|Size:||Large, 53cm – 60cm|
|Coat:||The Labrador's short, smooth coat is easy to maintain with a weekly groom|
|Exercise:||2+ hours a day for adult dogs|
|Life span:||10-12 years|
|Breed group:||Labradors are gundogs, bred to flush out, locate or retrieve game shot down by hunters. They are usually highly trainable, keen to please and have a balanced, pleasant temperament.|
Labradors are playful and intelligent, with a warm, friendly temperament that makes them ideal for first-time owners.
When owning a Labrador, you'll find they're easy-going, rewarding pets with high energy levels, meaning they love extra attention and exercise. They make excellent companions, as well as assistance dogs. Labradors do well with both sole owners or as a part of a family, and get on well with children and other pets. They are energetic, mostly placid, and cope well with the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Keeping an eye on your Labrador's weight is crucial to their health, especially as they can be prone to gaining a few extra pounds. The right balance of calories, protein, minerals and vitamins is important for your Labrador puppy. Vets recommend that Labrador puppies receive dog food that's specially formulated for a fast-growing large breed, which can help prevent joint disease as they develop.
An adult Labrador Retriever should be fed two portions of high-quality pet food a day. If in doubt, follow the recommended amount on their food packaging and try to keep food rewards and treats to a minimum.
Smart and highly energetic, Labradors need the right amount of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and well, with at least two hours of exercise daily. Adding in a game of fetch – or even swimming – to their usual walks will help to engage their mind as they put their natural retrieving instincts into practice. Make sure your pet doesn’t overdo it when exercising, as Labradors can often get carried away – especially during their puppy years when their joints and bones are still growing.
Labradors are highly social by nature and letting your pet run free with other dogs in a safe environment will give them a great workout, as well as mental stimulation. But keep in mind that Labrador puppy training is vital, and recall training is particularly important to ensure your pet remains safe while off the leash, find out more on recall training and other puppy training tips.
Labradors thrive in company and adore extra attention and playing games with their owners. If you’re going to be away from your pet for a few hours, make sure to leave them stimulating dog toys and arrange for someone to check in with them. Many Labradors are happiest when they have something to gnaw on, so dog-safe chew toys are a great investment.
Labrador coats come in yellow, chocolate or black. Although their fur is sleek and easy to take care of, they can be prone to shedding. Weekly grooming with a comb or bristle brush, and bathing when needed, can help. Learn more about how to groom your pet on our dog grooming tips advice page.
Brushing your Labrador is also a good opportunity to thoroughly examine their body and look for parasites or skin lumps. At the same time, it’s worth checking their eyes for any redness or discharge, and their ears for black or brown wax and a strange smell. Vets also recommend brushing your Labrador’s teeth regularly to prevent tooth or gum disease. It’s a good idea to introduce this as a part of your puppy’s routine early, as it’ll help familiarise them with the process. Keep your motions gentle and soothing and you’ll soon create happy associations with grooming for your pet.