Did you recently decide that you wanted a dog?
The Labrador Retriever is probably at the top of your list because it's hard to beat a dog that loves water almost as much as it loves playing catch with its owner!
But when you're ready to bring that puppy home, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. What do you need to know to make sure you have a happy pet and a happy home for the next decade?
Why Choose Labrador?
Labradors are playful and intelligent, with a warm, friendly temperament that makes them ideal for first-time owners.
When owning a Labrador, you'll find they're easy-going, rewarding pets with high energy levels, meaning they love extra attention and exercise.
They make excellent companions, as well as assistance dogs. Labradors do well with both sole owners or as a part of a family and get on well with children and other pets.
They are energetic, mostly placid, and cope well with the hustle and bustle of modern life.
The Labrador Retriever is best known for its love to hunt. Labs have incredible noses that easily detect the scent, they are natural swimmers, and they love to retrieve allowing them to perform exceptionally well in upland hunting and waterfowl hunting.
Labrador Retrievers can be classified as ‘working dogs’. They have been used as guide dogs for blind, deaf, and other handicapped individuals because of their trainability, temperament, intelligence, and social disposition. Labradors have been utilized in nursing homes and as companions for emotionally challenged children and adults. The armed forces and many police squads use the Labrador for tracking criminals and finding drugs, weapons, bombs, and even people buried in snow slides.
Because Labs are so intelligent they are easy to train and very eager to please anyone working and playing with them. The average Lab can begin command training (Sit, Stay, Here) around 6 to 7 months. The most important command is “NO”. No means No. Your Lab needs regular exercise, playing, retrieving, and walking your dog to give your Labrador a chance to play and exercise and bond. Don’t overfeed your dog and keep them trim.
Always, always buy from a reputable trusted breeder. Good breeders will provide a health certificate, provide all the appropriate shots, they should be AKC registered, and they will provide you with a family tree.
17 Reason Why Labrador Is Popular
1. Labrador retrievers are intelligent and highly trainable
The AKC notes that Labrador retrievers are not only friendly, but they’re also smart. These intelligent dogs want to please their owners. So they’re highly trainable. As with any other dog, training is still working. But Labs are up for the challenge (unlike many other dogs, who resist the process all the way). Labs are loyal to their owners and will take their cues from you. They’ll go on a run around the neighborhood with you, or they’ll cuddle up with you on the couch if you need a quiet evening at home.
2. Labs love children.
According to PetBreeds, these dogs make great companions for children. They love children. (And they definitely don’t make the list of dog breeds that are worst for families with small kids.) Like any dog, Labs need to be supervised around very young children. But they’re affectionate, patient, and often love spending time with the smallest members of your family. They also love to play fetch — a game both little humans and young dogs can easily figure out together.
3. Labrador retrievers don’t need expensive trips to the groomer
People who want easy-going dogs find a lot to love in Labrador retrievers — as do people who want to avoid expensive trips to the groomer. PetBreeds notes these dogs require only very occasional trips to the groomer. And unlike many dogs with long coats, Labs don’t need to be brushed for hours every week. Of course, that doesn’t mean Labs never need to be brushed or that they won’t need the occasional bath. But they’re much easier to keep well-groomed than many other dog breeds.
4. Labs live long and healthy lives
When you bring a dog into your home, you want him or her to stay a part of your family for many years to come. PetBreeds notes Labrador retrievers often do because they can live long and healthy lives. (That’s especially true if you feed them a balanced diet and help them get plenty of exercises.) Labrador retrievers live an average of 12 years. So one of these dogs can remain a part of your family for a very long time.
5. Labs want to be helpful
Labs often become guide dogs or search-and-rescue dogs. Some even get trained as therapy dogs. Sure, it helps that Labs take training well. But according to the AKC, “The Labrador retriever’s willingness to please makes them outstanding search and rescue dogs, as well as guide dogs for the blind.” In fact, Labs are the breed of choice to serve as guide and rescue dogs. That means the breed’s desire to be helpful pays off.
6. Labs have adventurous and playful personalities
Another thing Americans love about Labs? These dogs have adventurous personalities. Labrador retrievers are typically friendly around new people. In fact, Labs often want to be the first to welcome somebody new. And they often have no qualms about saying hello to strangers on the beach or in your neighborhood. Labs also do great socializing at cookouts and parties, which just makes them all the more endearing to their owners.
7. Labrador retrievers don`t play rough
If you have small children, you might worry about a dog as big as a Lab unintentionally injuring one of the little humans in your family. But as Labrador Training HQ reports, Labs were bred “to retrieve downed prey, such as ducks, grouse, rabbits, etc.” The connection between the two? Even though a dog’s usual instinct “is to bite down on flesh,” that’s not true for the Lab. Labs have had “incredible control of jaw muscles,” and they can be taught to play (or to retrieve things for you) without biting down.
