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Breed Info

The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion.

Never met a stranger

True Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the “otter” tail. The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards man or animal. The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog.

No expensive trips to the groomer

People who want easy-going dogs find a lot to love in Labrador retrievers — as do people who want to avoid expensive trips to the groomer. PetBreeds notes these dogs require only very occasional trips to the groomer. And unlike many dogs with long coats, Labs don’t need to be brushed for hours every week. Of course, that doesn’t mean Labs never need to be brushed or that they won’t need the occasional bath. But they’re much easier to keep well-groomed than many other dog breeds.

Labs want to be helpful

Labs often become guide dogs or search-and-rescue dogs. Some even get trained as therapy dogs. Sure, it helps that Labs take training well. But according to the AKC, “The Labrador retriever’s willingness to please makes them outstanding search and rescue dogs, as well as guide dogs for the blind.” In fact, Labs are the breed of choice to serve as guide and rescue dogs. That means the breed’s desire to be helpful pays off.

Work out partner

Not every dog can keep up with athletic and outdoorsy owners. But Labs are up for just about anything. Labs go hiking. They’ll go jogging. And they’ll even swim with you. Whatever you do to stay fit, a Lab will want to join in. Plus, he’ll have the muscle and energy to keep up with — or even outperform — you. Need some motivation to go running each day? A Labrador retriever might be just what you need. And if you want somebody to go swimming with you? Your Lab will probably jump right in.

21 1/2 to 24 1/2
11 - 14 years
55-80 pounds

Personality

In general, Labrador retrievers are excellent family dogs, as long as you keep in mind their need for exercise and training. These are dogs bred to work and work hard and they love to have jobs to do, particularly retrieving.

Labs are usually good with other dogs, other pets, and children as long as training has toned down their natural exuberance. They are strong dogs and need some obedience training at an early age or they can be seen dragging their owners down the street at will.

Owing to their energetic nature, Labradors who are left alone or not well exercised can become destructive — chewing, digging and barking to excess.

Health

In Labradors, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, EIC, and heart clearance; and from the OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).

Care

Luckily for us, caring for a Labrador Retriever isn’t as demanding as it is for many other breeds. Well-bred Labradors are relatively low maintenance, fit and healthy dogs.

But your Labradors continuing health and well-being does depend entirely on you.

A nutritious diet, regular exercise, grooming, preventive measures and regular visits to the vet are the real key to maintaining a high level of wellness and good health.

All these actions are your responsibility and solely under your control.

Feeding

Recommended daily amount: 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

Grooming

Labradors are a short-haired breed that don’t need much brushing for most of the year. But during the moulting season you’ll want to brush them regularly to remove shed hair if you want to limit the amount that covers, well, every surface of your home.

Brushing also helps to shake loose dirt out of and spread the natural oils throughout their coat for that desirable, healthy glossy look we know and love.