The labrador retriever has been ranked the number one most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club every year since 1991. While this ranking is based on AKC registrations (mixed breeds like Goldendoodles and Maltipoos are excluded) it’s easy to see that this breed has stood the test of time. Their popularity is not expected to decline anytime soon. Learn about these wonderful dogs and if they might be the right pup for your family.
About the labrador retriever
With their sweet faces and engaging personalities, it’s no wonder these are such beloved dogs. Labrador Retrievers stand about 21-24 inches and weigh between 55 and 84 pounds. Females tend to be on the smaller end of these ranges with male dogs at the higher end. The labrador retriever comes in three striking colors: black, chocolate and yellow. Their fur is double coated to help repel water as these dogs were bred for hunting.
The breed's history can be traced back to Newfoundland (we know, kind of confusing as to why these dogs aren't calld Newfoundlands and there is another breed that bears that name) where they were used for duck hunting and served as beloved companions for fisherman.
Labradors are notoriously friendly and bond with humans and other dogs alike. Individual dogs may prefer the company of humans over other pups or vice versa, but overall these dogs tend to get along with everyone (even kids).
3 Pros of Labradors
1. Great temperament
Labradors have wonderful temperaments which makes them an ideal pet. They are friendly and eager dogs who can adapt to a variety of situations easily. They are trainable and teachable and can learn basic commands as well as advanced obedience or tricks. This makes them suitable to work as therapy or service dogs.
2. Good with children
One of the many reasons why the labrador retriever has remained so consistently popular is that they are good with children. Whether you are getting a first family pet and have young children or toddlers or you are bringing in a dog to help teach older kids responsibility, the labrador is an ideal companion for kids of all ages.As we always remind pet parents it is important to never leave dogs and young children alone unattended, and you should alway teach children to respect pups and their personal space.
Labrador Retrievers are generally healthy dogs but there are a few health conditions that are hereditary. The breed club recommends that the following tests are performed on dogs who are being bred: Hip Evaluation, Elbow Evaluation, Ophthalmologist Evaluation and Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) DNA Test.
Like other large chested dogs, labradors can be prone to a condition called bloat. If your dog does bloat or you are concerned about the possibility you can chat with your vet about proactive surgery to help reduce the risk. This option is not appropriate for all dogs, so your vet will be able to help you understand if its right for your pup.
3 Cons of labradors
1. Need plenty of space
Labrador Retrievers are large breed dogs. If you live in an apartment with a weight limit for dogs, there is a fairly good chance that a lab will be over that limit.
These dogs also need room to run and play. This could be in the form of a fenced in yard, but if you don’t have one make sure you have access to a dog park, trails or somewhere safe for your pup to get some movement in.
2. Higher energy dogs
Labrador retrievers are high energy dogs! They need plenty of exercise but it can come in a variety of forms. Fetch in the backyard, hunting, hiking, swimming or competitive sports like dock diving and agility are all appropriate options to consider.
All of this is to say that these pups aren’t going to thrive in a sedentary environement. If you’re more Nextflix and chill than get up and go, this might not be the right breed for you.
3. Shed a lot
Because of their double coats, labs can do some serious shedding. While the worst of it tends to happen seasonally in the spring and fall, they do shed all the time. If you value a tidy dog hair free house or someone in your home has allergies this might not be the right breed for you. When you add a labrador to the family, make sure to invest in some heavy-duty swiffer pads and/or a vacuum made specifically for pet hair.
Is a lab a good family dog?
Yes! The labrador retriever is a great family dog. If you are looking for a dog who wants to run and play with the kids or run with the adults the lab might be the perfect family pup.
For active families, adding a labrador might be the perfect choice. While we’ve explained the high energy side of these pups pretty thoroughly, they are still family dogs. They will enjoy spending quality time with the family for a movie night or sunday morning snuggle (as long as they are getting adequate exercise).
If you do add a labrador to your family, planning for quality nutrition is something Ollie can help with. In fact, labrador retrievers are among our top 10 most popular customer breeds. Their parents know Ollie will deliver delicious and nutritious food their pups will beg for meal after meal. Our recipes packed with human grade carefully selected proteins and combined with delicious and wholesome high quality fruit, vegetables and grains will keep your best friend full, happy and healthy.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.