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Breeds Home > Breed List > Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever Breed Information

Labrador Retriever

Recognized By: ACR , AKC , ANKC , APRI , CCR , CKC , CKC , FCI , KCGB , NKC , NZKC , UKC
AKA: Black Labrador Retriever, Yellow Labrador Retriever, Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Silver Labrador Retriever, Lab
Mispellings: Labador Labadoor, Labordor, Labradoor, Labradore, Labradour, Labrodor, Retreiver, Retriver

Caring for a Labrador Retriever

Feeding: Labs are typically big eaters and as such require regular exercise to avoid becoming overweight.

Living with a Labrador Retriever

Temperament: The Labrador Retriever is a kind, loving, affectionate, outgoing dog that is eager to please and should not show signs of aggression towards man or other animal.

Family Dog: Labs are great with children and other dogs.

Shedding: Labrador Retrievers are considered average shedders.

Grooming: The Lab's smooth, short coat is relatively easy to care for. They should be brushed regularly with a firm, bristle brush paying close attention to the thick undercoat. Lab's should be bathed or cleaned with a dry shampoo only when necessary.

Training: Labs are a very trainable breed. They should be well socialized as puppies or they may be reserved with strangers. They should also be properly leash trained when young as the get very strong as adults.

Exercise: Labs are very energetic dogs who love to work and play. They require daily exercise including long, brisk walks.

Living Conditions: The Labrador Retriever will make a fine apartment dog provided they are given plenty of exercise. They are fairly active inside and should have an average sized yard.

Labrador Retriever Appearance

Appearance: The Labrador Retriever is a medium-sized, athletic, well-balanced dog with a strong build. The appearance and build of the Lab allows it to work as a gun dog and retrieve and hunt waterfowl or upland game for long periods of time in difficult conditions. Labs also have great character and temperament allowing them to compete as show dogs and make wonderful family pets. The Labrador Retriever is known for its short, dense, weather resistant coat, its clean-cut, broad skull, friendly eyes, and "otter" tail.

Size: A male Labrador Retriever is between is 22½ to 24½ inches tall at the withers with an overall weight of 65 to 80 pounds. The female is slightly shorter with an average height of 21½ to 23½ inches and a weight ranging between 55 to 70 pounds.

Companionship: The Labrador Retriever craves human attention and interaction. This breed really needs to be included and feel like part of the family.

Head: The skull of a Labrador Retriever should be broad with the planes of the skull and foreface being parallel and of approximately the same length. The brow is pronounced enough that the skull is not perfectly in line with the nose. The ridges of the brow help in giving the stop a moderately defined look. The Lab's head should be clean-cut with shallow cheeks that are chiseled beneath the eye.

Nose: The Labrador's nose should be broad with well-developed nostrils. On Black and Yellow Labs the nose should be black in color. On Chocolate Labs the nose should be brown.

Eyes: The Labrador's eyes have a kind and friendly appearance portraying their good nature and intelligence. They should be medium-sized and spaced well apart in the face. They should be neither deeply set nor protruding. Black and Yellow Labs should have eyes that are brown in color with black rims while Chocolate colored Labs have brown or hazel eyes with brown rims.

Ears: The ears of the Labrador Retriever are set low and back on the side of the head. They should hang moderately close to the head and slightly above eye level. They should be in proportion with the size of the head and touch the inside corner of the eye when pulled forward.

Muzzle: The muzzle of a Lab should be of medium width and length with lips that fall away in an arch toward the throat and should not be square or pendulous in appearance.

Teeth/Bite: The Labrador Retriever's jaws are very powerful with strong teeth forming a scissors or level bite.

Neck: The Labrador Retriever's neck should be muscular, free from throatiness and of sufficient length to allow them to retrieve game easily. It should be strong and moderately arched.

Body: The length of the Labrador Retriever's body is equal to or just slightly longer than their overall height permitting a free and efficient stride. The overall appearance of a Lab should never be short and long or tall and leggy. The brisket extends to the elbow, which is approximately halfway between the dog's shoulder and the ground. The body substance and bone should be proportionate to the overall size of the body which is well-muscled and free from excess fat. The back should be strong and level. The body should be short-coupled, with a wide chest and well-spring of ribs. The underline of a Lab's body is nearly straight, with little to no tuck-up. The loins should be strong, short and wide extending to the hindquarters. The forechest should be well-developed but not exaggerated when viewed from the side.

Forequarters: The Labrador Retriever's forequarters should be muscular and balanced with the hindquarters. The shoulders should be long, laid-back and sloping making a right angle with the upper arm allowing the dog free movement and strong reach with the forelegs. The length of the shoulder blade should be approximately equal to that of the upper arm. The forelegs should be straight with strong bones. The elbows should be directly under the shoulders and body making the front legs perpendicular to the ground. The pasterns are short and strong sloping slightly from the perpendicular line of the leg.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters of the Labrador Retriever are broad, muscular and powerful with strong bones and clearly defined thighs. The stifles are well-turned with short, strong hocks. When seen from behind the rear legs are straight and parallel to each other. When seen from the side, the angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. The hock joints should be strong and well let down. When in proper stance the rear toes should be just slightly behind the point of the rump.

Gait: The Labrador Retriever's gait should appear free and effortless. The elbows should be in neatly under the body with the legs a fair distance apart. During movement the front legs should move in straight lines in the same plane and in line with the rear legs. The hocks should to ample flexing giving the appearance of strength and power. The shoulders should appear to move freely and without effort.

Feet: The Lab's feet are compact and strong with well-arched toes and well-developed pads. The front dewclaws may be removed.

Tail: The Labrador Retriever's tail, which is very broad at the base and gradually tapers as it approaches the tip, is one of the distinguishing features of this breed. It should be of medium length, extending not past the hock, covered with a thick, short, dense coat giving it a round appearance also know as an "otter" tail which the breed is known for and free from any feathering. The tail should appear as an extension of the topline and may be carried gaily but should never curl over the back.

Color: The Labrador Retriever's coat can be black, yellow or chocolate with a small white spot on the chest being allowed. The Black Lab's coat should be entirely black. The coat of a Yellow Lab may range in from fox-red to a light cream color. The Chocolate Lab's coat can vary in shade from light to dark chocolate in color.

Coat: The Labrador Retriever's short, straight, dense, hard outer coat and soft weather-resistant undercoat is one of the breed's distinctive features. The coat is typically straight with a slight wave down the back being permitted.

Labrador Retriever Facts

Category: Gun Dog, AKC Sporting

Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of a Labrador Retriever is about 10-12 years.

Characteristics: The Labrador Retriever is considered one of the best family pets and companion because of their gentle, loving nature and ability to be trained. They are playful dogs that love swimming and playing in the water. This breed makes a great watchdog but not a good guard dog. Their other talents include tracking, hunting, retrieving, police work, drug detection, search and rescue, sledding, carting, agility, competitive obedience as well as a guide and service dog.

Labrador Retriever Health

Health: The Labrador Retriever is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA and various eye disorders.

Labrador Retriever History

History: This breed now one of the most popular in the United States was once known as the "St John's Dogs". They were originally from Newfoundland, Canada where they aided fisherman by jumping into icy waters where they would retrieve the fisherman's nets and bring them to shore. It was in Labrador that these dogs fine-tuned their retrieving skills. From there, they were brought to England during the 1800s.

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