Labrador: Temperament, Size, Life Expectancy

Labrador Retriever: Intelligent & Quick Helper

The Labrador Retriever is a recognized British dog breed. Its origins lie on the east coast of Canada in Newfoundland. The Newfoundland and the Landseer also come here. Here the Labrador was used as a helper in hunting and fishing. Among other things, he had to fetch drifted fish and fishing nets from the sea. With its soft mouth, it brought the prey to its master very carefully and without injury.

Today, dogs of this breed are still occasionally used as hunting dogs for retrieval. This dog has had its name since 1870 and the nickname Retriever refers to its hunting function.

How Big & How Heavy Will It Be?

The standard for a male Labrador is 56-57 cm and for a female 54-56 cm in height. It reaches a weight between 30 and 35 kg.

What Does the Labrador Look Like?

The body is strong and muscular. The build is strong with a short loin, broad skull, and chest. It has a thick, medium-length tail – a so-called otter tail. With his short floppy ears and lovely brown eyes, you have to take him to your heart immediately.

Coat, Colors & Care

The coat is dense, smooth, short, and somewhat harsh. The short coat hides the waterproof undercoat. The fur is usually one color. The colors black, beige/yellow (ranging from light cream to fox-red), and light brown tones (chocolate brown) are used.

Skincare is uncomplicated. A quick overbrush once a week is sufficient, more often during the change of coat. Otherwise, the sensitive ears should be checked regularly and cleaned if necessary.

Nature, Temperament

The Labrador Retriever is extremely intelligent, responsive, hardworking, docile, and very affectionate.

The Labrador is a very loving, friendly dog from the ground up. He shows no aggressiveness or shyness towards humans. On the contrary, he feels comfortable in human society. He is also very patient and balanced. This is probably due to the original breeding as a hunting dog for work “after the shot”. The dog had to lie still and wait until the hunter gave it the signal to retrieve. Only then was he allowed to run to collect the game.

It gets along well with children and has a good relationship with other dogs. He is therefore an ideal family dog and a great companion for children.

A Labrador loves social contact with as many people as possible. He also gets along very well with other dogs.


The Labrador is very voracious! As a result, this breed will do almost anything for a “treat”, i.e. a reward in the form of food. What he needs is employment – he wants to be challenged and please people.

It quickly learns to fetch things and perform little tricks. This dog will also master a companion dog test with flying colors, if only because of its docility.


The characteristics mentioned make it the ideal guide dog, therapy dog, service dog, drug detection dog, and rescue dog. But also to the companion in sporting activities speak to the sports dog.

However, it cannot be used as a guard or protection dog. That is also the intention. It is the all-around friendly, loving, and patient companion of humans.

Breed Diseases

Unfortunately, like all pedigree dogs, the Labrador has a few breed-specific diseases that can – but do not have to – occur.

A condition that can affect all larger breeds is hip dysplasia (HD). This disease can be inherited, which means that strict controls apply to all breeders who are affiliated with the VDH. The HD can largely be ruled out beforehand on the basis of the parentage.

This includes fibrinoid leukodystrophy – a very rare but serious disease of the spinal cord. One recognizes this disease – when it occurs – already in the childhood years. This disease, like axonopathy – a degeneration that progresses with hind-hand weakness and a tendency to fall over – is unfortunately not curable. However, these two diseases are very rare.

Life Expectancy

On average, these retriever dogs reach an age of 10 to 14 years.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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