The Labrador is viewed with the same kind of deep affection as the Golden Retriever; and he is immensely adaptable; he has roles as a working gundog, a guide dog and police sniffer dog, all in addition to being a much-loved family pet in many homes. The Labrador is believed to have originated on the coast of Greenland where he would help the fishermen by jumping out of the boat and retrieving the ends of their nets. He is a comparatively new breed in this country compared to many, having only been introduced in the late 1800s by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury.
The Labrador loves water and is wonderfully suited to swimming; his dense outer coat is weather resistant as is the undercoat; his tail is unique, not in any way feathered but very thickly coated giving it a rounded appearance, and is described as an "otter" tail. They are either black, yellow or chocolate/liver in colour,
Some people believe that the different colours of Labradors carry with them variations in temperament; having boarded a good many over the past 25 years this, for what it is worth, is my view. We have, in addition to the following observations, seen some genuinely poor temperaments, mostly nervous aggressive as a result of pets being bred.
Chocolate Labradors have grown enormously in popularity over the last 10 years, and as always a sudden increase in numbers is not altogether beneficial for the breed. For one thing the colours are not always very good - many look rather dull and patchy and more cafe-au-lait than chocolate. Their temperaments are generally much less laid back than the yellows or blacks; many appear anxious and some have a strong guarding instinct; they also do not seem to adore their owners in the unconditional way that blacks do.
The blacks are probably the truest to the Breed Standard of "intelligent, keen and biddable with a strong will to please", though with this there goes a higher energy level than with the yellow and chocolates. The yellows are somewhere between the two; they are less demonstrative than the blacks and show a more independent spirit. However, this is nitpicking; the Labrador is a real family dog as long as they are given the necessary time and exercise.
They stay puppies a long time - we regularly see a 12 year old who is not much less active than she was at 2 years! All this energy needs an outlet and if the owner does not provide it then he will create his own. The working types are much more demanding of exercise than the show types, but whichever way they have been bred, they are a large dog who needs plenty of stimulus.
The Labrador is renowned for being wonderful with children, though as a youngster his boisterousness can cause the odd accident if there are small children in the home.. Firm handling from the outset is essential; he needs to learn to walk correctly on a lead from an early age. Tap into his desire to please and you will be successful; make it battle and it will be an uneven one - with you the loser. He loves his food and can be extremely greedy, so it is important to watch his weight. He is prone to skeletal defects, for which breeding stock should be screened. They should hold certificates issued under the BVA/Kennel Club Hip and Elbow Schemes, and a current (within 18 months of litter registration) BVA/Kennel Club/ISDS eye certificate.
To read the Kennel Club Breed Standard of the Labrador Retriever click here.
Labrador Retriever puppies available now
Yellow and black dogs and bitches. Excellent pedigree, KR registered, hips cored and eye tested. Lovely temperaments. Sire Show Champion with many champions throughout both sire and dam. Ready mid-August.
Contact Hilary Crane on 01968 670947/07919 827 202 or email
Labrador Breed Clubs
- COTSWOLD & WYVERN LABRADOR CLUB Mr Collins 01452 780635
- EAST ANGLIAN LABRADOR RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs J Cole 01354 680375
- KENT SURREY & SUSSEX LABRADOR RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs Saunderson 01798 872860
- LABRADOR CLUB OF SCOTLAND Mrs A M Pollock 01563 820270
- LABRADOR RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs S M B Walton
- LABRADOR RETRIEVER CLUB OF NORTHERN IRELAND Mrs Hughes 028926 38603
- LABRADOR RETRIEVER OF WALES Mrs M Barker 01443 842585
- MIDLAND COUNTIES LABRADOR RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs J Allen 01733 222649
- NORTH WEST LABRADOR RETRIEVER Mrs S M Saunt 01942 212280
- NORTHUMBERLAND & DURHAM LABRADOR RETRIEVER CLUB Mr P A Smith 01642 292965
- THREE RIDINGS LABRADOR CLUB Mrs P Gill 01943 467926
- WEST OF ENGLAND LABRADOR RETRIEVER CLUB Mr G Cox 01566 785121
- YELLOW LABRADOR CLUB Mrs Wiles 01895 8232
Labrador Rescue and Rehoming
Contact a Labrador Breed Club. They should be able to give you information about dogs requiring homes and procedures for re-homing; if you are in the unfortunate position of having to re-home your own Labrador, please go through breed rescue. They will not be judgmental and are best able to find the right permanent home for him.
Labrador Rescue Trust Visit their website for contact details of local rescue officers
If you are looking for a puppy contact the Breed Clubs and the Breeders listed and visit the puppyfinder website where there is a great deal of information on hereditary conditions. If you are a Breeder and wish to advertise your puppies puppyfinder is an excellent showcase.