If you’re in the market for a family dog, a dog who is active, outgoing, friendly, and just about as cute as a dog can get, then look no further than the Labrador Retriever. In fact, did you know that the Labrador Retriever is considered one of the world’s most favorite dog breeds?
But what is it that makes the Black Lab, who sits with his yellow and chocolate Lab counterparts at number one on the American Kennel Club’s most popular dog list, such a sought after furry companion for so many families and households?
That’s what we are here to find out!
So, if you have been tossing around the idea of bringing a Black Labrador Retriever into your home to join your family, sit back, relax, and get to reading because we are about to go over 15 things you should know.
Let’s get started!
1. The Black Lab Is The Most Common Color Of The Labrador Retriever
Labs come in three colors – black, yellow, and chocolate.
You’ve likely heard of the Silver Labrador or many even the Ruby Lab, but, according to most breed clubs, the official standard Labrador Retrievers comes in just three colors:
- And Chocolate
And while Chocolate Labs and Yellow Labs are equally as coveted as their Black Lab counterpart, the nature of dominant genes means that Black Labrador Retrievers are actually the most common of the three color varieties.
This is because the genes needed to produce yellow and brown Labradors are recessive, so, in lamemens terms, the dominant black gene has better odds when it comes to Lab coat color.
So, due to genetics, a stellar personality, and maybe a bit of luck, the Black Lab is easily considered one of the most prominent and beloved dogs in the United States.
But what was the Black Labrador Retriever originally bred for and where did he come from? Let’s find out.
2. The Black Labrador Retriever Was Originally Bred For Hunting And Water Retrieving!
Many Labrador Retrievers love water due to their origins as water retrieving dogs
Have you ever noticed how much Labrador Retrievers love water? This is no coincidence! You may find that the Black Labrador in your life loves to go for random dips in the pool and can’t stop himself from diving into the nearest pond, stream, lake, or puddle.
Labrador Retrievers were built and bred water dogs whose early history dating way back had them leaping into the frigid waters of Newfoundland, Canada to retrieve fish and ducks for their fisherman masters back in the day.
In fact, Black Labs and Labradors in general are so water oriented that they even have webbed paws to help them swim through currents and they have thick, powerful tails called “otter tails” to help propel them through the water.
But swimming isn’t the Black Lab’s only talent. He was also bred as a gun dog, meaning he spent many of his early working days alongside hunters retrieving fallen prey like birds and other game.
Perhaps one of the most unique and incredible features of a Black Labrador is his ability to control the strength of his jaw. It was the Labrador Retrievers job to fetch his master’s prey without biting too hard and destroying or puncturing the meat so that it would look presentable at the table, and boy did the Lab deliver!
Today, the Labrador Retriever is still a favorite amongst game hunters, but most who enjoy swimming do so because they are fetching sticks or toys their owners have tossed in the water for them.
And while it is true that the Black Labrador is a Labrador Retriever and was originally bred as a water dog, that doesn’t mean that every single Black Lab is going to enjoy water, getting wet, or going swimming.
This will be especially true if a Black Lab was introduced to water in a negative or scary way as a puppy.
If you are planning on getting a Black Lab and you want your Black Lab to love the water, make sure you slowly introduce him to swimming with ease. Also keep in mind that it’s very important not to force any dog in the water or leave a dog in the water unsupervised.
And remember, the more positive and fun the first couple of water experiences are for your Black Lab, the more he’ll want to be around the water.
3. The Black Lab Is Considered America’s Most Favorite Dog
The Labrador Retriever is currently considered America’s most popular dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club
The dog people of America have spoken and they’ve spoken loud and clear. Their favorite four-legged companion? The Labrador Retriever!
That’s right! According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever sits at number one out of a list of 191 competing purebreds as the United States most sought after dog. More impressive? The Lab has actually worn this winning crown now on the American Kennel Club list for nearly thirty years!
So, what is it about this canine king that makes him so popular in the US? Many fans of Black Lab fans point to the Lab’s winning personality, while others adore his incredible intelligence. But one thing most experts and Lab lovers can agree on is that Labs make wonderful, loving family dogs.
But don’t get too excited. While Black Labrador Retrievers are the most popular pets in the United States, you may be surprised to learn they are not the most popular dog in the world. But in their defense, it was a tight race.
The Labrador Retriever ranks third, according to Google trend data, as the world’s most popular dog breed, just behind German Shepherds, who come in second, and Bulldogs, who claim the number one spot.
4. Black Labrador Retriever Dogs Are Some Of The Most Intelligent Dog Breeds In The World
Looking for brains and beauty? Look no further than the Labrador!
Looking for brains and beauty in your canine counterpart? Then look no further than the Black Labrador Retriever!
The Black Lab is just as popular as he is intelligent and is considered by experts to be one of the world’s most clever canines when it comes to purebred dogs.
