Labrador Retriever breed information

2 minutes

Own a Labrador, or welcoming one into the family? Here's everything you need to know about your furry friend, from grooming and exercise to common health problems.

  • Size: Large
  • Life span: 10 + years
  • Coat: Short and can be maintained easily by applying a weekly groom
  • Exercise: At least 2 or more hours a day

Labrador personality

The Labrador Retriever is known to be one of the easier breeds of dogs to train. This could be because Labradors are often extremely intelligent. They are often used as therapy dogs or guide dogs for the blind but they are popular pets and make great companions thanks to their easy going nature.

Labradors were originally bred to retrieve game and foul for hunters; this explains their love of exercise and boundless enthusiasm for a good game of fetch. The working heritage of the Lab means he needs to be kept active, both physically and mentally, to keep him happy.

Labrador Retrievers are greedy dogs. They love, love, love to eat, and can easily become obese very quickly if overfed.

When they’re not scoffing dog biscuits, Labradors love to be in water. Luckily for them, they have an excellent water resistant coat and webbed toes to help them swim.

There's one dog job that Labs are hopeless at – being a watchdog. In fact, owners say that instead of barking at burglars, their sweet, helpful Lab is more likely to greet an intruder and happily show him where the family silver is stashed.

Famous Labradors include the furry, eponymous star of the 2008 film, Marley & Me.

The labrador retriever. 

Common health problems and illness

Hip and elbow dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia develops when the bones that form the joint develop abnormalities in the cartilage that lines the surface of the joint or the structures around it. Hip dysplasia can vary widely in severity, from premature arthritis and lameness in middle age to severe disability in a young dog.Keep an eye out for signs of this which can range from a reluctance to exercise to moving awkwardly.

Lipomas and lumps

Lipomas are benign (non cancerous) fat deposits, or fatty tumours and can develop in Labradors, as well as most other dogs. These types of lumps are generally not painful Lipomas are most often found on the torso, neck, upper legs and armpits, but they can occur almost anywhere.They vary in shape and size but most take the form of a solitary slow growing lump.

Skin conditions

The skin is the largest organ of a dog’s body and a number of disorders can affect it. Like other dogs, Labradors can suffer from allergies that lead to dermatitis (skin inflammation). Allergies can be caused by many different things, including something your dogs inhaled (such as pollen or dust mites), something they've eaten (for example, wheat), something your Lab's come into contact with (for example, washing powders), or bites from fleas and ticks.

Another skin problem, pyoderma (meaning ‘infection of the skin’) is usually caused by bacteria, fungi (‘ringworm’) or yeasts. Skin disorders can be managed using various treatments, usually required long-term, which means the dog can get on with enjoying life.

Our pet policies explained

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  • Cover most suited for short-term illnesses and injuries

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  • Available for cats under 10 and dogs under eight years old
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  • Cover for long-term illness and injuries


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