Everything You Need to Know About Labrador Retrievers

Posted by Mateja Lane

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America's #1 dog!

Labradors are your dogs next door. This is one dog breed that almost everyone can pick out of a crowd! It is no surprise that the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the country, according to the American Kennel Club.

This versatile breed is gentle enough to be a family dog, driven enough to be a sporting dog, and intelligent enough to excel as guide dogs, police K9s, and search and rescue dogs. The breed standards include three colors: yellow, black, and chocolate.

Differences Between Yellow, Black, and Chocolate? 

"Although our early Labrador Retrievers were predominantly black, some of these original dogs carried the genetic information required to produce chocolate puppies," explains The Labrador Site. " The color black in Labradors is dominant.  That means that if a Labrador has one gene for the color brown, and one gene for the color black, the dog will be black." 

Black labs are seen in the working community a lot in the UK and US.

And chocolate lab sizes vary a lot. English chocolate labs are more likely to have a chunky Labrador head and thick otter tail! Adorable! They're also known to be easier going.

The yellow lab may range in coat color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog. All three colors have a double coat.

Regardless of the color, they need a lot of mental stimulation and obedience training is also something pet parents should consider. They are one the breeds known best for working as therapy dogs, service dogs, as a gun dog and guide dogs for the blind.

The AKC  has an entire section on their site - don't miss this resource as they talk about potential health problems including elbow dysplasia, and hip dysplasia. They also have the official breed club statement. The Labrador Retriever Club, inc. is another outstanding resource if you're looking for information about the Labrador Retriever.

Surprisingly, Labrador Retrievers originated in Newfoundland where they were actually bred with a Newfoundland dog to produce the St. John's Water Dog, which eventually became the Labrador Retriever.

These barrels of love can be great dogs with proper training, which is especially necessary if you decide to hunt your Labrador. They are an extremely friendly breed and will do anything to please their owner (and for treats). Labs are truly food motivated and tend to be more prone to obesity than other breeds.

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General Appearance

Labrador Retrievers are built to be strong in the water. They are bred to hunt waterfowl and have incredible endurance. They are friendly dogs and do well as retrieving gun dogs. Labs are medium in size and are sturdy in stature.

They love their families and are loyal and intelligent.


The Labrador head includes a strong jaw, ears that hang close, and a narrow muzzle. The muzzle is medium in length and the cheeks hang close to the teeth. The eyes are expressive and communicative.


The Labrador breed standard for coat colors are: yellow, black, and chocolate. The coat is double layered and dense to provide protection from cold water and brush. The hair is coarse and can dry with a slight wave after getting wet.


The Labrador is short-statured and sturdy with a wide chest, but not barreled like some sporting dogs. They should also be kept on strict diets due to genetically being prone to obesity. The Lab is muscular and built for endurance, especially in the water.



Labs are generally healthy but can be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia like many big dog breeds. Like all dogs, they must receive an adequate amount of exercise to stay healthy.

Do you have a Lab? Show us in the comments below!

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Everything You Need to Know About Labrador Retrievers