what does a labrador retriever look like
what does a labrador retriever look like

What Does a Labrador Retriever Look Like? A Breed Overview

What does a Labrador Retriever look like? That is a common question for those looking to welcome one of these popular dogs into their family. This breed is known for its intelligence, eagerness to please, and sweet disposition, making it an excellent choice for families or anyone looking for a loyal companion. There are more things to love about Labradors, too, including their physical appearance.

So if you want to know what a Lab looks like before you adopt one, read on for a complete overview of the breed’s physical characteristics, coloring, and more.

Labrador Retriever Appearance

what does a labrador retriever look like

The Labrador Retriever is one of America’s favorite dog breeds, and it’s not hard to see why. Labs are loving, loyal, and intelligent companions that come in a variety of colors and sizes. But what does a Labrador Retriever look like? Let’s take a closer look at this popular breed’s most distinguishing features. 


One of the first things you’ll notice about a Lab is its large, floppy ears. While some may find them cute, those big ears serve an important purpose. Labrador Retrievers were originally bred as hunting dogs, and their large ears help them locate birds and other small prey. 


Another identifying feature of the Labrador Retriever is its nose. Most Labs have a black nose, but you may occasionally see one with a brown nose. This is completely normal and doesn’t affect the dog’s health in any way.  


Labs have kind, expressive eyes in various colors, including brown, green, and yellow. Their eyes are almond-shaped and set fairly far apart, which gives them excellent peripheral vision. This breed’s keen sense of sight makes them great candidates for jobs like search and rescue or drug detection.  


Male Labrador Retrievers typically stand 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller at 21-23.5 inches tall. 


Adults weigh anywhere from 55-80 pounds, though they may be heavier if they don’t get enough exercise. 

🐾Coat Color

The third thing you’ll notice about Labs is their coat color. While most people think of Labs as yellow or black, this breed can come in a wide range of colors, including chocolate lab, golden lab, fox red labrador retriever, silver labrador retriever, charcoal labrador retriever & nitrogen dilute labrador retriever. No matter their color, all Labs have a thick double coat that helps protect them from cold weather and rough terrain. 

🐾Coat Length

The Labrador Retriever’s coat is short and thick for protection against the elements, but it also doesn’t require much grooming. A good brushing once or twice a week is all needed to keep their coat shiny and healthy. 


One of the most distinctive features of the Labrador Retriever is its tail. Also known as an “otter tail,” this long tail is thick at the base and tapers to a point at the end. It’s covered in short fur that helps waterproof the dog when swimming. You may also notice that Labs wag their tails more than other breeds – this is how they communicate happiness! 

As you can see, there is more to the Labrador Retriever’s appearance than meets the eye! Each feature, from their big ears to their otter tails, is important in making this breed one of the most popular in America (and beyond).

How Do You Check if a Labrador Is a Pure Breed?

Everyone knows that Labs are the best breed of dog. They’re loyal, and friendly and make great family pets. But did you know that there are two different types of Labradors? So how can you tell if they are purebred dogs?

Step One: Check the Coat

One of the easiest ways to tell if your Labrador is a purebred is by checking the coat. American Labs have a short, dense coat that lies close to their body, while English Labs have a softer, longer coat that is more water-resistant. If your Lab’s coat is somewhere in between, then chances are they are a mix.

Step Two: Check the Size

American Labs typically weigh anywhere from 55 to 80 pounds, as mentioned above, while English Labs typically weigh between 45 and 60 pounds. So if your Lab falls outside that range, they may not be purebred. Of course, the rule always has exceptions, so this isn’t an exact science.

Step Three: Check the Head

Another way to tell if your Labrador is a purebred is by checking the head. American Labs typically have a broader head and muzzle, while English Labs have a narrower head and muzzle. This is probably the most reliable method, as it’s pretty hard to fake!

