labradors simply because they possess the lengthy coat characteristic. Anyone concerned about the parentage of a puppy with such a coat should have it DNA tested. These are easy to find on Amazon or at most respectable pet stores, such as the Embark Dog DNA Test from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
You’re less likely to be scammed if you adopt from a rescue center if you live in an urban area. This is because most people who acquire from a rescue do so to provide a dog with a loving home rather than own one with show quality.
You must budget for not just the initial expenditure, but also for the expenses of caring for your dog when adopting a Lab puppy. Food, puppy training, and veterinary care are among these costs. Medical care will be the most expensive component of canine ownership. Depending on where you live and how active your dog is, owning a dog may cost anywhere from $1000 to $10,000 each year.
Long-Haired Labs as Good Family Dogs
Long-haired Labs are identical to other Labs in terms of physical size, shape, and temperament. They’re a kind, energetic breed that is gentle with children. As a result, the Labrador is one of the most popular dog breeds among households.
Why does the recessive long-hair gene persist to emerge? The answer is straightforward. People who have ordinary dogs don’t mind if their Lab’s coat is longer when a dog is as adorable as a Labrador. They simply desire a fluffy addition to their family.
Long-haired Labs have a particular gene called the fibroblast growth factor 5 gene. It makes their hair long.
The FGF5 gene is also called the L gene. The L gene has two types, the L type, and the l type. The L type makes short hair, while the l type makes long hair. When both are present, the dominant one is always selected over the other one.
Long-haired labs look like short-coated labs when they are born. The difference starts to show at around six weeks old, and it will get longer.
We know that when the L form of the L gene is present, it causes dogs to produce the protein fibroblast growth factor 5. When they can’t make this protein, hair grows longer.
Labradors can’t compete in the show ring if they have long hair, but they are still Labrador Retrievers. If they have a good pedigree, then they are purebred Labradors.
Labradors are usually not born with long coats. However, they can still have the genes that make them so. It’s a little surprising to find out this and we don’t know why it happens.
Labradors were smooth-coated in the past. But now, some Labrador dogs have long coats. It is unlikely that this gene stayed hidden for so long because it was introduced very early on in the lineage of Labradors. The gene is recessive, so it can be passed down through many generations without being expressed.
As we’ve seen, the Labrador Retriever breed standard doesn’t have any long-haired Labs. I don’t know why this is. But they are first and foremost gun dogs. They have a long and illustrious past working on hunts in all weathers and all seasons.
The Lab with a long hair coat is not the best dog for work. They are not good at protecting themselves from the weather or cleaning themselves after work. But they are great for being a family pet!
Long-haired Labs are also popular in the US. They have the same traits as short-coated Labs. For example, they are friendly and good with children. And it is not known if they have any health problems because of their long hair, but it is not related to that gene.
Labradors with long hair are rare. But they sometimes appear in Labrador puppies when the gene is passed on. Some labs have a test that will show if the dog has this recessive gene and this is something you can ask to read when you register your interest in a litter of puppies.
Most breeders avoid mating two dogs that have the same gene. They will not want a mixed litter. But they might be happy to mate a dog with a partner who does not have the gene for long hair.
All Labradors are wonderful first dogs, whether the traditional short-haired or the uncommon long-haired type.
Overall, Labrador owners have a favorable opinion of the breed. They are sociable, non-violent, loving, and easygoing. The length or texture of their coat does not influence this.