Labrador Retriever adult in black and white

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever’s strong physique and open, happy temperament make it one of the more tireless breeds.

About the Labrador Retriever

Swimming, chasing, playing, walking with its owner – the Labrador Retriever is up for anything and everything! If you want a breed that makes training easy, that’s very intelligent, balanced and, above all, playful, the Labrador Retriever is for you.

Most Labrador Retrievers also particularly love children. It’s important to remember that this breed does have one fairly big motivator – their appetite! This can make it challenging to maintain a Labrador Retriever’s healthy weight, more so than with other breeds. However, with a balanced, healthy diet and plenty of exercise it’s certainly achievable.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)

Breed specifics

United Kingdom
FCI Group 8, AKC Sporting Group
Size category
Avg life expectancy
10–14 years

Even-tempered / Agile / Adaptable / Loyal / Intelligent / Loving / Lively

Key facts

  • Needs a lot of space
  • Needs a lot of exercise
  • Gentle with children
Labrador Retriever adult in black and white

Origins of the breed

For many enthusiasts, the Labrador Retriever remains one of the most popular all-round dogs worldwide. It’s thought that Labrador Retrievers originated from the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, where fishermen used dogs of this appearance to retrieve fish. The breed as we know it today, however, was established by the British in the early 1800’s.

The Labrador Retriever Club was founded in 1916 and the first standard followed soon after, predominantly tailored to working Labrador Retrievers who found early fame, having been originally introduced to the U.K. in the late 1800’s by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury.

A Labrador Retriever's life story

Find out more about the loving Labrador Retriever in each stage of its life.

Up to 15 months

Labrador Retriever puppy

Labrador Retriever puppies are good-tempered, very agile and active, with an excellent nose, a soft mouth and a passion for water. These loyal, easy-going dogs make wonderfully adaptable companions.
Labrador Retriever puppy standing


Training for this breed must start as early as possible, at an age when your Labrador Retriever puppy naturally has an excellent capacity for learning. 

Labrador Retriever puppies are intelligent and eager to please, making them extremely susceptible to training across many different disciplines, including canine sports such as obedience and flyball.

From 15 months

Labrador Retriever adult

Although famed for their retrieving skills, adult Labrador Retrievers are also highly versatile service dogs, working in various fields as guide or search-and-rescue dogs. However, they remain most popular as a family pet.
1 m 57 cm - 1 m 62 cm Height
29 kg 484 g - 36 kg 287 g Weight
1 m 55 cm - 1 m 60 cm Height
25 kg 948 g - 32 kg 751 g Weight
Labrador Retriever adult standing
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Labrador Retrievers are energetic dogs who require a lot of exercise to keep them healthy. A minimum of two hours over the course of a day is recommended, including games to keep them physically and mentally entertained.

The Labrador Retriever’s love of water also means they tend to have a great time swimming, which can be an excellent way to expel any excess energy.

Working Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers excel at any task given to them, which is why they are incredibly popular working dogs all across the world.

Particularly famous as guide and assistance dogs, Labrador Retrievers make skilled hearing dogs and their strong sense of smell means they are also ideally suited to work as detection dogs.

Labrador Retriever health

It is important to know how to properly care for a Labrador Retriever to ensure they are healthy and happy in every stage of their life. As they age, their sensitivities can include hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts​.
Labrador Retriever senior sitting down
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Labrador Retrievers are considered ageing dogs when they reach eight years old.

With age, you may notice reduced motivation to exercise, often due to stiffer joints, so it is important to make sure your ageing dog is kept comfortable to ease any joint pains. 

The Labrador Retriever’s diet will need to be adapted to balance the lack of exercise, along with a fussier appetite that is often seen in older dogs. 

Perfect food for your adult dog

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Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food
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A healthy start to life

Puppyhood is a time of massive physical and behavioural change, and a steep learning curve for new owners. Find out how you can provide your puppy with the best start in life so they develop into strong, healthy dogs.

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Lifetime of health

Get advice and information on how to provide the best care for your dog at every stage of life.

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