The Labrador Retrievers

The Labrador Retriever breed was developed in the 1800's in Great Britain. The ancestors of the Labrador Retriever, St. John's Water dogs or Lesser Newfoundlands, were imported from Newfoundland. English aristocrats, the Earls of Malmesbury and the Dukes of Buccleuch, developed the breed. Their dogs were used for sport and hunting. Today's Labradors are similar to the St. John's Water dogs imported to Great Britain. 

The lovable Labrador Retriever is an intelligent, friendly, athletic dog. Labradors are short-coupled dogs with a broad skull, a deep chest, and a thick "otter tail". These playful dogs have a sturdy muscular build. Labradors have a short thick double coat, and they do shed. The loyal and affectionate Labrador enjoys the company of children and other dogs. These easy to train dogs are well-suited for family life, hunting, search and rescue, guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, agility, traditional obedience, and rally obedience. There are 3 recognized coat colors- black, chocolate, and yellow. The average lifespan for Labradors is 10 to 14 years. 

Early training is required to address the common puppy problems that includes nipping, chewing, jumping, digging, and pulling on lead. At least one obedience training class with an experienced instructor is often very helpful, especially for first time dog owners. Frequent outings for socialization are important during the first year. 

Labradors require regular exercise, companionship, and mental stimulation throughout their life. Lack of exercise and companionship can result in destructive behavior including chewing all sorts of household items. 

The AKC Labrador Standard -From the American Kennel Club website, dog breeds/Labrador Retriever

"The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament. Above all, a Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or work in the field with little or no effort. The typical Labrador possesses style and quality without over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness. The Labrador is bred primarily as a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance"

Coat Colors "The Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow and chocolate. Any other color or combination of colors is a disqualification. A small white spot on the chest is permissible, but not desirable. White hairs from aging or scarring are not to be misinterpreted as brindling. Black— Blacks are all black. A black with brindle markings or a black with tan markings is a disqualification. Yellow—Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog. Chocolate—Chocolates can vary in shade from light to dark chocolate. Chocolate with brindle or tan markings is a disqualification." 

"Size-The height at the withers for a dog is 22½ to 24½ inches; for a bitch is 21½ to 23½ inches. Any variance greater than ½ inch above or below these heights is a disqualification. Approximate weight of dogs and bitches in working condition: dogs 65 to 80 pounds; bitches 55 to 70 pounds."

"Head: The skull should be wide; well developed but without exaggeration.

"Temperament: True Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the "otter" tail. The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards man or animal. The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog. Aggressiveness towards humans or other animals, or any evidence of shyness in an adult should be severely penalized."

"Disqualifications: 1. Any deviation from the height prescribed in the Standard. 2. A thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment. 3. Eye rims without pigment. 4. Docking or otherwise altering the length or natural carriage of the tail. 5. Any other color or a combination of colors other than black, yellow or chocolate as described in the Standard."