Labrador Retriever – Most Popular American Dog Breed

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
You want to know why Labrador Retriever is so beloved dog? Read on and discover what makes this breed so superb.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
21 to 24 inches at the shoulder
55 to 80 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Is there a dog breed that is more popular or loved in the States, than the Labrador Retriever is?

The famous Labrador Retriever is America’s most popular dog breed. It doesn’t seem that any breed can beat this breed when it comes to popularity.

Labrador Retriever is a large dog breed, measuring up to 100 Ibs and weighing up to 80 pounds.

This is a sturdy dog who loves when there is work to be done. As a true representative of the sporting breed, the Labrador Retriever is always ready (and happy) to jump in and help with specific work.

They are originally from the United Kingdom, where they were used as a retrieve gun dogs. Their primary job was to follow fishermen and help them. Labs come in three colors: chocolate, black, and yellow.

Chocolate Labs are the rarest among these three, but are equally popular and loved.

If you ever hear about a breeder offering a ‘rare Lab’ know that it’s just a wordplay – Labs in white, fox red, and even silver color are just variations of the three original Lab coloring combinations.

Labs are great family dogs, amazing with children, and protective when needed. As a working breed, they need a fair amount of activity.

Learn more about America’s favorite dog breed ever.

Quick Facts

Real name: Labrador Retriever
Other names: Labrador, Lab
Origin: United Kingdom
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 65-80 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)
Height: 22.5-24.5 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 5 – 10 puppies
Color: Black, chocolate, or yellow (ranges from pale yellow to fox red)
Coat: Short, dense, weather-resistant double coat

Labrador Retriever History

The famous Labrador Retriever is known for being a friendly, loving children, and for being active. Still, little is known that this large dog was actually bred to help fishermen.

That’s right, this large and powerful dog was specifically bred to work full-time as a duck retriever and fisherman’s mate.

This breed started building its fame in the early 1800s when Labradors were first spotted by English nobles visiting Canada.

How these two are linked? Labs are traditional waterdogs of Newfoundland, who went a long way from Canada to the Europan island.

Sporting earls and lords returned to England with Labradgo dogs and during the 19th century, British breeders refined and standardized the breed.

Traits of this dog that are present even today and loved so much remained, and some of them are weather-resistant coats.

Their famous ‘otter tail,’ is still present and is a powerful tool, especially when it comes to swimming.

Labs’ temperament hasn’t changed from day one – they are still kindly, outgoing, adventure-oriented, and eager to please and show only kindness, interest, and fun toward humans and another animal.

This is the main reason why this breed is so popular today and why people cannot replace this breed with any other.

This breed was recognized by The Kennel Club (England) in 1903, while the AKC registered the first Lab in far 1917. Ever since 1991, the Labrador Retriever is America’s favorite breed.

Good to know: Due to its traits, Labrador Retriever is often used to create new mixed breeds, such as Coconut Retriever and Labrastaff.

Labrador Retriever Physical Appearance

The Labrador Retriever is often described as a large dog, while they are in fact built medium to large. Females are usually smaller compared to males.

Depending on breeding, as a general rule, Labs can have an average 80Ibs and a well-proportioned body with a strong and healthy balance between the length of the leg and the length of the spine. Overall, how Labs should look is more than well-known.

They always have a broad skull with ‘chiselled’, and soft ear flaps. The body is powerful and well-muscled, while the jaw is strong.

Their coat is ‘wash and go,’ type, being water repellant and specially designed to keep Labs warm in cold areas.

You may see them often shake fast. This is a great way for them to remove any water for coat surfaces. As for the color, Labs come in only three colors, yellow, chocolate (often called liver), and black.

Again: if you hear people using all sorts of different color descriptions, know that there is no such thing as ‘Golden Labrador, or even a ‘Fox Red Labrador’.

Bear in mind that they are just variations of the color yellow. In fact, the Kennel Clubs of the United Kingdom, and the USA recognize only three colors:

  • Yellow
  • Chocolate, and
  • Black

This dog is a huge water-lover, which is why they have webbed paws. This is an agile and powerful dog with an overall experience of a fit and healthy dog.

This is a fast dog who won’t mind having a daily sprint. For a fairly large dog, the Labrador Retriever is surprisingly agile and more than capable of jumping at significant heights.

Make sure that you keep your Labrador Retriever away from the height area while puppy because you don’t want him to harm his joints in any way.

Labrador Retriever Personality

There are so many great traits about Labrador Retriever that people just adore. They are intelligent, easy to train, and great family addition.

They also love when there is a daily routine, packed with moderate exercise and mental stimulation. If you don’t provide this breed with a specific job to do, they may become destructive.

As the number one family dog, this breed will provide the best time ever as long as you provide proper training and regular exercise.

These dogs were bred to work hard and they appreciate when there is a job to be done, especially retrieving.

Labs are also great with other animals, especially other dogs, as long as they are trained the right way.

