Labrador Retreiver: The Voracious Eater

Labrador History

Possibly the most popular dog breed, Labrador Retrievers are originally from Canada and were brought to England in the 19th century. Often referred to by their shorter nickname, Labs, these dogs were recognized for their top retrieving skills and worked with both fisherman and hunters. Today, Labs are happy family companions as well as members of highly trained service, search and rescue, and K-9 communities.

Labrador Retrievers are considered a large dog breed. A healthy weight for Labs falls in the range of 55 to 75 pounds, and they have a life expectancy of up to 14 years.


Labs are considered to be one of the friendliest of all dog breeds. They bond easily with children and adults, making them very loyal pets. They have a love for exploring, but Labs can be easily trained to be calm and obedient. Labs are outgoing and are constantly making new animal and human friends along their walks.

High Activity Level

The high energy of Labrador Retrievers means the breed requires daily exercise. The key to caring for high energy dogs is to vary their exercise and activity.

Whether they are hunting, swimming or playing, Labs enjoy long periods of activity. They are also prime candidates for hikes and visits to local dog parks.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

A healthy weight range for Labrador Retrievers is 55-75 pounds. This breed should maintain an hourglass shape, with a narrow waist and ribs that are easily felt without pressing too deep on their coat.

Follow these three steps to keep your Labrador Retriever at a healthy weight:

  • Calculate weight. If you are unsure of your Lab’s weight, your vet can weigh your dog to check if there has been an excessive weight gain.
  • Monitor feeding. Keep your Lab on a daily feeding schedule that helps reach a target weight. Eliminate any table foods, and limit healthy treats.
  • Proper diet. Make sure to feed your Lab a high quality, balanced diet to help limit excessive weight gain. Labs tend to gain weight when overfed food and treats.
Nutritional Needs

Labs are speedy eaters from the puppy stage and beyond. In some cases, Labrador Retrievers are prone to gulp their food rather than chew it. Make sure to choose a balanced diet for your Lab that encourages chewing, helps support bone and joint health, and promotes healthy skin and coat.

Although Labrador Retrievers are known for their strength and stamina, this breed can encounter health issues.  Banfield Pet Hospital lists these breed-associated health conditions for the Labrador Retriever: Click here

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
  • Otitis

For more information on Labrador Retrievers:

Labrador Retriever Breed Profile
– Dog Channel
Labrador Retriever Info – PetMD
Get to Know the Labrador Retriever – The American Kennel Club
Meet The Labrador Retriever – Woofipedia
Young Labrador Retriever Info – Banfield Pet Hospital