8. Labrador retrievers are up for all of your favorite athletic activities
Not every dog can keep up with athletic and outdoorsy owners. But Labs are up for just about anything. Labs go hiking. They’ll go jogging. And they’ll even swim with you. Whatever you do to stay fit, a Lab will want to join in. Plus, he’ll have the muscle and energy to keep up with — or even outperform — you. Need some motivation to go running each day? A Labrador retriever might be just what you need. And if you want somebody to go swimming with you? Your Lab will probably jump right in.
9. Labs make good athletes in their own right
Does everyone in your family play a sport? Your Labrador retriever can, too. The AKC reports, “With their combination of physical ability, intelligence, and eagerness to please, Labrador retrievers excel at dog sports like rally, tracking, field trials, obedience, and agility.” Special training and competitions aren’t for everyone. But they can make a fun activity for Lab owners and their dogs to do together.
10. Labrador retrievers stay pretty healthy
Even though Labs may be prone to obesity, they aren’t the most expensive breed when it comes to medical expenses. In fact, PetBreeds reports that Labrador retrievers are the 18th most expensive breed to own with regards to medical costs. That means a Lab is less likely to have costly medical issues than many other breeds of dogs. Labs still need to go to the vet, of course. But they often stay healthier than other types of dogs and aren’t prone to any specific injuries or health conditions.
11. Labrador retrievers aren’t picky eaters
Labs famously have big appetites. That means you won’t struggle to find a brand of dog food your Lab likes. The AKC reports, “Labs love to eat … and eat and eat and eat.” They need a healthy diet and lots of exercises. Labs may be more prone to obesity than other dog breeds. But Lab owners who restrict their dogs’ diets will help them live a longer, healthier life.
12. Labrador retrievers like other dogs
Some dogs like to be the only pup insight, whether they’re at home with you or out at the park. But Labrador retrievers love other dogs. They naturally get along with most other canines. That makes them a strong candidate for households that already have pets or are situated in neighborhoods where lots of dogs already live. We all love friendly dogs — especially when those dogs are friendly both with people and other animals.
13. Labs are the perfect size for many families
Labrador Training HQ also notes many people love Labs because they’re the “Goldilocks” dog. (That’s not because of the color of adorable yellow Labs.) “At 22 to 24 inches in height and 60 to 75 pounds in weight for males, and 21 to 23 inches and 55 to 70 pounds for females, Labrador retrievers are the perfect size for an active family: Not too big and not too small.” They can exist in an apartment with plenty of exercises or feel right at home in a house with a medium-sized yard.
14. Labs don’t cost a lot to adopt
Labs, like many other puppies, can be expensive to purchase from a breeder. (According to PetBreeds, they cost about $750.) But rescuing a dog from a shelter is the perfect way to give a great home to an animal who needs one. And adopting a Labrador retriever from a shelter or a rescue group costs an average of $175. Additionally, many young animals who come from the shelter have been spayed or neutered, which means you have one fewer agenda item (and expense) to worry about.
15. Labrador retrievers don’t bark as much as other dogs
Another reason PetBreeds thinks Labs are such popular dogs? They don’t bark nearly as much as other dogs. So a Lab is less likely than other kinds of dogs to annoy you, and your neighbors, with incessant barking. Of course, most dogs bark at least occasionally. And you probably shouldn’t get a dog if you can’t tolerate any barking at all. But with proper training, you can teach your dog not to bark excessively (or to use barking to get what he wants).
16. Labs can tolerate a wide range of weather
PetBreeds notes Labs are also well-suited to households that move a lot. That’s because they can tolerate both hot and cold weather. You don’t have to worry about Labrador retrievers in any but the most extreme weather conditions. Mostly, you’ll just need to exercise common sense. If it’s extremely hot and sunny, make sure your dog has access to shade and freshwater. And if it’s ever cold or snowy, make sure you get him inside to warm up.
17. Labrador retrievers are adorable
The American Kennel Club notes that if Labs went to high school, they’d easily win the award for “Best Looking.” Labrador retrievers come in three photogenic colors: black, chocolate, and yellow. And according to the AKC, the Lab’s “‘otter’ tail, dense weather-resistant coat, and friendly expression” all contribute to his uniquely adorable appearance.
10 Fun Facts about Labradors
1. Labradors have webbed toes and are therefore great swimmers. This webbing can also effectively act as a snowshoe in colder climates, as it keeps snow from collecting between their toes.
2. Their coat has two layers: a short, thick topcoat and a relatively water-resistant undercoat. This two-layer coat protects them from cold and wet weather.
3. They are the most commonly used breed for guide dogs. They are intelligent, easy to train, eager to please, and have a gentle temperament.
4. Labradors are the most popular dog breed in America & the UK.
5. This breed loves to be around people and needs a lot of affection, as well as plenty of exercises to burn off all that energy!