Black Labs are credited for picking up new cues or tasks after only five short lessons and are said to obey or perform these cues or tasks correctly nearly 90% of the time.
Trainable, eager to please, and quick to learn, the Black Labrador’s intelligence can also pose a problem for busy households.
If you’re surprised by this bit of news, you’re not alone. Many novice dog enthusiasts assume that intelligent dogs are easier to care for when this is, in fact, not always the case at all.
Very smart dogs like the Black Labrador Retriever often require extra work and attention and need owners who are able and willing to invest lots of time in them to help keep them mentally stimulated and to help keep them from becoming bored, stressed, anxious, or depressed.
Furthermore, intelligent dogs like the Black Lab need constant training and exercise to help keep their busy minds and energetic bodies at ease.
Brainy breeds may also be more at risk for suffering from anxiety that can lead to destructive behaviors or other behavioral issues, so experts recommend that, along with consistent training, exercise, and playtime, owners invest in puzzle toys to help keep their Black Labs occupied when they are home alone.
Owners of Black Labrador Retrievers may also benefit from working with their dog on mental exercises by playing fun brain games with their four legged friends. And while this may sound daunting, the truth is that these games can be fun and rewarding for both you and your pup!
In fact, playing with your dog, training your dog, and helping expand your dog’s mind will not only help him to focus his energy in a positive way but can also be an incredible bonding tool that will strengthen you and your dog’s relationship and help the two of you feel even more connected.
5. The Black Lab Is Known For His Adorable Physical Appearance
Is there anything cuter than the look of a Black Lab’s puppy dog eyes?
Black Labs have long been working dogs, but there is a reason they rose to the level of fame they did.
These guys aren’t just working breeds – they are family companions with incredible brains and stunning beauty to match.
One of the most popular things about the Black Labrador is his endearing, expressive face. Black Labs are also beloved for their thick, water-resistant fur, their deep brown eyes, and their adorable, floppy ears.
Black Labrador Retrievers stand at a medium height, making them great family dogs who aren’t too big but aren’t too small, and they are sturdy, strong, athletic, and cute.
Black Lab Physical Attributes
Here is an overview of the average Black Labrador’s physical appearance.
Black Lab Height:
21.5 – 24.5 Inches
Black Lab Weight:
55 – 80 Pounds
Black Lab Coat Color:
Well, the Black Labrador is black. Obviously.
Black Lab Coat Type:
The Black Lab has a dense, double layered coat. His undercoat is thick and woolly and his outer coat is soft and lays flat. His coat is weather resistant and sheds year round. The Lab sheds even more heavily twice a year during shedding season.
Black Lab Eye Color:
6. The Black Lab Is Loved For His Super Friendly Personality
Want a friendly dog who knows no stranger? The Lab is the perfect companion for you!
The Labrador Retriever is famously friendly, and Black Labrador Retrievers are no exception! These beautiful, intelligent dogs know no strangers and make friends with everyone they meet!
They are patient, loyal, and loving companions which make them great family dogs because they tend to bond well with the whole family as opposed to just one person.
Of course, if you are looking for a guard dog, don’t look to the Lab. The Lab may be a bigger dog, but he is rarely aggressive and may wind up giving burglars kisses as opposed to growls or nips.
Due to his friendly nature, it’s important for potential owners to note that the Black Lab can become lonely if left on his own for long periods of time. He is a social dog who will do well with a companion in the home, whether that companionship comes from a human family member or another furry siblings.
Black Labradors will also love trips to the dog park, long walks through the neighborhood, and having extended friends and family over to give him lots of love and attention!
Just remember that, like all dogs, the Black Labrador will need to be socialized at an early age and then consistently throughout his lifetime to help ensure these experiences continue to be fun and exciting for him.
7. A Healthy Black Lab Can Live Between 10 and 14 Years
Black Labs have a decent lifespan.
It’s an unfortunate reality that larger dogs have shorter lifespans, but the good news is that the Black Lab doesn’t seem to fall into this category!
While he doesn’t live up to 18 years, like his Poodle counterpart, a healthy Black Labrador Retriever does have the potential of hitting 14 plus years!
How can you help your Black Lab live his best and longest life?
Labrador Retrievers should be on a healthy, high quality dog food and owners should try and keep up with routine vet visits so they can stay up to date on their Labrador’s overall health, especially as their Lab’s age.
Proper grooming and the right amount of exercise will also play a role in your Black Lab’s lifespan, so make sure you are using the right grooming tools and give your Labrador the right amount of exercise for his age and ability to help keep him going strong.
Of course, it’s important to remember that, like all dogs, Labrador Retrievers can be prone to genetic health issues that may be out of your control and that could potentially shorten your Black Lab’s lifespan.
Take a look below to learn more.
