Labrador retrievers, or “Labs” as they’ve become fondly known, are one of the most popular dog breeds of our time. Generally known and loved for their cheerful disposition and playfulness. This breed of dogs is very popular with families, especially those with children. They are often perceived as playful members of the family with enough zeal and patience to deal even with the youngest toddlers.
Labrador retrievers are historically famous for their hunting and fishing prowess. With ancestors that date back to the 17th century, the dogs were popular among fishers and game hunters for a number of reasons.
First of all, their short, thick and slightly oily coats favored them in the water since it repelled water very well. The dogs’ athletic build and excellent swimming capabilities also appealed to many a fisherman. They proved useful in tasks such as retrieving nets and even fish from the water (hence their name, retriever).
Hunters are happy with the softness of the dog’s mouth, which came in handy when retrieving game. The dogs were also very strong runners, an ability that is backed by their athletic build. They are also easy to train. Before being bred solely for companionship, Labrador retrievers were the ultimate hunting companions.
Labrador Personality/ Temperament
It gets argued that Labradors are the reason why dogs are loyal and referred to as “man’s best friend”. Labradors make for cheerful companions and have a very friendly disposition. The dogs generally love being around people. This makes them one of the most preferred choices for first family pets.
Labrador retrievers still portray a lot of the hunting energy that made their ancestors so popular. As such, the dogs are incredibly energetic and lively. They are at their best in the outdoors where they can run and play for hours on end.
Indoors, the dogs exhibit extreme patience with children, which is a sign of their advanced intelligence. They are easy to train, observant and have expressive eyes that seem to read human emotion. The dogs, however, love to chew on everything (a trait derived from their hunting history). Labrador retriever owners are advised to get them chewing toys in abundance or risk having their places of residence torn apart.
Lastly, Labrador retrievers are very friendly dogs. They will not hesitate to knock you over in excitement after a long day at work and are known to develop strong emotional bonds.
Labrador Exercise Needs
Being the active animals that they are, Labrador retrievers require plenty of activity on a regular basis. Unlike most dogs, a simple walk in the evening simply will not suffice their daily exercise requirements. They need to run in order to burn off the large amounts of energy they often have.
Ideally, Labrador retrievers should only be reared in suburban areas or the countryside since they do not fair very well in constricted city spaces. Worth mentioning is that the dogs can become very destructive if their energy reserves are not spent by the end of the day. Their naturally clumsy nature paired with boundless energy reserves can destroy a home in just a few hours.
Recommended exercises for labs include running alongside their owners as they jog or ride a bike, hiking, or playing with the children in the yard. They are also very avid swimmers (unsurprisingly) and will be hard to keep out of the pool if they fancy a swim.
Labrador Suitability as a Family Pet
Labrador retrievers are an excellent choice for a family pet. Not only are they incredibly loveable and friendly. The dogs’ naturally active temperament is ideal for young children who want to play all the time. Furthermore, Labradors are moderately sized when fully grown, highly intelligent and sensitive to the needs of their owners.
As mentioned earlier, labs are very loyal and form deep emotional connections with their owners. They are especially fond of children and treat them with surprising gentleness when playing. Other than their occasional destructive tendencies when they do not get enough exercise, Labrador retrievers are perfect family pets.
Labrador Known Health Issues
Labs are prone to developing the following medical conditions:
· Various allergies – They have quite an over-reactive immune system so it is not uncommon for them to exhibit allergic reactions when they come into contact with the triggers.
· Hip and elbow dysplasia – This is mostly common in older dogs and is caused by either a malformation or the natural degeneration of the joints in question.
· Diabetes Mellitus – Labs are prone to developing diabetes as a result of the absence of vital insulin-secreting cells.
· Melanoma – Melanoma is a type of malignant cancer that is common in domestic dogs of certain breeds.
Labrador retrievers can be described as highly intelligent, sociable, energetic, trainable and loyal pets. They are very athletic and active and also strong fighters and protectors when provoked by the direness of a dangerous situation. They will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love.