Breed Information

Origin, Purpose and History:

The Labrador Retriever originated from the Island of Newfoundland, Canada.

The Earl of Malmesbury imported some of these BLACK dogs to England around 1820.

They were known as St John's Water Dog, then as Lesser Newfoundlands.

These dogs were bred up over time by the British sporting gentry.

The First and Second Earls of Malmesbury and Fifth and Sixth Dukes of Buccleuch.

Were instrumental in developing and establishing the modern Labrador we know today.

The First Earl of Malmesbury always refered to these dogs as "Labradors".

His aim was to develop an all purpose Gundog. He certainly succeeded.

In 1903 the Labrador Retriever was officially recognised by the English Kennel Club.

During the First World War Labradors were exported to the United States.

The American Kennel Club officially recognised the Labrador Retriever breed in 1917. 

In 1899 Ben Hyde became the first recognised Yellow Labrador.

Every Yellow Labrador today is descended from him.

Chocolate Labradors became more established in the 1930's.

Their origins can be traced back to three Black Labradors in 1880's.

Mrs Austin was said to have imported the first Labradors to Australia in the 1930's.

General apperance:

The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium sized, short coupled, powerful

athletic dog. Broad skull, broad and deep through chest and ribs, broad and strong

over loins & hindquarters. Water resistant double coat, otter tail and sound

temperament. These are all essential breed characteristics. 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 Labrador is bred primarily as a working Gundog. 

Structure and soundness are of great importance.


Labradors only come in three colours.

Black, Yellow and Liver/Chocolate.

Yellows range from light cream to a fox red.

Liver/Chocolate range from milk to very dark chocolate 

A small white spot on their chest and at the rear of their front pasterns are allowed.

The white at the back of their front pasterns, are called "Bolo Pads".

Named after and where present on a famous Labrador "Dual Champion Banchory Bolo". 


The true Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed.

As the "broad head", "double coat" and "otter tail".

The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature.

Eager to please and non-aggressive . 

The Labrador has much that appeals to people. 

Their gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make them an ideal family dog. 

Care and Health Concerns:

Labradors are reasonably low maintance dogs. 

They have a double coat that needs a good brush, as they do shed.

They really only need a bath when smelly or really dirty. 

Main things to watch for: 

Not to let them get over weight.

This puts great stess on joints and internal organs.

Not to over excercise them when they are young.

Labradors are not fully developed till at least 12 to 18 months of age. 

This can put great pressure on under developed joints and lead to problems


Labradors have several hereditary problems to be aware of, to name a few:

At DEVINELEA our girls and STUD dogs we use have all been: DNA Tested - X-RAYED - HIP and ELBOW scored.


  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: 

       "Environmental factors" also play a role in this problem.

       Including diet, weight and over excercise at a young age. 


  • DNA tests:

       Clear     =   Gene not present. 

       Carrier   =  One gene present, dog can not be affected.

                         Bred to a clear dog/bitch, puppies can not be affected.

       Affected =  Two genes present, dog can be affected by the disease.  


  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy. (PRA). DNA test available.

​        Is a degenerative eye disease that causes blindness in Affected dogs. 

​       There is no excuse for a Labrador to be affected by this disease.


  • Exercise Enduced Colapse.(EIC). DNA test available.

​       Affected dogs may show signs of incoordination, mild to servere collapse.  

       There is no excuse for Labradors to be affected by this disease.       


  • Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis (HNPK) Dry Nose. DNA test available.

​       Affected dogs develope crusts that may lead to painful cracking on their nose.

       There is no excuse for Labradors to be affected by this disease.


  • Ear Infections.

       With their love of water and floppy ears they are prone to this problem.

       It is important to check their ears regularly and dry them properly after they

       have been in the water, also check that there is no odor coming from them 


It is very important to buy your Labrador Retriever from a reputable breeder.

Who screens the parents for hereditary problems and has the certificates to prove so.


Contact Details

Ben & Robyn van Maanen
Stawell, VIC, Australia
Phone : 03 53573254
Email : [email protected]