The Labrador Retriever started out as a sporting breed, but have been the most popular family dog in America for several years running.
This is a medium-sized breed that grows to between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall, weighing up to 80 pounds as an adult.
The Lab comes in three main colors: chocolate, yellow, and black. But, there are also some interesting variations of these.
There are over a thousand pages of Labrador information on this unique website. We have included this in-depth guide to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
What’s In This Article
- Labrador Retriever At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Lab Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever Common Questions
Here are our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Lab.
- Are Labrador Retrievers good family dogs?
- Are Labs aggressive
- Which color Lab is the best
- Are Labrador Retrievers easy to train
Labrador Retriever Quick Stats
- Popularity: 1 of 193 breeds on AKC.
- Purpose: Sporting.
- Weight: 55 to 80 pounds.
- Temperament: Friendly, active, intelligent.
The Labrador Retriever has had a well earned place as one of the most popular pedigree breeds for years.
Labrador Retriever Breed Review: Contents
- History and origins
- Interesting facts about Labs
- Labrador appearance
- Labrador Retriever temperament
- Training and exercising your Lab
- Labrador health and care
- Do Labs make good family pets
- Rescuing a Labrador Retriever
- Finding a Labrador puppy
- Raising a Labrador Retriever puppy
- Popular Lab breed mixes
- Labrador Retriever products and accessories
Labrador Retriever History and Origins
Labradors Retrievers have an amazing history.
The Labrador came from humble beginnings as a sporting companion. Their ancestors worked alongside fishermen in Newfoundland, Canada.
The breed was brought to England by visiting nobles in the early 1800s. English breeders then continued to standardise the breed.
Labrador Retriever Interesting Facts
There are actually two types of Labrador Retriever! These are the American Labrador and the English Labrador.
The popularity of this breed is seen in the number of famous owners it has!
Some of the celebrities that own this breed include:
- Drew Barrymore
- Bill Clinton
- Kevin Costner
- Mary Kate Olsen
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Anne Hathaway
- Prince Charles
Labrador Retriever Size and Shape
Labrador Retrievers were bred to carry out a job, which required them to be strong and athletic. They needed to be able to run for long distances while carrying game, and to cope well in the water too.
They are between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall, and weigh up to 80lbs.
Their shape and structure varies a little between English (show) Labs and American (working) Labs. But they tend to be well-proportioned dogs with broad heads and long legs.
Their coat officially comes in three colors, and you can find out about each of them individually here:
These are the accepted colors permitted by the Labrador breed standard.
But there are some other shades gaining popularity, including the controversial Silver Labrador.
Labrador Retriever Personality
Labs are well known for being friendly dogs that crave human company.
They do not tend to have aggression problems, provided that they are well socialized and bred from friendly parents.
Most Labs are confident and friendly. But some can be nervous. So, make sure to socialize from a young age
You can read more about their temperament in this guide.
Labrador Retriever Training Tips
Due to their history as cooperative working companions, Labs are fortunately fairly easy to train. If you know what you are doing, of course!
However, there are areas of training that all owners need help with at one point or another, you can find some popular helpful training guides here:
- Puppy Potty Training
- Stop Your Puppy Biting
- Come When Called
- Lie Down and Stay
- Walking To Heel
Keen to learn more about positive reinforcement methods and clicker training? Then these articles will provide some interesting reading too:
- What Is Clicker Training
- Ten Reasons To Clicker Train Your Dog
- Charging The Clicker
- Is Shock Collar Training Worth It?
How Much Exercise do Labs Need?
Training is not just to teach your dog new skills, it’s also a great source of exercise.
Labradors are lively dogs that need plenty of physical as well as mental stimulation.
It will keep them happy, but will also help them to stay healthy too.
They need daily exercise. Especially to avoid becoming overweight.
Labrador Retriever Health Problems
While Labradors are a relatively healthy breed, they do have some problems that they are more likely to suffer from than some other breeds.
