Labrador Retrievers Breed Characteristics & Traits

The Labrador Retriever has been one of the most popular dogs breeds worldwide for many years and is also very common in Germany. He really is an all-around talent, a great family dog, an excellent hunting dog, but also a very reliable search dog and companion dog.

History & Origin

As the name suggests, the Labrador comes from the peninsula of the same name in northern Canada and parts of eastern Canada. The history of its origin is largely obscure. Researchers speculate that it came to northern America with the Vikings in the 10th century and partially mated with the Newfoundlands. Just like the slightly larger Newfoundland and Landseer, it was used in its homeland as a working dog, draft dog, and sled dog.

Until the beginning of the 19th century, it was also thought to be a slightly smaller Newfoundland dog, and it is only from around 1814 that the two different dog breeds are spoken of. The English started purposeful breeding and it was they who gave it the name Labrador Retriever. Labrador refers to the dogs’ homeland, the English term retriever means to retrieve, and refers to the breed’s great hunting ability, which was also the most important breed trait for early breeders. In 1903 the Labrador Retriever was internationally recognized as a breed.

Numbers, Data, Facts

  • Country of origin: Great Britain (UK)
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Weight males: 29-36 kg
  • Bitch weight: 25 – 32 kg
  • Males: 56-57 cm
  • Bitches: 54-56 cm

Classification, breed standard & breed standard

  • FCI Standard 122
  • FCI Group: 8th
  • Retriever dogs – scavenger dogs – water dogs
  • Section 1 Retrievers
  • With work test

The breeding goal is the retriever-typical character, which is achieved by the Labrador taking part in a character test from the age of 13 months. Participation is compulsory for animals that are to be used for breeding. In formating and reproduction, one of the animals must have the typical willingness to perform a Labrador and have passed a hunting test.


In their old homeland, fishermen made particular use of the early Labradors to landing nets, retrieve drifted fish from the sea, and drive prey to the hunters when hunting. In addition, the dogs also pulled sleds and wagons and protected their people. In England and later other European countries, the Labrador was primarily used as a retriever when hunting. His task was to look for the game (mostly birds) that had been killed and to bring it back to its owner undamaged. In technical jargon, this means “hunting with a soft mouth”. Even today, the Labrador is a capable helper for hunters, but a much more popular family dog, search dog, companion, and therapy dog.

The Character & Nature of the Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is a very friendly and good-natured dog. He likes people and other dogs are open-minded and curious and show no aggressiveness, no sharpness, no shyness, or insecurity. As in the old days, he loves water and retrieving, has an excellent nose, and is extraordinarily clever and willing to learn.

Dealing with family & children

Due to its friendly nature, the Labrador Retriever is a born family dog ​​and is simply ideal for families with children. He has strong nerves, can be pushed around good-naturedly by children, and sometimes accidentally touched harder, his ears and tail pulled. He plays and rages tirelessly and joins in any nonsense. He is also a real cuddly dog ​​who loves to be petted and scratched. In addition, this breed is very athletic and active.

In dealing with strangers

The Labrador Retriever is also very nice to strangers. He just wants to please everyone and make friends with them. That is why he usually greets strangers, such as old friends and acquaintances. The Labrador wants to convince everything foreign with its charm, which often means that the environment is more interesting than the commands of the master and mistress. On the property: Driving and walking other people or dogs past his territory, he is very persistent when barking. Nevertheless, he is not a really good guard dog, he lacks the sharpness for that.

When dealing with other dogs

The Labrador also gets along well with the vast majority of strange dogs, unless they want to go to his food bowl. Even the nicest of them don’t understand a joke.

When dealing with other pets

Labradors and pets of all kinds are also no problem. The peaceful and inquisitive dog will probably want to play with you, but will not harm you. Of course, the first encounters should only take place under supervision and very carefully, but later on living together is completely unproblematic. It is not even an isolated case that, for example, a labrador and a cat have their siesta in the same basket.

Urge to move

As a hunting and retriever dog, the Labrador Retriever has a very considerable urge to move. You don’t just have to take him for walks a lot and, where possible, let him swim. In addition, he actually needs a real job, either sporting activities such as agility or work as a search dog or therapy dog. If necessary, Labradors can also be kept in a city apartment, but they prefer being in the country on their own property with a garden that is as large as possible.

The hunting instinct

Of course, the breed generally has a very significant hunting instinct. But in contrast to many other hunting dogs, well-behaved Labrador Retrievers are usually quite easy to keep or distract from hunting and can therefore also be off-leash in favorable places. It is usually enough to keep a close eye on the dog and hold him back before he really gets on the trail. Of course, once he’s in the mood for hunting, he’ll start running, but still won’t take any prey because he’s not sharp.

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