Labrador Retriever the Lab

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever is consistently the no.1 most famous dog breed in the world. The Lab has been America’s #1 most popular breed for the last 29 years in a row! Why is Labrador breed so famous? Why do so many dog lovers choose the Labrador over all other dog breeds? Let us explore this amazing breed in-depth. Let us also try to find out if the Labrador is the best breed suitable for you.

This page not only includes precise info, facts, FAQs, breed standards, and info. for choosing the best Lab puppy.. but many more insights and knowledge derived from years of experience with owning, training, breeding, and judging the Labrador Retriever breed in the show ring.

Labrador Retriever dog breed
Brown, Yellow, and Black Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retriever Origin

Labrador Retriever dog breed originated and was developed on the island of Newfoundland (Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada) as an all-purpose waterdog and functional retriever. The breed was preserved in England after anti-dog legislation almost decimated the breed in its homeland.

First original Labrador Retriever
Pic: The first known registered Labrador Retriever in Queensland (1931). Late Dr. A. Roe’s Eilyer Ranter, sired by Liddly Acorn (imported from UK).

The Labrador is noted for its love of retrieving and water, for his excellent nose, soft mouth, intelligence, and biddable temperament.

Extraordinary versatility allows Labradors to excel as hunting, service, and therapy dogs; in search and rescues; in drug and bomb detection; as family companions, and in performance and field events. Labradors are medium-sized and do not look intimidating. This quality combined with their capable noses and friendliness makes them ideal dogs to work with the police at airports and public spots.

Labrador Retriever in action
Labrador Retriever in action

The Labrador Retriever is a do-everything dog breed.

Labs personify the definition of versatility – this breed can be a great hunting dog, show dog, the ideal family dog, dock diving dog, tracking dog, obedient dog, companion dog, and much more.

Labrador Retriever Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Let us seek some answers related to the Labrador Retriever breed. Are they hypoallergenic (non-shedding) or do they shed a lot? Do they bark a lot? Are they good guard dogs? Are they good family dogs? Good with children? and many more questions that a potential Labrador Retriever owner may be concerned about.

Is the Labrador Retriever a hypoallergenic (non-shedding) breed?

No. Labs are not hypoallergenic. Labrador Retrievers do shed a lot! Labradors have short hair but they have a double coat – an external layer that is long and shiny, and an inner layer that is much finer to keep them warm and dry (labs are water dogs). A Labrador bitch will generally blow her coat (shed heavily) 2 times a year with her heat cycle. All other Labs (neutered and unneutered males and spayed females) will shed moderately throughout the year and will shed heavily when the seasons change. Weekly grooming – brushing the topcoat, combing the undercoat, and massaging during baths will help keep hair out of your home. If you are allergic to dog hair and dander yet love the Labrador, you may consider the Labradoodle (Labrador x Poodle mix).

Do Labrador Retriever dogs bark a lot?

Yes and No. Labradors are capable of barking a lot if they are bored and under-exercised. However, they are smart dogs and can be easily trained to bark less. Just like most dog breeds, Labs do bark and for a variety of different reasons. Without plenty of physical stimulation and social interaction, Labs will bark more than normal, possibly to excess, due to their pent-up energy.

A Labrador may also bark excessively to protect the family because he considers himself the pack leader and feels responsible to protect the pack or just because he is a bossy barker trying to get his way. Labradors need gentle yet firm training. Some methods to earn your Lab’s respect are to eat before your Lab, walk ahead of your Lab, and do not allow him to sit on the furniture. These methods would make you the pack leader and your Labrador will bark less.

You should also train your Labrador to speak or be quiet. Give your Labrador the command to SPEAK, wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose and say QUIET. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him for being quiet, and give him the treat.

Can the Labrador Retriever be a good family dog?

Yes. Labs can be a good choice as family dogs. If you live in a house with a pool or have a water body near your home, your family will be able to enjoy this breed to its full potential (Labs are water dogs). Labrador Retriever is a versatile breed of dog. They are outgoing, gentle, and easy to train. Labradors make excellent companions, as well as assistance dogs. Labradors do well with both sole owners or as a part of a family and get on well with the elderly, the children as well as cats, and other pets.

