Why does my lab have wavy hair?

Labrador chocolate image by Daniel Picard from Fotolia.com

According to the American Kennel Club, Labrador Retrievers have remained the most popular breed of dog in the U.S for 19 consecutive years, as of 2010. Labs are known for their friendliness, tolerance, intelligence, and loyalty.

Due to their popularity, Labs have become a "base" breed for many new mixes or "designer dogs".

The Labrador Coat

According to the American Kennel Club's website, purebred Labrador coats are, "short, straight and very dense, giving a fairly hard feeling to the hand. The Labrador should have a soft, weather-resistant undercoat that provides protection from water, cold and all types of ground cover. A slight wave down the back is permissible." In addition, the AKC lists only three acceptable colours for pure Labs; yellow, brown (chocolate), and black (though a white spot on the chest is allowed).

The Labradoodle Coat

If your dog's coat is more than "slightly wavy", you may own a type of breed known as a "Labradoodle"-a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle. This "designer dog" first came from Australia in 1988) and may have a coat ranging from straight to curly fur in a variety of colours. While a Labradoodle is not an AKC recognised breed, it is one of the most popular designer breeds as it combines all the characteristics of a Lab with the hypoallergenic coat of a Poodle.

Other Mixes

Labrador image by Nicolas LOGEROT from Fotolia.com

Other lab-based mixes are common because of the Lab's popularity. The Borador (Border Collie plus Lab), and Sherpador (Australian Shepherd plus Lab) are just two examples of designer mixes that may have wavy hair. Other breeds that may be mixed with Labs include Setters, Spaniels, and Terriers--all of which may have flat to wavy hair, while Portuguese Water Dogs, Curly-Coated Retrievers, Kerry Blue Terriers, and Irish Water Spaniels all have wavy to curly fur. The only accurate method to know the breed or mix of your dog is to speak with a veterinarian about a DNA test for your pet.