Breed Information Centre

Retriever (Labrador)


Illustration of Retriever (Labrador)

The Labrador is the most popular of all pedigree breeds and his popularity comes from his versatility as family companion, service dog, guide dog as well as a working gundog.

The breed originates from Newfoundland, which from the 16th century was renowned for the fishing industry with well-established trading routes between England and Canada. Dogs were used there to help fishermen retrieve nets and lost lines and pull carts loaded with fish. The Newfoundland dogs were smaller than they are today and a smaller variety was known as the St John’s dog. It is thought that these breeds crossed with hunting dogs taken to Newfoundland by English traders and fishermen formed the basis for the modern Labrador.

Some of the dogs resulting from this breeding were taken back to England where their retrieving skills were recognised by the sporting gentry. One of the early patrons of the breed, the Earl of Malmesbury gave the breed its name. The first breed club was founded in 1916.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
More than 2 hours per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
Once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Large House
Minimum Garden Size
Over 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Gundog Breed Group

Dogs that were originally trained to find live game and/or to retrieve game that had been shot and wounded. This group is divided into four categories - Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters - although many of the breeds are capable of doing the same work as the other sub-groups. They make good companions, their temperament making them ideal all-round family dogs.

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