The Labrador Retriever is a popular retriever-gun dog breed known for its outgoing personality and friendliness. Its lovable personality has made it not only the most popular dog breed in the United States of America, but also one of the most popular dog breed in the world.

Origins of the Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers were originally kept to help fishermen in the Northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada, specifically on the island of Newfoundland. Back then, they were called St. John's dogs because they were from the capital of Newfoundland.

In Newfoundland, this breed would fetch fish and help fishermen for hours on end. They also hunted ducks and were known to be loyal family dogs.

The breed almost went extinct in the late 1880s. Due to government laws and restrictions, families no longer valued female puppies. As families were allowed only one dog and females were more highly taxed, owning a female Labrador Retriever was burden on many families. However, thanks to the efforts of the Malmesbury and other English families, the Labrador Retriever is still here today.

It is said that the first Labradors were shipped to England in the 1830s. They were not called Labradors until they were referred to them by the third generation of the Malmesbury family.

During the 19th century, breeders in Britain improved the breed and standardized the Labrador Retriever. The English Kennel Club recognized the Labrador Retriever breed in 1903. Then in 1917, the first Labrador Retriever was registered by the American Kennel Club. Labradors were ranked as the AKC Most Popular Dog Breed in 1991 and have been at the top of the list since then.

Yellow Labrador Retriever, Dog Fishing

Physical characteristics of the Labrador Retriever


The head is wide. The breed has powerful jaws because it was originally bred to retrieve and hunt. The muzzle is medium sized, neither long nor short. The have soft and kind eyes.


As the breed was originally bred as a water retriever, it has webbed feet. It is a medium sized dog, measuring around 21 to 24 in (53 to 60 cm). They generally weigh around 55 to 80 lbs (22 to 36 kg). The Labrador Retriever also has an "otter tail". This means that its tail is thick at the base, allowing it to swim and turn better. Their body is quite square shaped and sturdy.


The Labrador Retriever has a dense double coat which comes in a few different color variants: yellow, black, and chocolate. The coat is also water-repellant.

Four Labrador Retriever dogs on a meadow

The Labrador Retriever's personality

Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed in the United States, not just for their kindness , but for their sweet and angelic personality. They are very eager to please, intelligent and are very active.

Labrador retrievers are great family dogs. They just need to be provided enough opportunities to exercise.

These expressive pups are known to be one of the most charming and loyal dog breeds. If well-trained and socialized from a young age, they could get along with children and other dogs.

The breed tends to have oral fixations because of its history of being a retriever breed. Make sure to provide your Labrador with chew toys. This will prevent them from chewing all of your possessions. They need to be trained from a young age with agility and obedience exercises.

This breed is energetic and playful. To keep them happy and healthy, they need to go for walks and exercise daily.

If they are not given at least 30 minutes to an hour a day of exercise, they might use their energy in destructive ways. Sometimes they will bark and chew things to use their energy.

Labradors are not only great service and guide dogs, but family pets as well. They can be military dogs or even task force dogs. Some Labrador Retrievers are search and rescue dogs. However, they are not very good at being watchdogs because they tend to want to try to befriend intruders and strangers.

Similar to how they were in the past as retriever-gun dogs, they love to retrieve and swim.

Health and grooming


The Labrador Retriever has a high tendency to shed. It is, therefore, recommended to comb them weekly. When the breed is shedding heavily, it should be brushed daily.


This breed is prone to obesity. It is important to measure out their food to prevent them from overeating. Some Labs will even attempt to eat human food and other inedible items when they are hungry.

Common health issues

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow and shoulder dysplasia
  • Diabetes
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Retinal dysplasia
  • Tricuspid valve dysplasia

Life span

If a Labrador Retriever is given proper care and has a healthy lifestyle, it could live up to 14 years.

The Labrador Retriever in pop culture

This dog breed is very popular among celebrities. The most famous of these Labrador Retriever owners being Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, Jennifer Garner, Drew Barrymore, and Oprah Winfrey.

There are also many Labrador Retrievers who have become famous thanks to Instagram. Some of the most famous include Selma and Sawyer the Labrador.

Films about Labrador Retrievers:

  • Marley & Me (2009)
  • Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1995)

Labrador Retrievers on Yummypets

If you would like to know more about this breed, take a look at the Yummypets Labrador Retriever dog breed page. There you'll find hundreds of photos of this breed posted by our fellow Yummypals, as well as a list of Labrador Retriever owners on Yummypets. It's a great way to get to know fellow Labrador Retriever owners or to learn more about the breed by people who own them themselves.

Source: AKC, Hill’s Pet, DogTime, Loverador

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