America’s Top Dog: The Labrador Retriever Breed

labrador retriever dog breed information

Who’s a good dog? According to the AKC’s list of most popular dogs, the Labrador Retriever breed holds the No. 1 spot for Americans, and it’s easy to see why: gentle demeanor, eager to please, easy to train … and who can resist those sweet faces? We can’t!

Interested in bringing a Labrador retriever into your home? If so, you might have questions about the breed. Do Labradors, or Labs as they are often called, get along with young children? Do Labrador retrievers bark a lot? Are Labrador retrievers easy to train? This guide to Labrador retrievers will answer these questions and more.

Labrador Retriever Colors — What Do They Mean?

Labs come in three main colors: yellow labs, chocolatelabs, and black labs. You’ll find some sources that will say yellow labs are typically bred to be guide dogs, chocolate labs for show dogs, and black labs for hunting dogs. However, the experts — scientists, veterinarians and trainers — that we consulted say that there is no scientific evidence that supports a link between labrador colors and their personality or trainability. A barking black lab is just as easy (or hard) to train as a yellow barking lab!

Do Labrador Retrievers Bark a Lot?

No, Labrador retrievers don’t bark a lot; however, like other dogs, they do bark, but usually, it’s for a good reason. Barking is one method of vocalization for canines, but incessant or excessive barking can be the result of frustration, anxiety, fear, boredom, attention-seeking, or demand behaviors. As a Lab owner, it’s up to you to determine if your pet’s barking is warranted. If your Labrador is merely barking to be heard, there are a few things you can do to reduce or eliminate this annoying and unhealthy habit.

How to stop Labrador retrievers from barking?

Ensuring your Lab gets plenty of exercise every day is a must. A tired dog is less likely to engage in negative behaviors, like stealing your shoes, chewing on furniture or constantly barking. If you have rewarded your Lab in the past with attention when he barks, it’s time to reverse this behavior with some training.

Training a yellow lab, a black lab, or a chocolate labrador to stop barking will require your patience and consistence. Give yourself and your dog time to learn.

The first thing to do is identify what triggers your Labrador retriever to bark. Can you eliminate or minimize his triggers? For example, if your Lab becomes anxious during thunderstorms and barks or cries like crazy, sit with him in a room with a TV or music turned up to drown out the sound of the thunder. Redirecting your Lab’s attention can help reduce his anxiety and frustration barking.

The next suggestion we have is to learn and use our train, treat, repeat training techniques laid out in our barking guide. This approach combines of voice commands (“quiet”) with the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool. Avoid using a sharp tone, physical corrections, or punishments when your pet misbehaves. Labradors are sensitive, and you’ll just scare them. Positive reinforcement is the way to go with this breed, as Labradors are eager to place and highly motivated by food.

Labs are no fools. They will know who is a pushover in your household and who’s top dog. Make sure everyone who spends a significant amount of time (children, visiting grandparents, close friends) are all aware of the training techniques and commands you use to train your Lab.

Learn more about training devices for dogs

Facts About Labrador Retrievers 

Labs, as they are often called, get along well with dogs and humans alike, making them an ideal family pet. Full of energy, a Labrador will keep you on your toes either playing fetch, swimming or going for walks every day. Labs also enjoy spending time on the couch with their humans and might make his place on your lap — he doesn’t care if you’re nearly the same size.

  • Size: Labrador retrievers are considered a medium-sized dog with a height range of 21.5-24.5 inches and a weight range of 55-80 pounds.
  • Life expectancy: The average lifespan for a healthy Labrador is 10-12 years.
  • Coat: A Labrador retriever’s double-coat can be yellow, black or chocolate. The outer coat is short, straight, and very dense. The undercoat is water-resistant and is typically soft.
  • AKC group: The Labrador retriever breed belongs to the AKC sporting group.

Are Labrador Retrievers Easy to Train?

In general, Labs are easy to train. However, they’re very active dogs and if they don’t get enough exercise every day, training could prove a bit difficult. This intelligent breed is loyal and eager to please, and benefits from early socialization and obedience training. This early training will help shade your dog’s adult behavior. You might find Labrador retrievers in a variety of service jobs such as search and rescue, therapy work, and detection. Bred as working dogs, Labs are highly motivated by food, so incorporating treats in your training program will make it easier for you and your pet. Remember: Dogs that are highly motivated by food will need a lot of exercise to avoid excessive weight gain.

Do Labrador Retrievers Need Grooming?

Labrador retrievers shed. Some Labs shed on a continuous basis, while others shed a few times a year. Regardless of how much your Lab sheds, regular brushing with the proper tools like the BarxBuddy Self-Cleaning Dog Brush can reduce or eliminate the piles on your floor and furniture. It’s also essential that you trim your pet’s nails regularly with the proper tools like the BarxBuddy nail clippers if you choose to DIY route or visit your groomer. Brushing your Lab’s teeth frequently is also a must for your dog’s overall health and well-being.

What If My Breed Is a Labrador Retriever Mix?

Purebred Labrador retriever puppies can be quite pricey, thanks to the breed’s popularity. For this reason, many people look to a Lab mix. Some Labs are bred with nonshedding breeds, such as poodles, to preserve the desired traits from both breeds — nonshedding poodles and easily trained Labs. Because a puppy takes on the traits of both its parents, there’s no way of knowing for certain what your puppy’s adult appearance and personality will be.

Here are some popular Labrador retriever breed mixes:

  • Aussiedor — Labrador retriever + Australian shepherd
  • Beagador — Labrador retriever + beagle
  • Borador — Labrador retriever + border collie
  • Boxador — Labrador retriever + boxer
  • Corgidor — Labrador retriever + Welsh corgi
  • German sheprador — Labrador retriever + German shepherd
  • Golden Labrador, or Goldador — Labrador retriever + golden retriever
  • Lab-Chow — Labrador retriever + chow chow
  • Labrabull — Labrador retriever + American pit bull terrier
  • Labradane — Labrador retriever + Great Dane
  • Labrottie — Labrador retriever + rottweiler
  • Siberian retriever — Labrador retriever + Siberian husky