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Black Lab Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 21-24 in
Weight: 55-80 lbs
Life Span: 10-12 yrs
Coloring: Black, brown
Area of Origin: Newfoundland, Canada
Similar Breeds: Newfoundlander, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever


History and Origin:

Now one of the most popular breeds in North America and the United Kingdom, the Labrador Retriever was originally bred to be not only a loyal working dog, but also a family companion. A smaller variation of the Newfoundlander, the Labrador was used both in hunting to retrieve game, and in fishing; it retrieved fish and pulled nets and small boats out of the frigid Atlantic waters off the Newfoundland coast. After having died out almost completely in Canada due to a dog tax throughout the nineteenth century, the Labrador flourished in the United Kingdom after breeding stock had been imported from Newfoundland in the 1820s. Until the early twentieth century, puppies that were yellow or chocolate would frequently be killed as black was the desired coat color. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the yellow coat was acceptable, and chocolate coats were accepted only in the 1930s. The Black and Chocolate Labradors are two color variants of the Labrador Retriever, also occurring in shades of yellow.

Personality and Temperament:

The Labrador is a kind dog, with a mellow temperament and a keen desire to learn. It makes a fantastic family dog, and is patient, obedient, and good-natured if properly socialized as a puppy. Possessing and innate eagerness to please, it is typically not appropriate as a guard dog; in fact, it has been said that the Labrador would greet an intruder with enthusiasm and acceptance. It is, however prone to follow its nose, and can get bored and destructive if not given enough stimulation when indoors.

Exercise & Training:

The Labrador loves to eat, and food can prove to be great incentive for training. While their good-nature leads some owners to ignore proper training, it is important to ensure that the dog is taken to obedience classes for socialization and basic manners.  It is a large dog, and can become a nuisance if not properly trained. Although the Labrador is notorious for its laid-back temperament, it is a working dog breed, and requires a moderately high amount of exercise to keep it happy and healthy. They love to swim and retrieve, and excel at hunt trials. Proper exercise is essential as the Labrador tends to be a voracious eater, and it should ideally have access to a fenced-in yard to help it burn off energy. The Labrador is a fantastic companion, with the perfect temperament for a nervous or first-time dog owner.


The Labrador has a double coat that provides protection from both the cold and the wet, and daily grooming is suggested; the Labrador sheds a lot. As with other breeds with weather-resistant coats, frequent bathing is more damaging than no baths at all.  However, the Labrador is prone to rolling in puddles and dirt, so occasional baths may be required to keep it clean.

Similar Breeds:

As an early smaller variant of the Newfoundlander, the modern Labrador still shares some physical and temperamental qualities with its ancestor, such as its strong predisposition to swim and its powerful jaw. It shares many characteristics with other retrieving breeds, such as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, Flat-Coated Retriever, and the Golden Retriever.

Interesting Facts about the Labrador:

1. Originally known as the “St. John’s Dog,” the Labrador was a fisherman’s dog in Newfoundland for over 100 years, starting in the early 1700s.

2. Newfoundland government restrictions caused the Labrador to become nearly extinct in the province in the 1800s; families were limited to one dog, and a high tax was placed on owning females.

3. The Labrador has been the United States’ most popular breed since 1991.

4. In addition to being a beloved family pet, the Labrador is also used in police work, drug and explosive detection, and as therapy and assistance dogs for the handicapped.

5. “Endal,” a service Labrador in the Britain, is the most “decorated dog in the world,” and was the first dog to ride the London Eye and to work an ATM machine.

Organizations dedicated to the Black/Chocolate Labrador:

The Labrador Retriever Club, USA
National Labrador Retriever Club (US)
American Lab Rescue
Save a Lab – Labrador Retriever Rescue
Labrador Retriever Rescue – PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA

Breeds Similar to Black Lab Dogs:

Black Lab Breed Information