Breed Standard

Group 3 (Gundogs)

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.
Good tempered, very agile (which precludes excessive body weight or substance). Excellent nose, soft mouth, keen love of water. Adaptable, devoted companion.
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 snipey. Nose wide, nostrils well-developed.
Medium size, expressing intelligence and good temper; brown or hazel.
Not large or heavy, hanging close to head and set rather far back.
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.
Clean, strong, powerful, set into well-placed shoulders.
Shoulders long and sloping. Forelegs well-boned and straight from elbow to ground when viewed from either front or side
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.
Well-developed not sloping to tail; well turned stifle. Hocks well let down, cowhocks highly undesirable.
Round, compact; well-arched toes and well-developed pads
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.
Free, covering adequate ground; straight and true in front and rear.
Distinctive feature, short dense without wave or feathering, giving fairly hard feel to the touch; weather resistant undercoat.
Wholly black, yellow or liver/chocolate. Yellows range from light cream to red fox. Small white spot on chest permissible.
Height at withers
Dogs 56 – 57 cms (22-22.5 ins) 
Bitches 55 – 56 cms (21.5 – 22 ins)
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.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Things to Consider

If you are thinking of bringing a Labrador Retriever puppy home, you probably feel rather bombarded with information. You may be wondering how much it costs to keep such a puppy happy and healthy, and what price you’ll need to pay to buy one.

Buying a Labrador Retriever is not just a question of the purchase price of a puppy, though of course that is important. There are other costs involved, both financial, emotional and in terms of time and effort. So we need to look at those too.

You may be wondering whether you will have the time for a dog, and if you have the space and energy for a large and lively breed?

Nearly everyone has an opinion on whether or not you should ‘take the plunge’.

Here are some fundamental considerations, to help you make the right choice for you and your family.

6 Things To Consider Before Bringing Home A Labrador Puppy
The main points you may want to consider before making that final decision on whether or not to bring a Labrador Retriever into your life:

  • Do you have the right space for a large dog?
  • Do you have time for a dog?
  • Can you afford a dog?
  • What about your lifestyle?
  • Will a dog fit in with your family?
  • Is a Labrador the right dog for you?

Do You Have The Right Space For A Large Dog?

Dogs need space, both indoors and outside. Even small breeds need room to stretch their legs and run about, and Labrador Retievers are fairly large and lively dogs that need quite a lot of space. Labradors can be quite silly during adolescence, bouncing and cavorting in the home. Their tails are long and thick, easily knocking any fragile decorations you might have from shelves. If you have lots of ornaments then you will need to move them to higher shelves to avoid them getting damaged. You will also need to move anything that could be easily damaged by chewing. Labrador Retrievers also need to go outside regularly for ‘bathroom breaks’. With small puppies this will be very often indeed. Perhaps every 15 to 20 minutes during their first few days with you.

If you live in a flat, or do not have a garden, this will be difficult for you. You’ll need to set up a system where the puppy can toilet indoors, using puppy pads or newspaper, then re-train to go outdoors when older.

Some people successfully use a crate inside a puppy playpen for the first few months. Although this will take up a lot of space indoors, it can work very well for larger apartments with no easy outside access.

Ideally however you do need to have a garden, and a part of the garden which your dog can use as a bathroom, along with a good system for clearing up after him hygienically.

Puppies should also not be allowed to ‘toilet’ where children play, as their faeces can pass on some horrible and dangerous parasites.

The right space for a Labrador Retriever includes large clear rooms in the house, with no breakable or fragile objects within grasp. Ideally, easy access to a garden for bathroom breaks and room to play.

Do You Have Time For A Dog?

It is always sad to hear from new puppy owners that are struggling to juggle the needs of a puppy with their need to work.

It may seem obvious to many of you, but a lot of people don’t realise that you cannot bring a small puppy into your life and leave it alone in the house all day.  Even with a visit at lunch time.

An older dog may cope with being left for up to four hours in row on a regular basis, but puppies need more attention than this.

The truth is, you can’t leave a young dog alone for hours on end and expect him to remain quiet and well behaved.  Lonely dogs bark and wreck things.

If you work all day, can you afford to pay someone to come in and let him out to stretch his legs and empty himself? Or do you have a relative or friend that would be prepared to do this on a regular basis.  Bear in mind that this is quite a lot to ask of anyone in the long term

The biggest long term time commitment in owning a dog is in the form of training and exercise.

All dogs need training in order that they can get along in human society without being a complete nuisance. This means a regular daily commitment of ten to twenty minutes from you, in addition to your regular interaction with the dog.

Training cannot be saved up for the weekend, your dog will have forgotten most of what was learnt the weekend before,  and does not have the attention span to concentrate on you for an hour and a half.

Exercise is required on a regular basis, for some breeds of dog this means at least an hour a day of walking or jogging to keep your dog fit and healthy.

Whilst your dog will not come to any harm if you miss a day occasionally, a daily routine is often the best way to ensure that you build this important habit.

Can you afford a dog?

Dogs can be quite expensive to run. You need to consider not only how much a Labrador will cost you to buy, but also how much it will cost you to keep.

How much do Labrador Retrievers cost to buy?

The price of a puppy will vary from breeder to breeder, and from place to place.

Health screening is important, here are the tests your puppy’s parents should have had. Perhaps you know a friend that has a litter of puppies and they are going to let you have one for free. However, the purchase price of a dog is almost irrelevant. It is such a small part of the final cost.

The cost of keeping a Labrador

The reality is, you are also going to need to fork out a chunk of your wages each week on keeping your pooch happy and healthy. Obviously you will have taken the cost of food into consideration, but it is a good idea to budget for veterinary insurance too. Modern veterinary treatment has simply gone ‘off the radar’. Not because it is unreasonably priced, but simply because it is now so advanced.

You can fix a lot of problems these days. No longer is ‘put to sleep’ the option of choice for most serious ailments. We can do open heart surgery, mend complex fractures, treat cancer with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Pretty much anything you can treat in a human, you can now treat in a dog. And the catch? It costs.

If you don’t have access to substantial savings, one way to avoid the burden of huge vet fees is to make sure your dog is insured. Veterinary insurance will most likely set you back at least a week’s wages or so, each year. The more comprehensive your insurance package the more it will cost. Watch out for very cheap deals, as they may not provide continuing cover for long term ailments.

You will also need to vaccinate your dog against common canine illness, and this will probably need to be done each year too. Especially if you are wanting to occasionally leave them in boarding kennels when you go away, as they require up to date vaccination certificates.

There will be a few other one-off costs such as a puppy crate for your home for when your dog is young, another for your car if you have one, bowls, bedding, collar, leash etc. But you may be able to borrow a crate or get one second hand.


Here are some of the items you will need for your new puppy, and reviews on the best options for Labradors:

  • Puppy crate
  • Dog bowls
  • Puppy bedding
  • Puppy collar & leash
  • Puppy toys
  • Training products
  • Puppy books

If you like to holiday abroad or anywhere that the dog can’t come, unless you have helpful relatives, you will also need to think about the cost of putting him in boarding kennels for a week or two each year.

The purchase price of your Labrador is not the main consideration when it comes to his cost. You will need to be confident that you will be able to cover all of the above, for at least the next ten years.

What About Your Lifestyle?

Buying a Labrador will change your life quite drastically.
In fact, bringing any dog into your life will be a dramatic change.