Best Qualities of a Labrador Retriever 

what does a labrador retriever look like

Still undecided about whether to adopt a Lab? Here are some of the best qualities that make them great companions:


Labs are fiercely loyal to their families and will do anything to protect them. This loyalty is what makes them such great guard dogs. 


Labs are known for being friendly, gentle, and good with kids. They love meeting new people and get along well with other dogs too. 

👉Smart and Trainable

Labs are incredibly intelligent, making them easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement and reward-based methods. 

👉Work Ethic 

Labs have a strong work ethic and love to please their owners. They’re eager to please, which makes them great candidates for dog sports such as dock diving, flyball, and tracking. 

👉Playful Disposition 

Labs are perpetual puppies with a zest for life. They enjoy playing fetch, going for walks, and cuddling with their humans. 


Labs love giving (and receiving) affection from their families. They’ll follow you around the house, lay their head in your lap, or put their paw on your arm to let you know they want some pets. 

👉Good With Kids and Other Pets

Thanks to their tolerant and gentle nature, Labs generally do well with children and other pets-although they may try to herd them from time to time due to their retriever origins. 

👉Easygoing Attitude 

No matter what your lifestyle is like, there’s a good chance that a Lab will fit right in thanks to their easygoing attitude. Whether you live in the city or the country, have another pet or not, or have young kids or grown children, a Lab will likely be a compatible addition to your family. 

👉Eagerness to Please 

Labs have a strong desire to please their owners, which makes them one of the easiest dog breeds to train. Most Labs catch on quickly and enjoy learning new tricks and obedience commands.    


One of the great things about Labrador dogs is that they can serve multiple purposes. They can be loyal family companions, working, therapy, hunting, or even service dog. No matter what role you need them to fill, chances are a Lab will be up for the task.     

These are just a few amazing qualities that make Labrador Retrievers such wonderful companions!

The Cons of Owning a Labrador Retriever 

Of course, there are some downsides to owning a Labrador Retriever too. Like any other dog breed, Labs have their unique needs and might not be the best fit for everyone. Here are some potential drawbacks of owning a Lab: 

❗High Maintenance Grooming Needs 

Labs have thick, double-layered coats that require regular brushing and grooming to keep them looking their best. If you’re not up for the task, this breed may not be for you.

❗Boundless Energy that Never Seems to Run Out

Labs are notorious for their boundless energy levels-unfortunately, that energy seems never-ending. No matter how much exercise they get, they always seem to have more energy to burn off. This can make them difficult to handle if you’re not used to dealing with high-energy dogs. Labs need lots of space to run around in-preferably with another dog or two to play with-or they can quickly become bored and destructive.

❗They Can Be demanding When It Comes to Attention 

Labs can be demanding when it comes to attention; if they feel like they’re not getting enough from you, they will quickly tell you about it through persistent barking or whining. This can become incredibly frustrating-especially if you live in an apartment or condo where noise levels are closely monitored. Labs need lots of attention and interaction; if you’re not prepared to give them what they need, owning one might not be right for you. 

❗Shed Coats Heavily

This means that you’ll need to devote time and effort to grooming your dog on a regular basis. In addition, you’ll likely find dog hair on your clothing, furniture, and flooring. If you have allergies or simply don’t enjoy cleaning up dog hair, a Labrador Retriever may not be the right breed for you.

❗Mouthy Dogs

Labs can be quite mouthy, especially when they are young. This means they are likely to chew on anything they can get their teeth on, including furniture, shoes, and even socks! In addition, Labs tend to drool more than other breeds of dogs.

❗Prone to Obesity and Separation Anxiety

Due to their love of food and tendency to overeat, Labs can easily become overweight. In addition, they can suffer separation anxiety if left alone for long periods-which can quickly lead to destructive behavior. If you travel frequently or are away from home often, a Lab might not be the best fit for you. 

❗They Are Vector Dogs

This means that they can carry and transmit diseases to humans and other animals. The most common diseases that Labradors can transmit include rabies, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

So, if you are considering adding a Labrador Retriever to your family, carefully weigh the pros and cons. While they may be the perfect companion for some, others may prefer a less vector breed of dog.

