Labrador Retrievers are the most popular registered breed in both the United States and Great Britain. Black Labrador Retrievers may be the most numerous, but Chocolate Labs and Yellow Labs also are quite popular.
What are they?
Labrador Retrievers are classified as medium-sized dogs, although some people think of them as large. They are very athletic and strong. They normally have great endurance, and can roam for hours without tiring. Labrador Retrievers are equally happy as a hunter’s gun dog or a family’s companion.
Labrador Retrievers have short, dense coats that resist weather. The coat is straight, not curly. It may have a slight wave down the back. It will never be wooly, silky, or sparsely slick. The tail of a Labrador Retriever is often called an “otter tail”. The head is clean cut with powerful jaws, and friendly eyes.
Authentic Labrador Retriever
A true Labrador Retriever will have the following characteristics, too:
1. Size: There is a difference between male and female Labrador Retrievers in both height and weight. At the withers, a Labrador Retriever male is 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall. A Labrador Retriever female stands 21.5 to 23.5 inches high. An adult male weighs 65 to 80 pounds, while the female will be 55 to 70 pounds. They are eager to overeat, and can easily become overweight.
2. Color: Labrador Retrievers come in only 3 colors – black, chocolate, and yellow. They are the same color over their entire bodies, except that some may have a small spot of white on the chest. They are never spotted, streaked, or tipped with color in other places. Yellow Labrador Retrievers may appear almost white, but ear and tail tips will be golden, revealing the true color. A Labrador Retriever is never black and white, silver, or white. Golden Retrievers are an entirely different breed, and are not to be confused with Labrador Retrievers.
3. Temperament: The Labrador Retriever’s temperament is probably the feature most responsible for its popularity. Experienced breeders can determine basic temperament while the Labrador Retriever puppy is quite young. That temperament may change somewhat according to the treatment the puppy receives. Most puppies in good homes, however, maintain their original temperament.
Typically, a Labrador Retriever’s temperament is kindly and outgoing. It has a tractable nature. It is eager to please. It is gentle, and not aggressive toward people or toward other animals. In other words, a Labrador Retriever will be kind to your cat, your parrot, your children, and you. It will love guests, too. In fact, you may think it never met anything or anyone it did not love. If a Labrador Retriever puppy does show aggression or shyness, you should choose a different dog.
4. Health: The Labrador Retriever is generally a strong dog, active and healthy. There are several potential health issues you should ask about before purchasing, however. Hip dysplasia (CHD) is an inherited skeletal problem. An abnormal development of the hip joint, it can cause pain and arthritis. Retinal dysplasia, as well as other eye problems, can also be inherited. Your puppy should be guaranteed to be of parentage that does not have these problems.
Labrador Retriever Availability
Labrador Retrievers are available from Texas to Michigan, California to Maine and in many countries around the globe. Resist the temptation to purchase a Labrador Retriever puppy from the pet shop in the mall, as it will often be a mix or a puppy from a disreputable breeder. Health of hips and eyes will not be guaranteed, and you will not know the puppy’s parentage.
Do look for a reputable breeder. Call several and ask intelligent questions. Look online for a breeder list at the Labrador Retriever website.