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What’s it like owning a Labrador?

There are many great things about owning a Labrador Retriever even beyond their looks and their abilities.  Not only do they have strength, agility and make amazing working dogs, they also have a great temperament.

What’s it like owning a Labrador?  Labrador retrievers are known for their great temperament and personality.  They are fun, loving, patient, outgoing, kind, they want to please, some are silly, some are serious, they are not aggressive and they are very loyal and loving to their family.

The idea of owning a Labrador Retriever is based mostly on their temperament.  Their personality is above many other breeds in the fact that they are so reserved and loving and that they never meet anyone that they consider being a stranger. 

Some believe that the Labrador’s personality will change depending on what color that they have, but most believe that the truth is that the Lab’s personality is based around the breeder and how they puppy begins its life.

Most Labrador retrievers are very active, and they love to spend time with their owner.  They do not like to just lay around the house and do nothing, this entices them to get into some kind of mischief and they become bored, very easily. 

The Labrador Retriever needs to be worked and exercised to keep them healthy and happy and if you do not have the time or patience to exercise these dogs, chances are that their personality will not be as happy as it would be in another situation. 

If purchasing from a breeder, some breeders will give off the idea that the Labrador is calm, but this is rarely really true.  Most Lab’s will be very active and some a little destructive until they hit around age two years old.  Their behavior at this time should start calming down and they should stop being quite as hyper or destructive as they were before this age.

One interesting thing about the Labrador Retriever is that they love to swim and to be active.  If you are looking for a pet to go on adventures with such as long walks, swimming or even long-distance running, you might not find a better animal than the Labrador Retriever.

They enjoy all kinds of different activities and they strive to keep their owner happy by being active in both play and attention. 

If you want to have a Labrador that is calmer, getting them into activity is very important.  A Labrador needs no less than an hour and half of exercise per day and this can be a variety of exercises such as playing frisbee, playing fetch, going for walks, running, hiking, playing sports, or any activity that helps to get them tired.

Swimming is an activity that Labrador’s love.  They love to get wet and will play in the water, even if it is just a puddle.  Their bodies were even made to play in the water because they have feet that are webbed, just for this purpose. 

If you take the time to exercise your Labrador and help them to get rid of their energy, you will spend much less time fixing things like repairing furniture or cleaning up messes that your Labrador has created.  They are so happy and hyper that they just need time to get that energy out.

Getting dirty does not bother most Labrador’s and they will play in the mud and the water as long as you give them permission to.  If you love to get dirty, take your Lab on a hike or mudding and their day will be made!

Labrador Retrievers are known for being big chewers and they love to eat.  You always have to be careful as a Labrador owner that you watch what your Lab puts in his or her mouth.  It could be a toy, but it could also be a rock.  Your Lab might eat his or her dog food, but they might eat the kitchen table.  It is important while they are young to start training them what is okay to eat and what is not okay.

Another great thing to know about the Labrador Retriever is that they are so easy to train.  They are considered one of the most highly intelligent dogs breeds and this is because they can start training even as early as 6 months of age. 

All Labradors are different, regardless of what color they are or where they come from.  Just because someone says that the Labrador Retriever is smart, loves water and is fun to be around, it doesn’t mean that all Labrador retrievers are going to have the same personality.

What are Some Important Traits Labrador Retriever’s Can Have?

There are some important traits that people are often looking for when getting a new pet.  Here are some important traits that the Labrador Retriever is known for having:

  • Being Affectionate
  • Can Live in Small Areas
  • Very Adaptable
  • Cat Friendly
  • Child Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Dog Friendly
  • Easy to Groom
  • Needs Tons of Exercise
  • Very Intelligent
  • Very Playful
  • Very Sociable
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Very Trainable
  • Makes Good Watchdogs
  • Protects their Territory
  • High Shedding
  • Little Barking
  • High Health Problem Risks

The Labrador Retriever breed is known for being sociable and loving to be around people, but they are also great with other animals.  If you are bringing a Labrador into your home for the first time and you have other pets, your Labrador will most likely adapt to the new pet and become a new best friend to your other pets. 

Your Labrador is also great with other people and with children, making having a dog more of a treat than a threat.

Living in Small Areas

Labrador retrievers are great for adapting to their environment, but in order for a Labrador to be able to live in small places, it is up to you, as the owner, to make sure that you get your Labrador plenty of exercise. 

Labrador’s are not made to just lay around the house all day and by not taking them out to run and play, you are risking dealing with not only things getting torn up around the house, but you also risk developing behavioral problems that you could avoid by helping to get rid of some of that energy.

How Big Will the Labrador Retriever Get?

Most Labrador Retriever males will get up to 24 inches tall and can weigh up to 80 pounds.  The female Labrador Retriever is a little bit smaller at around 21 inches and around 55 pounds. 

The Labrador is considered to be a medium to large breed and so they tend to take up more room than smaller dogs will.

Grooming

Even though the Labrador is considered to be a short-haired dog, they are highly susceptible to shedding.  This has a lot to do with their dual coats that help to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  During the fall and the spring, you will notice that your Labrador is shedding a lot.  This happens as their undercoat and their outercoat begin to shed so that they can adapt to the upcoming weather.

Even though the Labrador does shed a lot, they are very easy to groom.  All that the owner needs to do is brush out their Lab’s hair a couple of days a week, keep their toenails clipped and give them baths when necessary, clean their ears and brush their teeth.  Grooming a Labrador is very easy.

