The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the United States and one of the most popular dogs in the world. The reason for it is very simple. It is a kind, easygoing and fun loving dog. They are easy to train and are recommended for first time dog owners. The Labrador Retriever is really the perfect family dog. Apart from being a great family dog it is also used by police and rescue forces and it is very often used as a guide dog for the blind.
In this post I am going tell you the story of the Labrador Retriever, its origin, personality, health and what to think of if you would like to get one.

The Origin

The ancestor of the Labrador Retriever is originally from New Foundland but got its name from the Labrador Peninsula where it also was present. This dog was often owned by Fishermen. The Labrador caught fish that slipped through the nets and it is fetched fishing nets from the water. Thus, these dogs had a short coat of really oily fur that protected it from cold water. Now the story of the Labrador Retriever seems to be a complicated one. Some people believe that its ancestor is the New Foundland dog and others think it is the other way around, that New Foundland dog is the ancestor of the Labrador Retriever. In any case, during the 18th and 19th century, these dogs were imported to England where it was used as a retrieving dog during bird hunting. Even today Labrador Retrievers and are used for this purpose. So this is a brief history of the Labrador Retriever, now let’s take a look at its personality.

The Personality and Character of the Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever has a soft and easy going personality. This is one of the reasons why it has become so popular as a family dog. This dog is one of the least aggressive of all dogs, it goes along great with other animals, with foreigners and with kids. This dog is playful and loves playing games with you. One of its favorite game is to play fetch, just trough a stick or Frisbee and it will run to get it. After all the Labrador was partially bred for this purpose. These dogs often love water (though there are exceptions to this, after all dogs are individuals) and love spending time at the beach or at a lake and some love swimming so much they seem to never want to get out of the water.

The Labrador Retriever is a very active dog and it does need a fair bit of exercise. A couple of long walks every day together with some time for playing is what it needs. If you are into jogging the Labrador is great jogging partner. It is a dog capable of running long distances without tiring.

The Labrador Retriever is a dog which is easy to train and educate. It is really eager to please and enjoy training. It is not a dominant dog so it is well suited to people who does not have a strong personality.

The Labrador Retriever is calm and stable mentally. This is the reason why it is so well suited as a guide dog for the blind. For example, if it is scared by something while walking, it recovers quickly and can get back to doing its job. For the same reason, it is well suited as a therapy dog for the sick and disabled.
There is one thing that the Labrador can not do and that is guarding. A Labrador likes people too much to be able to guard your home and is quite likely to welcome a burglar with a wagging tail and even show him where all your valuables are. Some Labradors might bark when someone is approaching the house but it will not stop them from entering your home.

Below you will find a video with a few facts of the Labrador Retriever


at the beachThe Labrador Retriever is a medium to large dog. It has a short but thick coat of fur. The colours are black, chocolate brown or yellow. A male dog usually weighs between 29 and 36 kilos and a female between 25 and 32 kilos. The male measures 57 to 62 centimeters and the female 55 to 60. The dog is strong and athletic. It has a broad head and the ears are slopping and should stop just above the eyes.

Labradors bred for hunting or field work are slightly different from other Labradors. They are usually a little taller and with a thinner build than Labradors bred for show or family dogs. Field dogs also tend to be a little more restless than other Labradors. The difference between Field Labradors and other Labradors is not that big and both would make great family dogs and both will be good as working dogs. There is no written standards that separates Field Labradors from other Labradors.


Like most breeds of dogs, Labradors have some health issues that it is important to be aware off.

Hip Dysplasia is when the dog has a malformation in the hip joint. Because of this, the joint does not fit well into the knee socket. This causes pain and in severe cases it makes it difficult for the dog to move. This is a fairly common health problem for not only Labradors but for many other bigger dogs. It is a condition which is largely inherited from the dogs parents, so a good an idea is to get a Labrador Puppy from a serious breeder where the parents has received excellent hip scores during their health examination.

Ear Infections are a common problem for many dogs (not only Labradors) and is something that should be checked regularly. The Labradors big floppy ears which are full of hairs, easily gets infected. This causes pain and discomfort and once your dog has been infected, a visit to the vet is advisable as infected ears can be difficult to treat and clean on your own.

Bloat is a dangerous condition that mostly happens to bigger dogs (such as the Labrador Retriever) Gas forms in the dog’s stomach and causes it to swell and makes the stomach twist inside of its body. This happens quickly and sadly often causes death when it is not treated immediately. Bloat often happens to dogs who eat quickly and the Labrador is one of these. The risk of your dog getting bloat can be reduced by not feeding it just before exercising, by reducing the quantity of food or by dividing it into several meals in a day. There are also “Slow Feed Bowls” which are constructed in a way which makes eating a lot slower.

