Before owning a Labrador Retriever, be sure you are ready for the pros and cons of dog ownership and maintenance. The American Kennel Club has ranked the Labrador retriever as the most popular dog breed since 1991.
It is not anticipated that their popularity will wane any time soon. Although mixed breeds with AKC registrations, like Goldendoodles and Maltipoos, are not included in this ranking. However, this breed has stood the test of time. Find out more about these fantastic canines and decide if owning one would make an excellent addition to your home.
Suppose you own this breed; there will be lots of affection for everyone at home. They are a giant breed, but even at 70 to 80 pounds, they are still manageable for most people. Although some can live up to 20 years, most only survive to be 10 to 12 years old.
The risk of unwanted pups can be lessened, and you can expect longevity if you spay or neuter your Lab (Spaying involves removing a female animal’s uterus and ovaries while neutering consists in removing a male animal’s testicles).
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Pros and Cons of owning a Labrador Retriever
The biggest pros of Labradors are their pleasant personalities, characterized by their enthusiasm to please, their kind and mild temperament, and excellent trainability. However, Labs also have some cons to consider before buying, such as excessive shedding, need for activity, and love of food.
Before purchasing, buyers should consider the biggest cons of owning a Labrador Retriever: their need for attention, exercise, mental stimulation, and affection all day. Labradors are giant dogs who require plenty of areas to run about and burn off energy, and they also shed a significant amount of fur.
|Pros of Labradors||Cons of Labradors|
|Labradors are excellent with children.||Labradors might suffer from breed-specific health issues|
|Labs are active and energetic||For some time, Labrador retrievers retain their youthful characteristics.|
|Their soft mouth is excellent for playing fetch||With this breed, affordability is an important consideration.|
|Labs love water as much as they love you.||Labs are High energy dogs.|
|Labradors are healthy dogs.||Labradors do not make good guard dogs|
|Labradors get along well with other animals.||Labradors have the doggy odour|
|Labradors are gentle and friendly dogs||Labradors have erratic eating habits|
|Labradors make excellent companions for outdoor activities||Labradors shed a lot of hair|
|Labradors are quick learners||Labradors are prone to separation anxiety|
|Labradors have a medium to extended life expectancy||Labradors require a lot of space|
In the rest of the article, let us investigate the facts you need to know about these Labrador pros and cons.
Owning a Labrador Retriever: Pros of Labradors
1. Labradors are excellent with children
Many dog owners regard their dogs as “babies,” implying that they expect their furry babies to get along with their human babies. As a result, every dog owner who takes that method will choose a dog who gets along well with their children.
Labs are gentle, even-tempered, and quiet and will not terrify your children with unexpected bites during play. In fact, according to Reader’s Digest, Labradors are third on the list of dog breeds least likely to bite, trailing only Boxers and Bulldogs.
In extreme conditions, remember that a dog is always a dog. As a result, never leave children or Labs unsupervised when playing.
2. Labradors have a medium to extended life expectancy.
Dogs have an estimated lifespan of 10-13 years. While some dogs can live for as little as six years, and others might live for up to 17 years, Labradors fall somewhere in the middle. However, Labs can live over their expected lifespan (10-12 years).
According to one study, some Labradors can live up to 16 or 17 years. Labradors can live long if they accumulate body fat slowly in their first years and gradually lose lean body mass.
Two Labradors are among the 21 dogs who have lived the longest. The first Labrador is number 5 (27 years, 98 days) and number 14 (20 years, 361 days). Only two other breeds made a list twice: Dachshunds and Border Collies.
3. Labradors are quick learners.
Not every dog will start sitting 5 minutes after you teach him the command “SIT!” However, Labrador will. According to the famous dog intelligence list, Labs rank seventh among the most intelligent dogs and are classified as the brightest canines.
That implies you need to repeat commands only around five times for your Lab to learn them, which means your Lab will easily housebreak and learn commands quickly.
You won’t have to cope with canine stubbornness. According to experts, the Labrador will accept commands more than 95% of the time the first time you utter them.
4. Labradors make excellent companions for outdoor activities.
Suppose you are considering owning a Labrador Retriever; you should always be ready to exercise with your pet. They are high-energy dogs requiring one to two hours of exercise daily.
Labradors also make excellent beach companions during summer vacations. Labradors are natural swimmers since they were bred to retrieve aquatic fowl for hunters, and their webbed paws make it simpler for the dog to propel through the water.
Their swimming ability will result in a lively fetch game in the water as you and your family enjoy your summer vacation at the beach.