6. Labradors have working roles in all sorts of sectors including search and rescue, therapy, hunting, assisting the disabled, and tracking.
7. The PDSA Gold Medal (an animal bravery award) was awarded to a Labrador named Endal in 2002. Endal’s disabled owner fell unconscious, so he pulled him into the recovery position, covered him with a blanket, retrieved his mobile phone, and went to get help once his owner had regained consciousness.
8. You can potentially get puppies of all colors (black, yellow, and chocolate) in the same litter.
9. The average life span for a Labrador is 10 – 12 years.
10. The Labrador breed actually originated in Newfoundland (Canada), not Labrador.
Dogs and Loyalty
Heart-warming tales of loyal dogs are all over the internet. Have you ever wondered “Why are dogs so loyal?”
Resources and Loyalty
Let’s get something straight, just because our dog is not “submissive”, doesn’t mean our canine companion is loyal out of a completely selfless motive.
It is still true that our dogs are dependent on us – which is different from being submissive.
For instance, our dogs know that they rely on us for food, fun outings, or access to their favorite part of the yard or house.
Dogs aren’t silly. They know where their next meal is coming from, so why wouldn’t they be loyal to the cook?
But what about dogs that remain loyal to their human family after years of separation, or even after their owner dies or is incapacitated?
Why Are Dogs So Loyal to Humans?
Some may suspect that the “loyalty” we see in dogs is actually submission.
Particularly those who subscribe to “dominance theory” in dog training may feel this is the case.
In short, dominance theory suggests that in order to have a well-behaved, happy dog, the human must be the pack leader, and the dog must be in submission.
This theory has been debunked in recent years, but it hangs around in traditional dog training circles.
But it is safe to say that in relation to loyalty, we know that dogs are not loyal out of fear they will upset their pack leader.
However, there’s more to it than that.
Choosing Man’s Best Friend
The bond between man and dog has grown over tens of thousands of years. A dog provides a special sort of companionship that’s hard to have with people. They can be unconditionally loyal and loving. A good dog will be there to lick your wounds even when everyone else in your life leaves you.
You can talk to your dog about your problems and he’ll just sit and listen without interrupting or judging you. When you have a rough day at work, you can always count on your dog to be waiting for you at the door anxious to get outside and brighten your day.
A hunting dog will sit with you in a cold and wet duck blind for hours without whining. Some men even take their dogs on a canoe trip.
Moreover, some dogs can protect you and your family. Ever loyal, dogs are even willing to sacrifice their lives for yours. Dogs are truly man’s best friend.
But how do you pick your friend? Just like you wouldn’t get into a serious relationship without a good amount of reflection, you shouldn’t choose a dog impulsively. You have to do your homework.
Below we’ve created a guide that gives you a rundown on some of the manliest breeds of dogs. These are some of the breeds best suited for the title “man’s best friend,” because they’ve been working, playing, and walking by man’s side for centuries.
Whether helping their master land his next meal, faithfully guarding home and hearth, or directing a shepherd’s flock, these dogs have been man’s most loyal companions.
Why Choose a Golden Retriever?
Golden Retrievers were bred to be vigorous swimmers, able to recover from the water fish and ducks their faithful owners had shot from the sky. Today’s Golden Retrievers are still adept at this task, whether you want them to retrieve a downed duck or a tennis ball. Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in America and with good reason. Friendly, playful, obedient, and loyal, they make terrific family dogs and companions. They’re also useful in keeping safe your family’s secret recipe for baked beans.
Care: Golden Retrievers require ample exercise and interaction with humans. Naturally, they enjoy retrieving games immensely, retrieving games that involve the water best of all. Quite intelligent, they can easily learn many commands and tricks and are always eager to please their masters. Golden Retrievers are social dogs and do not like being left alone for long periods of time. Their coats should be brushed once or twice weekly, every day when they are shedding heavily.
Working/Obedience Intelligence: 4
Lifespan: 10-13 years
Stats (out of 5 bones)
Energy level: 3
Exercise requirements: 3
Affection Level: 5
Friendliness towards other dogs: 5
Friendliness toward other pets: 5
Friendliness toward strangers: 5
Ease of training: 5
Watchdog ability: 3
Protection ability: 2
Grooming requirements: 3
Cold tolerance: 3
Heat tolerance: 3
Why Choose a Labrador Retriever?
With a sleeker, shorter coat than its Golden cousin, the Labrador Retriever has charmed its way into more American homes than any other breed. Labs are as comfortable in the hunting field as they are back on the homestead. They are calm, gentle, intelligent, and obedient and yet also enjoy a good playful romp in the backyard. Friendly and social, they enjoy the company of humans immensely and are typically kind to other dogs and pets. Their loyalty and dependability have made them a useful “working dog” (for the blind, disabled, etc), and a trustworthy companion for any man.
