Choosing a Breed

Labrador Retriever is an Ideal Family Dog

The Labrador Retriever is an ideal family dog for many reasons. It has been the most popular breed in the United States for 21 years running. And it is not just because of their excellent skills in retrieving and being hunting companions, but also because they are good active, gentle dogs fit for most households.

Labs originated in Newfoundland, then traveled to England. The original breed was used as a working dog in fishing, game hunting, and helped out with market products. But they became more notable in England because of their extraordinary nose that can easily find and retrieve prey for hunters, and thus, they were called Labrador Retrievers, one of the most versatile hunting dogs in the dog world.

Labrador Retriever is an Ideal Family Dog

As a family dog, labs are known to be kind to children and would often love playtime and other physical activities. They are easy to train, energetic, and friendly not just to the family members, but also to other people. Labs are also eager to be taught games and tricks, and are obedient. Some labs can also work as guide dogs for the blind or handicapped, and even in airports and security check points. Overall, labs are known for being agile and obedient, both of which make them perfect hunting partners.

Labs are a large breed with drop ears and a strong tail. They are also short-coated, can weigh about 60 to 80 pounds, and 22.5 to 24.5 inches in standing height. Since labs are working dogs, exercise is a necessity for them to stay in shape. They have a deep chest and large nostrils that prove their great stamina, and have a wide muzzle and jaw specifically built for catching game and waterfowl.

They have a short coat that repels water and keeps the dog from getting cold during his work. There are three possible colors: black, chocolate, and yellow.

Training and keeping a lab in tip top shape is a must, or else he will be bored and eventually dig around your house and chew on your stuff. They were born to do work and play sporty activities. Leash training should come first, as well as basic commands like “sit”. Play fetch or similar games with him, such as finding lost things.

Early training is important for a lab, so that when he grows up to an adult, he will not be a rebel and cause trouble not only to the family members, but also to the surrounding neighbors. Untrained labs can be very independent and strong-willed. Also, keep the authority balanced and consistent throughout the house. For example, when parents say that the dog is not allowed inside the house, the kids should also forbid the dog from going in. Discipline should be consistent.

Never discipline them with brute force, as they can become aggressive if you do this. Gentle methods of teaching and learning should do the trick, because they are one of the most easily trained breeds you can find.

One thing you must pay particular attention to is how much you feed them. As explained in a Wikipedia.com article:

Labradors have a well-known reputation for appetite, and some individuals may be highly indiscriminate, eating digestible and non-food objects alike. They are persistent and persuasive in requesting food. For this reason, the Labrador owner must carefully control his/her dog’s food intake to avoid obesity and its associated health problems….

Medically, the breed is prone to hip dysplasia as are many large breeds, so puppies should be fed food that is meant for large-breed puppies which contain little protein. Labs can also suffer from eye problems such as retinal atrophy and cataracts. Epilepsy can also be a problem in this breed. Read more about this here in one of our previous articles.

These are just a few of the many reasons that the Labrador Retriever is an ideal family dog.

Do you own a lab? If so, feel free to share your experiences with this lovable breed below.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Bernard Clyde

    May 18, 2017 at 11:23 am

    It's good to know that Labrador Retrievers are gentle dogs for families. It's important for us to do our part in learning about the behaviors of certain types of dogs like these retrievers if we are looking to get one. That way, we will better understand if their personality will be a good fit for our family's personality.

  2. Mike DeLorey

    Jun 13, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Buying a Lab from a reputable hobby breeder will help alleviate most of the health issues stated. A hobby breeder will do all the health tests(hip/elbow x-rays, dna tests for genetic ailments the dogs may carry) and not breed any dogs that are affected with any diseases. They are breeding to improve their chosen breed. Also the hobby breeders house raise their puppies and they are well socialized before they leave for their new homes. They stay in contact with the new owners and will take back any dog that the new owners cannot keep. A young Lab requires obedience training from the get go to become a well adjusted family member. All 3 of our Labs(1 of each color) have come from the same breeder because she breeds quality dogs with good temperaments. Do your research before you buy.

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  4. Bonnie Stern

    Jul 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I need to ware some people about Labs. Yes they make great family pets but beware. Because of this they have been over bred and do your research before buying. I have a Boston Terrier. Several friends of mine also have dogs. We would weekly go walking at “open space”. It was an area in our town that was for dog walkers. They dogs played and ran around us and we had our usually nice relaxing walk. At the end of the walk a lady was coming toward us with two yellow labs. We stopped a moment and before any of us knew what happened her two labs attacked my Boston Terrier. She did nothing and I knew I had to help my dog. I grab her dog by the collor and pulled him off my dog. I quickly picked up my dog and started walking to the car. Her two dogs ran and jumped all over me trying to get at my dog. I got to my car and told my dog to the vet. He had to get stitches and medications. Very scarey day for both of us. Well I learned from the vet that there are more numbers of labs attacking and biting because of over breding. And the Animal Control Officer in our town contacted me and informed me this dog has a history. The matter is done and over with. I just wanted to share this and whatever breed you choose, please research the breeder.

  5. Steve Smith

    Jul 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Our Lab Buddy has been a blessing since we got him. He is so loving and kind and its hard to believe I havent ever had a Lab before. Everything that has been said about the Lab being an excellent family dog are so very true. Buddy is laid back and very compassionet and eager to help and learn. Theres not enough I can give to describe him except to say he is truly a gift from god.

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