The Labrador retriever is a popular breed known for its intelligence and gentle, affectionate nature. Due to its eagerness to please people, the Labrador is often utilized in service work, such as assisting the disabled. Few breeds display as much energy and happiness as the Labrador, and this breed is exceptionally good with children. These qualities make the Labrador an ideal dog for families.
Two types of Labrador retriever exist: English and American. English Labradors are heavier in build, while American breeds are typically more slender. Labradors have a water-resistant double coat that is either black, yellow or chocolate in color. The status of a fourth color, gray/silver, is debated among dog experts who claim it is either an actual mutation or a result of a cross with a Weimaraner.
Male Labradors can reach 24 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh as much as 75 pounds, qualifying the breed as large. While Labradors are easy to train, they can be destructive if they do not respect their master or are bored from lack of activity and exercise. Labradors typically do not do well if left alone for extended periods. A house with an average-sized yard or greater is ideal for the Labrador, but apartments are acceptable provided the dog has long, daily walks or jogs.