Let’s get one thing straight to start with, Labs are cuteness personified. If you’ve ever seen Marley and Me, then you’re probably aware of just how endearing this energetic breed can be. On the same token, however, their temperament can be a little too much to deal with at times.
That’s not to say Labrador Retrievers are a bad family dog. In fact, they’re actually a fantastic breed for a family to bond over! Like any other dog, it takes patience, training, dedication, and a loving environment to bring out the best in any pup.
Basics about the Breed
According to DogTime, To start with, Labrador Retrievers are a large breed of dog. They grow up to two feet tall at the shoulder and weigh in from around 55 to 80 pounds of friendly cuddles. Their lifespan runs average for dogs at 10 to 12 years of age.
In terms of personality and intelligence, Labs are both friendly and easily trained. It’s well known that Labs are sweet, eager to please, and outgoing dogs that warm up quickly to most everyone they are introduced to.
Humorously, this means that they usually aren’t the best guard dogs despite their large size.
In terms of intelligence, this breed of pups is quite sharp. This combined with their willingness, almost eagerness to please, makes for a fantastic combination when it comes to training them. It’s due to this trait of theirs that they are often trained and used as working dogs.
Training is a necessity for this breed though. Labs, especially puppies, are bundles of excitable energy that require proper direction to curb their excess enthusiasm.
While they tend to grow out of it as they grow older, Labs come from a long line of working dogs so they need to be properly exercised to keep them happy.
They’re Good with Kids
Labrador Retrievers are known to be fantastic with children of all ages. You can look up dozens of YouTube video compilations of this breed positively interacting with kids.
Not only that, but their relaxed and friendly attitude means that most Labs get along with other pets.
According to The Labrador Site, Something to note though is that Labs are better with older children than younger. While older dogs are more docile and less energetic, younger Retrievers can have a tendency to enthusiastically jump on people during play or as a greeting.
Labs need to be trained not to do so as they might knock over younger children or older adults when they get too excited.
While their relaxed, happy go lucky attitude translates into Labs tolerating poking and petting well enough, young children may not realize the typical signs of a dog becoming annoyed. Their bushy, wagging tails also tend to knock things down off the table.
Working Hard and Playing Harder
As noted before, Labs are an energetic breed of dog. They don’t do well in smaller spaces such as an apartment as they require space to run around and plenty of exercises.
This doesn’t mean you can just leave them in the backyard and expect them to tire themselves either.
Labs require a good deal of exercise a day, especially if they’re a younger dog. As their name implies, Labrador Retrievers were originally bred to be a hunting dog tasked with recovering downed waterfowl.
It’s a good idea to spend a few hours playing with and walking them to lessen all that extra energy, or maybe even take them for a swim as most Labs enjoy the water.
Better yet, include your dog in your hobbies! Labs make for excellent hiking companions and do well in the wilderness as a camping assistant. You can even make it a reason to go on morning jogs and get fit with your new workout buddy!
Brains to Go with Brawn
According to Dog Breeds List, Labrador Retrievers are the 7th most intelligent dog breed in the world. To make it onto this list, a dog must be able to understand a new command with fewer than five repetitions and must obey the first command 95% of the time.
According to Canine Journal, This intelligence combined with their willingness to please makes for a great combination in regards to training. Due to this, Labs are often trained and put to work in a variety of fields.
Most often you’ll see Labs working with the police, as search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, and seeing-eye dogs just to name a few of their roles.
Because of this aptitude for learning, you won’t have too many issues training your dog in basic commands. In fact, Labs seem to gain a sense of fulfillment as they learn and understand new concepts.
They doubly enjoy being praised and rewarded with a good cuddle or a small snack afterward.
You can even make teaching them new tricks and tasks a family activity. Retrievers are more than happy to bask in praise and pettings when surrounded by related family members and are often excited to be around the people they love the most.
Big Personalities that Love Smiles
Being the fun-loving and attention-seeking balls of fluffy goodness that they are, it isn’t surprising that they develop memorable personalities.
It isn’t an odd sight to see a Lab go from peacefully napping on the couch to upright at the sound of a familiar engine stopping in the driveway.
Before you know it, a Lab will be eagerly waiting at the door and waiting to greet a family member coming home from work or from school.
Often times, they’ll barely be able to hold onto their exuberantly wagging tails, spinning in circles and whining impatiently as they wait for the door to unlock and open.
Next thing you know, they’re circling around your legs, bumping their noses searchingly against your hands, and leaning up against you with a gleeful greeting.
There’s nothing quite like a loving family Lab welcoming you back home with bark and rapidly swishing tail to banish away the vagaries of a dull day at work or school.
If nothing else, this pup will put a smile on your face as he or she wiggles around and wonders curiously where their friend has been all day.