According to the American Kennel Club 2009 registration statistics, the Labrador retriever is the most popular breed of dog in the United States. It has held the spot as most popular dog breed in the US for 19 years in a row. Labrador retrievers, also referred to as "labs," have been a recognized breed by the AKC since 1917. A purebred Labrador retriever will conform to specific anatomical and physical characteristics.
Request a DNA test of your dog to determine his exact breed. You can purchase a canine DNA test online to perform yourself or contact the office of your veterinarian to see if they can perform the test for you. While this is likely the most expensive option, it will also provide you with the most reliable answer to the question of your dog's breed.2
Contact the breeder or pet store where you obtained your dog and ask for a pedigree chart detailing your dog's heritage. If available, this chart will provide information about several generations of labs bred together that ultimately resulted in your pet.3
Consult your veterinarian and ask for his opinion on the breed of your dog. Your veterinarian will likely be well-educated on the breed standards for the Labrador retriever and will examine your pet to determine if it conforms to those standards.4
Compare the anatomical and physical characteristics of your dog to those of a purebred Labrador retriever to see if it has the same traits. According to the breed standards listed by the American Kennel Club, a purebred lab will be one of only three colors: black, yellow or chocolate. Its coat is dense, straight and short with weather resistant properties. Female labs over 12 months of age range in height from 21 to 24 inches at the withers and are between 55 and 70 pounds when in good physical condition . Males of good physical condition and over 12 months of age will range in height from 22 to 25 inches at the withers and are between 65 to 80 pounds. A purebred Labrador retriever will have a wide skull, an otter-like medium-length tail and ample pigmentation on the nose and rims of the eyes. Other breed standards for labs are available online through the American Kennel Club website.