Breed Information

Origin, Purpose and History:

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

The English Earl of Malmesbury imported some of these Black dogs to England in about 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 early 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 powerful over loins and hindquarters.

A water resistant double coat, otter tail and sound temperament are 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 come in three colours.


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 were present on a famous Labrador named "Dual Champion Banchory Bolo". 


True Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the "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 and do shed, they do need a brush and a bath when needed. 

Main things to watch:- 

Not to let them get over weight.

This puts great stess on their joints and internal organs.

Not to over excercise them when puppies.

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

This can put great pressure on their under developed joints and can led to problems later on. 

Labradors have several hereditary problems to be aware of :-

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia:-   Can also be caused through

"Environmental" (over excercised, jumping, stairs, slippery floors etc) or "Poor Nutrition". 

(PRA) = Progressive Retinal Atrophy.  

(EIC) = Exercise Enduced Colapse. 

(HNPK) = Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis (also called Dry Nose).

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

One who screens the parents for these problems and has the certificates to prove so.


Contact Details

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