8. The Black Labrador Retriever Can Be Prone To Some Genetic Health Issues
Like all dogs, the Black Lab can be prone to genetic health problems.
Yes, it’s true. The Black Labrador is not impervious to genetic health issues no matter how much we wish otherwise.
Luckily, you can help reduce the chances of your Black Lab having certain genetic health issues by ensuring you go through responsible, reputable sources when getting him. But we will talk more about that below.
For now, let’s take a look at some of the most common health issues your Black Lab may face.
On average, Black Labrador Retrievers are healthy dogs and live good, healthy lives. Of course, like all dogs, they can be prone to a number of inheritable health issues such as:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
- Heart disorders
- Hereditary myopathy
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)
- And Bloat
According to the National Breed Club, Labrador Retrievers should undergo health screenings that include tests like:
- Elbow Evaluation
- Hip Evaluation
- EIC DNA Test
- And Ophthalmologist Evaluation
9. Black Labs Have Dense, Double Coats That Shed Heavily And Require Some Grooming
Lab’s have thick, water resistant coats that do shed heavily.
Due to their history as water retrieving dogs, it may come as no surprise that the Black Labrador has a thick, double-layer coat that is water and weather resistant.
The good news about this double-layered coat is that it stays relatively clean on its own despite the Labrador Retriever’s adventurous nature and eagerness to explore the muddiest, muckiest parts of your backyard.
His coat is also water resistant, which means it only takes a few good shakes and a quick towel down to help dry your Black Lab off after a bath or a swim.
With that being said, the Black Lab’s dense coat does shed heavily, and it sheds especially heavily twice a year during shedding season, which is usually during the summer and fall months.
Labrador Retrievers will need to be groomed more consistently during shedding season to keep loose hair from matting in their undercoat, which can lead to skin irritation, fur loss, and infection.
Outside of shedding season, Labs will only need to be brushed once or twice a week to keep their coats healthy.
Your Black Lab will also only need to be bathed on occasion. When you do need to wash your Black Labrador, make sure you are using a high quality shampoo specifically made for dogs that won’t strip your Lab of the natural oils his skin produces that help to keep his coat shiny and healthy.
The last thing we want to note here is that your Labrador’s coat may be thick, but don’t shave it. Double-coated breeds like Labrador Retrievers need their coats to help protect them from the elements, whether the elements are hot or cold.
Shaving your Labrador’s coat, even during the summer, can leave him exposed to sunburn and even heatstroke.
10. The Black Labrador Retriever Is An Energetic Dog And Needs Lots Of Exercise
Black Labs are highly energetic dogs who need plenty of exercise.
Black Labrador Retrievers are known for being smart, cute, and energetic! These guys are high-energy and require lots of exercise each and every day to help keep them feeling good and happy.
While a Black Lab’s exercise needs will adjust with his age, most Black Labs need about an hour or so of walking each day along with plenty of backyard playtime.
However, be careful not to over-exercise your Black Lab as Exercise Induced Collapse, or EIC, is something that some Labradors can suffer from.
If you have questions about the right amount of exercise your particular Labrador Retriever might need, speak with your veterinarian.
Along with walks, jogs, or runs, your Black Lab can also get a good amount of exercise by playing ball with you in the backyard or running around with his other doggy friends at the dog park or at doggy day care.
Black Labs are great for active families who love hiking and camping as well. These are fearless explorers who will enjoy seeing the world with you and partaking in all the adventures life has to offer.
Labs are also a breed that will appreciate socializing with other humans and dogs, so keep your Lab active both mentally and physically by getting him out of the house as often as possible!
11. Black Labs And Children Make The Best Of Friends
Black Labs are patient, playful companions for families with children.
If you have kids in the home and are looking for a fabulous family dog, the Lab may just be the right dog for you!
Black Labrador Retrievers are known for their friendly, athletic, and outgoing personalities. They are loving and patient with family and strangers, and are full of playful energy and a joyful zest for life.
Black Labs do great with children of all ages so long as they are properly socialized at an early age.
Of course, and as we mentioned above, due to the Black Lab’s incredible intelligence, he can be prone to boredom and destructive behaviours so training is a must with this dog, especially when there are children in the home.
And while the Black Lab is known for his friendly disposition, families with youngsters in the home should always supervise very small children around their Labrador and make sure playtime is gentle and fun for all involved.
Remember, no dog enjoys being sat on, poked at, pulled on, or pinched, and even the most patient breeds can nip out of fear or pain.
As kiddos get older, most experts recommend talking to your children about how to safely and respectfully interact with a dog.
12. Black Labradors Love Other Household Pets!
Black Labs get along famously with other dogs and can even get along with cats!
Do you have a household that is already occupied by a furry family member? Not to worry! The Labrador knows no stranger, remember?