Are Labradors good apartment dogs?

Labradors need exercise. Living in an apartment makes them dull and obese. We do not recommend Labs for apartment living. If you must keep a Lab in an apartment – you should exercise them regularly, consider a low-fat diet designed to match their activity level, and groom them regularly to keep the hair out. Please consider smaller dog breeds for apartments. Here is a list of good apartment dogs.

Are Labrador Retrievers affectionate? Good with kids?

Yes and No. Labrador Retrievers can be affectionate but not particularly cuddly by nature (unless you spoil them). If you cuddle with your labrador puppy often and reward him with treats for cuddling, your Lab will grow up to become the cuddliest dog you can imagine! Labs are smart, versatile, and want to please their master. YOU can influence how your Lab behaves when he grows up. The Lab loves food and treats and seems to never get enough to eat!

The Labrador Retriever is not bad with kids either. Labs will naturally be well balanced, independent, chilled out, and patient with children. They will tolerate being petted, cuddled, and occasionally prodded. Labs are mild and tolerating with kids (neither too excited nor grumpy). The Lab is loving and friendly, but this breed’s affection is often reserved.

Are Labrador Retrievers good guard dogs?

No. Labrador Retrievers are not good guard dogs. Labs have been bred to be unaggressive and friendly. They are medium-sized dogs that do not look intimidating either. You should not rely on a Lab to guard your property or home. Although they may bark at strangers occasionally, this is not a guard dog breed. If you are looking for a guard dog, here is a list of guard dog breeds.

Are Labrador Retrievers aggressive?

No. Labrador retrievers are not aggressive. Any aggressive behavior may be the result of a shy dog with a faulty temperament. Labs may seem aggressive due to boredom if they are tied up and left alone. Labs may be a bit aloof, but never aggressive. They are bred to be unaggressive and friendly.

Can Labrador Retrievers swim? Do they like it?

Yes. Labrador Retrievers are natural swimmers and like to swim. Labs have webbed-feet, otter-tails, and double-coats which make them excellent swimmers and water workers. Labrador puppies can start swimming in a bathtub or pool when they are about 4 months old. You can take them to a small pond once they learn to maneuver in the water. Gradually you can take your Lab to larger water bodies. It’s better to train your dog to come when called before taking him to play in large water bodies.

dog breeds love to swim
Labradors love to swim

Why does a Labrador stink?

Labradors were bred to work in and around water bodies. Labs have a dense double coat with an oily outer layer that offers good waterproofing. These oils in the Lab’s fur are part of the source of the Labrador’s distinctive doggy smell. Labs can smell particularly strong when they are damp and drying off after a swim.

Which Labrador Retriever color is the best?

Labrador Retrievers are available in black, brown, yellow, lighter shades of yellow, white (the lightest shade of yellow), albino (white), and fox red colors.

Labrador Retriever Colors
Which Labrador Retriever color do you like best?

Choosing the best color is really a personal preference. The Lab’s temperament does not change with his colors. Some dog lovers believe that black is the true color of the Labrador Retriever because their ancestors were black in color. While most of the Lab pups originally born were black, some puppies were yellow or chocolate colored. However, these colors were not favored. Changing trends increased the demand for yellow and chocolate-colored Labradors. Recent trends have shown a preference for Fox Red Labradors in America.

Note: The original Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow, and chocolate. Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream. Any other color or a combination of colors is disqualified in the show ring. A small white spot on the chest is permissible (but not desirable). White hairs from aging or scarring are acceptable. Also, Albino Labradors may inherit other genetic problems besides albinism.

How much do Labrador Retrievers cost? How much is a Labrador Retriever puppy?

Labrador Retriever puppies cost about $500 to $1200 from a reputed Labrador breeder. Some breeders may charge more for a Labrador Retriever with top breed lines and a superior pedigree. The cost to buy a Labrador Retriever varies greatly and depends on many factors. Expect to pay less for a puppy without papers, Expect to pay a premium price for a puppy advertised as show quality with papers.

The cost to adopt a Labrador Retriever is around $300 in order to cover the expenses of caring for the dog before adoption.

