Labrador Retriever


Originally from Newfoundland in the 1800s, Labs were bred to work with fisherman to pull nets and retrieve fish. Later the dogs were honed to be game retrievers. Although black Labs were initially preferred, chocolate and yellow were accepted by the early 1900s. The breed’s intelligence and adaptability has propelled it into such canine careers as guide dog, search and rescue, and police work. Extremely gentle and eager to please, the Lab is incredibly appealing as a pet and remains the most popular breed in the U.S.


Large; females 211/2 to 231/2 inches, 55 to 70 pounds; males 221/2 to 241/2 inches, 65 to 80 pounds.


Black, yellow, and chocolate.


Outgoing, amiable, gentle, and obedient; nonaggressive toward all. Intense in the field, but calm and playful as a home companion; patient with kids.

Energy level:

High, especially in puppyhood.

Best owner:

Active owner or family in suburban or rural home.


Daily physical and mental challenges to stay occupied (and avoid pudginess), obedience training, secure fencing (around yards and pools), weekly brushing.

Life expectancy:

10 to 12 years.