" Labs usually bark when there is a stranger about, but rather than a warning, it is an expression of unmitigated joy at the chance to meet somebody new!"
About Labrador Retrievers
Appearance, Temperament, and Training
Labradors are by far the most popular dog in America and with good reason! They are a wonderful, devoted breed, very driven to please, eager to learn, loyal, loving, outgoing, playful, and smart. They are considered to be the all-around perfect family dog. As someone once said, "A Lab never seems to have a bad day."
Is the Labrador Retriever the Right Dog for You?
Here are some things you should know BEFORE you choose a Lab.
- Labradors mature at around three years of age. Before this time, they can have a significant degree of puppy-like energy. In addition, during their teething period, everything you own is fair game. You will need to be vigilant about placing all of your precious objects (especially shoes) in safe places, and provide plenty of appropriate alternatives. Training needs to start early and be based on a reward-oriented system. Labs are very food motivated, so it's fairly easy to reward them.
Labradors need a lot of socialization to ensure a steady temperament. This means exposing your dog to a wide variety of environments, people, activities, objects and other dogs. Dog training classes are encouraged for this reason. Even if you are a great dog trainer and think you don't need a class - your Labrador does.
Labradors do not handle boredom well. A bored Labrador will find ways to entertain himself, which could include redecorating your home and property. For this reason, if you have adequate space, adopting another Lab for company is often easier (and more economical) than one.
Labradors crave human interaction. They were bred for the purpose of working with people, and are not happy being alone for extensive periods of time (see consequences of boredom, above).
Labradors were bred to work. Originally, they helped drag in fishing nets and retrieve escaping fish. Later, they were developed for 'daily' hunting activities (before super markets replaced them). Remember this when you look at that couch potato, he's only storing up energy for the big day at work. Give your Lab a job, regardless of how inconsequential it may seem to you. These are smart, people-pleasing dogs that need tasks to keep them content.
Labradors need to burn off excessive energy in a "constructive" manner. This is a high energy breed (bred to work hard). If you swim, surf, run, skate, bike, hike, jump, walk long distances... any number of activities, take your dog with you! Nearly anything you can do, your Lab would be glad to join you.
Labradors enjoy and require structure and routine, and are most content when they know what is expected of them. Consistency is the key here - chaos or randomness will cause anxiety and possibly aberrant behavior. Labs thrive on knowing what comes next.
Labradors shed, and sometimes a LOT, and throughout the year. Nothing can prevent this shedding - nothing. If dog hair bothers you, this is not the breed for you. We will say that the hair is not all that sticky; you can brush it off yourself and vacuum it off furniture. :)
If any Labrador (even a puppy) knows what is expected of him, is adequately exercised, given enough structure (routine), mental stimulation and socialization, your prize will be owning the ultimate family canine companion. Given the right environment, Labs will MORE than make up for any misdeeds.
The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, relatively large, short-coupled dog, with males typically weighing 65 to 90 pounds and females 55 to 70 pounds. The ideal Lab possesses a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion.
The most distinguishing physical characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather resistant coat; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its "kind," friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament. Because the Lab is a double-coated breed, which sheds seasonally, regular grooming is required to keep his coat at its water-resistant best. Colors include black, yellow (fox-red to light cream) and chocolate (light to dark). Any other color, including silver, does not qualify for AKC registration. A small white spot on the chest is permissible. A few of Labradors' unique characteristics:
- Webbed feet – allow the Labrador Retriever to be a strong swimmer
- Otter-like tail – acts as a rudder in the water
- Layered, slightly oily coat – keeps the dog warm and dries easily
- Soft mouth – a trained Lab can carry an egg in it’s mouth without cracking it
The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog. Because of his even temperament and trainability, millions of Americans own a Labrador Retriever as a pet. They are a highly intelligent breed, ranked # 7 in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs.
The steady temperament of Labradors and their ability to learn make them an ideal breed for search and rescue, detection, and therapy work. Their primary working role in the field continues to be that of a hunting retriever. Labradors love to swim, play catch/retrieve games, are good with young children and the elderly, and used for general protection (as opposed to attack).
The typical Lab disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards people or animals. The Labrador Retriever thrives as part of an active family. These dogs also excel in advanced (super fun) activities, such as agility, rally, frisbee, or flyball, all of which are excellent for burning off excess energy as well as engaging the mind.
Labradors have a reputation as a very even-tempered breed and an excellent family dog. This includes being reliable around children of all ages and other animals. However, Labradors are also fairly large and have plenty of fun-loving boisterous energy and a general lack of fear, which may at times require firm handling to ensure it does not get out of hand. Any Labrador that displays aggressiveness towards humans or other animals, or any evidence of shyness as an adult, should be entirely avoided in any conscientious breeding program.