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Labrador Retriever

Labrador-Retriever1

A Cheerful Dog

Athletic, Eager to Please

Labrador Retrievers are extraordinary pets. While it is interesting to learn about the breeding purpose of Labrador Retrievers, their genetics actually influence health, outward appearance and behavior. Some behaviors make the Labrador Retriever and some can be quite irritating! 

Understanding their unique needs will help you keep them healthy and will create a stronger bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about where the Labrador Retriever came from, which health conditions are a risk to them and how to keep them feeling their best.

Breed Details

Height:21-25" Weight:55-80 lb Lifespan:10-12 years

Size
4

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
2

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
4

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
5

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
5

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
5

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Labrador Retrievers are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. Always walk your Lab on a leash, they have a tendency to run off after interesting smells and people. They also have a passion for water and swimming is a perfect form of exercise for this water retriever.

Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

Dental: Labrador Retrievers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week.

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

Loyal and lively, these water-loving dogs make exceptional family members and hunting partners.

Positive Traits:

  • Bouncy, cheerful, loyal, and enthusiastic

  • Good with kids and other pets

  • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

  • Loves to play games, especially fetch

  • People-oriented and eager to please

  • Even temper and gentle disposition

Negative Traits:

  • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

  • Needs a lot of exercise

  • Is a bit “mouthy”—likes to carry and chew things

  • Exhibits signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much

  • Easily bored if not given something to do, which leads to barking and chewing

  • Sensitive, matures slowly

Whether you are considering adding a new Labrador Retriever to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Labrador Retriever will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Labrador Retriever you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They're counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues a Labrador Retriever could encounter:

Bloat

Liver Problems

Bleeding Disorders

Hemolytic Anemia and Thrombocytopenia

Bone and Joint Problems

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Labs originated in Newfoundland in the 1800’s and were bred from St John’s water dogs. They were valued by fisherman for their trainability, trustworthiness, and work ethic. Fulfilling their retriever name, they would dive into icy cold waters to help pull in fishing nets and occasionally catch stray fish that had escaped. 

Today the Labrador comes in two varieties: the American (tall and lanky) or English (short and stocky). Whether American or English ancestry, there are three color versions - black, blonde, and brown. When given plenty of vigorous exercise and attention, these sweethearts are gentle and well-behaved in the home. All you need is a ball to throw and your Lab will love you for life! The Labrador Retriever is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 11-13 years.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Labrador Retriever shows signs of the following:

  • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen

  • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating

  • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound

  • Gums that are a color other than bright pink

  • General reluctance to run or play

  • Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

  • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse

  • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

  • Drinks and urinates more, eats more, potbelly, poor haircoat

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

  • Collapse while exercising

  • Care

    Routine Care: Labrador Retrievers are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. Always walk your Lab on a leash, they have a tendency to run off after interesting smells and people. They also have a passion for water and swimming is a perfect form of exercise for this water retriever.

    Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

    Dental: Labrador Retrievers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week.

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

  • Characteristics

    Loyal and lively, these water-loving dogs make exceptional family members and hunting partners.

    Positive Traits:

    • Bouncy, cheerful, loyal, and enthusiastic

    • Good with kids and other pets

    • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

    • Loves to play games, especially fetch

    • People-oriented and eager to please

    • Even temper and gentle disposition

    Negative Traits:

    • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

    • Needs a lot of exercise

    • Is a bit “mouthy”—likes to carry and chew things

    • Exhibits signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much

    • Easily bored if not given something to do, which leads to barking and chewing

    • Sensitive, matures slowly

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Labrador Retriever to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Labrador Retriever will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Labrador Retriever you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They're counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues a Labrador Retriever could encounter:

    Bloat

    Liver Problems

    Bleeding Disorders

    Hemolytic Anemia and Thrombocytopenia

    Bone and Joint Problems

    Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

  • History

    Labs originated in Newfoundland in the 1800’s and were bred from St John’s water dogs. They were valued by fisherman for their trainability, trustworthiness, and work ethic. Fulfilling their retriever name, they would dive into icy cold waters to help pull in fishing nets and occasionally catch stray fish that had escaped. 

    Today the Labrador comes in two varieties: the American (tall and lanky) or English (short and stocky). Whether American or English ancestry, there are three color versions - black, blonde, and brown. When given plenty of vigorous exercise and attention, these sweethearts are gentle and well-behaved in the home. All you need is a ball to throw and your Lab will love you for life! The Labrador Retriever is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 11-13 years.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Labrador Retriever shows signs of the following:

    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen

    • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating

    • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound

    • Gums that are a color other than bright pink

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse

    • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Drinks and urinates more, eats more, potbelly, poor haircoat

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Collapse while exercising

Labrador Retriever Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Labrador Retriever breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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