Labrador Retriever

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Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever
Labrador, yellow
FCI Standard No. 122
Origin :

Great Britain

Withers height:

Males 56-57 cm, bitches 54-56 cm


Not fixed

List of domestic dogs

The Labrador Retriever is an FCI recognized British breed of dog ( FCI Group 8, Section 1, Standard No. 122 ).

Origin and history

The ancestors of the Labrador, like the Newfoundland and Landseer, came from the Canadian east coast. The Labrador Peninsula is named after the breed . There is less clarity about the original origin of these dogs; there are various historical versions.

As "the real Labrador", the Labrador was distinguished from the Newfoundland in 1814 and bred in England in the course of the 19th century. The name "Labrador Retriever" is first used in 1870, where retrieve refers to its distinctive retrieval systems when hunting. The Labrador Retriever was described as a medium-sized, strong dog with a typical broad skull and a thickly haired "otter tail".

In contrast to the larger Newfoundland dog, this smaller and lighter dog was more likely to help with the hunt or to fetch aborted fish and fishing nets from the sea. Fishermen brought it to England in the 19th century, where it was given the name Labrador .

With the further development of breeding in Great Britain a. a. through the second Earl Malmesbury (1778-1841) the water-loving dog found its way to a few aristocrats who were enthusiastic about hunting. The pure breeding of the Labrador was consistently bred for its hunting performance. In 1870 the breed almost became extinct. All of today's Labradors likely go back to Avon , born in 1885.

At first, Labradors were black. The first yellow Labrador that was not considered a bad breed was, according to tradition, Ben of Hyde , born in 1899 in the breed of Major Charles Radclyffe. Since the color is only inherited recessively , the yellow Labrador was only recognized later as a color next to black.

The Labrador was recognized as an independent dog breed on July 7, 1903 by the English Kennel Club . Due to success at exhibitions, his breed quickly became more popular. In the later years two lines developed, the show lines with a more compact stature and the working lines with a lighter appearance. Work and show lines differ in their behavior.

Brown labrador

The brown ("chocolate / chocolate-colored") Labrador could already exist before, as a breeding color it was only recognized by the Ch. Cookridge Tango from 1961, bred by Mrs. Pauling , son of Tweed of Blaircourt (* 1958) and Cookridge Gay Princess (* 1956), who was recognized as a Labrador in 1964.

Today, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular and widely spread dog breed not just in the UK and the US. In Germany (2018, last available status) it is ranked 4th in the puppy statistics of the Association for the German Dog Being .


According to the current breed standard, a Labrador male is 56 to 57 cm tall (height at the withers), a bitch 54 to 56 cm tall. Small variations in size are tolerated. Labrador Retrievers are available in single-colored black, yellow or liver / chocolate brown; yellow ranges from light cream to fox red; a small white spot on the chest is allowed. The coat colors yellow and brown are recessive compared to black in terms of coat inheritance.

The Labrador Retriever is a sturdy, well-muscled dog with a broad skull. His appearance is described in the FCI / VdH breed standard as "strongly built, broad skull, broad and deep chest, broad and short in the loin and hind quarters" and as very active.

Typical of the breed for the Labrador Retriever is the otter tail, which tapers towards the tip and is set at the level of the back line. There is a waterproof undercoat under the short fur of the Labrador Retriever. The medium-sized ears are carried close to the head and are set far back. The muzzle is of medium length, strong and not pointed.

Although only one type of Labrador is described in the breed standard, "show lines" with a more compact type and more easily built working lines have diverged in the past decades, not only in England, but even more in countries on the European continent. The classic “dual purpose” type, which also harmoniously combines “work” and “show” in type, comes closest to the ideal of race.


Labrador Retrievers are good-natured and friendly dogs. Any kind of sharpness, aggressiveness or inappropriate shyness towards people are far removed from the breed typical Labrador. The Labrador Retriever behaves friendly, open-minded and curious towards both its environment and people. He feels comfortable in the presence of people and shows no shyness, fear or insecurity when they come too close to him. His will to please is pronounced.

The Labrador Retriever is a very patient and well-balanced dog. This is probably due to its many years of hunting use. As a retriever, the Labrador Retriever had to lie next to its master or mistress during the hunt until the game was found and shot, in order to then retrieve the dead game. A retriever should have a "soft mouth", he should bring the prey to the handler without damage. The Labrador Retriever has also remained in love with water and fetching.

Despite its actually very calm demeanor, the Labrador Retriever needs a lot of mental and physical activity.


Labrador retrieving
The Labrador Retriever, oil on canvas by Albert Demuyser (1997)

As a result of many years of selection for properties that can be used for hunting, the Labrador is a dog with an excellent nose and a soft mouth, which allows it to deliver found game or other objects undamaged to its master. He is very adaptive and attentive, constantly observes his master and is happy about every praise. This learning ability and enthusiasm for work should not only be used when training to become a hunting dog or other working dog, but also for pure family dogs . Underworked dogs that are not supported in their work facilities tend to develop undesirable behaviors. Due to its nature, the Labrador is not suitable as a guard dog or protection dog , but according to breed standards it should not be this at all. In addition, he is a patient, nervous, pleasant and child-loving family dog, for whom living close to his people is more important and who can contribute significantly to a balanced climate in the coexistence of people.


