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Meet Our State Dog: The Labrador Retriever

September 1, 2023

Did you know that we  have a Very Good Boy as our state dog? That’s right! Our number one canine is also America’s favorite dog: the Labrador Retriever, or simply lab. In this article, a Sandstone, MN veterinarian puts these amazing pooches into the spotlight.


Fido originated in Britain, and is a descendate of fishing dogs from Newfaouloud. He got his name from the Labrador region of that province. The lab can grow quite large: it’s not uncommon for them to weigh 80 pounds or more. It’s worth noting that these cute canines have incredible memories. That’s one reason they are so trainable. (Tip: Fido may remember his training sessions better if you make a habit of playing with him after class.)


This fun-loving pooch first bounded into our hearts back in the 1830’s, when the 10th Earl Of Home brought pups back from Newfoundland. He collaborated with The 2nd and 3rd Earls of Malmesbury, who were also interested in breeding gun dogs that were adept at retrieving water fowl. That mission, as you can probably guess, was a smashing success.


As far as temperament goes, well, you really couldn’t ask for a better dog. Fido is generally super friendly, playful, and intelligent, not to mention ridiculously cute. Labs are known to both love and excel at swimming. In fact, they have webbed paws and water-resistant fur. (There is an adorable but messy downside here: Fido loves splashing in mud puddles.)


While Labs love to play with their humans, they can also be quite serious. They’re often used as service dogs. Many also excel at doggy sports such as dock diving and agility. However, one thing Fido’s not so good at? Being a guard dog. Your canine pal may bark when there’s someone at the door, but he’s probably more likely to run up to an intruder with a wagging tail than chase one off.


The Labrador Retriever officially has three outfits: yellow, chocolate, and black. There are also silver labs, though the official registry doesn’t recognize that color as an option for purebreds.

Famous Lab

Fido has certainly made his mark in movies. Labradors have starred in some of the best dog movies of all time, including Air Bud, Marley and Me, and The Retrievers. These are all great options for family movie nights!

Our Advice on Meet Our State Dog: The Labrador Retriever in 2024

What are some typical Labrador Retriever size ranges?

Labrador Retrievers typically fall within a size range that reflects their breed standards. Adult males usually weigh between 65 to 80 pounds and stand about 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder. Females are generally smaller, with weights ranging from 55 to 70 pounds and heights from 21.5 to 23.5 inches. These size ranges are indicative of healthy, well-bred Labs, known for their sturdy, balanced build and strong physical attributes, making them both excellent working dogs and loyal family members.

What are some of the Labrador Retriever’s defining personality traits?

Labrador Retrievers are renowned for their friendly, outgoing, and affable nature, making them excellent companions and family pets. They possess a high level of intelligence, which contributes to their trainability and versatility in various roles, including service and therapy work. Labs are also known for their playful demeanor and love of physical activity, particularly swimming, thanks to their webbed paws and water-resistant coat. Their gentle temperament and patience make them particularly good with children, embodying the qualities that have made them a beloved breed worldwide.

What are some grooming needs specific to Labrador Retrievers?

Labrador Retrievers require regular grooming to maintain their coat and overall health. Their dense, water-resistant double coat sheds seasonally and needs weekly brushing to manage shedding and keep the coat healthy. During peak shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary. Labs also benefit from regular ear checks and cleaning to prevent infections, especially since they love water. Nails should be trimmed regularly to prevent discomfort and potential issues with walking. Lastly, dental care, including brushing teeth or using dental chews, is important to prevent gum disease and maintain overall health.

Are Labrador Retrievers prone to any specific health conditions?

Labrador Retrievers are predisposed to certain health conditions, including hip and elbow dysplasia, which are common in larger breeds and can lead to mobility issues. They also have a higher risk of obesity, which can exacerbate joint problems and lead to other health issues like diabetes. Other concerns include heart disorders, hereditary myopathy (muscle weakness), and eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy. Regular veterinary check-ups at our clinic in Askov, MN, can help manage these conditions, ensuring your Lab leads a healthy, active life. We recommend annual visits to monitor and address any health concerns early.

What is the average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever?

The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is typically between 10 to 12 years. This can vary based on factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, and the overall health care they receive. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and consistent exercise are key to ensuring a Labrador enjoys a full and healthy life. Preventative care can also help manage common health issues associated with the breed, potentially extending their lifespan. Ensuring your Lab maintains a healthy weight is particularly important to avoid obesity-related health problems.

Do you have questions about caring for your Lab? Contact us, your local Sandstone, MN pet hospital, anytime!