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Labrador Retriever dog breed profile

Labrador Retrievers aren’t the same as golden retrievers.

Whether your dog is a purebred Labrador Retriever or a Labrador Retriever mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you’re looking to adopt a Lab and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

Labs consistently rank as one of the most loved and popular dog breeds, and for good reason. This dog breed is usually good-natured and outgoing, says Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian Dr. Aliya McCullough. These qualities may not come as a surprise, but here are some other fun facts you might not know about the breed.

What is the typical Labrador Retriever temperament?

Families looking for a happy-go-lucky, social pup might find a Lab to be a perfect addition to their home. Labrador Retrievers can be great for families with children or other pets with proper socialization and training.

“Labs are sporting dogs that were originally bred in Newfoundland and brought to England,” Dr. McCullough explains. Given their sporting roots, they thrive with a job to do and an outlet for their energy.

With proper daily exercise, Labs are happy in houses or apartments. This high-energy breed loves going on runs, hiking, playing fetch and many even like to swim.

Labrador Retriever puppies are typically sweet, smart and eager to learn — traits they retain well into adulthood. This breed is commonly trained to become service animals and search-and-rescue dogs. 

What do Labrador Retrievers look like?

Labs' short coats come in three different colors: chocolate, yellow and black. The yellow Lab can be easily confused with the golden retriever, but they are separate breeds. 

As a large dog breed, weighing anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds, you may be surprised to learn that these pups are gentle in nature and eager to please — just watch out for their big, happy tail.

RELATED: Greyhound dog breed profile

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Do Labrador Retrievers shed?

According to Dr. McCullough, Labs don’t have a lot of grooming needs outside of routine brushing and baths, but they do shed. So, if you have allergies, it’s important to talk with your doctor about reducing your discomfort or consider a low-shed breed. Remember, no dog is truly hypoallergenic.

What health issues do Labrador Retrievers face?

Labs are susceptible to several health conditions. Talk to your veterinarian about how to prevent the following possible health issues from affecting your best friend:   

  • Hip dysplasia 
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Exercise-induced collapse
  • Bloat (also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV)
  • Obesity

To ensure they live a full and healthy life, make an appointment with your veterinarian soon after adopting your pup. Your veterinarian will walk you through needed routine care like vaccinations and parasite prevention. Plus, they’ll get your dog on track with suggestions for a healthy diet.

Adopting a Labrador Retriever

Are you interested in adopting a Labrador Retriever, Lab mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners when looking for your new best friend. And if you already have other pets, be sure to learn how to ensure your pup plays well with others.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo. 

Photo by Lucas Ludwig, Mac Gaither and Kevin Erdvig on Unsplash

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