It is thought that labrador retrievers originated from New Foundland in Canada and
were developed as a breed in the UK. It is closely related to the New Foundland dog
and like this breed is thought to have emerged from the St John’s Water Dog through
ad-hoc breedings by early settlers in the 16th Century. The labrador was originally
used for pulling in fishing nets grabbing floating corks and pulling these to shore.
It is thought the name labrador was given to the breed when they were introduced
to Britain to represent where the breed was from (Labrador Peninsular, Canada).
Labrador retrievers are now commonly used by the police, military and rescue services
as well as perhaps being best known as assistance dogs.
Labrador Retriever Known Disorders
Labrador retrievers are prone to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia and eye disorders
and hip scores and clear eye certificates are recommended before breeding.
Labrador Retriever Diet
The labrador evolved from the St John’s Water Dog and will have been exposed to natural
food products existing by the sea.
Labrador retrievers have a tendency to place everything in their mouths which means
they are scavengers by trade and makes them ideal candidates for obesity if their
diet is not strictly monitored and maintained.
The amount and type of food will depend on the individual dog. A complete and balanced
diet is recommended to include fish, poultry and natural meats.
Labrador Retriever Temperament
Labrador retrievers are naturally curious dogs that thrive on company and play. They
particularly like playing in the water as their naturally webbed paws and muscular
physique make the labrador one of the best swimming dogs. labradors make very good
family pets as they are largely well-balanced and friendly and not known for being
defensive, territorial or aggressive.
Labradors are boisterous and have a sense of fun. Always willing to retrieve a stick
or ball, a labrador loves nothing better than your time spent together. They are
prone to put most things in their mouths and will chew on anything, however with
training this can be controlled.
Labrador Retriever Appearance
The labrador retriever has a strong muscular physique and a smooth, short straight-haired
coat. The UK Kennel Club standards ideal height is 56-57 cms for a male and 55-56
cms for a female. Weight from 25-35 kgs. Working labs may have been bred to a significantly
There are two lines of labrador retrievers. The Conformation (‘English’, ‘Show’ or
‘Bench’) and the Field (‘American’ or ‘Working’). The Conformation is typically
smaller and stockier with a fatter face. The Field line is typically taller with
a lighter frame.
There are three colour varieties of labrador retrievers. The most common is the ‘Black’
followed by ‘Yellow’ (cream to dark red) then ‘Chocolate’.
A labrador’s coat is thick, dense and water-repellent which means that it is naturally
oily and a bit dry. There is a tendency to moult twice a year although there is variance
amongst individuals (and geographic location). The tail is thick and sturdy and can
be the source of minor accidents in the home (labradors express their excitement
with a sweeping tail which can send objects flying).
Generally athletic in appearance, labradors should look strong and muscular and care
should be paid to their diet so as not to encourage obesity.
A strong jaw and broad face are key characteristics which make the labrador retriever
one of the most popular dogs in the UK.