How long do Labrador Retrievers live?

Labrador Retrievers have an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years.

Ok, so let’s assume you have chosen the Labrador Retriever as the best dog breed suitable for yourself. You have decided to find yourself a Labrador Retriever puppy as your next family member. How will you choose the best pup? Let us look at some standard characteristics of the Labrador Retriever dog breed which will help you select the right puppy, keep reading.

Brown Labrador Retriever puppies

Choosing a good Labrador Retriever puppy

The definition of the best Labrador Retriever puppy depends on your requirements. Your expectations from an adult Labrador Retriever can be broadly categorized as follows: Confirmation for show or breeding; obedience; hunting dog; smart dog; companion; homely pet.

Although it is tempting to look for all these qualities in one Labrador Retriever puppy you are planning to buy, it is almost never possible to find all qualities in a single pup.

If you want your Labrador Retriever puppy to grow up to be a champion in the show ring, you should look for confirmation to the Labrador Retriever dog breed standards. We have put together a general guideline for selecting an all-around good puppy for you. Our guideline not just includes breed standards, but also gives importance to temperament, appearance, physical details, gait, health issues, grooming needs, and maintenance.

Look for the following characteristics while choosing a Labrador Retriever puppy.

Labrador Retriever’s Appearance

The Lab is medium-sized, strongly built, compact, short-coupled, powerful, athletic; broad in skull; broad and deep through chest and ribs; broad and powerful over loins and hindquarters. A water-resistant double coat, otter tail, and sound temperament are essential Labrador breed characteristics.

Labrador Retriever
Stunning picture of a Labrador Retriever in action

Labrador Retriever’s size

Lab’s height: Ideal height is measured at the withers: Labrador Dogs should be 22.5 to 24.5 inches (57 – 62 cm); Labrador Bitches should be 21.5 to 23.5 inches (54 -60 cm).

Lab’s weight: Labrador Dogs should weigh in at 60-80 lbs (27.27-36.36 kgs); Labrador Bitches should weigh in at 55-75 lbs (25-34.09 kgs). Weight should be commensurate with the Lab’s height and with the Labrador breed’s function as a medium-sized, powerful, active retriever.

Labrador Retrievers have a tendency to gain weight. This breed should be exercised well and not overfed.

The Lab’s proportions are as important as his size

Distance from withers to elbow should be approximately equal to the distance from elbow to the ground; length from point of shoulder to point of rump very slightly longer than the height at withers. A well -balanced Labrador dog is the ideal.

Labrador Retriever’s Coat

The Lab’s outer coat should be short, straight, although a slight wave down the back is also correct; dense without feathering, giving fairly hard feel to the touch; soft, dense weather-resistant undercoat.

Labrador Retriever Colors

Labradors should be completely black, yellow, or chocolate in color. A small white spot on the chest is permissible. Yellow Labradors range from light cream to fox red with variations in the shadings on ears, underparts, hocks, and down the back. Chocolate Labradors range from light sedge to dark chocolate. All other colors are penalized or disqualified from the show ring. Pigmentation: Black in blacks and yellows; brown or liver in chocolates. Pigmentation fading to a lighter shade in yellows is not penalized in dog shows.

Black, Brown, Yellow - Labrador Retrievers
Black, Brown and Yellow Labrador Retrievers

Fox Red Labrador Retriever

Fox Red Labrador Retrievers are just one of the somewhat wide variations in shades of the Yellow Labrador available. (The Labrador breed standard states: Yellow Labradors may range in color from fox-red to light cream) Fox red isn’t technically rare in Labradors. But, even though they are not rare, fox red Labrador Retrievers are definitely unique looking dogs. Most breeders feel that creating a pure red Labrador is genetically impossible.

Fox Red Labrador Retriever
Fox Red Labrador Retriever

Albino White Labrador Retriever

One very common question is whether a white Labrador is really an albino Labrador? White Labradors may be either due to albinism or simply a very bright shade of the yellow Lab. Albinism is a trait found in many animals including dogs. It is caused by a gene that switches off coloring. Albino Labs will have white hair or fur, and pale skin. Albinos Labradors are incredibly rare. Albino Labradors can be pure (full) or partial. If there is no pigment production at all (pure albino), this affects the color of the skin, nose, eyes, and ears.