5. Owning a Labrador Retriever: Labradors are gentle and friendly dogs.
If you want a dog that won’t fight with every other pet in the house or bark at every visitor who comes to your door, the Labrador Retriever is the dog for you. Labradors are known to be friendly with family members, strangers, and other pets. Besides, it will take a lot of nagging to make a Lab furious.
This never-ending Labrador patience verifies the findings of a study that found Labrador Retrievers to be the least aggressive canines towards family and strangers.
6. Labradors get along well with other animals.
Because they can’t live with cats, some dog breeds make the philosophy “like cats and dogs” a reality. Others, such as the Lab, demonstrate that the adage is incorrect.
Labradors have a lot of love to share with people of all kinds. Their cheerful and outgoing personality welcomes everyone, even cats and other household pets. The AKC recommends Labrador retrievers to cat owners.
7. Labradors are healthy dogs.
Labrador Retrievers are generally healthy dogs, although there are a few hereditary health issues. The breed club recommends that the following tests be done on breeding dogs: Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) DNA Test, Hip Evaluation, Elbow Evaluation, and Ophthalmologist Evaluation.
Labradors, like other broad-chested dogs, are susceptible to bloat. If your dog bloats or you are concerned about the likelihood, talk to your veterinarian about preventative surgery to help lessen the risk. This alternative is unsuitable for all dogs, so consult your veterinarian to see whether it is appropriate for your pet.
8. Labs love water as much as they love you.
These high-energy dogs enjoy going swimming. If there is any water nearby for them to find, you will have a pup swimming around all day. Most are well-behaved, making a beach vacation ideal for this breed.
Another fantastic option is a dog park where they can run off-leash and access a pool. Because they have a lot of energy, swimming can help to wear them out so that their damaging boredom habits don’t come out when they return home.
9. Their soft mouth is excellent for playing fetch.
Labradors were selectively developed to stimulate the retrieval of various prey when hunting. They have a remarkable ability to track down ducks and other poultry, which allows them to avoid harming the catch so that it becomes viable food.
This habit of not biting down roughly applies to other forms of play, so training these dogs not to bite is safer and more accessible. Even if they feel threatened, a severe bite is uncommon.
10. Labs are active and energetic.
Discussing the pros and cons of owning a Labrador Retriever would be incomplete without mentioning how active they are.
Labradors have unrivalled energy levels and are one of the most extroverted, active, and joyful breeds. They are strong and athletic.
It would help if you incorporated swimming, running, fetching, and other forms of exercise into your daily regimen. They require constant physical and mental stimulation to direct their energy correctly.
How can Labradors assist humans? Exercising your dog will undoubtedly help you stay active as well. You’ll likely get your daily 30 minutes of moderate activity when walking your Labrador in the morning, midday, and evening!
Owning A Labrador Retriever: Cons of Owning A Lab
1. Labradors might suffer from breed-specific health issues.
Although Labradors are typically healthy dogs, they are known to be predisposed to some health issues. These are some examples:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia: According to one study, 8.3% of Labrador puppies are at risk of hip and elbow dysplasia even if their parents do not have the disorder. When one of the parents had the disease, the risk increased to 16.1%, increasing to 30% when both parents had hip and elbow dysplasia.
- Progressive retinal atrophy eye disease.
- Exercise-induced collapse (EIC).
- Centronuclear Myopathy
- Thyroid disease.
The Labrador Retriever Club recommends the following tests to help your Labrador stay healthy and happy, especially for breeding Labradors:
- OFA hip and elbow assessment
- Annual eye exams
- DNA test for EIC
2. Labradors require a lot of space.
Labradors require many areas to play and run around because they are active, high-energy dogs. This energy makes Labs an excellent choice for families with ample yard area but not for apartment dwellers.
While you can always take your Lab for regular walks or play at dog parks to suit his exercise needs, there are a few drawbacks to keeping a Lab in a small space:
- Your Lab might exhibit a destructive attitude. Due to a lack of cerebral stimulation, lack of exercise can lead to destructive behaviours such as chewing furniture.
- Your Lab will become bored and depressed. Remember that Labs are athletic dogs with a strong need for mental stimulation. Being in a restricted or constrained environment can cause them to get disengaged and bored with their activities.
- To keep your Lab cognitively busy and happy in a small space, you must be highly inventive with problem-solving activities, new tricks, high-concentration games, and various toys. You’ll also need to plan opportunities for your dog to engage in more prolonged social interactions.
