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. A Labrador
Retriever must be effortlessly well balanced, enabling it to move in
the show ring or work in the field with both confidence and grace. True
Lab temperament is a hallmark of the breed.
Labradors possess that certain style and quality, endearing them immediately
The Labrado Retriever was originally bred primarily as a working
gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance. Labrador Retrievers
are shown in working condition, well-muscled and without excess
fat, with good spring of ribs tapering
to a moderately wide chest. The Labrado Retriever should never be narrow-chested;
giving the appearance of hollowness between the front legs, nor should
it have a wide spreading, bulldog-like front. When viewed from the side,
the Labrado Retriever shows a well-developed, but not exaggerated
forechest. The Labrado Retriever's hindquarters are broad, muscular
and well-developed from the hip to the hock, with well-turned stifles
and strong short hocks. Overall movement should be free and effortless.
The coat is a distinctive feature of the Labrado Retriever. It should be short, straight and very dense, giving a fairly
hard feeling to the hand. The Labrado Retriever should have a soft, weather-resistant
undercoat that provides protection from water, cold and all types of
ground cover. The tail should be free from feathering and clothed thickly
all around with the Labrado Retriever's short, dense coat, thus having that peculiar
rounded appearance that has been described as the "otter tail".
The tail completes the balance of the Labrado Retriever by giving it a flowing
line from the top of the head to the tip of the tail.
The Labrado Retriever has much that appeals to people;
his gorgeous color, gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him
an all around ideal dog.
While the English Labrador Retriever and the American Labrador Retriever are considered
by the AKC as one breed, the Labrador Retrievers that come from England are heavier, thicker and blockier. The
American bred Labrador Retriever comes from American-bred stock and is taller
and lanky in build. Both varieties of Labrador Retriever are solid, muscular
dogs, slightly longer than tall, with a short, hard, easy-care, water-resistant
double coat that is smooth, without any waves.
The English Labrador Retriever has a broader head, thick nose, scissors bite and a pronounced stop.
The Labrador Retriever's muzzle is fairly wide and its neck is powerful. The Chocolate Lab eyes are chestnut or hazel with an obviously intelligent
expression. The medium-sized ears of a Labrador Retriever are pendant. This
breed has what is called an otter tail because it is strong and thick
near the body, tapering a bit, which resembles the tail of an otter.
Both the American and English Labrador Retrievers have good bone structure,
but the English Labs are overall stockier.