The Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed in the country, and it’s no surprise why. We’ve broken down the top reasons why dog owners can’t get enough of the Lab. Disclaimer: You may shortly find yourself yearning to bring home one of these very special dogs after reading these 10 characteristics of Labs:
1. Very Trainable
Bred to follow human cues, Labs are extremely obedient if they receive proper training. In addition to the basic commands of sit, stay and roll-over, Labs can be taught more difficult tasks that require a high level of attention and intelligence.
2. Can Doggie Paddle
Natural-born swimmers, Labs were bred to jump into icy waters and help fishermen retrieve nets, fish and equipment. The extra skin (webbing) around their toes makes for natural paddles and their water resistant coat keeps them warm and dry in the water. Lastly, the Lab’s long round tail, often called an “otter tail,” moves back and forth in water like a ship rudder, making the Lab the Michael Phelps of dogs.
3. Easy-to-Manage Coat
Labs are short-haired, so you don’t need to brush them often, with the exception of during molting season. You also don’t need to bathe the Lab often as the natural oils in their skin serve as protection from outside irritants. In fact, it’s recommended to bathe Labs only 3-4 times per year.
4. Great with Kids
Want a nice, well-mannered family dog? The Lab is one of the best dogs for children of all ages. Labs are kind, good-natured, friendly, laid-back and affectionate. However, as puppies they can be rambunctious and unknowingly play a little rough. The good news is with a little bit of training (and maturity), they will respond well.
5. Athletic Sports Dogs
Part of the AKC-classified sporting group, Labs are willing to retrieve just about anything. Thus, if you’re interested in a breed to accompany you in hunting or fishing, Labs are a prime choice.
6. Selfless Helpers
Labs also make incredible service and therapy dogs. If you or someone in your family has a disability or illness that requires canine assistance, the Lab is a great option. Their intelligence and trainability, coupled with their readiness to please and affectionate streak make for a perfect combination. Labs are known for their ability to lead the blind, act as hearing dogs, and perform law enforcement and military work.
7. Active, Energetic Dogs
As you can tell from this article so far, Labs love exercise and are perfect companions to the active owner who loves the outdoors and daily walks. Whether playing a game of fetch, hiking, swimming, or fishing, Labs are in their element when they’re outdoors, and are not for your average couch potato.
8. Nose for Security
Labs are highly protective of their family members and home, so they make for effective watch dogs. If you’re interested in a dog who will bark at an intruder, the Lab is a great choice. Because Labs are considered “working dogs,” they are often trained to be professional security dogs.
9. Healthy with Long Lifespan
While every dog is different (just as humans are), some generalizations can be made for the healthiness of the breed. Labs are expected to live for at least 10 years, and have an average lifespan of 12 years. Thus, if they’re taken good care of, they’ll be around for lots of memories to be made.
Although the Labrador Retriever is a purebred, the breed is only #18 on the list of most expensive breeds factoring in all medical costs. That said, it’s worth assessing expected expenses to make sure the Lab (or any other breed) is within your budget.