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Labrador Retriever

See Recommended Dog Foods For Labrador Retriever

Size: Large

Weight: 55 - 80 lbs.

Height: 22" - 25"

Life Span: 12 - 13 years

Health Problems: Hip dysplasia; elbow dysplasia; arthritis; eye disorders; cataracts; progressive retinal atrophy

Origin: Newfoundland

Also Known As: Lab, Yellow Lab, Black Lab, Chocolate Lab, Small Water Dog

Group: Hunting

Category: Companion Dog

Exercise Needs

The Labrador Retriever needs daily exercise, including long walks or jog, romps, runs or playtime in a fenced yard. Labradors love to swim.

Grooming Needs

No special grooming requirements.


The Labrador Retriever is good-natured, intelligent and lively. This breed is a willing participant in training and almost any adventure. However, it may be wary of strangers unless socialized at a young age. The Labrador Retriever can be more independent and willful than the Golden Retriever. Due to the size of this dog, early obedience training is key. Teach Labs not to pull on their leash from the beginning because, as an adult, they become very strong. Labs make good watchdogs and will alert owners to an intruder or disturbance. However, the breed does not have a protective nature and should not be expected to guard.

Compatibility with Kids

Good with children.


Although the name might suggest Labrador Retrievers came from Labrador, Canada, this well-known dog breed originated from nearby Newfoundland in the 1500s. At the time, small water dogs were bred with larger Newfoundlands to create a breed called the St. John’s Water Dog or Lesser Newfoundland.

These dogs were raised by fishermen to help retrieve fish and nets from the icy waters of the North Atlantic. The new breed was perfect for jobs like these because their thick coats repelled water and their webbed paws made them excellent swimmers.

Labrador Retrievers Grow in Popularity

Labrador Retrievers continued to live exclusively in Newfoundland until the early 1800s when they eventually made their way to Poole, England. The Earl of Malmesbury, a British nobleman and sports enthusiast, had seen the breed in action and immediately brought them home to England.

In 1830, a British Sportsman named Colonel Hawker described the dogs as “the best for any kind of shooting… generally black and no bigger than a Pointer, very fine in legs, with short smooth hair… is extremely quick running, swimming and fighting.”

Both the Earl and Duke of Malmesbury relied on Labrador Retrievers for their shooting sports and began to call them their “Labrador Dogs.” The name stuck and the Earl’s son eventually began to breed the dogs. By 1903, Labradors were officially recognized by the English Kennel Club.

Labrador Retrievers Come to the United States

In the early 1900s, hunters and farmers from the United States caught wind of the Lab’s noteworthy work ethic and began incorporating them into their daily lives. By 1917, the American Kennel Club recognized Labrador Retrievers as an official breed and they quickly became a loving pet to families across the country.

Is a Labrador Retriever Right for You?

Today, Labrador Retrievers are as ready as ever to work and please their pet parents. When determining if a Labrador Retriever is the right dog for you, it will require careful consideration of your lifestyle and preferences.

Labs thrive in active households that can provide them with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and attention. They are also highly social, affectionate, and outgoing so they do best in families with children and other pets.

If you're prepared to invest time, effort, and love into their care, Labrador Retrievers can become a central member of your family, bringing you joy, laughter, and endless fun.

Learn about other popular dog breeds with our Breed Library! From the history of the breed to health and exercise needs to choosing the right food, it’s all there. Get more information when you join our Best Friends Club! You’ll get interesting articles, exclusive product discounts, fun training tips, and healthy lifestyle ideas for your favorite pup delivered right to your inbox.

Best Dog Food for Your Labrador Retriever

Puppy, Diet, Senior & Sensitive Stomach Formulas

Bil-Jac Picky No More Medium & Large Breed Dog Food package front countertop

Picky No More™ Medium & Large Breed

Created to please even the pickiest of medium & large breed dogs.

Large Breed Adult 15 lb. Front Counter

Large Breed Adult

Carefully formulated for the care and nutrition of large breed dogs.

Large Breed Puppy 15 lb. Front Counter

Large Breed Puppy

Lower protein and fat levels than our Puppy Select Formula.

Reduced Fat 6 lb. Front Counter

Reduced Fat Formula

30% less fat than Bil-Jac Adult Select.

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Breeds, Health and Nutrition

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