Affectionately referred to simply as “Labs” by their loyal owners, Labrador Retrievers are excellent family dogs with a gentle, intelligent, and loving disposition. Largely considered the most popular breed in the world taking the top spot in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States since 1991, the Labrador Retriever is considered the ideal sporting and family dog that thrives as part of an active family. Read on to discover a full breed description and determine whether a Labrador Retriever is the right match for both your household and lifestyle.
|Origin||United Kingdom, Canada|
|Size Type||Large Dog Breeds|
|Breed Group||Hunting Dog Breeds|
|Life Span||10-13 years|
|Temperament||Good-tempered, Outgoing, Agile, Gentle, Intelligent, Kind|
|Height||Male: 22–25 inches; Female: 21–24 inches|
|Weight||55 to 80 pounds|
|Colors||Chocolate, yellow (pale cream), or black|
|Puppy Price||Average $500 - $1000 USD|
As a relatively large breed with a tall and lanky body, Labrador Retrievers have a broad head with a moderately defined stop and fairly wide muzzle. The dogs have teeth that meet in a level or scissors bite, proportionately wide powerful neck, and medium-sized eyes set wide apart. Although the nose color often fades, the thick nose is black on black and yellow dogs or brown on chocolate dogs. While most in the breed have brown or hazel eyes, some may also have green, grey, or greenish-yellow eyes. The medium-sized ears hang down in pendant shape beside the cheeks and the thick tail is covered with short hair without any feathering. Male Labrador Retrievers are normally between 22 to 24 inches at shoulder height with a weight between 60 to 75 pounds, but females are slightly smaller between 21 to 23 inches and weighting from 55 to 70 pounds.
Mainly registered in three color variations, Labrador Retrievers may be black, medium to dark chocolate brown, or yellow, which may range from white or cream to “fox-red.” Despite being a clear disqualification for show competition, some Labradors will have small amounts of white on their chest, paws, and tail or brindle stripes. Although charcoal and silver are becoming more popular, neither of these colors have been officially recognized by breed registers.
Labrador Retrievers possess a thick and dense coat of short hairs that are not wiry or coarse to the touch. With a slightly dry, naturally oily exterior, the coat is often described as being water-resistant or repellent so that the breed will not get cold when retrieving into the winter during cold temperatures or winter months.
|Good with Kids|
With such a short-haired, smooth double coat, there are relatively minimal grooming requirements necessary to keep the coat of a Labrador Retriever in good condition. However, it is recommended that owners comb and brush these dogs regularly on a weekly basis with a firm, bristle brush while paying particular attention to the dense undercoat. As an average shedder that can cause pileups of dog hairs in various areas of the home, brushing and vacuuming after will free owners from any hassle. Unlike other breeds, Labradors only need to be bathed when necessary because of their high interest in swimming in the waters.
Originally known as the “St. John’s Water Dog,” the Labrador Retriever is native to Newfoundland where it once worked alongside fishermen catching their fish that had come loose from the lines. Trained to jump into the icy waters to pull in the nets full of fish, the dogs were brought to England in the early 19th century by British ships coming from Labrador. After being selectively crossed with Setters, Spaniels, and other related types of retrievers to improve its hunting instincts, the breed honed its skills to perform as an efficient retriever of game throughout northern Europe.
With a stable temperament suitable for a wide variety of activities beyond the traditional hunting jobs given to the breed, Labrador Retrievers gained popularity for excelling in tracking, police work, narcotics detection, guiding the blind, serving the disabled, searching and rescuing, sledding, carting, agility, and competitive obedience. Although the ancestors for the breed were mostly black in color, yellow and chocolate pups would occasionally appear and were finally accepted in the mid-20th century. In addition to being all-purpose water dogs, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917. With popularity growing steadily, the Labrador Retriever became the most popular breed in the United States in 1991 and remains so today.
Highly regarded as an excellent family companion, Labrador Retrievers are often described as being loyal, affectionate, playful, patient, loving, reliable, and lively. With a good nature that makes them very willing and eager to please their humans, the breed loves to play and will never pass up the opportunity for a good swim in water. Craving human leadership and being part of a family, these sociable dogs are friendly with children and equable with other canines or sometimes non-canine pets. While show lines are generally heavier and more laidback, the field lines are much more energetic and will easily become high-strung or exhibit destructive behaviors without given proper access to exercise.
Since the dogs are highly energetic and determined to work hard, it is required that owners take Labrador Retrievers for a daily long brisk walk, jog, or run alongside a bicycle. Well-known for having an insatiable appetite, it is important that owners do not over-feed their dogs because the breed is more prone to obesity and gains weight easily. Due to their fun-loving boisterousness, lack of fear, and enthusiasm for water, Labradors will enjoy retrieving a ball or Frisbee endlessly. Labrador Retrievers will be in their glory when given a job to do as well because of their high level of intelligence and strong work ethic.