If you want a dog that has a bubbly personality and a strong desire to make you happy, you may want to consider buying a Labrador Retriever.
Of course, these big, exuberant dogs aren’t for everyone. Before you buy one of these little puppies, you may want to consider some pluses and minuses of the breed.
The Labrador Retriever is a powerful, dependable dog. This breed weighs from 55 to 80 pounds and stands 21 to 24 ½ inches tall at the shoulder. These dogs have quite a lot of stamina and can work or play for hours on end. Labs are known for their soft chocolate brown eyes and thick, rounded tail. Their coats can be black, yellow or chocolate, with black Labs being most commonly available. The dense hair of the Labrador Retriever’s coat is almost waterproof.
Labrador Retrievers are classified as part of the American Kennel Club‘s Sporting Group. These dogs were bred to spend hours retrieving game from areas that hunters had trouble getting into. Labs usually enjoy the water, which makes them ideal boating or fishing companions.
These dogs require plenty of exercises, especially when they are young and full of energy. They do not make good apartment dogs, as they require plenty of room to run and play. A home with a fenced yard is the ideal situation for a Lab. Even if he has space to play, he may need to go for a daily walk or romp in the park to burn off some energy.
By their very nature, these dogs love to ‘retrieve‘. When you are out walking your dog, throwing a favorite (durable) toy is often the best way to give your dog the extra exercise it needs.
Since Labrador Retrievers are high energy dogs with plenty of muscle, they eat quite a bit of food. While your puppy is growing up, you may want to feed it food that is specially formulated to help large breed dogs develop healthy bones. If you are planning to use your Lab as a hunting dog, you will need to buy dog food that contains plenty of protein. Whether a family pet or a hunting dog, you can get specialized dog food for your Labrador retriever, tailor-made to their needs.
Most Labrador Retrievers make excellent family dogs and love being around children. However, some Labs do not have good temperaments, so, if it is at all possible, be sure you meet both parents before buying a puppy. If your children are still small, you may want to wait until they are steady on their feet before buying a Lab puppy. These dogs can knock toddlers over just by wagging their powerful tails.
Since Labs are such big dogs, it is important to start training your puppy at eight to twelve weeks of age. Be sure you work with your puppy to keep it from jumping up, as a full-grown Lab can bowl people over with an enthusiastic greeting. You may want to take puppy obedience classes to socialize him and get some training help, as Labs can be a bit headstrong at times.
These dogs need very little grooming. You should brush your dog once a week to remove loose hair and dirt. Also, you will need to trim his nails when they grow too long. Finally, you will have to check for ticks after your dog has been playing outdoors.
It’s always a good idea to have the right tools for the job when grooming your dog. I would recommend that as a minimum, you invest in some basic grooming equipment.
If you want a friendly dog who is eager to please and don’t mind some occasional stubbornness, then a Labrador Retriever may very well be the perfect breed for you.