About The Breed
The Labrador Retriever


Breed Standards
Labradors are medium-large, with males typically weighing 65 to 80 lb (29 to 36 kg) and females 55 to 70 lb (25 to 32 kg). Labradors weighing close to or over 100 lb (45 kg) are considered obese or having a major fault under American Kennel Club standards, although some Labradors weigh significantly more.[24] The majority of the characteristics of this breed, with the exception of color, are the result of breeding to produce a working retriever.

As with some other breeds, the Conformation (typically "Show", "English" or "bench") and the Field (typically "Working" or "American") lines differ, although both lines are bred in both countries. In general, however, Conformation Labradors tend to be bred as medium-sized dogs, shorter and stockier with fuller faces and a slightly calmer nature than their Field counterparts, which are often bred as taller, lighter-framed dogs, with slightly less broad faces and a slightly longer nose. However, Field Labradors should still be proportional and fit within American Kennel Club standards. With Field Labradors, excessively long noses, thin heads, long legs, and lanky frames are not considered standard. These two types are informal and not codified or standardised; no distinction is made by the AKC or other kennel clubs, but the two types come from different breeding lines. Australian stock also exists; though not seen in the West, they are common in Asia. These dogs are also very good with children.

The breed tends to shed hair twice annually or regularly throughout the year in temperate climates. Some Labradors shed considerably; however, individual Labradors vary. Labrador hair is usually short and straight, and the tail is quite broad and strong. The webbed toes of the Labrador Retriever make them excellent swimmers. The webbing between their toes can also serve as a "snowshoe" in colder climates and keep snow from balling up between their toes—a condition that can be painful to other breeds with hair between the toes. Their interwoven coat is also relatively waterproof, providing more assistance for swimming.

There is a great deal of variety among Labradors. The following characteristics are typical of the conformation show bred (bench-bred) lines of this breed in the United States and are based on the American Kennel Club standard. Significant differences between UK and US standards are noted.

Size: Labradors are a medium-large breed. They should be as long from the withers to the base of the tail as they are from the floor to the withers. Males should stand 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm) tall at the withers and weight 65 to 80 lb (29 to 36 kg). Females should stand 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm) and weigh 55 to 70 lb (25 to 32 kg). By comparison under UK Kennel Club standards, height should be 22 to 22 inches (56 to 56 cm) for males, and 22 to 22 inches (56 to 56 cm) for females.

Coat: The Labrador Retriever's coat should be short and dense, but not wiry. The coat is water-resistant, so the dog does not get cold when taking to water in the winter. That means that the dog naturally has a slightly dry, oily coat. Acceptable colors are black, yellow, and chocolate.

Head: The head should be broad with slightly pronounced eyebrows. The eyes should be kind and expressive. Appropriate eye colours are brown and hazel. The lining around the eyes should be black. The ears should hang close to the head and set slightly above the eyes.

Jaws: The jaws should be strong and powerful. The muzzle should be of medium length and should not be too tapered. The jaws should hang slightly and curve gracefully back.
Body: The body should have a powerful and muscular build.

The tail and coat are designated "distinctive [or distinguishing] features" of the Labrador by both the Kennel Club and AKC. The AKC adds that "true Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the 'otter' tail."

Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colors: black (a solid black colour), yellow (considered from cream to fox-red), and chocolate (medium to dark brown). Some dogs are sold as silver pure-bred Labradors, but purity of those bloodlines is currently disputed by breed experts including breed clubs and breed councils. Some major kennel clubs around the world allow silver Labradors to be registered, but not as silver. The Kennel Club(England) requires that they be registered as "Non-recognised.” Occasionally, Labradors will exhibit small amounts of white fur on their chest, paws, or tail, and rarely a purebred Lab will exhibit brindling stripes or tan points similar to a Rottweiler. These markings are a disqualification for show dogs but do not have any bearing on the dog's temperament or ability to be a good working or pet dog.

​Puppies of all colors can potentially occur in the same litter. Color is determined primarily by three genes. The first gene (the B locus) determines the density of the coat's eumelanin pigment granules, if that pigment is allowed: dense granules result in a black coat, sparse ones give a chocolate coat. The second (E) locus determines whether the eumelanin is produced at all. A dog with the recessive e allele will produce only phaeomelanin pigment and will be yellow regardless of its genotype at the B locus. The genes known about previously have had their number increased by the introduction of the K locus, where the dominant "black" allele KB is now known to reside. Black or chocolate Labradors therefore must have the KB allele. Yellow Labradors are determined at the E locus, so the K locus is irrelevant in determining their color. Variations in numerous other genes control the subtler details of the coat's coloration, which in yellow Labradors varies from white to light gold to a fox red. Chocolate and black Labradors' noses will match the coat colour.