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Breed of the Month: Labrador Retriever

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Labrador Retriever

Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: Males 21.5–24.5 inches
Weight: Males 55–80 pounds
Coat: Double coat with short, straight, dense outercoat and soft, weather-resistant undercoat
Colors: Black, yellow, chocolate
Registries (With Group): AKC (Sporting); UKC (Gun Dog)


In the 1800s, ships traveling from Newfoundland to England carried with them Canadian working dogs used by fisherman and hunters. The English marveled at their retrieving abilities, and the second Earl of Marlesbury founded the first actual kennel for Labradors. By the late 1800s, a heavy dog tax caused a reduction in what was then becoming known as the Labrador Retriever in Canada, and in England, a quarantine law was established that effectively cut off importations. Without further contributions from Canada, the English used the dogs they had for developing both the Flat-Coated Retriever (which was popular in the 19th century) and what is now uniformly known as the Labrador Retriever. Although his rise to popularity came later than that of the Flat-Coat, it has been amazingly consistent. Today, there are two types of Labrador Retrievers: the field type and the show type. The field type is considered more energetic and is leaner than the show type, which is shorter and stockier.


The Labrador Retriever is sensible, even-tempered, affectionate, intelligent, and willing to please. Labradors love to play with people of all ages and seem to understand that children need to handled appropriately. They are enthusiastic retrievers and swimmers and can be kept happy for hours with a tennis ball tossed repeatedly. They are fairly large and athletic dogs who are mouth-oriented and like to chew.


  • Exercise: The high-spirited Labrador Retriever must have plenty of exercise for his body and mind. He loves to swim, and a long walk that takes him to a body of water where he can retrieve and play in the water (seemingly tirelessly) is his ideal outing.
  • Grooming: Labs are moderate to heavy shedders and should be brushed frequently so that the hair is removed by a brush rather than being left on furniture or clothes.
  • Life Span: 10 to 14 years.
  • Training: The Labrador Retriever is one of the most trainable of breeds. He lives to please his people and is attentive and responsive during training.

Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.

World Atlas of Dog Breeds Book

World Atlas of Dog Breeds

4 Responses to Breed of the Month: Labrador Retriever

  1. misscarolyn January 19, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    We love our black lab, Brandy. We adopted her from the Burlington County(NJ) Animal Alliance at age 2. She is now 8 1/2 and gets along great with her sister Missy the domestic shorthair cat age 11 also adopted.

  2. joyce guiliano January 20, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

    we have a yellow lab.he is seven. quite a big boy around 110 lbs. he loves to play with our other dog a 45lb border collie and german short hair pointer mix.

  3. Carol Conner January 23, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

    Our yellow lab Tug is nine years old and the love of my life. He tolerates the cats we have and gets along great with other dogs. We also have two Vizslas who abound with energy while he lays back and watches them . He is a great swimmer and duck dog and every year we have more people who call and ask to “barrow” him for a hunt. He has always been gentle and affectionate with our grandchildren. What more could we ask.

  4. stormi March 14, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    I have a little of lab males for sale. I can honestly say they are the greatest dogs to have around. I have had several different breeds and the Labrador Retrievers are the easiest to train, are by far the most willing to learn and are wonderful companion animals.

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