Labrador Retriever Dog Breed

The Labrador Retriever might be the most popular dog breed ever.
By: PawCulture Editors
Labrador Retriever Dog Breed

About the Labrador Retriever Dog Breed

The Labrador Retriever originated in the early 19th century in Newfoundland, not Labrador. It was used by fisherman to bring in large nets full of fish to the boat. It was also trained to retrieve any fish they came out of the net.

Labrador Retrievers have become a popular companion breed and are still used for hunting, and service dogs. As with most of the retriever breeds, this breed is considered to excel in both land and water retrieval.

Labrador Retriever Physical Characteristics

Labrador Retrievers are considered large breed dogs with a broad head and drop ears.


The Labrador Retriever is most commonly seen in black, chocolate and yellow.


The coat of the Labrador Retriever is short and may have some waves down the back. The coat is also water resistant and the undercoat is soft and weather resistant as well. The tail is otter-like, thick at the base then tapering at the end.

Labrador Retriever Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



The Labrador Retriever is the quintessential family dog. It is very loving and loyal to the family, and enjoys playing games and socializing with people. It loves children and is good with other animals. The Labrador Retriever is also an excellent student, with a love of learning new things.

Things to Consider

Regular exercise is a must to keep them fit. Their gregarious temperament makes them a top choice for families, but not an especially good choice for guard dog duty.

Labrador Retriever Care

Ideal Living Conditions

The Labrador Retriever has a strong hunting instinct and loves to roam. They are active, but calm and obedient if trained properly. The breed fares much better when it is kept entertained with interactive games and a good round of fetch.

Special Requirements

The Labrador Retriever needs and asks for a lot of attention! It does not make a great watchdog, as it may bark at a stranger but usually only just to say “hello.”

Labrador Retriever Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Labrador Retrievers:


Labrador Retriever History and Background

The modern Labrador Retriever is the ancestral result of a popular fishing and retrieving dog from Newfoundland and Labrador, an Atlantic coastal province in Canada; as such, the Labrador carries with it some relationship to the modern Newfoundland water dog. Originally, there were two distinct types under the one classification of Newfoundland dogs: the greater and the lesser, in which size was the main dictate for differentiating the two.

The lesser Newfoundland was black in color, smooth coated, and of a medium size, where the greater Newfoundland was considerably larger and better suited for pulling heavy loads. Not to say that the lesser “Newfie” was incapable of pulling its fair share. Its great agility at fetching fishing lines and nets in the water and delivering them, along with its noteworthy style of affection and playfulness with families at the end of a long work day, made the smaller of the Newfoundland dogs the more popular choice for fishermen working in the waters off the coast of Newfoundland.

They also found that the lesser Newfie was useful for serving as the occasional tow barge. The strength and endurance of this breed was never lost to size. Also of great benefit to fishermen were the natural physical traits the lesser and greater Newfoundlands shared. Both are equipped with webbed toes and a two-layered coat, with a top-coat that repels water, and a tail that is broad at the base, serving as a sort of rudder while swimming.

Although the Newfoundland dogs suffered a loss of popularity for a time owing to a taxation on dogs in Canada, they had been frequent companions to Britain bound travelers during the 18th and 19th centuries and had, over that time, become a firmly entrenched member of the estate classes.

It was the lesser of the Newfoundland breed that rose most in popularity, and in 1903, this trimmer and more energetic Newfoundland had made its way into the English Kennel Club, gaining a name all its own along the way: the Labrador Retriever. There, the breed was refined, particularly for retrieving game for hunters, becoming well regarded for its care in not damaging the game, for its devotion to human, and for its good manners.

The Labrador Retriever was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1917, and has since grown in popularity over the years, becoming the indisputable leader in canine domestic companions.