One thing about the Labrador Retriever is that they have moisture in their ears and much of this has to do with their love of water.  The Labrador is very susceptible to allergies and it is very important to make sure to keep their ears very dry after a swim or after a bath to help combat any type of ear infection.

Health Risks

One important thing to know before getting a Labrador Retriever is all of the health issues that these dogs are susceptible to.  Many dogs develop genetic health problems and it is very important to make sure that you are getting a dog that is healthy, from the start.

Be sure to get a health guarantee from any breeder or pet store before purchasing a Labrador or any other dog.  But, even with a guarantee, Labradors are breeds that are known for developing many health issues.

One major health issue that is known for the Labrador breed is bone and joint problems.  Hip dysplasia is one major disease that many Labrador’s faces as they get older.  This can cause the Labrador extreme pain and can cause them to not be able to do much except lay around the home. 

Another common disease in Labrador retrievers is eye diseases.  Many Labs are known to get eye diseases such as cataracts, retinal atrophy, and even glaucoma.  These diseases can cause your Labrador to have blurry vision or even blindness.

Heart disease and bone disease are very common in the Labrador breed.  It is hard to know if your Labrador will be affected by any of these diseases and it is not really possible for you to know when you get a Labrador puppy. 

Knowing the history of your Labrador Retriever is a great idea for any type of ownership.  If you purchase a Labrador from a breeder, have him or her give you a medical rundown of your Labrador’s mother and father and siblings.  This can help you to know if your dog has more chances to genetically get diseases or not.

As an owner, you are able to get your Labrador puppy tested from an early age to see if he or she has any genetic type problems.  You can also demand these tests before you even agree to take the puppy, just to play it safe. 

Every time that you go to the vet, does not mean that your Labrador is there because of some genetic or major health problem.  Remember that Labrador’s are very active and so they might end up at the vet for ripped toenails, injuries or because they ate things that they should not have eaten.  Labrador’s are also prone to ripping ligaments in their legs because of their active behavior. 

Very Trainable

Labrador retrievers are amazingly easy to train.  You can potty train them easily and you can teach them other things to help them to be able to be more sociable and calmer.

Since the Labrador breed is very energetic, it takes patience and works in order to train them.  It is important to focus on things such as walking on a leash and practicing calmness, with no jumping, so that you can easily get rid of behavioral problems when first getting a Labrador.

Very Sociable

Most people are looking for a dog that will end up being their best friend.  The Labrador Retriever has many traits that allow this to happen.  Not only are they loyal, but they are very friendly with those in your home and those out of your home.

Stranger Friendly

Most Labs love meeting new people, and some might say that a Labrador “never meets a stranger.”  This is great if you are someone that has to live in a busy neighborhood or an apartment.  Even though your Labrador might initially bark, their bark is friendly, and they are very trusting pets.

Child Friendly

Another great thing is the temperament of the Labrador towards children.  Labradors are considered one of the best breeds to have around families with children because they are sweet and have a trusting personality.

One problem is that they are a little on the hyper side so you must always watch for them to jump and get too excited.  They easily can knock small children down due to their size.

When training your Labrador, discourage jumping that can cause children or other people to get hurt.  Besides that, a Labrador is very patient and will allow a small child to jump on them, pull their ears and tails without much retaliation. 

Pet Friendly

Most Labradors are great with other dogs, with birds, cats, rabbits and basically any other pet. 

It is important that you take time to introduce your Labrador to the new pet before actually turning them loose with each other. 

Even though the Labrador is very friendly, he or she is very large and can hurt another animal just in the excitement of it all.

What Colors Do Labrador Retrievers Come In?

The three main types of Labrador Retriever colors are Yellow Labrador, Black Labrador, and Chocolate Labrador.  They also come in silver color, but this is not a natural breed and some people do not agree with purchasing Silver Labradors. 

The Yellow Labrador has different names such as the Fox Red Labrador or the White Labrador.  These dogs are just different shades of yellow and still fall in the Yellow Labrador category.

The Black Labrador is a black colored dog and is one of the least bought colors in the Labrador Retriever group.

The Chocolate Labrador also comes in Light Coffee and Deep Chocolate Brown and is considered more of a show dog than a working dog. 

Many breeders feel that the Silver Labrador is not a purebred dog and they believe that their genes have been crossed with the Weimaraner and that these are unsafe dogs to buy.

How Long Do Labrador Retriever’s Live?

Most Labrador retrievers will live between 10-12 years old. 

Some of them can live up to 15 years but most of the older Labradors will face health problems such as arthritis or other muscle or joint problems.

I Want a Labrador, How Do I Find One?

Labrador retrievers are very common and easy to find, but the problem is, trying to find one that has a healthy background and passes the health check. 

As mentioned above, Labradors have many underlying health issues and many of these are genetic.  It is important that you get a Labrador that is going to give you a lifetime of fun and happiness and having one that is sick will not do this.

Try to make sure that you know the breeder or that the breeder has a good reputation before you purchase from him or her.  Make sure that you get a Labrador that has been screened for all genetic diseases and one that has passed all of the health checks. 

Conclusion

Owning a Labrador Retriever can be the best pet that you have ever owned.  There is nothing better than having a pet that is loyal, fun, happy, exciting, friendly, and kind.  Even though they are very energetic, taking them outside for some fun playtimes can not only help to lessen their energy, it can also help you to be able to bond better with your dog.

Labrador retrievers are one of the best breeds of dogs to get if you have children, pets or if you live in a place where there are a lot of people.  The Labrador never meets a stranger.