Care: Labs need ample daily exercise and have a nearly insatiable appetite for human interaction. It is best to allow them frequent times of swimming and retrieving, as this is what they like best. They are an easy-going breed and not generally prone to aggressive, compulsive, or destructive behaviors. Intelligent dogs are easy to train, although one must be sure to keep their fun-loving boisterousness from getting out of hand. They love to eat, and owners must be careful to keep their weight in check. Their coats need to be brushed once weekly.
Working/Obedience Intelligence: 7
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Energy level: 4
Exercise requirements: 3
Affection Level: 5
Friendliness towards other dogs: 4
Friendliness toward other pets: 5
Friendliness toward strangers: 5
Ease of training: 5
Protection ability: 3
Grooming requirements: 2
Cold tolerance: 4
Heat tolerance: 3
10 Reasons Why Labradors are the Best
The Labrador Retriever is currently the most popular dog in the United States and has been since 1991. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever had a Labrador. Heck, anyone who has ever just met a Labrador.
This lovable breed has so many great attributes that it’s hard to narrow down the best. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. Here are the top 10 reasons why Labrador Retrievers are the best dogs in existence.
Best cuddlers ever
The Labrador is an affectionate, people-oriented breed, so it’s no wonder that these dogs make the best cuddle buddies on the planet. They are known to curl up in your lap like a lap dog (only six times the size!) and nuzzle up with their adorably cute faces. At the end of a long day, nothing is better than a delightful, soul-soothing cuddle with your Labrador. It’s as good as a therapy session and much cheaper!
Their energy is contagious
The Labrador is one of the most high-energy dog breeds in the world. Some might see this as a negative. For a Lab lover, however, this is one of the breed’s many positive attributes. Red Bull? Coffee? Nah, just spend 15 minutes with a Labrador and you’ll get an instant energy burst. They bound around with a zest and passion that is second to none, and this cheerful, invigorated approach to life is downright contagious. You can’t help but feel happy and alive when you’re with a Lab!
They make you exercise
Speaking of energy, those Labs need lots of exercises. Long walks, trips to the dog park, play sessions in the backyard, you name it. And their need for exercise doesn’t cease for inclement weather – he needs playtime rain or shines! The good news: You will get lots and lots of exercise yourself. No excuses either. Rain, snow, wind, whatever, your dog still needs to expend that energy. As a result, you’ll get more fit than you imagined, without the grind. We’ve known people who dropped 15 pounds without trying during their first year with a Lab. Thirty monotonous minutes on the treadmill or a hike on the trail with your lovable Lab? No contest which one is more enjoyable.
A need to please
Labradors originated on the island of Newfoundland and served as companions to the local fisherman, working alongside them all day to retrieve fish and tow-in lines. At the end of a long day, they would go home with the fisherman and were treated as a member of the family. With this history, it’s no wonder why Labradors love to please and impress their masters. The breed is obedient and loyal – what more could you ask for?
Combine the Labrador’s obedient nature with their sharp intelligence and curiosity, and you’ve got the recipe for a dog who likes to learn. As such, they take well to obedience training, which is a must considering their unbridled energy level. Whether you work with a trainer or do it yourself, your Lab is ready and eager to learn. Just make sure you have a handful of treats ready as a reward!
The ultimate goofballs
In addition to all the great qualities we noted before, the Labrador has a hilarious sense of humor. They are funny, silly, goofy bundles of fur that will make you laugh every day. The Labrador doesn’t take life too seriously, which means you shouldn’t either.
A dog’s dog
The Labrador is the ultimate dog’s dog. With his even-keeled temperament, he gets along with all sorts of dogs: high-energy breeds who love to play; small dogs who can’t stop yipping; crabby canines who don’t have patience; and about every other dog you can imagine. When you take your Lab on a walk or to the dog park, there’s no doubt he’ll get along great with any dog he encounters.
Low grooming needs
For grooming, all the Lab needs are the occasional bath and brushing. That’s it. Their coat is short and dense and sheds on its own. No need for haircuts. No irksome hairballs. No tangles. No icky eyeball stains. Easy peasy.
Great family dog
Labradors are fantastic family dogs. Their chill temperament makes them great with other pets and children. They also love being part of a pack and thrive on being a member of the family. In fact, they have a keen instinct to protect and take care of their people. Obedient and adaptable, the Lab is perfect for an active family.
So much love!
Last but certainly not least, the Lab is one of the most lovable creatures you’ll ever meet in your life. This breed will love you unconditionally! They can sense your feelings and lend a loving, supportive paw when you need it. If you want a kind-hearted, lovable companion who will be there for you through thick and thin, the Lab is the right dog for you.
You'll never get the dog that you want, You'll always get the dog that you need. -Cesar Millan
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