The Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed because of the bond they have with us humans. They are friendly, easy to train, naturally good tempered, loyal to their families, have an eagerness to please, and build bonds with other family pets in their household. They want nothing more than to be your constant companion and by your side even with children. I love the amazing tolerance they have with children. Given the level of tolerance that this breed has, we need to be careful to never allow a child's enthusiasm to turn into abuse.
Labradors and their puppies will joyfully run to meet new dogs which can sometimes get them into trouble, because let's face it, other breeds do not share the same cheerful disposition as Labs do.
The Labrador is a great house pet, they will alert and bark when a stranger approaches the door and even though they are not guard dogs they will attempt to ward off the intruder with their deep and loud bark. They should not be aggressive nor timid or nervous in any way.
The Labrador is a working dog and therefore needs sufficient exercise and training to keep the right amount of muscle mass and mental stimulation. We live on 3 acres and have a fenced area of 3/4 of an acre. I personally love to walk our pack around the property about 4 times a day. This keeps them fit and looking like the "old fashioned" Labs of the 1950's and 1960's. Our English Labs don't have that bulkier structure simply because of our exercise time. Most Labs need about an hour in the morning of play time and a gentle walk in the evening after 1 year of age. We can't forget that training time is vital for the Labrador Retriever. Training is part of working, even if its working on training commands such as sit, stay, down, shake or a combination. All of it counts towards training and working. Labradors thrive on this kind of stimulation.
It's best to select a Labrador that has the correct temperament even if it has physical faults that would not allow it to earn a title. Affection, intelligence, kindness, loyalty and devotion are the most important factors when choosing a Labrador Retriever.
The AKC describes the Labrador Retriever as "the sweet-faced, loveable, friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions who have enough affection to go around for a family looking for a medium to large dog." They are sturdy well-balanced, and have a dense hard coat that comes in Yellow, Black, and luscious Chocolate. The head is wide, the eyes glimmer with kindness, and the thick tapering "otter-tail" is forever signaling the breeds innate eagerness."
Labrador Retrievers are strong built, medium sized, and short coupled. They possess a sound athletic build that is well balanced in confirmation and allows them to be an excellent retrieving dog. That gives them the ability to hunt waterfowl and upland game for hours. They also have the ability to win in the show ring, and be a family companion at the end of the day.
You can now understand how the amazing Labrador Retriever with the biggest heart and charming personality has the ability to work in Search and Rescue, and assist the Police and Military to detect drugs, bombs/explosives and now cancer. They can become certified Therapy dogs, Guide dogs, Seizure & Diabetic alert dogs, Hearing dogs for the deaf or hearing impaired, they can visit children in hospitals and bring joy to the elderly in nursing homes. They even help to calm crowds and be companions to Autistic children and those suffering from Anxiety and PTSD.
Now let's take a moment and talk about the Labrador Retriever puppy and all the amazing talents they will have the possibility to mature into. Ahhhh.......... Who can resist a Labrador Retriever puppy? That thick soft coat, those sweet endearing eyes, the silly clumsy way about them, and the puppy breath and kisses we wish could last forever. Well the kisses can last forever, but the puppy breath disappears. I have to be deeply honest at this point, Lab puppies can be quite a handful. They are so deeply driven to be by your side that they can walk up beside you and promptly cut you off, and if you're not careful you end up on the floor and they can be injured as well.
The mischief they get into... you could have sworn you thought it through, you're absolutely positive they couldn't have reached your phone or charging cord, but your screen is now cracked, your charging cord is chewed, and that Lab puppy outsmarted you. There is nothing off limits to a Lab puppy. They find sticks to chew that you have no idea where they came from, your coffee table leg becomes the tastiest chew toy ever, and your house slippers have the smell of their favorite human companion. Then, that tiny puppy (who is full of clumsiness) gets bigger and when you call them, they look at you and run the opposite direction if you haven't worked with them. What a stinking brat that adorable puppy has become!!! It can be the most frustrating and overwhelming situation to be in. This is why I always say "Training, Training, Training, and again Training." To avoid the above pitfalls of Labrador Retriever puppies you MUST be committed to training. Once you're there you will see just how fast that beautiful puppy will blossom and be the envy of every dog owner you come across. It's in their DNA, they want to please you, they live for it. You have got to be 200% committed to training your Labrador Retriever puppy.
This is why I always say "The sky's the limit with what you can do with your Labrador Retriever. Whether it be Rally, Agility, Flyball, Barn Hunting, Coursing, Dock Diving, Showing or Gun dog training, your Labrador will enjoy learning and training together with you and your confidence will soar."