3. Labradors are prone to separation anxiety.
Owning a Labrador Retriever means you have to cater to its attention-seeking tendencies. Being people-loving and friendly canines, Labradors find it challenging to be lone wolves.
That means if you leave your Labrador at home alone every day while you go to work, you’re more likely to come home to a pacing, destructive, or self-harming dog.
An academic study at the University of Melbourne found that Labrador Retrievers have a chromosomal tendency to separation anxiety that does not exist in Golden Retrievers.
A different study found that the following risk factors will make your Lab (or any other dog) more prone to separation anxiety:
- Your Labrador is sexually active, and you are the only person who lives with your Labrador.
4. Labradors shed a lot of hair.
When you bring home a puppy, one of the roles you negotiate is grooming. Although you don’t need to bathe your Lab very often, you should brush his coat regularly because Labradors are heavy shedders.
Because of their excessive shedding, Labs are not hypoallergenic. And while Labs shed all year, you’ll need to be extra patient in the fall and spring when They blow their coats in preparation for extreme heat or cold, leaving you with a considerable volume of loose fur around your home.
If the sight of fur on your couch or clothes makes you want to scream your dog’s name, do not get a Labrador.
5. Labradors have an erratic eating habits.
Feeding is the most expensive aspect of having a Lab or any dog. If the dog in issue is also a gourmet, you may expect to spend even more money because Labs enjoy eating and are food driven. You may then wish to reconsider your decision.
Nonetheless, you should be aware of two essential facts concerning a Lab’s voracious appetite:
- Labs with a hereditary POMC (Proopiomelanocortin) gene mutation are fond of food. This gene alters the communication between their stomachs and their brains, causing the brain to fail to send a signal to your Lab’s stomach when the dog has had enough. As a result, your Lab is frequently hungry.
- A Lab’s appetite can be controlled, and positive reinforcement training and a vet-recommended food plan can help owners manage their dog’s appetite. This is true even for the 25% of Labs with the POMC gene mutation.
6. Labradors have a doggy odour.
All dogs have a doggy stench because their skins create natural oils that smell over time, and their ear glands emit a yeasty stink. Some dogs have a strong odour due to medical issues such as skin and dental diseases.
The Labrador doggy smell is primarily due to its thick, water-repellent coat, which retains odour in the outer and more delicate inner hairs. So, if you’re allergic to dog odour, owning a Labrador Retriever is not for you.
7. Labradors do not make good guard dogs.
Labrador retrievers initially guard their possessions and humans, and when they notice a different person at the door, their entire demeanour changes.
Most of these canines are too friendly to serve as guard dogs, and they have such a strong reputation for being amiable that they can get along with some more giant creatures, like elephants.
8. Owning a Labrador Retriever: Labs are High energy dogs.
Labrador retrievers have a lot of energy and require a lot of activity, which can take many forms. Several suitable options include backyard fetch, hunting, hiking, swimming, and competitive sports like dock diving and agility.
This highlights that these puppies won’t thrive in a sedentary environment. This breed might not be for you if you want to Netflix and chill rather than get up and go.
9. With this breed, affordability is an important consideration.
The price of ownership from a reputable breeder can be extremely costly due to the popularity of Labradors, particularly in the United States.
A single, properly-documented puppy typically costs $1,500 or more. The price may triple if the dog possesses championship traits, and the price can increase to five figures if one of the parents has had success in shows.
Adopting a Labrador retriever from a rescue group or neighbourhood shelter is one method to overcome this drawback. Due to their popularity, you’ll still pay between $300 and $500, but these amicable gents and ladies will easily fit in at your new residence.
You’ll also need to plan for the average annual care expense of $1,000 that comes with both alternatives.
10. For some time, Labrador retrievers retain their youthful characteristics.
Although Labrador retrievers are adorable puppies able to sway people’s emotions with a glance, they also retain their youthful characteristics until age four.
This means that if your dog exhibits significant separation anxiety or boredom at home during the day, you may have a lot of chewing issues on your hands.
To protect your furnishings from damage during these crucial puppy years, make sure some amusement alternatives are available.
This breed will blend in seamlessly if you already have other dogs, children, or pets living in your home.
However, Labradors do have some drawbacks. As heavy shedders, they’ll leave a lot of fur on your couch all year, and their love of food may frequently leave you wondering why your pet is constantly hungry.
To promote a healthy development process, it is crucial to spot undesirable habits as soon as possible and to modify them through training. You should also complete the National Breed Club’s recommended health exams to guarantee your dog can have a long and fulfilling life.
I hope reading about the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Labrador Retriever has helped you decide if you want to.