Labrador Retriever – Your Lab Breed Information Center

labrador retriever

Welcome to the home of the Labrador Retriever. This unique website is dedicated to our favorite breed, and this page is the place where it all comes together. We will look at Labrador history, size, types, temperament, behavior and health. Unlocking their fascinating past, and letting you know the best way to enjoy a happy future together.

What’s In This Article

Labrador Retriever Common Questions

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.

Here are our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Lab:

Hoping for some quick stats? Here’s the Labrador Retriever breed at a glance.

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. From a rich history as a working companion to finding their place in modern homes around the world, this lively, dog makes friends wherever he goes.

Labrador Retriever Breed Review: Contents

Click the links above to jump to a specific section. Or scroll down the page to find out the answers to all of your Labrador questions!

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.

labrador retriever

The breed was brought to England by visiting nobles in the early 1800s. English breeders then continued to standardise the breed. But although the Lab started as a working breed, it is now the most popular family dog in America for many years running.

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.

labrador retriever

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.

Coat Colors

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!

labrador retriever

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:

Positive Reinforcement

Keen to learn more about positive reinforcement methods and clicker training? Then these articles will provide some interesting reading too:

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.

labrador retriever

Here are some conditions you will need to be aware of if you are thinking of buying a Labrador puppy:

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. One important part of Labrador ownership is grooming. As these dogs tend to be rather prolific shedders. The right brushes, a good vacuum cleaner and a regular cleaning routine will help you to stay on top of it.

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.

labrador retriever

However, with the right training and environment, a Labrador Retriever will make an excellent pet.

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:

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:

Make sure you read these guides to choose a reputable breeder. But also avoid puppy mills and pet stores.

Caring for a Labrador Retriever Puppy

From puppy care and feeding, to potty and obedience training, we have you covered.

labrador retriever

Our Labrador Puppies section has all the information you need to help you raise your puppy. Check our top puppy care articles here:

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:

Mixed breeds could turn out to be more or less like either of the parent breeds, so do make sure you get to know them both in detail before making your decision.

Labrador Retriever Helpful Products

We’ve got some great guides that can help you choose the best products and accessories for your Lab.

Your Lab Breed Information Center

Take a look at some of them below:

Plus, you can find the best Labrador Retriever supplies in our shop section here.

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.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

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. They will love you with all their heart, and want to spend as much time in your company as possible.

Comparing the Labrador Retriever with other breeds

Want to know how the lovely Lab stacks up against some of his popular canine cousins?

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


  1. I’m gonna buy a lab cross breed…its just born a week before…will it be safe if I bring it after he had opened his eyes…it wont hv any health issues na ? Nd is any spcl care needed for him…plz rply

    • Raghavi, no. It needs its mother’s milk to grow properly until at least week 5 or 6. As well it will need to learn to socialize with other puppies. They learn this during weeks 5 to 8. Once the puppy is between 8 and 10 weeks old that is the best time to remove them and let them bond with you.

  2. We got our Sandy, our golden lab many years ago. The best advice my vet told me was he needs to run and explore and be a dog, Living on a farm, free to explore and live as he should. Not in an apartment, not in a cage but enjoying the outdoors. My Sandy passed away last week and it fills my heart with love knowing he had a wonderful, adventurous life with no obstacles to his freedoms.