Labrador Retriever, Most Popular Dog Breed

The Labrador Retriever
Dog Breed Group: Sporting Dogs
Height  Up to2 feet tall at the shoulder
Weight:55 to 80 pounds
Life Span:10 to 12 years

The most popular dog breed both in UK , Canada and USA is the Labrador Retriever. What is it about this breed of dog that makes it so popular?

I decided to take a look at Labrador Retrievers and find out why we all love them so much.

How Labrador Retrievers Can Help Us

Labradors were first bred as sporting dogs but since then they have been adapted to work as :

Search and Rescue Dogs

Guide Dogs and other Assistance Dogs

Companion Dogs

Therapy Dogs

Agility and Obedience Dogs

Tracker or Sniffer Dogs

Drug and Explosive Detection Dogs

Retrievers for Hunters and Gun Dogs


Labrador Retrievers were originally bred in Newfoundland off the northeastern Atlantic coast of Canada. They were known as the St.John’s dog after the capital city and were used to help out local fishermen.

Labrador Retriever puppies
Labrador Retriever puppies

What to Expect from a Labrador Puppy

Labs are known for their enormous appetites and owners must watch that the dog doesn’t become obese. Any potential owners should be committed to giving the Labrador up to an hours exercise a day. They should also sign up for a comprehensive training programme, these are big strong dogs with boundless energy. A bored, understimulated Labrador Retriever can have tendencies towards chewing, digging and other destructive behaviors.

A Lab will enjoy carrying things in his mouth, buy strong durable toys for this purpose.

Labrador puppies grow considerably between four to seven months so it is important to provide high-quality puppy food specifically designed for large dogs, to prevent bone disorders.

This breed does shed so a good vacuum cleaner will be needed. They have double coats which are almost waterproof and have webbed toes.

The double coat is there to protect them against cold and icy water.

They are excellent swimmers.

They have ‘gentle mouths’ perfect for retrieving birds.

The World’s oldest Labrador was 29 years old (and called Bella)

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever


Hip Dysplasia: a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness in one or both rear legs.
Lipomas are benign (non-cancerous) fat deposits, or fatty tumours and can develop in Labradors, as well as most other dogs.

 Labradors can suffer from allergies that lead to dermatitis (skin inflammation).

Here  is an excellent article about Labrador Retrievers by tv personality Ben Fogle. He talks about his love for the breed, some of the dogs he has owned himself and also celebrities and politicians who are massive fans of the breed. I remember Ben taking part in the Castaway programme for BBC. His faithful black Labrador was never far from his side. Sadly, Inca died in 2012 leaving Ben and his family devastated.
It was refreshing to read a detailed article about the breed from someone who clearly adores them.
This is a quote from the Telegraph article which I found particularly moving.
I know it sounds saccharine, but these loyal black dogs have been my guardian angels over the years, silently guiding and directing me. They are always there, offering a tonic to many of the ills of the world and we can learn a great deal from them. Man’s best friend… for ever.
Here is some information about Ben Fogle’s book.
ben fogle labrador

Sunday Times Bestseller

‘Passionate and well-researched’ Tatler

‘A must-read’ Independent

A social history of Labradors, and how they have become the world’s most beloved dogs, by writer, presenter and long-time dog lover Ben Fogle.

Labradors are the most popular breed of dog in the world. Not only a great family companion, they also excel at hunting, tracking, retrieving, guiding and rescuing. But where did the breed originally come from? How did it develop? When did black, yellow and chocolate Labradors first appear? Did they really all come from Labrador in Canada and are they really all related to just one dog?

In this first history of the Labrador, Ben Fogle goes in search of what makes Labradors so special. Their extraordinary companionship, intelligence, work ethic and loyalty is captured by Ben as he weaves the story of the breed into his own story of his beloved Inca.

Ben visits Canada, discovers hair-raising stories of early Labrador exploits and uncovers stories of RNIB Labradors and Labradors at war, Labradors as working dogs and every other manifestation of the Labrador’s character. Exploring their origin, early characteristics, their use as gun dogs, as therapy dogs, as police dogs, as search and rescue dogs and last – and absolutely not least – as family pets, Ben tells the story of a dog breed which has captured our imagination and love for hundreds of years.

Labrador Retrievers are renowned for being excellent family dogs, especially with children.
 Here is a blog post I wrote about dog breeds that are good with children
Finally, what are Labradors not good at?
They make useless watchdogs, a burglar is in very grave danger of being licked to death!

Famous Labrador Retrievers

Ben of Hyde

Ben of Hyde holds the record for being the first documented yellow Labrador Retriever. He was born in early 1899. Most lines of yellow labs currently can be traced back to the Ben of Hyde bloodline.


The movie Marley and Me features none other than the lab Marley. A variety of age range labs played Marley, representing different parts of her growth and experience. The movie is based on the true-life adventures of Marley and owner John Grogan.

Buddy and Seamus

Former United States President Bill Clinton had two famous labs as pets named Buddy and Seamus. It raised the Labrador Retrievers popularity to an all-time high.


Jake is a gorgeous black lab that made his search and rescue debut after the 911 attacks. He tirelessly worked to try and locate both survivors and victims. He also participated in search and rescue operations in both hurricane Rita and Katrina.

Affiliate Links are included in this post.

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