Getting a dog is a big decision. There are so many adorable canines out there who need a home. Plus, you have to consider your space, your family, and your lifestyle. How will a new puppy fit in?
As you consider all of the breeds out there, you may think about appearance, personality, and temperament. You may have fond memories of your childhood pet which you would like to replicate. But, like kids, each pet is different in its own way.
If you want to reduce your risk of choosing a dog that is unfriendly, overly aggressive, or simply too difficult for your way of life, there are some breeds which are a sure thing. One example: the Labrador Retriever.
Labradors have so many good traits for a pet that they have been consistently named one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and the U.K. for many years in a row. In many ways they are the ideal dog: just ask any of the thousands of happy Lab owners registered with the American Kennel Club.
Here are seven reasons why you should get a Labrador.
1. Labs are Sporty
if you like to run, hike, swim, play Frisbee, bicycle, or any other sports, a lab will be your constant companion. These dogs have lots of energy and are very athletic.
Labs need lots of exercise time, so it is important that your home has a big backyard or other play areas where they can romp and roam. You also need to have a schedule that allows for frequent walks, especially when they are young and are being trained.
Luckily, labs are very intelligent (see #4), so they not only get house trained quickly, but they are easily trained to accompany you on all sorts of excursions.
You can take your Lab on camping trips or long hikes where he will follow you every step of the way on mountain ledges and rocky trails. Labs are game for anything!
They also love sports and are eager to play catch with anything you throw at them. They can join in a game of Ultimate Frisbee with you and your mates!
A Labrador is also an ideal hunting or fishing companion. As their name implies, they are great at retrieving game. Their love of water makes them eager to dive into rivers and lakes to grab pheasants and quail.
2. They are Child- Friendly… Very Friendly!
For 28 years in a row, Labradors have been named America’s most popular breed!
No doubt, this popularity stems from the Lab’s outgoing and friendly personality. Energetic and cuddly, loyal and friendly, Labs are great for every pet owner, from an older person in need of a companion to a big family.
If you have kids, Labs are an excellent choice for the family pet. They have endless supplies of patience for toddlers who live to pull their ears and climb all over them. Because they have been bred to retrieve birds for hunters, they tend to “gum” instead of bite.
This kind of canine can be very gentle and protective of little ones. That’s why they not only are great companions for kids, but also “top dog” service animals for people with disabilities.
A labrador is so lovable, the only real danger is she might lick you to death! They are also undeniably cute.
There’s a reason Labs are often cast as the perfect puppy in commercials and advertisements. Brown or golden lab puppies have big paws, big eyes and are fluffy and irresistible. Be warned, if you see an ad or sign that says, chocolate lab puppies for sale, chances are you are going to come home with your kids’ new best friend!
3. They Have Lovable Dispositions
Labs are affable and friendly. They also love to help, which is why they are so good at providing service to the disabled, support to soldiers, and assistance to the police in search and rescue missions or by sniffing out contraband.
Labs respond well to food and love, like pats on the head, scratches under the chin, and encouraging words. They are easy to train because they are so easy to please. They want nothing more than to make their masters proud.
This breed is so loving that they actually are not ideal guard dogs. Some owners have reported that their labs have been too friendly to intruders!
Other breeds may be irritable, territorial, aloof, or aggressive. Most Labs on the other hand simply love to be loved.
While the majority of labs are patient, obedient and affectionate, it should be noted that, like all breeds, there are some exceptions, especially among dogs who have not been raised in loving environments. Always make sure you check out the breeder or owner of any dog before you bring them into your own home.
4. They are Super Smart
The dogs most frequently trained as seeing eye dogs? Labradors. Dogs best suited to being trained for investigative work with law enforcement agencies, customs and border patrol, and other high stakes jobs? Labradors!
Labs are easily trainable which is why they are often selected to help in certain human professions. They respond well to commands. They learn lessons quickly and retain their knowledge.
Labradors also exhibit what is called emotional intelligence. Owners frequently report that their labs will demonstrate empathy with them. They comfort their masters when they are sad and they sense when they are afraid.
5. They Love to Swim
Labrador retrievers were bred to be water dogs. They have water-resistant double coats that provide insulation against cold water. Their short hair keeps them warm but doesn’t drag them down when it gets wet.
Labs even have webbed toes to facilitate swimming. They also have short otter-like tails which they use as rudders to steer them in the water.
Originally from the island of Newfoundland, fishermen used to use these dogs to bring in nets, pull ropes between boats, and recover escaped fish. This must have instilled in the breed a great love for the water because even city-raised Labs will jump in a pond, pool or puddle if they have the chance!
6. They Get Along With Other Animals
Labs are typically born into litters of 8 pups or more, so they are used to big families! Because tolerance is one of their most dominant traits, they are a great breed to introduce to a multi-pet household.
Labs are usually patient and persistent enough to endear themselves to even the most snobby cat. Check out Youtube for millions of videos of Labs cuddling with kittens and other creatures.
If you are introducing a new pet into your home where a Lab lives, follow the guidelines you would with any other kind of dog. Introduce them slowly and arrange the first meeting on neutral territory like a park. Make sure each dog has their own toys, bed, and space.
7. Everyone Loves a Labrador!
People of all ages and abilities love Labs. As we have discussed, Labs are often used as Seeing Eye dogs for the visually impaired. They help people with other disabilities as well.
For people with mobility issues, Labs have been known to help with such tasks as picking up keys, a wallet, or the mail. They can turn on appliances like the washing machine, or open doors. They can help the deaf by letting them know when a doorbell or phone is ringing.
Labradors are also important members of the armed forces. Their powerful sense of smell enables them to detect traces of explosive material. They have been employed in war zones like Afghanistan to help soldiers.
Their noses also come in hand with sniffing out drugs at airports, and even alerting people with health issues. They are frequently used to help track missing people after natural disasters or criminal activity.
They can detect all kinds of medical emergencies, like alerting owners to an impending seizure, to detecting low blood sugar in diabetics and tumors in cancer patients.
Whether you need the brains and nose of a smart Lab to help you in your job or daily life, or whether you simply want a cuddly friend to play with, you can’t go wrong with a Labrador.
For The Best Dog for Work and Play, Get a Labrador
A Lab is smart, friendly, patient and kind. She will be your best buddy and your faithful jogging partner. She will help you complete tasks you may not be able to do on your own, and she can help defend your home.
If you have room for him to run and play, and time to spend with him on long walks, fishing trips, or cuddles by the fire, think about whether you and your family should get a Labrador. If you are willing to make time for him by playing catch, brushing his beautiful coat, and integrating him into your family, a Lab is surely the right dog for you.
If you get a Lab, you will have a best friend for life! Contact us if you are considering getting a Labrador as your family pet.