As with all large and heavy dogs, the Labrador Retriever is at risk of hip dysplasia (HD) and elbow dysplasia (ED). The breeding dogs of the associations affiliated to the VDH are therefore subject to a control: An X-ray of the hip and elbow joints and their assessment by an expert appointed by the association is imperative for the issue of a breeding license. If this assessment results in a medium (HD-D) or a severe (HD-E) HD grade , the dog will be excluded from breeding. A HD grade C (slight HD) does not mean a fundamental exclusion from breeding, but such an assessment is accompanied by the requirement that the dog in question may only be paired with a dog that is free from HD (HD A1-A2) . In ED, grade II and III lead to exclusion from breeding.

In addition to the skeletal diseases described above, various eye diseases can also be inherited. These are progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hereditary cataracts (HC) and retinal dysplasia (RD). In the case of RD, only dogs suffering from the total form (complete blindness) are excluded from breeding, as the heredity cannot be proven with the other forms. Breeding dogs must be tested regularly for PRA, hereditary HC and RD. A negative result must be presented at every mating act. At the PRA, if the dog is not known to have PRA-free parents, a genetic test is required for breeding approval.

Epilepsy in the Labrador follows a polygenic recessive inheritance . The prevalence in a Danish study was 3.1%. Males seem to have a significantly higher risk than bitches.

Another breed specific disease is Labrador myopathy . This hereditary muscle disease follows a simple autosomal recessive inheritance and is associated with a defect in the cnm locus on chromosome 2. Clinically, the disease typically manifests itself from the age of 3 to 4 months, progresses up to the age of about one year and then stabilizes. Symptoms include rapid fatigue on exertion, megaesophagus , muscle atrophy, and loss of the patellar tendon reflex . Atrophy of the type II muscle fibers can be identified histopathologically .

Symptoms similar to myopathy occur with Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC). This disease is also inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, occurs mainly in Labrador Retrievers and manifests itself in the fact that affected animals can initially develop a staggering gait and finally collapse after prolonged intense exertion. After a break, however, there is usually complete recovery.

The fibrinoid leukodystrophy ( Alexander's Disease ) is a very infrequent and rapidly deteriorating hereditary disorder of the spinal cord with paralysis and movement disorders. It develops within the first six months of life for a previously unexplained cause. The axonopathy of the Lab is a degeneration of the white matter , which begins in puppies with hindquarters weakness and to exaggerated movements ( hypermetria developed) with a tendency to fall over. The inheritance is probably autosomal recessive. Both diseases are not treatable.

Congenital ectopia of the ureter is also more common in the breed.

Overall, the Labrador Retriever (similar to the Golden Retriever ) has an above-average life expectancy for medium-sized dogs . In a Swedish study of 350,000 dogs, 7 percent of all Labrador Retrievers died before the age of five, 14 percent before the age of 8, and 25 percent did not live to be 10 years old. According to this study, 75% of Labrador Retrievers have a life expectancy of more than 10 years. Comparative figures for the average of all pedigree dogs are 22% (up to 5 years), 23% (up to 8 years) and 35% (up to 10 years); 16%, 26% and 35% respectively were found for mixed breeds.

The colors


  • Diana Beckett: Labrador Retriever. Kynos-Verlag , Mürlenbach 1995, ISBN 3-929545-06-3 .
  • Carole Coode: Labrador Retrievers Today. Ringpress, Letchworth 1993. ISBN 0-948955-18-X .
  • Richard Edwards: The Show Labrador Retriever in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 1945-1995. R. Edwards, Gwent 1996.
  • Dorit Feddersen-Petersen : Behavioral development of two retriever races (Labrador and Golden Retriever) in coexistence with humans. In: Dorit Feddersen-Petersen: Dogs and their people. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-440-05855-7 , pp. 56-171.
  • Brigitte Rauth-Widmann: Labrador. (Choice, attitude, upbringing, employment). Kosmos, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-440-07800-0 (introductory overview).
  • Marjorie Satterthwaite: Labrador Retriever (= Kynos Small Dog Library ). Kynos-Verlag, Mürlenbach 1989, ISBN 3-924008-53-1 .
  • Katharina Schlegl-Kofler: Retriever. Expert advice for the dog owner. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-440-06780-7 (Also as: Retriever. (History, keeping, training, breeding). 2nd, completely revised, expanded and completely re-illustrated edition. Ibid 2003, ISBN 3 -440-09746-3 ).
  • The Labrador Retriever Club: The Early Labrador. In: The Labrador Retriever Club. A Celebration of 75 Years - 1916–1991. The Labrador Retriever Club, Shirland 1991.
  • Rosemarie Wild: Labrador Retriever. Müller Rüschlikon, Cham et al. 1991, ISBN 3-275-01000-X .
  • Rosemarie Wild: Labrador Retriever. The great breed handbook. Müller Rüschlikon, Cham 2004, ISBN 3-275-01505-2 .
  • Heather Wiles-Fone: The Great Labrador Retriever Book. Kynos-Verlag, Mürlenbach 1997, ISBN 3-929545-67-5 .
  • Richard A. Wolters: The Labrador Retriever. The History - the People, revisited. New edition, enlarged and updated. Dutton, New York NY 1991, ISBN 0-525-93360-3 (In German: The Labrador Retriever. Its history ... its people ... Kynos-Verlag, Mürlenbach 1993, ISBN 3-924008-97-3 ) .

