Labrador Retriever Dogs
Labradors are people-oriented dogs, always ready for a jog around the neighborhood, a strenuous hike or an endless game of fetch. Labs are reliable, willing and patient. They love nothing more than activity and attention.
Labrador Retriever Pictures
- 55 - 75 pounds
- 21 - 24 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Hunters and fishermen
- Runners and bicyclists
- Campers and hikers
- Outdoor sportspeople
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- Broad, clean-cut head
- Pendant (hanging) ears
- Short, thick, weather-proof coat
- Otter-like tail
- Natural retrieving skills
- Fun-loving and free-spirited
- Easygoing pal
- Mellow and gentle
- Patient with children
What They Are Like to Live With
Lacking many personality pitfalls, Labs are not especially aggressive, territorial, whiny, sulky or destructive. However, a Labrador Retriever’s trademark affability can become a little out of control in later years if not checked as a puppy.
Labs are easily trained, being naturally patient and obedient, but they are probably not the best guard dogs. Despite an alert instinct and an excellent sense of smell, they tend to be more friendly than aggressive with people they don’t know. Also, Labs are not particularly noisy, barking only at unknown sounds, yet they’ll often bark protectively when someone approaches your home.
Around the house, Labs are animated and good-natured, playing well with children and other dogs. They like to be involved in family occasions, joining social gatherings in an easygoing way, and they are pretty good about sharing and respecting space.
Labradors tend to get bored when left alone indoors for too long. This can lead to listlessness and destructiveness from all the unspent energy and lack of attention. This breed is happiest and healthiest with plenty of exercise and outdoor play.
Things You Should Know
The life expectancy for Labrador Retrievers is generally 10-12 years. They have relatively few health problems, but are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, ear infections and eye disorders. Labs that are fed too much and exercised too little may develop obesity problems. It’s very important that they get daily exercise along with moderate rations of food.
If possible, Labradors need an average-sized yard. They can manage in an apartment, as long as they get regular walks or visits to the park.
Yet, even in a fenced-in yard Labs can get a little stir-crazy. They have a natural curiosity, a desire for companionship and an uncanny single-mindedness that could drive them to break through a fence or leap over it. For this reason, dog experts recommend clearly marked tags for Labs, and in some cases a traceable microchip implant.
Labrador Retriever History
Named the “Labrador” in 1887 by the Earl of Malmesbury—an English hunter and breeder—the Lab actually originated in 18th-century Newfoundland, Canada. At the time two breeds emerged from the St. John’s Water Dog: the Greater Newfoundland and the Lesser Newfoundland. The Greater Newfoundland dogs worked in teams hauling fish, but the Lesser Newfoundland had a rugged friendliness that fishermen valued. Fishermen marveled that these smaller Newfoundlands kept their can-do attitude even after long days retrieving nets from the sea, playing happily with children back when returning to shore. Soon, these dogs came to Poole, England—the Newfoundland fishing-trade hub—where hunters and sportsmen honed them into skilled hunters and retrievers. In 1903 the English Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever as an official breed. The American Kennel Club certified the breed in 1917.
The Look of a Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers come in black, chocolate and yellow. They have a broad, clean-cut head with hanging ears and alert, friendly and intelligent eyes. They have thick noses and wide muzzles and strong necks. Labradors have a short, dense and water-resistant outer coat and a downy undercoat that keeps them warm. Their straight tail, also covered by the coat, is otter-like—beginning thick and tapering at the end and defecting water—and their webbed feet are great for swimming. Though not very tall, Labs are solid and well built. They are usually slim but can get a little heavy without enough exercise.
Talk About Labrador Retrievers
A very personable breed
I adore my Labrador Retrievers since they are not only beautiful and fun dogs, but very personable and know how I'm feeling every minute of the day. I'm at home now and really enjoy spending my days with my girls. Their antics keep me smiling through many tough days. They love to sleep with me and my husband and to wake up in the mornings with their noses in our faces is a great way to start our days! They are great with kids and enjoy meeting new people. Everyone they meet becomes their friend!
~Marty, owner of a Labrador Retriever
A dog that fetches the toilet paper
No one could ask for a better companion that our Black Lab, Rebel! He's right there to pick up anything you happen to drop before you even ask. He helps carry in the groceries and take out the trash; he brings in the newspaper, insists on carrying things for you, and even brings you a fresh roll of TP when you run out!
Our four barn cats run to greet him by rubbing up against him when he goes out. I don't think they realize that he's a dog! He's our fellow camper, playmate, early-warning system when someone pulls in the driveway, and most of all, our very best four-legged friend. Smart, easy to train, loyal, and very social, it's obvious why the Lab is consistently America's top breed.
~Judi S., owner of a Labrador Retriever
Why I loved my Lab
My Labrador was loyal, loving and got along great with other dogs. He lived until he was 12 and up to the last minute he was alert and wanted to please. It was very hard to let him go. He was easy to live with, as long as he could sit with me or go along with me, he was happy. He was easy to care for, a good watchdog and loyal to me.
~Anne Marie, owner of a yellow Labrador
At home in the water
I am a fisherman who loves to be out on the water in my boat. My black Labrador, Travis, loves being out there with me, loves to see me catch fish, and above all, loves swimming!
I have a special ladder on the stern of my boat for Travis to climb back into my boat . He is a very family-oriented dog; great with young children, full of energy! Just be prepared to have a very active pet on your hands that will steal your heart! Travis is a gorgeous lab that ALWAYS draws compliments on how beautiful he is. Best dog I have ever owned! I feed him a quality dry food: chicken soup for the dog lover is the name of it....one of the best on the market!
~James D., owner of a Labrador Retriever