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Labrador Retrievers – The Pros and Cons of Owning and Taking Care of This Unique Breed

Pros And Cons Of Getting A Labrador Retriever

If you’re looking to add a new furry friend to your family, Labs are a wonderful breed.

Did you know that Labrador retrievers are the most popular dog in the United States? There are many reasons for this.

However, no dog breed is perfect. So, let’s get into the pros and cons of owning a Labrador retriever.

Pros of Getting a Labrador Retriever

Natural Athletes

Since Labs are almost always active, they make excellent workout companions. If you’re a runner, biker, or hiker, you’ll love having one to accompany you during your outings.

If you’re not a hardcore athlete, your Lab will still enjoy a few walks each day.

Amazing Intelligence

Labs love to learn new tricks. Their intelligence levels make them very easy to train in every area. Plus, they’re people pleasers. They love making their owners happy.

Being able to easily train your Lab will affect your life in a positive way. Well-trained Labs will be more likely to get along with other dogs. Plus, taking them on public outings can be less stressful if they’re trained.

Their intelligence is why they’re often chosen for service dog positions. Labs often serve those with disabilities like depression, blindness, and hearing problems.

Great Personalities

Labs are extremely personable. They aren’t naturally aggressive, so they’re almost always friendly and social with everyone they meet. This makes them a wonderful choice for families since they are excellent with children.

According to the American Kennel Club, their outgoing personalities are perfect for someone looking for a close companion. When you get a Lab, you’re gaining a best friend for years.

Short Coats

When it comes to grooming, Labs are some of the best dogs out there. Their coats are relatively short when compared to many other breeds. This makes it easy to wash and brush them every week or so.

Plus, their coats are made to dry quickly. This makes it so you won’t have a sopping wet dog running around for hours after their bath.


It’s difficult to think of a dog breed that’s more loyal than Labs are. They will stick by your side no matter what. They’re also less likely to run away.

Loneliness is a thing of the past when you get a Lab. They might follow you around the house, sit on the couch with you, and even sleep with you if you let them.

Long Lives

Some dogs only live for 7 to 10 years. Whereas, Labs can live as long as 14 years or more.

Interestingly, according to National Geographic, Chocolate Labs may live slightly shorter lives.

Cons of Getting a Labrador Retriever

Activity Levels

If you’re a sedentary person, think twice about getting a Lab. They are extremely active and require constant stimulation. This is especially true when they’re puppies.

Usually, Labs need to be walked about twice daily. If not, you might be left to deal with some undesirable behavior. They need to get their energy out in some way.


They need a lot of space to run around in. If you live in an apartment with no yard, getting a Lab might not be the best decision. They should have a fenced in yard to play around in.

Another thing to consider is indoor space crate training your Lab, so you’ll have to consider where you’ll put that.


Labs are energetic and intelligent, so they are always looking for something to do. If they aren’t occupied, this may lead to chewing.

They are known for chewing on things. They could end up damaging your furniture, molding, and other items. So, be prepared for this.

However, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, there are many ways to prevent excessive chewing.

This issue is most prevalent during their adolescent years and gets better with age.


Though Labs have shorter coats, they still shed. Their coats are thick to protect them from the elements. This is from years of being bred to hunt and jump into freezing waters.

Pippa Mattinson is the author of several popular dog books. She says that they developed double coats as a result of their heritage. This means that they have an undercoat and an upper coat.

They should be brushed weekly. This will help reduce shedding, but you will still see some hair. It’s something all dog owners have to get used to.

Hip Problems

According to WebMD, many Labs can develop hip dysplasia. This condition is inherited within the breed, but they aren’t the only kind of dogs that have this issue.

It occurs when the hip joint isn’t formed correctly. As a result, it can move too much which causes pain and inflammation in the joint.

It’s rare for younger Labs to develop this condition but not unheard of. However, middle-aged and older ones are more likely to be diagnosed.

Body Odor

All dogs can start to smell bad if they’re not washed regularly, but this is especially true when it comes to Labrador retrievers. They naturally produce more oil than other dogs.

This trait allows their coats to dry quickly, but it can lead to body odor. So, they must be bathed regularly.


Getting a Labrador retriever is a huge decision. They are fun, loving, active, loyal, and intelligent. However, they also require tons of attention and care.

They shed, chew, and can have certain health problems later in life. So, getting one can be a commitment.

No matter what, Labs remain the most popular kind of dog in America for a reason. Even with their flaws, they’re amazing dogs and make wonderful companions.