Web links

Commons : Labrador Retriever  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Peter Hawker: Instructions to Young Sportsmen. 1814
  2. Fernanda Ruiz Fadel, Patricia Driscoll a. a .: Differences in Trait Impulsivity Indicate Diversification of Dog Breeds into Working and Show Lines. In: Scientific Reports. 6, 2016, p. 22162, doi : 10.1038 / srep22162 .
  3. More rarely also called "liver-colored"
  4. AKC Dog Registration Statistics ( Memento of the original from February 7, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. puppy statistics . Association for the German dog industry. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  6. Standard of the Labrador Retriever
  7. ^ Zuchtordnung des LCD dated June 1, 2008, p. 2; Breeding regulations for Labrador Retrievers in the DRC from June 21, 2008, p. 3f.
  8. ^ Zuchtordnung des LCD dated June 1, 2008, p. 3; Breeding regulations for Labrador Retrievers in the DRC from June 21, 2008, p. 4.
  9. ^ A. Jaggy, D. Faissler, C. Gaillard, P. Srenk, H. Graber: Genetic aspects of idiopathic epilepsy in Labrador retrievers. In: Journal of Small Animal Practice. Vol. 39, No. 6, 1998, ISSN  1748-5827 , pp. 275-2780, PMID 9673903 , doi : 10.1111 / j.1748-5827.1998.tb03650.x .
  10. Mette Berendt, Hanne Gredal, Lotte Gam Pedersen, Lis Alban, Jørgen Alving: A cross-sectional study of epilepsy in Danish Labrador Retrievers: prevalence and selected risk factors. In: Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Vol. 16, No. 3, 2002, ISSN  0891-6640 , pp. 262-268, PMID 12041655 , doi : 10.1111 / j.1939-1676.2002.tb02367.x .
  11. Laurent Tiret, Stéphane Blot, Jean-Louis Kessler, Hugues Gaillot, Matthew Breen, Jean-Jacques Panthier: The cnm locus, a canine homologue of human autosomal forms of centronuclear myopathy, maps to chromosome 2. In: Human Genetics. Vol. 113, No. 4, 2003, ISSN  0340-6717 , pp. 297-306, PMID 12884002 , doi : 10.1007 / s00439-003-0984-7 .
  12. T. Bley, Cl. Gaillard, Th. Bilzer, KG Braund, D. Faissler, F. Steffen, S. Cizinauskas, J. Neumann, T. Vögtli, R. Equey, A. Jaggy: Genetic aspects of Labrador Retriever myopathy. In: Research in Veterinary Science. Vol. 73, No. 3, 2002, pp. 231-236, PMID 12443679 , doi : 10.1016 / S0034-5288 (02) 00034-6 .
  13. ^ Canine Neuromuscular (EIC) - Frequently Asked Questions . Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory, University of Minnesota. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  14. JT McGrath: Fibrinoid leukodystrophy (Alexander Disease). In: Edwin J. Andrews, Billy C. Ward, Norman H. Altman (Eds.): Spontaneous animal models of human disease. Volume 2. Academic Press, New York NY 1979, ISBN 0-12-058502-2 , pp. 147-148.
  15. DC Sorjonen, NR Cox, RP Kwapien: Myeloencephalopathy with eosinophilic refractile bodies (Rosenthal fibers) in a Scottish Terrier. In: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Vol. 190, No. 8, 1987, ISSN  0003-1488 , pp. 1004-1006, PMID 3570949 (in literature review).
  16. A. de Lahunta, JT Ingram, JF Cummings, JS Bell: Labrador retriever central axonopathy. In: Progress in Veterinary Neurology. Vol. 5, No. 3, 1994, ISSN  1061-575X , pp. 117-122.
  17. A. Egenvall, BN Bonnett, Å. Hedhammar, P. Olson: Mortality in over 350,000 insured Swedish dogs from 1995-2000: II. Breed-specific age and survival patterns and relative risk for causes of death. In: Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica. Vol. 46, No. 3, 2005, ISSN  1751-0147 , pp. 121-136, PMID 16261925 , doi : 10.1186 / 1751-0147-46-121