- Other namesLab
- OriginUnited Kingdom, Canada
- Size TypeMedium dog breeds
- Breed GroupSporting dog breeds (AKC)
- Life span10-13 years
- TemperamentGentle, Intelligent, Good-tempered, Kind, Outgoing, Agile
HeightMale: 22–25 inches (56–62 cm)
Female: 21–24 inches (54–60 cm)
WeightMale: 30–36 kg
Female: 25–32 kg
- ColorsBlack, chocolate, or yellow (pale cream)
- Puppy PriceAverage $500 – $1000 USD
- Good with KidsBest with kids
- Cat Friendly
- Dog Friendly
- IntelligenceReal rank: 7
- PopularityMost popular dog breed
Labrador retrievers are one of the most beloved breeds around the world and enjoy top ranking in the U.S.
These gentle companion animals have enjoyed immense popularity as family pets thanks to their sweet dispositions and eagerness to please their masters.
Prized for their intelligence, Labrador retrievers have been used as guide dogs for the blind, as K-9 units on police forces and as valued members of search-and-rescue teams.
Understanding the characteristics of the Labrador retriever can help owners enjoy a deeper bond with their pets and can ensure a long and healthy life for these canine companions.
The Labrador Retriever Breed
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Labrador retrievers were originally developed to help fishermen in Newfoundland manage nets and retrieve fish in shallow water.
Over time, these dogs were bred specifically to achieve improved retrieval instincts and to assist hunters in recovering game both on land and in water.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
Labrador retrievers were recognized as a distinct breed by the AKC in 1917.
They are classified as water dogs and are part of the AKC Sporting Group.
Sporting dogs generally are active, easy to train and motivated to please.
These traits make them highly desired for a wide range of working environments as well as ensuring their ongoing popularity as beloved family pets.
Physical Body Type
Labrador retrievers generally range from between 21 inches tall for smaller females to 25 inches for larger males.
These dogs may weigh from 55 to 80 pounds when fully grown.
Active and friendly, the Labrador retriever is a medium-sized dog with a solid but graceful build.
AKC standards require that show-quality dogs of this breed have specific proportions:
- Neither long-legged nor low-slung; legs should be of medium length
- The distance from the shoulder to the rump should be roughly equivalent to the distance of the withers to the ground
- Little or no excess fat
- Muscular forequarters and broad hindquarters in proper proportion to each other
- A round otter tail that is thickest at the root and tapers to the end with hair parting at the underside; very short or overly thin tails are graded as faults
- A smooth or wavy coat; silky or woolly coats are not considered acceptable under the AKC show quality standard
- A wide skull with a medium-sized muzzle
- Webbed paws
- General strong build and balance
Labs who do not meet these exacting requirements are not suitable for showing but are still excellent pets, especially for families with children. On average, Labrador retrievers live 11 years.
AKC Accepted Colors for Labrador Retrievers
The first Labrador retrievers were black in color.
While some chocolate or yellow Labs were born, these colors were at first considered outliers and were not accepted as part of the breed.
- Two liver-colored Labrador puppies were born in 1892 at the Buccleuch Kennel at Drumlanrig Castle; these are believed to be the first examples of chocolate Labradors.
- In 1899, a yellow Labrador named Ben of Hyde was born in the kennels of a Major C. J. Radclyffe.
Ben of Hyde was the first yellow Labrador to be accepted by the Kennel Club of England; chocolate Labradors took somewhat longer to be established as a part of the breed.
Today, AKC-accepted Labs may be chocolate, yellow or black and are solid-colored.
The AKC standard allows for a small patch of white on the chest; however, this is not a preferred trait for the Labrador retriever.
Colorations may vary slightly within the accepted standards:
- Yellow Labrador retrievers may range from a reddish hue to a light cream color and may have some variation of these hues at the ears, underparts and back.
- Chocolate Labs can range from a light chocolate color to a deep dark-brown shade.
- No brindle or lighter coloration is allowable for black Labs other than the aforementioned small white spot on the chest.
Brindle or tan markings disqualify Labrador retrievers of all colors from attaining AKC show quality standards.
Additionally, too large a deviation from the three standard colors or dogs with multi-colored coats are disqualified from AKC show competition.
Although golden retrievers are often confused with yellow Labradors, they can be readily distinguished by the longer and silkier coat of the golden retriever and the additional grooming required as a result.
Care of the Labrador Retriever Coat
Labs typically have short, dense fur that sheds water easily.
