Labrador Retriever Breed Information

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Labrador Retrievers – Breed Profile

The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland, Canada and is believed to have descended from the now extinct “St. John’s Water Dog”. Labs where trained to help retrieve fishing nets from the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic. Their dense, water-repellant coats, swimming skills and hard working nature made them the perfect dog for this task.
In the early 19th century, the Duke of Malmesbury began breeding Labradors in England. He was also responsible for the name “Labradors”. Labrador Retrievers where first recognized by The British Kennel Club in 1903 and the American Kennel Club in 1917. It is now considered the most popular dog breed in the world. Anyone who has ever known a Labrador Retriever will surely understand why!

Chocolate Labrador RetrieverAbout Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are medium to large sized dogs with a smooth short coat and a powerful, otter like tail (usually wagging!). These intelligent dogs make great family pets but they do need a lot of exercise, mental stimulation and training. They enjoy long walks and love water. A well exercised Lab is a happy Lab!

Labrador Retrievers make excellent sporting dogs and excel as retrieving gun dogs. They are also used as guide dogs for the blind and therapy dogs.

Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular dog breed in the United States for the past 16 years. They are also by far the most popular dogs in The United Kingdom with over 45 000 registrations.


American Kennel Club Breed Standard:

Male: 22.5 inches – 24.5 inches to the shoulder

Female: 21.5 inches – 23.5 inches to the shoulder

British Kennel Club Breed Standard:

Male: 22 inches – 22.5 inches to the shoulder

Female: 21.5 inches – 22 inches to the shoulder


Male: 65 – 80lbs

Female: 55 – 70lbs


Labrador Retrievers have a short, thick, dense and weather resistant coat in black, yellow, chocolate or silver. Silver Labradors are not yet recognised by the American Kennel Club.

The difference between English and American Labrador Retrievers :

English Labrador Retrievers have smaller, shorter bodies and a fuller face, and American Labrador Retrievers have a larger body and some would say a more boisterous personality.


Webbed Feet – These act as ‘flippers’ and make Labs very strong swimmers

Otter-Like Tail – Acts like a rudder in the water.

Layered, Slightly Oily Coat – Keeps them warm and dries easily.

Soft Mouth – A well trained Lab can carry an egg in it’s mouth without cracking it

Ability To Learn – Can learn up to 300 human phrases

7th most intelligent dog breed.

The Labrador Retriever is intelligent, adaptable, obedient, sociable , affectionate and loyal. They are also very energetic, especially when very young.


Labrador Retriever swimming

Just another day in the water!



One of the reasons Labrador Retrievers are so popular is their excellent temperament. They are friendly, loving and non-aggressive. These outgoing dogs are playful and always eager to please. As someone once said “A Lab never has a bad day”. Due to their easy-going, non-aggressive nature, Labrador Retrievers do not make good guard dogs. They may bark protectively but unlikely to take things further.

Health Problems:

As with all breeds Labradors Retrievers are prone to certain health problems.

These include:

Canine hip dysplasia, epilepsy, elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and skin allergies.

Labrador Retrievers are also susceptible to Gastric Torsion – or Bloat.

Life Expectancy:

10 – 14 years.

Upkeep And Maintenance:

Labrador Retrievers must be well excercised on a daily basis. Whenever possible, this should take the form of running and swimming. Retrieving is at the top of the list of games that Labs really enjoy, especially through water such as the beach or even a large outdoor swimming pool. A well exercised Lab is a happy Lab!!!

A moment later the stevedore appeared on deck leading by a leash one of the most handsome dogs ever seen in Maryland. He was jet-black, sturdy in his front quarters, sleek and powerful in his hind, with a face so intelligent that it seemed he might speak at any moment.

His movements were quick, his dark eyes following every development nearby, yet his disposition appeared so equable he seemed always about to smile.

“He’s called a Labrador, ‘Lightfoot said. ‘Finest huntin’ dog ever developed”

James Michener – From his novel Chesapeake

For more information and articles about Labrador Retrievers, please click here


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  1. John david Sullivan says

    my 31/2 year old Chocolate Lab Choko is the light of my eyes. I adopted him when he was about 7 months and my life has not been the same since. I thought I’d never have another dog after my previous companion Zappa passed away, but Choko had other plans. After a rough initial period(much chewing and taking off to wander) he has turned out to be a truly magnificent companion. A more loving dog you would be hard pressed to find. He certainly had a hard act to follow. I just love my ball fixated canine buddy! My English Chocolate lab is awesome!

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  3. Kim says

    hey, i have a chocolate lab puppy she is 11 month, very hyper when people come in, i was wondering if anyone had any tips on to control her. she is my first dog so any tips would be helpful

    • nicole says


      My chocolate is 4 and very boisterous and energetic. She loves her teddies and never chews them. We find when she has something in her mouth it clams her down a great deal. When we get home or visitors come round we tell her to go get her teddy and she is a lot calmer. Our house is littered from one end to the other as she carries them wwith her frequently. It didn’t take much other than a few no’s and the odd ‘smack’ before she realised she couldn’t destroy her teddies. (A light tap on the nose is enough for her to know she has disappointed me I have never had a need to inflict pain as punishment labs can’t seem yo comprehend any other emotion than happiness and joy.) I also try to ignore her until she calms Down before I greet her. They are incredibly intelligent dogs although very dopey and learn very quickly.

      If all else fails food! Being an inside dog toilet training was important and the had it nailed in 4 days at 7 weeks old as food was her reward. Keep treats on hand and when she does well around visitors give her one before long she will be a perfect angel.

      They bring sooo much joy and love and ask for nothing but love in return.

  4. Chelsea says

    This is a great piece of information and the BEST dog breed in the world but I just have one comment about the so called ”silver labrador”. That is infact not a true labrador colour its not even a labrador its a mix with a wiemaraner, there is no natural gene in labrador retrievers that makes a ”silver” colour so it will never be accepted as a true purbred labrador retriever!

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