Selecting Your Labrador Retriever Puppy

Selecting your puppy

Try to restrain your emotions when you are selecting our pup. Remember that the breeder has been with the pup from day 1 to selection day at 5 weeks. At Pawlinglabs, we will ask you to forward a list of the characteristics that your are hoping for, prior to selection. When you come to select, we will ask you to observe the litter before entering and handling the pups. Labrador pups are very cute and cuddly, but when it comes time to select the right one for you there is plenty to consider. Carefully observe Labrador Retriever puppies before buying them, ensuring that the pup you select looks healthy and is to breed standard.

There are some basic points to note about Labrador Retriever standards. The coat of a Labrador is their most distinctive feature. Labs have two coats, the water resistant undercoat which is unseen, and the top coat which is dense, straight and short. There is usually no wave, curl or feathering present anywhere in the coat, however the coat should feel rough to the touch.

Labrador puppies come in three different coat colors: yellow (light cream to red fox), chocolate (liver) and black. There must not be any other colors or spots in the coat. Make sure there are no bald patches or thinning of the coat on any part of the dog’s body.

Labs have a broad skull and a well defined stop. Their head is quite large but the features on the head, such as the ears, look proportioned. The ears of a Labrador should be set far back from the face. A Lab’s ears are not overly large or heavy. 

They compliment the head but don’t overwhelm it. Check your puppy’s ears to make sure they are healthy. The inside skin of the ears should be a pale pink and soft without any scabs or discoloration. There shouldn't be any odour coming from them.

The eyes of a Lab pup are round, either deep brown or hazel with black rims. The eyes should be friendly and express intelligence. The whites of the dog’s eyes should not be yellow and there shouldn't be any discharge be leaking from them.

The Labrador Retriever has a wide black and well developed nose with distinguished nostrils. The nose should be clean and without discharge. Be aware that a wet nose is not an indication that the Lab is healthy, nor does a dry nose indicate he is unwell.

Lab’s have strong jaws for retrieving and their white teeth should form a complete scissor bite. The teeth should be set square to the jaws with the top teeth slightly overlapping the bottom. Labrador puppies have fewer teeth than adults and they will lose their baby teeth as their adult teeth grow in.

Labs have a well developed and strong chest. It has good depth and width. Their barreled ribs are well sprung and their back is level. Their loins are wide and strong. The skin of a Lab should be without scabs or bumps. It is normal for Labrador puppies to have extra skin at the back of their neck; this is how their mother picks them up. The skin color of a lab is usually pale pink but it can also be brown or even spotted.

The tail of a Labrador is thick at the base and tapers towards the tip. The tail is a moderate length and has no feathering. It is as smooth like the rest of the coat with a rounded appearance. The tails is even with the back or slightly upwards. It should never be carried over the back or hang down. Labrador have long and sloping shoulders that connect to the strong front legs. The hind legs are developed well and have a turned stifle. Both the front and hind legs should be straight.

The feet of Labrador pups are compact and perfectly round. Their toes are arched and pads well developed. Feet should be straight, not turned inwards or outwards. The gait of a Labrador should be carefree. Labs take long strides and walk straight. Observe your puppies as he walk. Make sure it is not favoring any leg or paw. This can be a sign of a current or future health issue.