Americans absolutely love Labrador Retrievers — this dog is ranked as the most popular breed by the American Kennel Club. I mean, can you blame us? These dogs are happy, easy-going, and friendly. We love them so much, the Lab was the first dog on the cover of Life magazine and the first canine face to grace a U.S. stamp.
Okay, to be fair, Americans aren't alone in their adoration of Labrador Retrievers. They're also the top favorite breed in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Apparently the Brits and many of their former colonies just can't get enough of these smart, attractive, and fun-loving dogs.
Labrador Retrievers are also the breed of choice for search and rescue work, guide dogs, assisted living dogs, and contraband detection work.
Don't let the name fool you though: this dog is from Newfoundland, not Labrador in Canada. This medium-sized and high-energy breed can grow to between 55-80 pounds and lives an average of 10-12 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Sporting group.
|Breed's original pastime||Retrieving|
|Average lifespan||10-12 years|
|Date of origin||1800s|
|Original function||Water retrieving|
|Today's function||Water retrieving|
|Average size of male||Height: 22.5-24.5 Weight: 65-80|
|Average size of female||Height: 21.5-23.5 Weight: 55-70|
|Energy level||High energy|
|Affection level||Very affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Very friendly|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Very friendly|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Very friendly|
|Ease of training||Hard to train|
|Protection ability||Not very protective|
|Grooming needs||Low maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||High tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A LABRADOR RETRIEVER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
There's a reason Labrador Retrievers are so popular: they usually like everybody. Kids, dogs, cats, strangers: you name it, and the Lab will wag her tail in their direction. These versatile pups are calm in the house, silly and playful in the back yard, and no-nonsense while they're in the field.
WHAT IS LABRADOR RETRIEVER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
That name is no lie: your Labrador Retriever wants nothing more than to bring back whatever you'll throw for as long as you'll throw it. This is a very active breed who will need a lot of activity to keep them happy and healthy. They are avid swimmers.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A LABRADOR RETRIEVER?
These dogs want nothing more than to make you happy and are a dream to train. Their enthusiasm makes them likely to pull while they're on the leash, though. Labrador Retrievers respond well to food and—you guessed it—retrieving rewards.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO LABRADOR RETRIEVERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Labrador Retrievers have short, water-resistant double coats. They are somewhat heavy, seasonal shedders, but Labrador Retrievers don't need much in the way of professional grooming. Plan to brush them about once a week and bathe them as needed.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO LABRADOR RETRIEVERS HAVE?
Labrador Retrievers are a robust, healthy breed. Some may suffer orthopedic issues like elbow or hip dysplasia, or eye disease.
Feeding your baby Labrador Retriever a growth food for large-breed puppies will slow their rate of growth but not diminish their adult stature which may help prevent or reduce the impact of adult-onset hip dysplasia. They tend toward obesity in adulthood, so be mindful of meals and snacks.