Breed standard for the Labrador Retriever (Kennel Club)

Past (1950) and Present (Revised 1986)

Genuine Labrador or "Field Trial Mongrel"? (*)
Genuine Labrador?
General Appearance
The general appearance of the Labrador should be that of a strongly-built, short-coupled, very active dog, broad in the skull, broad and deep through the chest and ribs, broad and strong over the loins and hindquarters. The coat close, short with dense undercoat and free from feather. The dog must move neither too wide nor too close in front or behind, he must stand and move true all round on legs and feet.
Strongly built, short coupled, very active, broad in skull, broad and deep through chest and ribs; broad and strong over loins and hindquarters.
Head and Skull
The skull should be broad with a pronounced stop so that the skull is not in a straight line with the nose. The head should be clean without fleshy cheeks. The jaws should be medium length and powerful and free from snippiness. The nose wide and the nostrils well developed.
Skull broad with defined stop; Clean cut without fleshy cheeks. Jaws of medium length, powerful, not snipey. Nose wide, nostrils well developed.
The eyes of medium size expressing intelligence and good temper, should be brown or hazel.
Medium size, expressing intelligence and good temper; brown or hazel.
Should not be large and heavy and should hang close to the head, and set rather far back.
Not large or heavy, hanging close to head and set rather far back.
Teeth should be sound and strong. The lower teeth just behind but touching the upper.
Jaws and teeth strong, with a perfect and regular complete scissor bite, ie. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Should be clean, strong and powerful and set into well-placed shoulders.
Clean, strong, powerful, set into well-placed shoulders.
The shoulders should be long and sloping. The forelegs well boned and straight from the shoulder to the ground when viewed from either the front or side. The dog must move neither too wide nor too close in front.
Shoulders long and sloping. Forelegs well-boned and straight from elbow to ground when viewed from either front or side.
The chest must be of good width and depth with well-sprung ribs. The back should be short coupled.
Chest of good width and depth, with well-sprung barrel ribs. Level topline. Loins wide, short coupled and strong.
The loins must be wide and strong with well-turned stifles; hindquarters well developed and not sloping to the tail. The hocks should be slightly bent and the dog must neither be cow-hocked nor move too wide or too close behind.
Well-developed, not sloping to tail; well turned stifle. Hocks well let down, cow-hocks highly undesirable.
Should be round and compact with well-arched toes and well-developed pads.
Round, compact; well-arched toes and well developed pads.
The tails is a distinctive feature of the breed; it should be very thick towards the base, gradually tapering towards the tip, of medium length and practically free from any feathering, but clothed thickly all round with the Labrador's short, thick, dense coat, thus giving that peculiar "rounded" appearance which has been described as the "Otter"tail. The tail may be carried gaily, but should not curl over the back.
Distinctive feature, very thick towards base, gradually tapering towards tip. Medium length, free from feathering, but clothed thickly all around with short, thick, dense coat, thus giving "rounded" appearance described as "Otter" tail. May be carried gaily, but should not curl over back.
The coat is another distinctive feature of the breed, it should be short and dense and without wave, with a weather-resisting undercoat and should give a fairly hard feeling to the hand.
Distinctive feature, short, dense, without wave or feathering, giving fairly hard feel to the touch; weather resistant undercoat.
The colour is generally black, chocolate or yellow – which may vary from fox-red to cream – free from any white markings. A smalle white spot on the chest is allowable, the coat should be of a whole colour and not of a flecked appearance.
Wholly black, yellow or liver / chocolate, yellow range from light cream to red fox. Small white spot on chest permissible.
Weight and Size
Desired height for Dogs, 22 - 22½ inches; Bitches, 21½ - 22 inches.
Ideal height at withers: Dogs 56 - 57cms (22 – 22 ½ ''). Bitches 54 - 56 cms (21 ½ , - 22").
Under or overshot mouth; no undercoat; bad action; feathering; snipiness on the head; large or heavy ears; cow-hocked; tail curled over back.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded is in exact proportion to its degree and its effect on the health and welfare of the dog.
No mention in 1950 breed standard.
Intelligent, keen and biddable, with a strong will to please. Kindly nature, with no trace of aggression or undue shyness.
No mention in 1950 breed standard.
Good tempered, very agile. Excellent nose, soft mouth, keen love of water. Adaptable, devoted companion.
Mentioned under General Appearance in the 1950 breed standard.
Free, covering adequate ground; straight and true in front and rear.
No mention in the 1950 breed standard.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

The pictures show Labrador Retrievers dating from the 1920s to the present day - over a period of 90 years. Among them are Crufts' Winners, Dual Champions, Champions, Show Champions and modern Show Labradors. With very little modification the same standard applies to dogs from the fifties and sixties to present day Labradors. The same standard in writing - however, different dogs in appearance: Which of these may be "a true Labrador"?

(*) The term "Field Trial Mongrel" was applied to Labradors from working lines such as I myself and others breed.

Comparison by Verena Ommerli 03.2008