White colored Labrador
Albino White Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever’s Head and Skull

A gentle kindly expression is characteristic of the Labrador breed. The Lab’s skull should be broad with a defined stop; clean-cut without fleshy cheeks. The Lab’s muzzle should be of medium length, powerful, not snippy. Muzzle and skull should be on parallel planes and of approximately equal lengths. The Lab’s nose should be wide; nostrils well developed.

Lab’s Eyes: Medium in size, expressing intelligence and good temper; almond or diamond shape, not round; color dark brown or hazel.

Lab’s Ears: Medium in size; hanging close to head and set rather far back.

Lab’s Mouth: Jaws and teeth should be strong; the Labrador should have a scissor bite.

Labrador Retriever’s Neck

The Lab’s neck should be strong, medium in length with a good reach; the neck should be set into well-placed shoulders.

Labrador’s Forequarters

The Lab’s shoulders should be long and sloping. The forelegs should be well boned and straight from the elbow to the ground when viewed from either front or side. Legs should be of medium length, not short. Pasterns should be strong, short, sloping slightly from the perpendicular. Feet should be compact, round, medium-sized; with well-arched toes and well-developed pads.

Labrador’s Hindquarters

Should be well developed, with great power, not sloping to the tail; well turned to stifle. Hocks well let down; cow hocks are highly undesirable in the Lab breed.

Labrador Retriever’s Body

The Lab’s chest should be of good width and depth; with well-sprung ribs. Brisket should extend to the elbows. Straight level topline is ideal. Loins should be wide, short-coupled, and strong.

Labrador Retriever’s Tail

The Labrador’s tail is a distinctive feature: The Lab’s tail should be very thick towards the base, straight, gradually tapering towards the tip, medium in length, free from feathering, but clothed thickly all round with thick, dense coat, giving a rounded appearance described as the otter tail. The tail may be carried happily but not at more than a 35-degree angle with the back. The Lab’s tail should look like an extension of the topline balancing the Labrador dog.

Labrador Retriever’s Movement

The Lab’s gait should be free, effortless, and powerful. The Labrador should walk with good reach and drive; straight and true in front and rear. The front and back legs should appear to meet at a point at higher speeds.

Faults observed in the Labrador Retriever breed

Any departure from the ideal Labrador should be considered a fault. The seriousness with which the fault should be regarded must be in proportion to its degree and its effect upon the Labrador’s function as a working retriever.

Labrador Retriever Videos

A loving Labrador dad took it upon himself to teach his precious little puppies how to swim, and by the looks of it, it was a very successful first lesson!

In this video, Dogumentary TV sits down with Alexandra Flanigan a breeder and fancier of Labrador Retrievers for twenty-nine years. Mrs. Flanigan shares her insights and expertise on the breed that has captured her mind and soul.

This video series gives you guys some basic insight into the differences between types of Labrador Retrievers. American vs English Labrador Retrievers.

Part 1

Part 2

In this video, Donna from Endless Mt. Labradors shares what to expect when you come to pick out a puppy of your own and how the structure of your puppy will affect his or her size as they get older. How to choose a puppy.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the Labrador Retriever dog breed. You may consider sharing your views in the comments section below. Inputs and priceless experiences from dog owners, Labrador Retriever breeders, and dog lovers, in general, help us better understand Labs. Thank you for your interest.

3 thoughts on “Labrador Retriever”

  1. Labradors are excellent IF kept on a diet. This is my experience after keeping 2 and observing many Labs.. if you let a lab eat as much as he wishes for, I guarantee it will become fat and ugly before you know it. It will also develop a weird figure as it gets fat like a log! Labs should be made to run, exercise, swim and kept on a strict diet!! Feed them a little less than the recommended portion.. don’t let your lab grow fat at all.. it is difficult to make a fat lab loose weight!

  2. The Labrador retriever is an amazing dog however you have to care properly for its skin in which body weight. Having a physically fit Labrador is altogether a different experience than having a fat one Labrador also love to swim and will be very happy to accompany you to play a on the beach and in the sea.

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