They will always be great with children as long as children are educated on how to behave around dogs and what is allowed, and what behavior is a big no-no, such as never to disturb a dog while eating.

When it comes to people-related tasks, there is no job that Labrador Retriever cannot perform. They are great with children and love being surrounded by them.

Playing with children is something that feels natural with this dog, which is why they are often used as support dogs for children with autism. Labrador Retriever can provide wonderful emotional support to any child with autism, regardless of age and activity levels.

Labradors are gentle, calm, and always ready to move when needed. When chilling they will stick to their child and keep everyone calm.

As physically strong dogs, Labs need obedience training at an early age, or you can see them easily dragging owners down the street.

Energetic dogs should be handled the right way. If you feel like your Labrador Retriever is too much work for you, think about professional dog training classes.

Living With Labrador Retriever

Labs have many traits that many find enjoyable. They are easy to keep, great to train, and they have a naturally strong need to please their humans.

Without these traits, they wouldn’t be as popular as they are. As huge people lovers they will follow you around every step, and they will expect to eat whenever you say ‘what a good boy,’ and this is something that you should be careful with.

This breed is prone to weight gain, and obesity in Labrador Retrievers is on the rise.

Make sure that you know which human food is dangerous for dogs, which can add to their weight, and which one is 100% healthy like cucumbers are.

Still, make sure that you don’t have overdue even with the healthy options because dogs should eat food that’s specially designed for them and only enriched with a few human foods.

Labs tend to be protective so make sure that he has a corner of his own. No matter where you might be, they will follow you and expect you to take them with them.

They will be more than happy to stay in and watch TV with you, as long as you don’t forget about their walk.

This breed tends to ‘mouth’ people and very often the solution is to give them a toy to carry around, so their mouths are always full.

Fast fact: Are you familiar with Boxer and Labrador Mix: Boxador, one of the newest dog breeds?

Labrador Retriever Training

When owning a Labrador Retriever you need to think about training first.

This is a physically strong breed with a high-energy level, who can thrive only on proper training and early socialization.

Make sure that you have enough dog experience before you let the dog into your home (no matter the breed), that you are prepared toys-knowledge-wise, and that you have enough time to invest in creating a well-behaved canine.

Labs can start learning their basic commands within 8 weeks and between 7 weeks and 4 months that training process is the most crucial one.

Puppy training classes are a mandatory part of the socialization process and this is something that should be done as teamwork if you have a large family.

It’s important to react as soon as you notice any sign of bad behavior. Always use positive reinforcement methods, and never punish your Lab, no matter what.

Dog of any size can react aggressively toward harsh methods, and with physically powerful dogs, this is even more true.

Labs are intelligent, gentle, devoted, and enthusiastic dogs who would love nothing more but to please you, so use that to your advantage. Make sure that you include your Lab in any family activity.

Labrador Retriever Grooming

The Lab has a thick, water-repellant double coat that sheds. Every coat no matter how much it shed or not requires a certain level of commitment.

Therefore, regular brushing – once a week, is mandatory, while grooming should be a monthly and daily routine.

Bath only when necessary, dogs have different skin opposite to humans, and they do need frequent bathing as we do.

If you have to bathe your Lab, make sure that you are using only dog-friendly shampoo. The rest is regular maintenance:

  • Check gums and ears weekly
  • Trim or grind nails when needed
  • Check eyes
  • Check skin while brushing for any sign of fleas or skin infection
  • If necessary, brush his teeth

Labrador Retriever Health

Overall, Labs are healthy dogs. If you are dealing with a responsible breeder you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Responsible breeders will always screen the dog for the most common health conditions. Moreover, responsible breeders will always present you with medical documentation on the breed, and let you meet the puppy’s parents.

If your breeder doesn’t follow this type, know that you are standing inside the puppy mill, and you should turn around and walk away.

A higher number of young adult Labs may experience a condition called exercise-induced collapse (EIC), this is why DNK test from the breeder’s side is important to avoid producing the disease.

Labs are larger dogs, and as such, they’re prone to bloat, a life-threatening condition that occurs in large size dogs.

As a dog owner, you should be informed about the breed, and possible issues, and you should especially know what the bloat is san how it may affect your dog, Moreover, you should know how you can prevent certain conditions in your Lab.

The Bottom Line

Labrador Retriever is the ultimate dog when it comes to the States, People love their energy and hardworking nature. This adorable breed is usually busy working today.

They spend their time as part of search and rescue, as therapy dogs, in show competitions, or in any other form of canine job. Be sure that they enjoy every minute of it.

Labrador Retrievers may be most popular as family dogs, but they are among the best tracking dogs and one of the best mountain rescue dogs in avalanche situations as well.

Did you know that if you get lost, this dog (if trained properly) will be able to find you? To utilize talents like this one, always do in-depth research on the breed.

Make sure that you are well-informed on the breed before you welcome your Lab into your home – preparation is the best way to have a well-behaved and happy Labrador Retriever.

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