PRA Blindness. PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy. It is an incurable disease which is caused by the Retina (the membrane at the back of the eye) gradually breaks down until the dog is completely blind. Many dogs suffer from this and since it can not be cured the best thing to do is prevention. If you get your puppy from a reputable breeder, the puppy’s parents will have been checked for this condition and thus minimizes the risk that your dog will get it.

Obesity is unfortunately very common among Labradors. I remember when I lived in Belgium I saw so many overweight Labradors so I began to think that this is they way Labradors are built: Like a Barrel. This is not the way it should be though, Labradors should be strong and athletic. There are a few reasons why Labradors often end up being obese.
First of all, Labradors love to eat. If its food intake is not controlled it will eat as much as it possibly can.

Secondly, in order for a Labrador to stay in good shape it needs a fair bit of exercise. Unfortunately, many Labradors do not get enough exercise to burn excess calories and thus, they put on weight.

Thirdly, many people find it too hard to resist a Labrador begging for food so they feed it endlessly. Not just dog food and dog treats, but things like potato crisps, cookies and more. Many Labradors are family dogs and they are loved and spoiled like children. But just like with children, you must set limits, otherwise, it will become obese and its health will suffer. Problems with joints and the heart are common when dogs are getting overweight.


Labrador Puppies
Labrador Puppies

If you would like a big, active family dog, then the Labrador Retriever is an excellent choice. It is often recommended for first time dog owners, due to its kind and easy going personality. The Labrador Retriever is a not a dominant dog (though you still have to establish yourself as the pack leader) and it is eager to please and learn. This makes it a dog suitable for people who do not have a strong personality and who might find it difficult to impose themselves on a stubborn, dominant dog. The Labrador is easy to deal with but like all dogs it needs to be well educated and trained. I suggest you check out my review of the Online Dog Trainer. This training is both cheap and effective and can be done at home in your own time. Here is a link to my Online Dog Trainer Review.

What you do need to take into consideration is that the Labrador Retriever is an active dog who needs a fair bit of exercises. This does not mean that you need to be an athlete to own one, but you should have the energy and time for a couple of vigorous walks every day and some time for playing games.

Like mentioned in the beginning of this post, if you need a guard dog, then you should look elsewhere. The Labrador simply does not have it in them. Far to people friendly for that.

Be well-prepared before getting your dog and make sure you buy your puppy from a reputable breeder. If you do this I am sure you will be very happy with your choice of dog.

I hope you enjoyed this post about the Labrador Retriever. As always, post your comments and questions below and if you like this post, please spread it on social media by using the buttons to the left.


Comments 10

  • This is a comment about your web site. The first picture of the bird on the dogs back needs a much better caption than it has. That bird is not a Labrador Retriever. Such as “This Lab is so calm it gives the bird (Wood Pecker) a ride”.

  • The picture of the black lab looks just like my Reggie! We got him a year ago as a pup, and boy is he a handful. Definitely great with the kids and super playful, but we have a hard time exercising him enough. Great article covering all the good and not-so-good (depending on your point of view) things about labs.

    • True that they do need a lot of exercise. One idea might be to let him play with other dogs, that way he will really run a lot a get more tired than he will during walks. Also with age he will calm down a little. Labradors are fairly adaptable dogs.


  • I have always loved the Labrador. My son wants a big dog, and this might be the perfect one for our household. They sound like a very lovable, smart, and fun dog. I have many friends that have them as well. Do you know if they shed terribly a lot? Would a brush help with this if they do? Also, what colors do they come in? Just a curious questions 🙂

    • The fur of a Labrador is short and easy to deal with. They do shed a bit but it is really not too bad compared to some dogs. The most common colours of Labradors are black and yellow. Some labradors are white and some are chocolate brown.


  • I don’t currently own a dog myself, but much of my family has always had them. When I eventually do have a dog, I feel a lab will be my #1 choice (or a Pug haha).

    I really love this article as you go into detail about everything you need to know… this will act as a great source when I have my own pet.

    Thanks very much for the info!

  • My father in law has a labrador retriever. It is such a great dog around my young children. Her name “Lucy” is really playful. I just live across the street from my father in law, so my daughter will go get her and bring her to our house.
    I have a lot of property and she loves to chase rabbits. I have wanted to train her to be a rabbit dog, but my father in law will not let me. I guess he is afraid I might accidentally hurt her while hunting with her. Lucy really is a great dog.

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