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If you are considering buying a new puppy or adopting an older dog, then you will no doubt be looking for the best breed to suit your lifestyle. There are many things to consider when choosing the right dog for you. This post will take an up close and personal look at the Labrador Retriever and convince you why we think this soppy, beautiful dog makes the perfect pet.

For many years, the Labrador Retriever has held the title for the most popular dog breed in New Zealand. You don’t have to go very far along any beach or park in New Zealand before you come across a Labrador Retriever bounding towards you with something in its mouth!

If the Labrador retriever is the dog that you are considering buying, then this post will answer every question you have about this popular breed.


Labrador Retriever puppy

The Labrador Retriever puppy – cute and adorable but what else?



The Origins Of The Labrador Retriever


  • You would imagine that with a name like Labrador, the Lab would originate from Labrador in Canada. However, the Labrador Retriever’s origins take us back to Newfoundland in the 1500s.


  • In the 1500s, the Newfoundland fishermen needed a dog to jump into the icy waters and retrieve stray nets and fish that had fallen from their hooks. To perform this task, they bred the Newfoundland dog with a small water dog and the ‘St John Water Dog’ or ‘the Leser Newfoundland’ was born.


  • The St John Water Dog had webbed feet, were excellent swimmers and had a coat that repelled water (sound familiar?!)


  • These faithful dogs continued to live exclusively in Newfoundland, retrieving for the fisherman, until the 1800’s when, after seeing the St Joh water Dog in action, The Earl of Malmesbury, imported the breed back to Poole in England on a fleet of fishing boats.


  • In 1830,  Colonel Hawker, a British Sportsman, described the dogs as “the best for any kind of shooting… generally black and no bigger than a Pointer, very fine in legs, with short, smooth hair… is extremely quick running, swimming and fighting.”


  • Both the Earl and Duke of Malmesbury used the dogs in shooting sports and began to call them their “Labrador Dogs.” This name stuck and the Earl’s son began breeding the dogs.


  • By 1903, Labradors were recognized by the English Kennel Club.


  • Word soon spread about the Labradors’ work ethic, and in the early 1900s, farmers and sportsman began using the ‘lab’ as hardworking companions in their everyday lives.


  • The American kennel club officially recognised the Labrador Retriever breed in 1917, and from there the breed went onto become the most popular household dog in America.


  • Today, the Labrador Retriever holds the long-running title for being the most popular dog for households in New Zealand


brown chocolate Labrador retriever dog

Now you know my history do you want to know why I am New Zealand’s most popular dog?


Where To Buy A Labrador Retriever In New Zealand


Although there are many places in New Zealand that you can purchase a Labrador puppy, we only recommend buying your  Labrador from a reputable breeder.

The Labrador Club is the best place to start. They will tell you everything you need to know about the breed and have a list of verified Labrador breeders.


Reasons Why You Should Choose A Labrador Retriever.


Two adult labradors. Labrador Retrievers and why they are the most popular breed in NZ

Labrador Retrievers are the most sociable of dogs.


#1: Always Up For A Game


Labrador Retrievers will never get bored of playing! If you throw, they will fetch. If you hide, they will seek. This makes the Lab the perfect breed for those with kids and lots of energy!


#2: Intelligent

Don’t be fooled by the goofy smile of the Labrador retriever. The breed is ranked seventh for the most intelligent dog in the world. The Lab is eager to please and quick to learn. Combine the Labradors sharp intelligence with his sense of curiosity and you have on your hands a brilliant dog!


#3: Selfless And Kind 

You may have heard the story of Norman, the blind Labrador Retriever that rescued a drowning teenage girl. Navigating only by the sound of the girl’s cries, the Lab did what he knew to be right and sacrificed his safety for that of the girls. Beautiful.


#4: Guard Dog

As gentle as this breed is, the Labrador Retriever has a bark that tells intruders not to come near! Customs and border protection agencies often use the Labrador to detect contraband in America.


#5: They Get YOU Fit!

There is no better weight to get fit and lose weight than to walk on the beach or park with your Labrador. This is a breed that requires a LOT of exercise, and so you will be made to take part in that process! Great for getting the kids outdoors and running around too!


#6: Soft Mouth. 


The Labrador retriever was bred to bring back fish, ducks, grouse and rabbits to his master – as such they have incredible control of their jaw muscles and know not to bite down.


#7: Healthy


Apart from hip, knee and eye problems that occur not only in Labs but in many dog breeds as they age, in general, the Labrador Retriever is a healthy dog. You can expect to share between ten and twelve glorious years with your lab.


#8:  Easy To Train


Labradors are not just easy to train; their intelligence means they are suited to advance training. Crate training a Labrador puppy usually takes just a matter of and as a further example of their trainability, the golden Labrador takes just eighteen months to become trained as a fully fledged working guide dog.


#9: Low Grooming 


Yes, the Labrador sheds hair (anyone who has had a cuddle with this soppy dog will tell you that!) BUT compared to some breed of dogs that require brushing and pampering, the Labrador is pretty low maintenance.


#10: Stress Reliever


Most people know that owning a pet can reduce stress and anxiety, but the Labrador takes this one step further. Never again will you come home without being bombarded with licks and kisses! The faithful Labrador will do his utmost to please you, never leaving your side until he sees that you are happy.


Labrador Retriever with head to one side

Labradors are superb stress relievers!


#11: Sociable Creatures


The Labrador retriever is about as friendly as dogs get! They love to be around lots of people (generally hoping that they are the centre of attention!) and are happy around other pets. Their placid nature makes them ideal dogs to introduce to the cat in your family.


#12: Perfect Size


The Labrador is neither too big nor too small! They can fit easily into the boot of a car for transporting on family holidays. Although Labs need space to run around, given plenty of exercise, the Labrador could also be suited to those families with smaller homes.


Labrador retriever travelling in a car

Labrador Retrievers are the perfect size for a family car!

#13: Loyalty


We have covered how brave and lovable the Labrador Retriever is but know that your dog will always remain faithful to YOU. The Labrador may be the most sociable of breeds, but when you call him and walk away, he will always be there at your feet.


#14: Perfect For Water Fanatics


Labradors love to swim. Whether your passion is surfing, fishing, or simply frolicking in the sea, your Labrador will never leave your side once you enter the water!


#15: Because They Are Simply…Lovely


Sometimes no other word describes this breed of dog more perfectly. Simply put, the Labrador Retriever is a lovely dog. Faithful, kind, intelligent, brave. Funny and loyal. All of these things are true, but when you own a Labrador Retriever for yourself, you will know that they are simply – lovely.

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We hope you have enjoyed this close up of the Labrador Retriever breed! If there is anything else, you would like to add to the list of why to buy a Labrador then please leave a comment below! (And don’t forget to share to someone who will benefit from this post too!) Until then – enjoy your Labrador!