Labradors are relatively large, with males typically weighing 65 to 80 lb (29 to 36 kg) and females 55 to 70 lb (25 to 32 kg). Labradors weighing close to or over 100 lb (45 kg) are considered obese or having a major fault under American Kennel Clubstandards, although some Labradors weigh significantly more. The majority of the characteristics of this breed, with the exception of colour, are the result of breeding to produce a working retriever.
As with some other breeds, the Conformation (typically “English”, “show” or “bench”) and the Field (typically “American” or “working”) lines differ, although both lines are bred in both countries. In general, however, Conformation Labradors tend to be bred as medium-sized dogs, shorter and stockier with fuller faces and a slightly calmer nature than their Field counterparts, which are often bred as taller, lighter-framed dogs, with slightly less broad faces and a slightly longer nose. However, Field Labradors should still be proportional and fit within American Kennel Club standards. With Field Labradors, excessively long noses, thin heads, long legs, and lanky frames are not considered standard. These two types are informal and not codified or standardised; no distinction is made by the AKC or other kennel clubs, but the two types come from different breeding lines.
Coat: The Lab’s coat should be short and dense, but not wiry. The coat is water-resistant, so the dog does not get cold when taking to water in the winter. That means that the dog naturally has a slightly dry, oily coat. Acceptable colours are black, yellow, and chocolate.
Head: The head should be broad with slightly pronounced eyebrows. The eyes should be kind and expressive. Appropriate eye colours are brown and hazel. The lining around the eyes should be black. The ears should hang close to the head and set slightly above the eyes.
Jaws: The jaws should be strong and powerful. The muzzle should be of medium length and should not be too tapered. The jaws should hang slightly and curve gracefully back.
Body: The body should have a powerful and muscular build.
Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colours : black (a solid black colour), yellow (considered from cream to fox-red), and chocolate (medium to dark brown). Some dogs are sold as “silver” pure-bred Labradors, but purity of those bloodlines is currently under dispute.
The AKC describes the Labrador’s temperament as a kind, pleasant, outgoing and tractable nature. Labradors’ sense of smell allows them to home in on almost any scent and follow the path of its origin. They generally stay on the scent until they find it. Navies, military forces and police forces use them as detection dogs to track down smugglers, thieves, terrorists and black marketers.
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. Some lines, particularly those that have continued to be bred specifically for their skills at working in the field (rather than for their appearance), are particularly fast and athletic.
Labrador pups generally are not brought to the home before they are 8 weeks old, it is a healthy breed with relatively few major problems. Notable issues related to health and well-being include: hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA and eye disorders.