Labrador Retriever Breed Standard

labrador retriever

According to the American Kennel Club Website ( the Labrador Retriever breed standard is as follows:

"The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled, dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion. Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient Retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment.

The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; an "otter" tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.

Above all, a Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or work in the field with little or no effort. The typical Labrador possesses style and quality without over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness. The Labrador is bred primarily as a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance."

Did You Know?

  • The Labrador Retriever did not come from Labrador, but from Newfoundland.

  • In England, no Labrador can become a bench show champion unless it has a working certificate also.

  • The Labrador Retriever is one of the prime breeds selected as guide and rescue dogs.

  • The original Labrador gradually died out in Newfoundland on account of a heavy dog tax which, with the English quarantine law, practically stopped importation of the dogs into England. Therefore, many Labs were interbred with other types of retrievers, although fortunately the Labrador characteristics predominated until fanciers wrote up an anti-interbreeding law.

  • There are three acceptable colors in Labradors: Black, yellow, and chocolate.

  • The pedigrees of the two most influential Labs,"Peter of Faskally" and "Flapper," go back as far as 1878.


The Illustrated Standard