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Adopt a Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


gundog, retriever

Area of origin:


Original function:

water retrieving

Average size of male:

Ht: 22.5-24.5, Wt: 65-80

Average size of female:

Ht: 21.5-23.5, Wt: 55-70

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Labrador Retriever Dog Temperament

Few breeds so richly deserve their popularity as the Labrador retriever. Devoted, obedient and amiable, the Lab is good with children, other dogs and other pets. He will be a calm house dog, playful yard dog and intense field dog, all on the same day. He is eager to please, enjoys learning and excels in obedience. He is a powerful breed that loves to swim and retrieve. He needs daily physical and mental challenges to keep him occupied, however; a bored Lab can get into trouble.

Labrador Retriever Dog Care

Labradors are active and sociable dogs. They need daily exercise, preferably in the form of retrieving and swimming. Labrador parents with swimming pools either must fence them out or be prepared to share the pool with dog. The Lab coat sheds water easily and needs weekly brushing to remove dead hair. Labs are much happier indoors with their family.

Labrador Retriever Dog Health

Major concerns: CHD, gastric torsion, retinal dysplasia/skeletal dwarfism, muscular dystrophy, elbow dysplasia
Minor concerns: cataract, OCD, CPRA, pyotraumatic dermatitis
Occasionally seen: diabetes, entropion, distichiasis
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, eye
Life span: 10-12 years

Interested in the history of the Labrador Retriever dog breed?

The original Labradors were all-purpose water dogs originating in Newfoundland, not Labrador. Not only did the breed not originate in Labrador, but it also was not originally called the Labrador retriever. The Newfoundland of the early 1800s came in different sizes, one of which was the "Lesser" or "St. John's Newfoundland, the earliest incarnation of the Labrador. These dogs, medium-sized black dogs with close hair, not only retrieved game but also retrieved fish, pulled small fishing boats through icy water and helped the fisherman in any task involving swimming. Eventually the breed died out in Newfoundland in large part because of a heavy dog tax. However, a core of Labradors had been taken to England in the early 1800s, and it is from these dogs, along with crosses to other retrievers, that the breed continued. It was also in England that the breed earned his reputation as an extraordinary retriever of upland game. Initially breeders favored black Labs, and culled yellow or chocolate colors. By the early 1900s, the other colors had become acceptable, although still not as widely favored as the blacks. The breed was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1903 and by the AKC in 1917. The popularity of this breed has grown steadily; he became the most popular breed in America in 1991 and remains so today.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Labrador Retriever Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Labrador Retrievers ready for adoption:

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