Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is widely recognised as a wonderful family dog with a gentle and affectionate temperament, and is currently the most popular dog breed in the UK.

Labrador Retriever breed group


Size of the Labrador Retriever


Country of origin


Time of original development

Late 1800s

The Labrador Retriever through history

This breed was created to produce an efficient working dog to retrieve game birds from both land and water on the shoot. Today it is still used on shoots in rural areas, but mostly kept as a companion pet.

Labrador Retriever introduction and overview

The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the UK.

It is a large athletic, stocky dog with a short coat and dark expressive eyes. The tail is shaped rather like an Otter’s, and like the Otter the Labrador Retriever is an excellent and natural swimmer. Labradors love the water, however cold it may be, and are good swimmers!

It is a very intelligent dog and easy to train. The Labrador Retriever is often seen working as an assistance dog or guide dog giving many people an independent life they couldn’t enjoy without their dog. They are also used as sniffer dogs searching for drugs or arms.

It’s a fairly healthy breed for a large dog, although prone to bloat, a potentially life threatening condition that affects larger breeds. Meals should be offered throughout the day, rather than offering one large meal to avoid the risk of bloat.

Labradors are very energetic, but do enjoy their food, so care should be taken to avoid over feeding, and reduce the risk of obesity that can be a problem in this dog.

Labrador Retriever temperament

Retrievers generally have an excellent reputation as good family dogs, and the Labrador Retriever certainly lives up to that reputation. It loves being part of the family, adores children, other dogs and tends to be compatible with cats and even smaller pets with the correct socialisation skills.

They love socialising with other dogs on walks and aggression in the breed is virtually unknown. The Labrador Retriever is just simply nice! It’s a large solid dog that requires plenty of living space and access to good exercise facilities and open spaces if kept in a town or city. Labrador Retrievers love to please and enjoy the challenges of many dog disciplines such as agility, obedience and flyball.

The Labrador Retriever loves to swim, and the short thick water resistant coat provides good protection against the elements.

Colour varieties of the Labrador Retriever

This popular and friendly gundog is commonly seen in 3 colour variations:

  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Yellow

Size and weight of the Labrador Retriever

Height bitch 55-56cms

Height dog 56-57cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 28-32kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 29-36kgs

Exercise requirements of the Labrador Retriever

High. The Labrador Retriever requires a minimum of 2 hours of exercise daily, ideally off the lead.This is a dog with an impressive amount of stamina and endurance. It does not like being left alone for long periods.

Is the Labrador Retriever a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes. The breed is easy to train and a quick learner, but any prospective owner must appreciate the very high exercise levels the dog requires. The large size of the Labrador Retriever may make this breed unsuitable for some families.

Labrador Retriever coat length

The Labrador has a short coat that is water resistant.

Grooming requirements of the Labrador Retriever

Low. The Labrador has a short flat coat that really only needs a weekly brush with a good quality bristle brush to add a sheen to the low maintenance coat. Labradors should be dried off with a towel after swimming in cold water.

Ears should be cleaned with a specialist ear cleaner to keep clean and prevent hotness or infection, especially important for frequent swimmers.


No. The Labrador Retriever sheds throughout the year and therefore not suitable for allergy sufferers.

Health Issues in the Labrador Retriever

The breed is generally fairly healthy, but the following health issues have been noted in the breed, so consult your breeder:

  • Bloat
  • Eye problems
  • Skin allergies
  • Heart problems

Average lifespan of the Labrador Retriever

A healthy dog should enjoy a life expectancy of 10-12 years.

Approximate Labrador Retriever pedigree puppy price

Puppies are normally available and pedigree puppies cost in the region of £400-£500. Litters tend to be produce between 5-10 puppies. There were 32,507 puppies registered with the Kennel Club in 2015.

Estimating how much a Labrador Retriever would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 30kgs requires 365gms of complete dry food per day.

A dog weighing 35kgs requires 402gms of complete dry food per day.

The weekly cost of feeding a bitch is around £9

The weekly cost of feeding a dog is around £10

Our estimates are based on feeding a slightly above average quality complete food bought from a popular supermarket on the highstreet.

This is an estimate only, and doesn’t allow for higher activity levels of working dogs who may need an above average amount of food due to higher exercise levels.

Other necessary costs and regular expenses to consider when owning any dog

Remember to budget for other necessary routine costs and procedures for your Labrador Retriever that are not covered by general pet insurance:

  • Worming preparations
  • Flea treatments
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Dental treatments
  • Neutering and spaying

Many veterinary practices now operate monthly budget schemes to allow you to spread the cost of routine treatments over the year.