The Do’s and Donts When Buying a Labrador Puppy

Due to the characteristics mentioned above, you have now fully decided to purchase a Labrador puppy. So here are the do’s and don’ts.’

🔴Do Your Research

Just like with anything else in life, you want to make sure you do your research before buying a labrador puppy. That means learning about the different types of labs, their personalities, health concerns specific to the breed, and what kind of exercise and diet they need. This will help you find the right pup for your lifestyle and ensure you can provide them with the best possible care. 

🔴Don’t Buy on Impulse

It can be tempting to see a labrador puppy and instantly fall in love, but resist the urge to impulse buy. Take some time to consider whether you’re ready for the responsibility of owning a pet. Once you’ve decided you are, then you can start looking for your new fur friend. 

🔴Do Visit Several Breeders

Not all breeders are created equal, so you must visit several before making your final decision. It will allow you to see the conditions the puppies are being kept in and meet the staff who will be taking care of them. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for whether or not this is a breeder you want to do business with. 

🔴Don’t forget about Vaccinations, Vet Visits, & More 

Once you’ve brought your new puppy home, there’s still work to be done. They’ll need to be vaccinated against common diseases and parasites as well as spayed or neutered when they’re old enough (usually around six months). You’ll also need to take them for regular vet check-ups to catch any health concerns early on. 

Interesting Facts About Labrador Retrievers

Whether you own a Lab or their joyful nature and good Looks simply enchant you, chances are you think you know everything there is to know about this popular breed. Here are facts about Labrador Retrievers. 

  • The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in both the United States and the United Kingdom. 
  • Labs were originally bred as working dogs in Newfoundland, where they were used for tasks like hauling nets and retrieving fish from cold waters. 
  • Lord Tweedmouth imported the first known Labrador Retriever in England in 1820. 
  • The American Kennel Club (AKC ) recognized the Labrador Retriever as a distinct breed in 1917. 
  • The oldest known Labrador Retriever was named “Buddy,” and he lived 29 years old! 
  • FamousLabradors include President Obama’s dog, Bo, and Marley, from the movie “Marley & Me.” 
  • In 2012, a Lab named Endal saved his owner’s life after a heart attack by lying beside him and barking until help arrived. For his heroic actions, Endal was awarded the Dog Of The Millennium award. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special about labrador retrievers?

There are many things that make labradors special, but some of their most defining traits include their intelligence, gentle nature, and affinity for swimming. Labs are also known for being food-motivated, which makes them easy to train. And, of course, let’s not forget their adorable floppy ears!

What type of covering do labrador retrievers have?

Labradors have a double coat, which means they have a thick layer of fur that insulates them from cold weather. The outer layer of their coat is waterproof, while the inner layer is soft and fluffy. This combination makes them ideal for spending time outdoors, even in colder climates. 

What is the difference between golden retrievers and labrador? 

The main difference between golden retrievers and labradors is their size-golden retrievers are typically larger than labradors. Golden retrievers also have longer coats than labradors and shed more frequently. 

What two breeds make a labrador? 

Labradors are a mix of two popular dog breeds: the Newfoundland and the St Johns Water Dog. These two breeds were bred together to create a new breed better suited for retrieving game birds during hunting trips. 

Can you tell if a dog is a pure labrador by pictures?

No, it is impossible to tell whether a dog is a pure labrador just by looking at pictures. In order to verify the breed of a particular dog, you would need to get its pedigree documents. The only way to be completely sure that a dog is a purebred labrador is if it has papers verifying this fact. 

Final Words

Now that you know what does a labrador retriever look like, as well as some of the most interesting things about this popular breed, it should be easier to decide whether or not one is right for your home. Just remember that owning a labrador requires commitment, patience, and time to ensure that you provide them with everything they need for a happy life! Good luck!

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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