Because they typically shed heavily on a seasonal basis and to a lesser degree throughout the year, Labrador retrievers can benefit from frequent brushing and visits to the pet groomer.
Labs are not hypoallergenic, so regular baths and coat maintenance can provide added help for family members who may be sensitive to pet dander.
A number of home grooming tools can prove useful in caring for the characteristic smooth or wavy Labrador coat:
- A shedding rake or wire slicker brush can provide added help in removing mats and loose hair from the coat. Be careful with sharp rakes or brushes, however, as these can sometimes scratch skin and cause minor injuries. Specialized shedding brushes and tools are ideal for removing stray hairs quickly and easily.
- A fine-toothed comb designed for pet use can be used to remove dirt, dander and other debris that may collect in an active Lab’s fur.
- Soft bristle brushes can be used to smooth fur after raking and combing. These grooming tools should be cleaned regularly to ensure the most effective results.
Professional pet groomers can trim fur to a manageable level for summer, bathe pets and clip nails to ensure the greatest comfort for animals and their families.
Because Labrador retrievers typically have shorter hair, shaving or extensive trimming is generally not necessary.
Labs also are known for their love of water, so setting up a dog wash in the back yard can make this task more pleasure than chore for pets and people alike.
Disposition and Temperament
Even as puppies, Labradors are generally calm, playful and good-tempered.
They are tolerant of roughhousing and usually adjust well to other pets in the household.
One of the most dominant characteristics of Labrador retrievers is their eagerness to please and their ability to learn tricks and behaviors when rewarded with treats and affection.
Gentle and predictable, Labs are favorites for families with small children and show little or no aggression toward people.
This makes the breed relatively unsuitable for use as watchdogs.
Labrador retrievers are loyal and affectionate companions for hunters, fishermen and families.
Required Veterinary Care
It goes without saying that regular vaccinations against distemper, parvovirus, rabies and hepatitis should be part of every Lab’s yearly routine.
Treatments to prevent heartworm infestations, fleas and ticks should also be administered as needed.
One of the most important considerations for owners is the diet of the Labrador retriever; as these dogs age, they tend to become less active.
This can quickly add pounds to the Lab’s frame and can potentially lead to obesity and associated health problems.
Most veterinarians will recommend a healthy diet for every stage of life and can prescribe vitamin supplements or other medications to ensure the healthiest and happiest life for these pets.
Training for Labrador Retrievers
For most owners, the training process begins in the early stages of puppyhood with house training and teaching the essentials of obedience.
Because Labs are highly motivated to please, these initial lessons can often be mastered in a matter of days.
Labrador retrievers can also be taught a number of tricks and skills that can amuse family members and help these lively dogs burn off excess energy:
- Labs are natural retrievers, so a rousing game of Fetch can often provide hours of amusement for owner and pet. Be sure to use durable balls or toys with no sharp edges to prevent accidental injuries to delicate mouth tissue. Vet-approved flying disks can also be used to help Labrador retrievers stay active and healthy.
- Teaching a Lab to sit, stay or lie down is generally achieved by gently guiding the dog into the desired position while reinforcing the activity with a verbal cue. For example, carefully pushing the Labrador into a sitting position and saying the word sit as soon as the dog complies. Rewarding with a treat for every successful achievement can ensure a positive experience for owner and dog alike.
Short and frequent training sessions are often more beneficial than extended ones.
Obedience training classes can also be useful for younger Labs and can provide added support for busy owners.
Although Labrador retrievers are not the most nimble of dogs, they can also benefit from agility training to help them stave off a tendency to overweight as these pets grow older.
Management of Undesirable Behaviors
Even the most lovable Labs can develop bad habits if not properly trained.
Barking, separation anxiety and other undesirable behaviors can usually be curbed by a calm and targeted approach.
Establishing a position as the pack leader can help motivate dogs to earn approval from their owners.
By refusing to acknowledge the Lab until he or she achieves a calm and cooperative state, family members can assert dominance in a non-threatening and positive way.
This can help to reduce incidents of barking and can ensure a more harmonious relationship between pets and owners.
Separation anxiety usually requires owners to increase the time spent away from home gradually and to reward their Lab when a calm state is achieved after their return.
With proper training and care, Labrador retrievers can be loving family pets and loyal members of a working team.
Intelligent and beautiful, Labs offer unconditional affection and reliable obedience for those lucky enough to share their homes and their lives with these special dogs.