About Labradors

Labrador Retrievers (or more commonly known as ‘Lab’) originated in Newfoundland working alongside fishermen, pulling in nets and catching fish in nets that escaped from fishing lines The Labrador Retriever breed eventually died out in Newfoundland due to a heavy dog tax and quarantine law. However, the Lab breed prevailed and became one of the world’s most distinct dogs. Labs were recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1903 and the first registration of Labradors by the AKC was in 1917. Throughout the 1920’s and 30’s a large influx of British dogs formed the profile of the breed in the United States. [1]

General Appearance:
The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours in difficult terrain; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion. Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient Retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment.

Labradors are generally large dogs that typically weigh between 65 and 80 pounds, and the height at the withers should be between 22.5 and 24.5 inches. Female Labradors should weigh between 55 and 70 pounds, and the height at the withers should be between 21.5 and 23.5 inches. This breed can grow to be much larger, especially when crossed with different breeds. [1]

The Labrador appeals to many types of people and it is not hard to see why.  They are extremely intelligent and highly adaptable with an eagerness to please.

The AKC describes the Labrador’s temperament as kind, pleasant, outgoing and tractable nature. One of the Labradors greatest assets are their nose; they are very diligent and stay on almost any scent until they find it. Naval, Military and Police forces use them as detection dogs and to track down, criminals, smugglers, thieves and terrorists. Labradors instinctively hold almost everything in their mouth and are known for having very soft mouths. Some Labradors can carry an egg in their mouth without breaking it.

Labradors are known to have a very even temperament. This reputation precedes them with children of all ages and makes them great family dogs. Some blood lines bred specifically for working in the field are particularly fast and athletic. Labradors have a fun-loving, people centered attitude that is coupled with a natural aversion to fear, which allows them to excel at near everything they work at. This attitude sometimes requires firm training and allows the Labrador to easily get bored. Therefore, stimulation is required with items such as agility, obedience and hunt tests.

Labradors are not known for barking excessively, but will bark at an unseen noise. Labs are easy-going dogs and very trusting with strangers; therefore, are not usually suitable as guard dogs. The steady and even mannered temperament of Labradors and their quick ability to lean make them an ideal breed for search and rescue, detection and therapy work. A study by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver labeled Labradors Retrievers as the number 7 “Brightest Dogs”, understanding commands with fewer than 5 repetitions and the first command 95% of the time of better. The AKC describes the Labrador as an ideal family and sporting dog.

Labrador Retrievers are recognized by the AKC in three colors, Black, Yellow and Chocolate. Yellow Labs may range in color from fox-red to light-cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back and underparts of the dog. Chocolate Labs can very in shade from light to dark chocolate.

1.  AKC Meet the Breeds®, To learn more about the breed standard please visit the AKC’s Labrador Retriever website.

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