The Labrador retriever is one of our most well-loved and enduringly popular dog breeds, and also one of the most versatile as well. Large breeds like the Lab aren’t a good fit for everyone, as they need a relatively large home and garden too, but the Labrador is one of the nicest pet dog breeds and also one that can be the perfect choice for a wide range of different people.
The Labrador is actually the most popular large dog breed in the UK, as well as the sixth most popular overall – and up until 2018, the breed was also the most numerous in terms of annual Kennel Club puppy registrations too, a position the breed had held since 1993!
The sheer number of Labradors in the UK and their great personalities and versatility mean that thousands of people every year consider choosing the Lab as their next pet – and if this is the right breed for you, such a choice can be very rewarding.
However, the Labrador isn’t a good fit for everyone, and if you are considering buying a dog of the breed, you need to learn about them in-depth before you can make an informed decision on their suitability.
This takes time and research, and you should ensure that you have all of the facts before you make a final decision – but if you’re just getting started, this article will share ten things you need to know about the Labrador retriever dog breed, before you buy one. Read on to learn more.
First of all, the Labrador is a large dog breed that is both tall and long, and they tend to take up a lot of physical space and have a large presence. This means that they need plenty of room and a fairly large home and garden, and they won’t be comfortable within a small or cramped home. A wagging Labrador tail in a cramped space can cause mayhem, and dogs of the breed also need large beds and space to move around in, both indoors and in their yard or garden too.
Labradors are really smart dogs that pick up new skills and commands quickly, and which have a superior working ability and the ability to learn a wide range of different commands including complex commands and even tricks.
Training a Labrador is usually an absolute pleasure as long as you can keep training interesting and the dog engaged, but because this is such a smart breed, Labs will get bored easily with too much repetition, and they may even learn things simply from watching other dogs too.
As well as being really smart, Labradors are also highly energetic and one of the most lively and active dog breeds of all. This means that they need a significant amount of daily exercise to keep them fit and happy, and if they aren’t exercised enough, they are apt to become unruly, bored, and hard work to manage.
If you would be unable to provide at least a couple of long, lively and interesting walks per day, a Labrador won’t be a good choice of dog for you.
The Labrador retriever is included within the Kennel Club’s gun dog grouping, which means that they love to retrieve, play catch, carry things in their mouths, and often, go swimming too! The Labrador’s working history means that they are not at all bothered about getting into a mess, and also means that they have a natural affinity for the outdoors.
Labradors have a short, single-layered coat that doesn’t take too long to groom properly, but this is also a dog breed that tends to shed quite a lot of fur too.
Labradors will generally shed to an extent all year round, and when the seasons change, this kicks up a notch and can lead to a large, heavy moult that may go on for a couple of weeks at a time.
The Labrador conformation is robust and healthy as a rule, and dogs of the breed tend to be hardy and not prone to picking up a wide range of minor ailments. However, like all dog breeds, there are some specific challenges and hereditary health issues that develop more commonly in Labradors than most other breeds, and one of these is hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is painful and affects the dog’s walking gait, and usually requires surgical correction. Hip scoring of parent dogs prior to breeding from them can help to ensure that pups have the best chances of developing healthy hips, so find out from the breeder you are considering buying from if they have their parent stock hip scored prior to mating them.
Labradors are one of the most versatile dog breeds of all, and this means that dogs of the breed can be found performing a wide number of different types of jobs and roles. Not only are they adept gun dogs, but can also be trained as assistance dogs, therapy dogs and sniffer dogs, as well as having a natural flair for canine sports.
If you’re looking for a smart, versatile breed that can turn their paws to most skills, the Labrador might be a good pick.
Most dogs are food obsessed, but the Labrador is even more so than most, and Labs are very opportunistic about getting fed! This means that you need to take care to prevent your dog from eating something toxic or dangerous, and also, monitor their weight and food intake to ensure that they don’t begin to pile on the pounds.
The Labrador retriever is often referred to as the ambassador of the canine world, and their personalities really are without comparison.
They are kind, friendly and nicely natured, and very reliable and trustworthy in terms of their temperament.
Labradors also get on very well with children of all ages, and thrive within family homes. They will often spend a lot of time with kids out of choice, and seek them out for a game of catch or a sneaky treat! Dogs of the breed are also usually very intuitive, and can tell if a child is shy or nervous and moderate their behaviour accordingly.