Labrador Retriever Breed Information

Labrador Retrievers are amongst a group of breeds classed as ‘Category Two’ by The Kennel Club. These are breeds of dog that have been highlighted as having ‘points of concern’ – visible features which, if exaggerated, might potentially affect the breed in the future and cause health and welfare concerns.

Labrador Retrievers are a member of the ‘Gundog’ breed group. Dogs in the Gundog group were originally trained to find live game and retrieve game that had been shot and wounded. The group is divided into four categories: Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters.

Labradors are devoted, affectionate, loving dogs that will happily get along with everyone. They’re obedient, quick to learn and eager to please, so training should be fairly easy. For more information on training your Labrador using reward-based techniques, take a look at our dog behaviour page where you can pick up plenty of tips to help you and your canine companion better understand each other.

Labradors make perfect family pets, given the right socialisation, as with all breeds. They bond well with the whole family and are affectionate and loving. Their patient nature makes them ideal for children. Grooming is very simple, with a weekly brush usually enough to keep the coat in tip-top condition. 

Breed-related health problems:

 

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Labrador Retrievers are prone to include:

  • Hip dysplasia – hip joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis. 
  • Elbow dysplasia - elbow joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis. 
  • Prone to obesity
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – gradual deterioration of the retina of the eye. Symptoms can start with night blindness and progress to total blindness.

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line. 

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website

Exercise requirements:


Full of energy, Labradors need over two hours of exercise per day to keep them physically and mentally fit. 

Estimated lifetime cost:


The likely lifetime costs for a Labrador Retriever are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:


The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Labrador Retriever with PDSA:

 

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Labrador Retrievers that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  • 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
  • 4 levels of cover to suit you
  • Monthly payment at no extra cost

    *Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.


By insuring your Labrador Retriever with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.
For more information on taking care of your dog please visit our puppies and dogs section. 

Rehoming from a reputable source:


Where you get a dog from can have a big effect on how healthy and happy it is for the rest of its life. Find out where our PDSA vet experts recommend you get your dog from.
Energy levels
 
Overall grooming needs?
 
Compatibility with other pets
 
Easy to train?
 
How much exercise?
 
Suitability for children/families
 
Tendency to bark
 
Average lifespan 12-14 years
Coat length Short
Possible health problems
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Prone to obesity
Average purchase cost £300-£500
Estimated cost over lifetime £27,100-£30,800
Average weight Male: 29.5kg-36kg. Female: 25kg-31.5kg
Size Large
Minimum garden size Large

Not sure the Labrador Retriever is the right pet for you?