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Retriever (Labrador) Mobile

Labrador Retriever

Labradors are large, strongly built dogs with good bone and substance. Their heads are broad with soft, intelligent eyes that are the perfect indicators of their friendliness and generally easy-going natures. Their tails are described as being “otter-like” and are both strong and almost constantly wagging.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Quiet dog
  • Welcomes everyone happily
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • Great family dog
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left alone with training
This breed may encounter health problems

As with many breeds, Labrador dogs can suffer from:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia 
- Progressive retinal atrophy which is an inherited disorder where part of the eye degenerates and wastes away which can result in blindness.
- Multifocal retinal dysplasia which is an inherited eye condition that can seriously affect a dogs' vision.
- Total retinal dysplasia which is a condition where the back of the eye does not develop properly, which can lead to complete blindness. 
- Retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy which is where deposits form in the eye and this can result in damage to the eye and blindness in dim light.
- Hereditary cataracts which is a condition where the lens in the eye becomes cloudy and this can result in blindness. 
- Laryngeal paralysis, a condition where nerve damage develops in the vocal cords and this can lead to problems breathing. 
- Epilepsy¹ which is a condition where abnormal brain function can lead to seizures which damage the brain. 
- Centronuclear myopathy which is a disease where a dog has insufficient muscle fibres which leads to muscle weakness.
- Exercise-induced collapse which is a condition that can cause problems with nerve communication during exercise and can result in collapse.
- Skeletal dysplasia which is a form of dwarfism where the long bones stop growing before they are fully developed. 
- Hereditary nasal parakeratosis which is a condition affecting the cells in the nose which causes the nose to dry out and become inflamed.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme
- Elbow dysplasia screening scheme
- Eye screening scheme

¹L. Kearsley-Fleet et al, 'Prevalence and risk factors for canine epilepsy of unknown origin in the UK', Jan 2013, Veterinary Record

Meet the Labrador!

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10 – 14 years
Weight: 25 – 36kg
Height: 55 – 57cm
Colours: Black, yellow and chocolate/liver
Size: Large
Kennel Club group: Gundog


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 5/5
three labradors standing together


The Labrador Retriever is an active, friendly, loving dog who thrives on human companionship, wanting nothing more than to please their owners (except perhaps eat and jump in any water they can find!). They are ideal pets where there are children about and they get on well with other household animals. Labradors are a very happy breed, extremely affectionate, constantly wagging their tails and always on the go. They are easily trained, being eager to learn and to please and can turn their paw to just about anything. They are total foodies however - which helps with their training but not their waistlines!

labrador standing next to its owner

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Canada

The Labrador Retriever breed originated not in Labrador, but on the coast of Newfoundland in the 17th century. They were trained to bring in the fishing-nets through the icy waters for the fishermen and, in the early 19th century, were brought to Poole Harbour in Great Britain. They were so attractive and with such appealing personalities that the fishermen had umpteen offers from Englishmen to buy them. The breed with their working abilities was instantly successful as a gundog. The Earl of Malmesbury became fascinated by these dogs, known at that time as Saint John's Dogs, and he started breeding them, calling them Labrador Dogs. Today, Labradors are still used as working gundogs as well as being beloved family pets.

did you know?

Did you know?

  • Originally Labrador Retrievers worked with fishermen and were bred to bring back fish-laden nets.
  • Labrador’s have turned their paw to a whole host of dog careers, including: drug and explosive detection, search and rescue and even guide dogs!
  • They’re one of the most popular dog breeds in the USA and UK.
  • You can get puppies of all colours (black, yellow and chocolate) in one litter.
  • The world’s first diabetic alert dog was a Labrador called Armstrong!

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