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Labrador vs. Labrador Retriever: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Harlon Moss || Published on March 27, 2024
Labrador and Labrador Retriever refer to the same dog breed, known for its friendly nature, intelligence, and versatility. The term "Labrador" is often used colloquially, while "Labrador Retriever" is the breed's official name.

Key Differences

The terms "Labrador" and "Labrador Retriever" describe the same popular dog breed, recognized for its friendly demeanor, intelligence, and trainability. Originating from Newfoundland, Canada, this breed was initially used by fishermen to help retrieve fishing nets and lost fish. Today, Labradors are beloved family pets, valued service dogs, and participate actively in various canine sports and activities.
Labradors are known for their short, dense, water-resistant coats, which come in three standard colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. Their kind eyes, otter-like tails, and friendly faces make them easily recognizable and adored by many. Despite the different terms used to refer to them, there is no distinction between "Labrador" and "Labrador Retriever" in terms of breed standards or characteristics.
This breed is distinguished by its versatility, serving roles as diverse as assistance dogs for the disabled, search-and-rescue workers, and therapy dogs, in addition to being loyal companions. Labradors have an excellent temperament, are highly social, and get along well with children and other animals, making them ideal family pets.
The Labrador Retriever's intelligence and eagerness to please make training relatively straightforward, contributing to their popularity in obedience and agility competitions. However, their high energy levels and need for regular exercise are important considerations for potential owners.
Whether referred to simply as "Labrador" or by their full name "Labrador Retriever," these dogs are characterized by their friendly nature, intelligence, and adaptability, making them one of the most beloved breeds worldwide.

Comparison Chart

Official Name

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever

Common Usage

Colloquial term
Official breed name


Newfoundland, Canada
Newfoundland, Canada

Coat Colors

Black, yellow, chocolate
Black, yellow, chocolate


Family pets, service dogs, sporting activities
Family pets, service dogs, sporting activities

Labrador and Labrador Retriever Definitions


A friendly and versatile dog breed, great for families.
The Labrador joyfully greeted everyone at the park.

Labrador Retriever

Highly social and good with children.
The family's Labrador Retriever was gentle with the kids.


Known for its intelligence and trainability.
Her Labrador learned new commands with ease.

Labrador Retriever

Official name of the breed, known for its kind nature.
The Labrador Retriever won first place at the dog show for its temperament.


Requires regular exercise and engagement.
Daily walks are a must for our energetic Labrador.

Labrador Retriever

Used in various working roles due to its intelligence.
As a search-and-rescue dog, the Labrador Retriever was invaluable in the field.


Excels in service and therapy roles.
The Labrador worked as a dedicated service dog for his owner.

Labrador Retriever

Popular in obedience and agility competitions.
Their Labrador Retriever excelled in agility, showcasing the breed's versatility.


Has a water-resistant coat, ideal for outdoor activities.
The Labrador loved swimming in the lake, thanks to its water-resistant coat.

Labrador Retriever

Adaptable to many environments and lifestyles.
Even in a small apartment, the Labrador Retriever adapted well with regular walks.


A Labrador retriever.


A region of British America on the Atlantic coast, north of Newfoundland.


The mainland part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in the eastern part of the large Labrador-Ungava Peninsula in northeastern Canada


Is training a Labrador different from training a Labrador Retriever?

Training is the same for both, as these terms refer to the same breed. They are generally easy to train due to their intelligence and eagerness to please.

Is there a size difference between male and female Labradors/Labrador Retrievers?

Yes, as with most dog breeds, males tend to be slightly larger and heavier than females, but this is a general trait of the breed, regardless of whether they are called Labradors or Labrador Retrievers.

Can Labradors and Labrador Retrievers have different coat colors?

No, both can have coats in black, yellow, or chocolate; these are the standard colors recognized for the breed.

Do Labradors or Labrador Retrievers require more exercise?

Both require the same level of exercise due to their high energy levels, benefiting from regular physical and mental stimulation.

Are there any health differences between Labradors and Labrador Retrievers?

No health differences exist between them since they are the same breed. Common health issues include hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disorders, and hereditary eye conditions.

Are Labradors or Labrador Retrievers better suited for families?

Given that they are the same breed, they are equally well-suited for families, known for their good nature with children and other pets.

Do Labradors or Labrador Retrievers have a longer lifespan?

Their lifespan is typically the same, ranging between 10 to 12 years, as they are not distinct breeds but the same.

Are Labradors or Labrador Retrievers more prone to obesity?

The breed, known either as Labradors or Labrador Retrievers, is prone to obesity without proper diet and exercise. They are known for their love of food, so monitoring food intake and ensuring regular exercise is crucial.

What is the best diet for a Labrador/Labrador Retriever?

A balanced diet rich in nutrients, appropriate to their age, size, and energy level, is best. Consulting with a vet for personalized dietary advice is recommended.

Is there a difference in temperament between Labradors and Labrador Retrievers?

No, there is no difference in temperament; both terms refer to the same breed, known for its friendly and outgoing nature.

Do Labradors/Labrador Retrievers make good service dogs?

Absolutely, their intelligence, temperament, and trainability make them one of the preferred breeds for service dog work, including guide dogs for the blind and assistance dogs.

How are Labradors/Labrador Retrievers with children and the elderly?

They are known for being gentle and patient, making them great companions for both children and the elderly, although their size and energy should be managed in interactions.

How do Labradors/Labrador Retrievers react to strangers?

They are generally friendly and outgoing with strangers, making them poor guard dogs but excellent companions and family pets.

Can Labradors/Labrador Retrievers live comfortably in hot climates?

While they can adapt to various climates, Labradors/Labrador Retrievers can struggle in extreme heat due to their thick coat. Owners should ensure they have shade and water and avoid excessive exercise during hot weather.

How do Labradors/Labrador Retrievers fare as first-time pets?

They are excellent for first-time pet owners due to their friendly nature, trainability, and adaptability, making them one of the most popular breeds for novices.

Are Labradors/Labrador Retrievers good with other pets?

Yes, their sociable and gentle nature generally makes them good companions for other dogs and pets in the household.

Are Labradors/Labrador Retrievers easy to train for competitive dog sports?

Yes, their intelligence, eagerness to please, and physical capabilities make them excellent candidates for competitive dog sports such as agility, obedience, and dock diving.

How much grooming do Labradors/Labrador Retrievers need?

They require moderate grooming due to their double coat, including regular brushing to reduce shedding and occasional baths to keep their coat clean.

Can Labradors/Labrador Retrievers be apartment dogs?

While they can adapt to apartment living, they require sufficient exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

What are the best activities for Labradors/Labrador Retrievers?

They enjoy a variety of activities, including swimming, fetching, hiking, and participating in dog sports, which cater to their need for physical exercise and mental engagement.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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