About the Labrador Retriever


A History Lesson:

The Labrador Retriever (also Labrador, or Lab for short) is one of several kinds of retrievers, a type of gun dog. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed's original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog by registered ownership in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States (since 1991). It is also one of the most popular assistance dog breeds in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States and many other countries, as well as being widely used by police and other official bodies for their detection and working abilities.
The modern Labrador's ancestors originated on the island of Newfoundland, now part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The founding breed of the Labrador was the St. John's Water Dog, a breed that emerged through ad-hoc breedings by early settlers of the island in the 16th century. The forebears of the St. John's Dog are not known, but were likely a random-bred mix of English, Irish, and Portuguese working breeds. The Newfoundland (known then as the Greater Newfoundland) is likely a result of the St. John's Dog breeding with mastiffs brought to the island by the generations of Portuguese fishermen who had been fishing offshore since the 16th century. The smaller short-coated St. John's Dog (also known then as the Lesser Newfoundland) was used to assist in carrying ropes between boats, towing dories, and helping to retrieve fishnets in the water. The loyalty and hard working behavior were valuable assets for fishermen. These smaller dogs were the forebears of the Labrador Retriever
The St. John's area of Newfoundland was settled mainly by the English and Irish. A number of St. John's Dogs were brought back to the Poole area of England in the early 19th century, then the hub of the Newfoundland fishing trade, by the gentry, and became prized as sporting and waterfowl hunting dogs. A few kennels breeding these grew up in England; at the same time a combination of sheep protection policy (Newfoundland) and rabies quarantine (England) led to their gradual demise in their country of origin.
The first St. John's dog was said to be brought to England around 1820; however, the breed's reputation had spread to England long before. There is a story that the Earl of Malmesbury saw a St. John's Dog on a fishing boat and immediately made arrangements with traders to have some of these dogs exported to England. These ancestors of the first labradors so impressed the Earl with their skill and ability for retrieving anything within the water and on shore that he devoted his entire kennel to developing and stabilising the breed.
The foundational breed of what is now the Labrador Retriever was known as the St. John's Water Dog, St. John's Dog, or Lesser Newfoundland. When the dogs were later brought to England, they were named after the geographic area known as "the Labrador" or simply Labrador to distinguish them from the larger Newfoundland breed, even though the breed was from the more southern Avalon Peninsula.
Labradors are relatively large, with males typically weighing 29 to 41 kg and females 25 to 32 kg. Typically Labradors are athletic and love to swim, play catch and retrieve games, are good with young children, elderly, and for protection. Labradors have a reputation as a very even-tempered breed and an excellent family dog. This includes a good reputation with children of all ages and other animals.
Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colors: black (a solid black color), yellow (anything from the color that some breeders sell as white or cream to "fox-red"), and chocolate (medium to dark brown). Some dogs are sold as "silver" Labradors, but these are not pure-breed Labradors as they have been originally crossed with Weimeranas to obtain the silver colour.
The breed tends to shed hair twice annually, or regularly throughout the year in temperate climates. Some Labradors shed considerably; however, individual Labradors vary. Labrador hair is usually fairly short and straight, and the tail quite broad and strong. The webbed toes of the Labrador Retriever make them excellent swimmers.
Labradors mature at around three years of age; before this time they can have a significant degree of puppy-like energy, often mislabelled as being hyperactive. Because of their enthusiasm, leash-training early on is suggested to prevent pulling when full-grown. Labradors often enjoy retrieving a ball endlessly and other forms of activity (such as agility, frisbee, or flyball).
Labradors have a well-known reputation for appetite, and some individuals may be highly indiscriminate, eating digestible and non-food objects alike. They are persistent and persuasive in requesting food. For this reason, the Labrador owner must carefully control his/her dog's food intake to avoid obesity.
Labradors are an intelligent breed with a good work ethic and generally good temperaments, which make for the perfect family companion.
~Reference from Wikipedia~



What it is a breed standard or why it is important?

A breed standard is a set of guidelines which describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.

It is an important "blueprint" for all breeders to follow to ensure they produce dogs which fit the standard. That is dogs which are the same, and clearly identified as the breed.

For Labradors we specifically look for head, coat, tail. A good head that you know straight away the dog is a Labrador, a dense undercoat providing waterproofing when swimming, and a strong otter tail, well covered with coat tapering to the end. Of course the dog must be sound and have the wonderful temperament which epitomises the Labrador as we know him, unflappable, intelligent and wonderful pet.


When I breed my Labradors, I am always striving to breed to the Standard, not just because one of my girls has come into season and I want puppies. I strive to use the best bloodlines possible, in Australia and overseas, not just because the male is close by and study lots of pedigrees and speak to stud dog owners before deciding the future mating.


Have a read of the further details below to assist your understanding of what I am always trying to acheive in breeding these wonderful dogs.


Group 3 (Gundogs) - The Labrador Retriever

Taken from the ANKC site https://ankc.org.au/Breed/Detail/7


"A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed."

  • General Appearance:

    Strongly built, short coupled, very active; broad in skull; broad and deep through chest and ribs; broad and strong over loins and hindquarters.

  • Characteristics:

    Good tempered, very agile (which precludes excessive body weight or excessive substance). Excellent nose, soft mouth, keen love of water. Adaptable, devoted companion.

  • Temperament:

    Intelligent, keen and biddable, with a strong will to please. Kindly nature, with no trace of aggression or undue shyness.

  • Head And Skull:

    Skull broad with defined stop; clean cut without fleshy cheeks. Jaws of medium length, powerful not snipy. Nose wide, nostrils well-developed.

  • Eyes:

    Medium size, expressing intelligence and good temper; brown or hazel.

  • Ears:

    Not large or heavy, hanging close to head and set rather far back.

  • Mouth:

    Jaws and teeth strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. Upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

  • Neck:

    Clean, strong, powerful, set into well placed shoulders.

  • Forequarters:

    Shoulders long and well laid back, with upper arm of near equal length, placing legs well under body. Forelegs well boned and straight from elbow to ground when viewed from either front or side.

  • Body:

    Chest of good width and depth, with well sprung barrel ribs - this effect not to be produced by carrying excessive weight. Level topline. Loins wide, short-coupled and strong.

  • Hindquarters:

    Well developed, not sloping to tail; well turned stifle. Hocks well let down, cowhocks highly undesirable.

  • Feet:

    Round, compact; well arched toes and well developed pads

  • Tail:

    Distinctive feature, very thick towards base, gradually tapering towards tip, medium length, free from feathering, but clothed thickly all round with short, thick, dense coat, thus giving 'rounded' appearance described as 'Otter' tail.

    May be carried gaily but should not curl over back.

  • Gait/Movement:

    Free, covering adequate ground; straight and true in front and rear.

  • Coat:

    Distinctive feature, short dense without wave or feathering, giving fairly hard feel to the touch; weather resistant undercoat.

  • Colour:

    The only correct colours are wholly black, yellow or liver/chocolate. Yellows range from light cream to red fox. Small white spot on chest and the rear of front pasterns permissible.

  • Sizes:

    Ideal height at withers:

    Dogs 56 - 57 cms (22-22.5 ins)

    Bitches 55 - 56 cms (21.5 - 22 ins)

  • Faults:

    Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog, and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

  • Notes:

    Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. 



Contact Details

Linda Malseed
Macarthur, VIC, Australia
Phone : 0427 836 427
Email : [email protected]