Fortunately, many of these can be avoided or reduced through good health testing of breeding pairs.
Here are some conditions you will need to be aware of if you are thinking of buying a Labrador puppy:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease
Labrador lifespan is on average around 12 to 12.5 years.
General Care and Grooming
To stay healthy, they will need a balanced diet, in appropriate amounts, and of course lots of love and care.
Are Labrador Retrievers Good for Families?
Labrador Retrievers make great pets for active families, who are around for much of the day or are able to put in place effective cover plans during the working day.
Although generally good natured, Labs can be quite bouncy and pushy and knock over very small children or the frail.
Rescuing a Labrador Retriever
Rescuing an older Lab is a great way to bring a new dog into your home for some families.
You will be able to meet your adult dog and get to know their personality and make sure that it matches with the environment you would be able to provide.
There are some potential pitfalls with rescuing so be sure to check out our extensive Labrador Retriever rescuing guide here before you take the leap.
We have a few rescue centers at the bottom of this guide. But, you can also find an extensive list of Labrador rescue organizations on the link above.
Finding a Labrador Retriever Puppy
If you are thinking of becoming a Labrador puppy parent in the near future, here are some articles to help you to decide whether now is the right time:
- 6 Things To Consider Before Buying A Labrador
- Are You Ready For A Labrador?
- Labrador Breed Information
Ready for a Labrador Puppy?
If you have decided that now is the right time for a new Labrador puppy, then these articles will help you to find the best breeder, rescue or dog for you:
- How To Find A Good Labrador Breeder
- How To Find A Healthy Labrador Puppy
- 41 Ways To Spot A Bad Labrador Breeder
Caring for a Labrador Retriever Puppy
From puppy care and feeding, to potty and obedience training, we have you covered.
Our Labrador Puppies section has all the information you need to help you raise your puppy.
Check our top puppy care articles here:
- Feeding Your Labrador Puppy
- How To Potty Train Your Puppy
- 15 Puppy Potty Training Problems Solved
- How To Stop Your Puppy Biting
Popular Labrador Retriever breed mixes
Not sure that a Labrador is the perfect pup for you? Then you might be considering a Labrador mix.
You can find in-depth guides to some of the most popular Labrador cross breeds here:
- American Bulldog Lab Mix
- Australian Shepherd Lab Mix
- Basset Hound Lab Mix
- Beagle Lab Mix
- Border Collie Lab Mix
Labrador Retriever Helpful Products
We’ve got some great guides that can help you choose the best products and accessories for your Lab.
Take a look at some of them below:
Pros And Cons of Getting A Labrador Retriever
Although Labradors are undeniably lovely dogs, they do have their downsides. Let’s compare their pros and cons.
Labradors are energetic and so need lots of exercise, although not too much when they are puppies to keep their joints healthy.
They do have some potential inherited disorders, so you will need to buy your puppy from a breeder that has made sure both parents have great health tests.
You will have to work hard to keep your home fur-free and dedicate lots of time to training to prevent unwanted behaviors such as jumping up or pulling on the leash.
They will also probably want to meet and greet everyone, and every dog, they see whenever you leave the house.
They can also be prone to separation anxiety.
Their intelligence means they are easy to train with modern positive methods, and their eagerness for food means it won’t be hard to keep them motivated.
Health testing means that you can hope to avoid or reduce the risk of all the most common Labrador health problems.
They are generally very friendly to other dogs and people. Plus, they are often good with cats if introduced carefully or brought up in their company.
Comparing the Labrador Retriever with other breeds
Want to know how the lovely Lab stacks up against some of his popular canine cousins?
- Beagle vs Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd vs Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever
- Rottweiler vs Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever Breed Rescues
Here are a few Labrador rescue centers that might be in your area. Take a look at them to adopt a Labrador Retriever!
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Dogs Owned In England. The Veterinary Journal
- Adams et al. 2010. Methods and mortality results of a health survey of purebred dogs in the UK. Journal of Small Animal Practice
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website