Labrador Retriever Traits and Types

The Labrador Retriever is America’s most popular dog breed for over twenty-five years. This is easily understandable due to their friendly, sociable nature. Labradors are loving family dogs connecting with everyone in the family. They get along well with others in general, people and canines alike.

Yellow Labrador Retriever resting on a rock
Yellow Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever Traits

Labrador Retrievers stand between 21 and 24 inches tall and weigh between fifty to seventy-five pounds. Although some males have weighed in over 100 pounds! Depending on their size, they are considered a medium to large dog. Their short, thick coat comes in black, yellow, and chocolate. This water-repellant double coat sheds so they should be brushed regularly and require only an occasional bath. Regular nail trimming and teeth brushing is necessary as well to maintain proper hygiene.

The Labrador Retriever is high energy and strong. To instill good habits, socialize and train your dog from puppyhood. Labs require a good deal of exercise and playtime to remain physically and mentally fit. They need a lot of exercise every day and their favorites are swimming and retrieving. They are a good fit for canine sports like agility, tracking and obedience.

While Labs are great companion animals they were originally bred as working dogs. This breed is regularly used in search and rescue, drug and bomb detection, and as service and assistance animals. They also make great hunting dogs.

Three black labrador retrievers looking out over the water
Three Black Labrador Retrievers on Dock

While there is only one breed standard for the Labrador Retriever, there are two recognized types of Labrador Retrievers. There is the English Labrador, bred for show or conformation, and the American Labrador, bred for work and field trials. These differences are easy to see when placed next to each other.

Compared to an American Labrador, the English Lab has a more substantial look about them. They are stockier, with barrel chests, a wider head, and a shorter muzzle. The neck is thicker to support the wider head and barrel chest. The tail is thicker, wider, and straighter than their American counterparts. Their legs are shorter and, hence, do not stand quite as tall. Bred for show, they are typically closer to the breed standards than the American Labs.

In contrast, the American Labrador has a slimmer, more lithe and agile body frame. The face is narrower and their muzzle longer. They have a thinner coat and the tail tends to have a slight curl. They have longer legs and stand a little taller, up to 24 inches at the shoulder. These dogs are bred for their working ability and less to match the breed standards for show.

There is also a difference in energy level, temperament, and overall disposition. The American Lab tends to be more high energy, needing constant activity to keep them occupied. This need to stay busy can lead to anxiety if not properly channeled. They tend to be more stubborn than their English brothers and more difficult to train. The American type makes a better working dog and the English Lab, with its mellower disposition, generally makes a better family dog.

No matter the type of Lab, this breed is a favorite among dog owners for their good nature and love of human companionship. They are eager to please and make wonderful service dogs. Loyal and devoted to their humans, Labradors love to be part of a family.

Depending on your dog’s size, you will need a large or possibly an extra-large PlexiDor Dog Door to allow your active companion access to the backyard on their terms. Our doors come with a 90-day money back guarantee and a 5 or 10-year warranty depending on style of door. Contact us or call 888-PET-DOOR for more information.