The Labrador Retriever, which originally is from Newfoundland, is an extremely versatile animal that is just as comfortable in a hunting or fishing setting as it is as a pet in a large family. That makes this breed among the most popular choice nationally on a regular basis. Since 1991, they have been the top registered dog with the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Late in 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton got a chocolate Lab. This sporting dog also is high-scoring at dog shows and popular as a guide or rescue dog as well.
Labs come in three colors -- black, yellow and chocolate -- and they can average between 55 and 75 pounds for larger, more powerfully built males. Yellow Labs occasionally are called Golden Labs by mistake. A Golden Retriever is a different breed all together.
Two more distinctive features of the Labrador Retriever are its tail and coat. The tail should be thick at its base and gradually tapered toward the top with a somewhat rounded appearance known as an "Otter'' tail to benefit swimming and balance.
The coat should be short, straight and dense with a soft, weather-resistant undercoat. This primarily provides protection from water and the cold. It also could feel hard to the touch, such as when Labs are being petted, but don't let that stop you from being affectionate because you will get it right back from this loving breed.
The English Labrador and American Labrador are the two types of this breed. The one bred in England generally are heavier than those from America and also a little thicker and stockier, while the American-bred Labs are taller and lankier. In England, Labs must have a working certificate to be allowed to compete in shows.
If one has a Labrador Retriever for a pet, it should be exercised as much as it is loved. This breed can become quite high-strung if not exercised regularly.
On the down side, unfortunately, Labs can have several physical issues like hip and elbow dysplasia and eye disorders like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).