Created | Updated Nov 30, 2007
The Labrador Retriever is a breed of dog which originated in Newfoundland, Canada. These dogs can be black, yellow, or chocolate in colour and are popular the world over as household pets. They have short fur which moults twice a year and soft, triangular ears which hang close to their square-cut heads. Watch out for the strong, straight tails, which are just the right height to constantly sweep items off coffee tables.
Centuries ago, Labradors were trained to drag fishing nets from boat to shore and a love of swimming is characteristic of the breed. Their double-layered coat keeps them warm in water1, comprising a soft downy undercoat and a harder, water repellent topcoat which helps them shake dry when they climb back onto land2. Labradors will retrieve pretty much anything - from land or water - and they have mouths so gentle they can carry an egg without breaking it. All this combined with a good sense of smell has made them a popular choice of gundog, pursuing and retrieving wounded game over practically any terrain. An intelligent and friendly breed, they are often trained as guide dogs for the blind or as professional sniffer dogs.
Most of all, Labradors are loved in millions of households as family pets. Their retrieving skills are used on balls and sticks, and their noses are dedicated to sniffing out the smallest morsel of potential food wherever it is to be found.
All pedigree animals suffer from problems arising from the fact that they are basically inbred. Labradors in particular often have hereditary hip problems.
Obesity is also a common problem among Labradors kept as pets. These dogs are basically highly evolved stomachs on legs - puppies have even been known to eat themselves to death. Too many treats and too little exercise means that, sadly, many Labradors are too fat and suffer as a result.
Famous Labrador Retrievers
The Andrex Puppy - Eternally adorable yellow infant with endearing toilet roll fetish.
Bouncer - Late yellow star of Neighbours, hailed as the finest actor ever to grace the show!
Buddy Clinton - Chocolate, former presidential pooch, famously neutered by the man who once led the free world in the ways of free love.
Widgeon - Prince William's black Labrador companion.