Labrador Retriever

Worldwide, this is the most popular retriever of all. Almost the perfect gundog, the Labrador Retriever is extremely biddable and has a natural inclination to retrieve on land and water, together with a desire to please and the ability to learn easily. This good-tempered, affectionate dog makes an ideal family pet.

Alert and intelligent, Labrador Retrievers are extremely biddable and easy to train. As well as being excellent gundogs, some work as guide dogs, hearing dogs and even sniffer dogs.


The seventeenth century witnessed considerable trade between Britain and Newfoundland - slates out and salt fish back. The Newfoundlanders had an all-purpose water dog which helped the fishermen to retrieve dropped articles, haul carts and retrieve game. Called St John's Dogs, they were brought to Poole in England by sailors. The Earl of Malmesbury, recognizing their retrieving skills, subsequently developed them as gundogs.

Working Labradors learn to work with their owner as part of the human pack. Even pet Labs love retrieving toys and other objects.


An affable and intelligent breed, the Labrador Retriever is tolerant and easy-going both with other dogs and with human beings. A devoted and loyal companion, it enjoys the company of children and will allow them to take liberties. It wants to please its human owners and responds well to kindness, making it an easy dog to train. However, it is easily upset by shouting or harsh treatment.

must know

Hip dysplasia is present in some lines as are some eye conditions (TRD, GPRA, CPRA, HC). The best breeders test their dogs. Before you buy a Lab puppy, check with the breeder and ask for the test results.


A strongly built dog. the Labrador has a broad, deep chest, a distinctive tapering tail and a distinctive short, dense coat which can withstand the cold and wet. The coat colour may be black, yellow, liver or chocolate. The ideal height for dogs is 56-57cm (22-23in) and slightly less for bitches.

Strangers 4/5

Will warn but friendly

Temperament 4/5

Cool and laid back

Exercise 4/5

As much as possible

Grooming 1/5


Other dogs 5/5

No problems

Summary 5/5

A wonderful companion dog and working dog

General care

Labrador puppies are very ebullient but, with early and kind domestic training, they will soon fit into family life. They have a need for love, attention and understanding. Labradors have a voracious appetite and a tendency to overweight, so you must monitor your dog's diet carefully. Stimulating their brains prevents destructive habits forming: owners should invent search and retrieve games and involve them in all family activities. The Labrador is an active, country dog which needs plenty of exercise, free running and play, so don't consider owning this breed unless you have boundless energy as well as lots of space and spare time. Grooming is minimal: just clean the ears and brush the coat once a week to rid it of dead hairs.

Labrador puppies look small and cute but they grow up into large, powerful dogs which need a lot of exercise.

Gallery of Labrador Retriever