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.