The friendly, adoring Black Lab gets along well with other household pets including both dogs and cats and will enjoy having a furry family member to play with when you’re not around!
However, we should note that smaller pets like guinea pigs, birds, or hamsters could potentially spark the Labrador’s hunting and retrieving instinct, so owners should not leave these types of pets alone with their Lab unsupervised.
13. The Black Labrador Will Need To Eat A Quality Diet Throughout His Life
Black Labs can be prone to digestive issues and will need to be on a healthy diet.
Since Black Labrador Retrievers can be prone to digestive issues, it’s important that they maintain a proper and healthy diet throughout their life that is specific to their age, weight, and activity level.
Labradors can also be prone to Gastric Dilation or Gastric Dilatation and volvulus (GVD), also known as Bloat. Bloat is a serious and sometimes fatal digestive disorder that occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with gas, thus obstructing blood flow to the dog’s vital organs.
Keeping your Labrador on a good, healthy diet and ensuring he doesn’t eat too quickly can help reduce the chances of your Black Lab suffering from Bloat.
A healthy, balanced diet will also help keep your Black Lab in shape. Because he is a larger dog, a Black Lab needs to be on a dog food that is specified for large dog breeds and has the proper amounts of protein and fat.
According to the VCA Animal Hospital, large breeds like the Black Labrador should be on a diet that is approximately 30% protein and 9% fat.
When looking for the best dog food for your Labrador, make sure that the protein is provided by real protein sources like fish, chicken, beef, or lamb.
14. The Best Home For A Black Lab Is A Home With An Outgoing Family He Can Be An Active Member Of
Black Labs will do best in homes with families he can be an active part of.
If you want a dog who is relaxed, chill, and just wants to watch the action from a cozy spot in the sun, don’t get a Black Lab.
Black Labradors are energetic and fun-loving, and they want nothing more than to be a part of the action! Black Labs are family dogs who want to be an active member of their human pack. This means they will want to go on road trips, camping trips, hiking adventures, and more with you and the family.
In saying that, it should come as no surprise then that Labrador Retrievers are dogs who wills do best in homes with room and space for them to run and play and owners who are able to get them out of the house often.
Keep in mind that Black Labs are social butterflies and can be prone to depression and destructive behaviours if left home alone or if they get too bored, so potential owners should also be prepared to spend a good amount of time exercising and training their Black Labrador.
If you want a Black Lab but are worried your schedule may be a bit too busy for one, don’t fret too much. You may still be able to have a Black Lab and ensure he gets all the attention he needs when you are away.
Some busy owners opt to send their Labs to doggy daycare while others invest in a good pet care company or dog walker to stop by throughout the day to give their fur baby some extra and much needed love and exercise.
15. Black Lab Puppies Can Be More Expensive Than Other Breeds Due To Their Popularity
Supply and demand do come into play when it comes to Black Lab puppies.
Like anything super popular, the Black Lab puppy may cost you a bit more than other puppies on the market just due to basic demand.
With that being said, experts stress that it’s still best to go through reputable, responsible sources when getting your Black Lab puppy.
Avoid trying to cut costs by getting a Black Lab puppy through backyard breeders, pet stores, or online sellers and remember that, while the price for that puppy may seem more reasonable at the time, in the long run you could wind up spending a lot more both financially and emotionally if you end up with a sick puppy.
Stick with breeders who are educated in the breed they are selling and who understand the importance of early health screening. Remember that reputable breeders will be able to provide you with certificates proving their puppies have been health screened and are ready to go home with you.
Would you prefer to rescue your Black Lab? Wonderful! Black Labs are popular dogs who, unfortunately, are also at risk for ending up in shelters due to owners who got them on a whim and were unprepared for their energy level or intelligence.
If you want to rescue a Black Lab, there are likely a few breed-specific rescues in your area that focus on this breed and will be able to match you with the best dog for you and your family or lifestyle.
Rescuing a dog is often usually much cheaper than buying one from a breeder, but best of all you can sleep well at night knowing you helped give a Black Lab in need a good, loving home with you.
So, what do you love most about the Black Labrador Retriever? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!
Madison Guthrie (also known as Sonny Mackenzi) is a pet care specialist and positive-reinforcement trainer who works most closely with anxious and reactive dogs. Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Madison developed a love for animals at an early age and spent most of her childhood outdoors rescuing stray pets and helping to rehabilitate injured wildlife. Along with animals, Madison also developed a love for writing and music. Over the past five years, she has worked to use her passions to help the pets and pet parents in her community build stronger bonds and live happier, healthier lives together. Currently, Madison lives in South Pasadena, California where she owns and operates Miss Madison LLC, a marketing company that focuses on helping privately owned veterinary establishments and pet care companies grow and thrive. She also works as a dog trainer at My Dog Spot, which is an award-winning pet care and training establishment in Pasadena, California.