Smart and loveable
Active people and families seeking a companion
A firm family favourite, Labradors are quite possibly the world’s most popular dog breed.
Their trainability and friendly, laid-back attitude have made them renowned as smart seeing-eye dogs for the blind as well as effective search and rescue dogs.
Labradors originated in Newfoundland, off the coast of Canada, where they earned their keep retrieving fish and fishing lines for local fishermen. In the 19th Century they were imported to the United Kingdom and crossed with local breeds, creating the Labrador Retriever we know today.
Labradors are attractive, chunky dogs. Their shorthaired coat comes in three colours: yellow, “chocolate” or black. There are two variations within the breed: American and English. Labradors from American stock are lankier than the English type.
An adult Labrador will be around 60 centimetres high and weigh 30 kilograms – though some grow to weigh a lot more. Average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.
Labradors are loyal, loving and affectionate dogs. They love to socialise with other dogs and people, and are ideally suited to close family life.
Labradors are patient with children and other household pets.
They love to play, especially in the water. Their retriever genes mean they adore games of fetch. However, this also means they can be prone to chew. Toys are a good way to minimise unwanted destruction.
Their lively puppy behaviour continues until the lab matures at about three years old.
Be prepared to keep a close eye on their diet as Labradors love their food.
Even though Labradors are easygoing, they still require at least 30 to 40 minutes of exercise each day.
Big and bouncy, Labradors benefit from socialisation and training from a young age to make sure you are raising a well-rounded and well-behaved pet.
They are also very intelligent and need to be challenged with games and playing fetch, which satisfies their excellent retrieval skills. Without enough mental or physical stimulation they can become destructive.
Labradors are highly trainable with a strong desire to please. They need an owner who will demand they behave and listen to commands.
Labradors are low-maintenance dogs with short coats that only require brushing a few times a week along with the occasional bath to stay in top condition. They will shed, though not as much as a Golden Retriever.
Labradors are reasonably robust dogs.
They can be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), mast cell tumors and eye disorders.
It is advisable to check the temperament and medical history of a puppy's parents to make sure you get a healthy dog.
Labradors are already chunky and can be greedy overeaters. Just like people, weight control issues can cause or exacerbate any underlying health problems.
Limit their food intake to two healthy meals per day. Leftover food should be removed until the next meal and treats should only be offered occasionally.