Labrador Retriever Basics

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Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is one of several kinds of retriever. Although somewhat boisterous if untrained, they are exceptionally affable, gentle, intelligent, energetic and good natured, both as companion and working dog. With training, the Lab is one of the most dependable, obedient and multi-talented breeds in the world.

American or English


Labrador Retrievers are usually described as being either “English” or “American”, they can also be described a show or field Labradors, with the show Labradors being the English and the field being the American. English or show labs tend to be smaller and stockier than the American or field labs. Having said that, it is not uncommon for an American lab to be short and stocky and an English Labrador to be larger and thin many due to the tremendous amount of small scale or backyard breeders that actively breed Labradors.

High Energy

Labradors often have high energy and are smarter than the average dog. This means if they are not given sufficient amounts of exercise and training they can be handful, especially as younger dogs. A good brisk walk in the morning and the evening is a good idea for younger to middle aged Labradors. They are a very pack oriented, social dog so these walks have tremendous benefits to keeping order around the home as well as giving both of you much needed exercise.

Not only are Labradors high energy most have a food drive that is really second to none and I have often heard people say, “A Labrador will eat anything that is not getting ready to eat them”. Maybe a little bit of an exaggeration but not by too much.

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Labrador Colors

In addition to coming in different body types, labs come in a variety of colors as well. The Black Labradors are the oldest of the Labrador colors followed by the Yellow Labradors. Next are the Chocolate Labradors which are most recent addition to the Labrador family. Do not be surprised if your black lab has a sibling that is yellow or brown though. Yellow and black often are found in the same litter and when chocolates and black labs are bred together, which they often are, you will have a mix of chocolate and black labs.

Fox Red Labradors are making a comeback in recent years. The fox red coloration was the original color that was associated with yellow labs until it was almost entirely bred out to achieve the more desirable yellow cream color. If you go for the fox red color make sure you go to a reputable breeder as some folks are taking short cuts just to achieve the fox red color. Another recent development in the Labrador world are Silver Labradors. Some breeders have been producing them but there is significant controversy surrounding these dogs as other breeders believe these dogs are actually a mix of a Labrador and something else.

Canine Info

Birth place: Newfoundland

Nicknames: Commonly called Lab/Labrador

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Types: usually two types: English Labrador (heavier, thicker, and blockier) and the American Lab (tall, lanky)

Appearance: Solid, muscular, slightly longer than tall.

Stature: 22-24 inches in height (56-61cm.)

Weight: 60-75 lbs in weight (27-34 kg.)

Coat: Short, hard, easy-care, water-resistant double coat

Color: Solid black, chocolate, yellow, fox red (Silver or gray is controversial)

Head: Broad, with thick nose, pronounced stop, fairly wide muzzle, powerful neck

Eyes: Chestnut or hazel

Ears: Medium in size and decorated

Teeth: like scissors-bite

Limbs: bone structure is very good

Feet: Webbed for swimming

Tail: Otter tail, strong, thick near the body then tapering, completely covered with hair

Life span: 10-12 years

Canine Facts

The Labrador is considered the most popular breed of dog (by registered ownership) in the world, and is by a large margin the most popular breed by registration in the United States (since 1991), the United Kingdom and several other countries.

It is also the most popular breed of assistance dog in the United States, Australia, and many other countries, as well as being widely used by police and other official bodies for their detection and working abilities.

Labrador Retrievers respond well to praise and positive attention, and are considerably “food and fun” oriented.


Labrador pups should not be bought before they are 7-10 weeks old. They can carry some disorders like:

° Prone hip

° Elbow dysplasia

° Luxating patella in knee

° Eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dystrophy and retinal dysplasia.

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° Hereditary myopathy causing deficiency in type II muscle fiber

Famous Labrador retrievers

Endal: he was a service dog in England as well as the most decorated dog in the world. He is the first dog to ride on the London Eye and the first dog known to work a ‘chip and pin’ ATM card. As of 2007 some three hundred camera crews from several countries have interviewed Endal and his owner Allen Parton, and a film of a year in his life is in production.

Jake: a black Labrador who became a national canine hero after burrowing through white-hot, smoking debris in search of survivors in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Also helped search for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005.

Lucky and Flo: twin Black Labrador counterfeit detection dogs who became famous in 2007 for “sniffing out nearly 2 million pirated counterfeit DVDs” on a six-month secondment to Malaysia in 2007. Following the multi-million dollar, 6-arrest Malaysian detection, they became the first dogs to be awarded Malaysia’s, “outstanding service award” and software pirates were stated to have put a 60,000 dollar contract out for their lives.

Clinton and his Buddy: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Labradors Buddy and Seamus, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Labrador ‘Koni’ are the famous pet labs.



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