Labrador Retriever

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
black, yellow, liver (chocolate)
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • ideal family companion
  • friendly
  • loves children
  • great gun dog
  • daily physical exercises are a must
  • prone to obesity


The Labrador Retriever is a fairly big, brawny, well-built dog. Originally it served as the assistant of fishermen but soon hunters revealed its talents as a gun dog. This buoyant breed will be a wonderful friend for everyone who leads a sporting life.


The Labrador Retriever was created on the Newfoundland Island that is now a part of Canada in the XVI century. Initially the breed was named the St. John's Water Dog and it had been used as an indispensable assistant for local fishermen helping them to drag nets and to catch escaped fish. It is believed that this breed was developed by means of crossing the Newfoundland with other water dogs.

The Labrador Retriever appeared in England in the XIX century thanks to the Earl Malmsbury who liked these dogs so much that he decided to buy some of them and bring to his motherland. The dog was interbred there with Spaniels, Retrievers and Setters in order to ameliorate its hunting qualities. Thus the present-day breed of the Labrador Retriever was born. It was the son of the Earl who called this breed «Labrador».

The Labrador Retriever’s destiny could have been tragic due to a severe dog tax in Newfoundland and the British quarantine law of 1885. This law banned the import of this breed and English breeders had to work with existed dogs in England. Consequently lots of Labrador Retrievers were interbred with various retriever-type dogs. Fortunately the breed’s main characteristics remained till the law that restricted interbreeding came into force.

Labrador Retrievers were brought to the United States in the beginning of the XX century where these dogs gained incredible popularity and became widespread. The breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1903. The American Kennel Club (UKC) registered the Labrador Retriever in 1917.

Nowadays these marvelous dogs are used not only as hunting dogs and great family pets, but also they are very useful for police job as excellent detectors of drugs and explosive materials. Moreover the Labrador Retriever is used as therapy dog and assistant dog for handicapped people. Modern breed comes in two varieties: the show type and the field type. The latter is more vigorous and thinner than heavier built, stouter show Labrador. Nonetheless both of them stand out for their sweet and amicable disposition.


The Labrador Retriever is a chummy, kind-hearted dog. It’s hard to make any generalization about its temperament since it depends to a large degree on the up-bringing and training, which the dog received in its puppyhood. As a rule this breed is extremely affectionate with familiar people and craves for participating in each and every family event. Labrador Retrievers are ideal family pets that are faithful to their people. They love children and treat them gently. The combination of cheerfulness and playfulness with calm and patient character makes it an ideal pet for families with children of any age.

The Labrador Retriever views all newcomers as potential play mates and tends to become an inappropriate greeter without early socialization. Some members of this breed may be cautious with unfamiliar people. This tendency is especially well-expressed if the dog hasn’t had an opportunity to interact with other creatures since a young age. At the same time the Labrador Retriever remains vigilant and will adamantly defend its masters from any possible danger. That’s way this breed commonly makes a very reliable personal guardian. Its affable nature won’t let it become an acceptable property guardian so it shouldn’t be entrusted with this task. Some of breed members are perfect watchdogs that have keen ear and alert their masters about intruders.

The Labrador retriever is kind and patient with other animals. In fact it prefers to share its life with one or several fellow canines. It is usually friendly with unknown dogs as long as they don’t behave aggressively or threaten its master. This dog is tasked to retrieve the shot game so it’s characterized with very moderate prey drive. It’s quite alright with individual pets (including cats) provided they have been properly introduced to each other.
Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

• obesity;
• osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD)
• pattelar luxation;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• tricuspid valve dysplasia;
• ear infections;
• eye problems;
• hereditary myopathy;
• acute moist dermatitis;
• epilepsy.


The Labrador Retriever is not so laborious to groom. You need to brush the dog two-three times a week with a bristle brush. But you must brush your dog every day when it sheds. Bathing should be performed every two months.

As this breed may suffer from ear infections, it is important to check its ears regularly and clean them thoroughly with a cotton pad moistened with a special cleaning solution. You should brush your pet’s teeth regularly to keep up its dental hygiene and for its fresh breath. Also you need trim the dog’s nails once or twice a month.

The Labrador Retriever is a very clever dog, which is easy to train. It strives for giving pleasure to its master and will try its best just for a few encouraging words and a treat or two. Firmness is necessary but this breed is sensitive to strict methods of training. That is why you must be unruffled and tolerant keeping up constantly your leadership.

In addition, this bright breed becomes quickly weary with repetitive tasks, so its training should be diverse and should include entertaining elements. Be mindful that it retains puppy-like carefree attitude until it’s about three years old. So manifest patience and tolerance while working with this dog. The Labrador Retriever must be socialized from its puppyhood to avoid any behavioral deviations in the future.

The Labrador Retriever is a highly energetic breed that needs rather lots of physical load. You should give your dog al least one hour a day on its active exercise. These dogs enjoy long walks, also they love running and swimming.

It would appear that this breed is awkward and somewhat slow-moving but remember that the first impression may be deceptive. This dog was bred as a tireless worker and it still possesses much of its working drive. That’s why it will make an excellent companion for any hunter.

If you don’t plan taking your Labrador Retriever in hunting expeditions make sure to provide it with some other acceptable way to channel its excessive energies. Under-exercised breed member becomes highly destructive indoors and will chew anything it can get access to.