Adding a dog to your home is a great way to grow your family, and there’s no more popular family dog than the labrador retriever!
This breed is among the most popular in America and for good reason. Their infectious energy, eagerness to please, and unconditional loyalty and love make labs an excellent choice for individuals, couples, and active families.
If you’re on the fence about which dog breed will suit you best, you should know a few things about labs before deciding. Here are nine benefits of owning a labrador retriever.
1. They come in several colors
Labs are well-known for their beautiful, shiny coats. They come in three colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. Finding black labrador puppies for sale is just as easy as finding yellow or chocolate, but know that there are some variations.
For example, you may have seen black labs with white around the chest or face. These color mixes are very normal and can result in some charming tuxedo-like features. Labs can also be reddish or tan, but that variety is technically considered yellow.
There are, however, a few misconceptions about lab color. For example, some people believe yellow labs are more lazy and black labs are the best hunters, but that’s not true! Color isn’t an indicator of personality; there are plenty of lazy dogs and excellent hunters across all labrador retriever colors.
2. Labs are easy to train
Labrador retrievers are considered some of the most intelligent dogs on earth. They’re the seventh-smartest dog breed, which explains why labs are so easy to train and make excellent working dogs.
Their intellect, combined with their desire for a leader, makes training a breeze. These dogs are also very eager to please and, with consistent coaching, can learn commands in a single day.
It’s also worth noting that labrador retrievers are a popular choice for police dogs and service dogs. For example, customs and border protection agents often use labs to prevent illegal contraband from entering the country. They’re also one of the most popular breeds trained as service dogs for people with disabilities.
But their brain power can have unintended consequences. Labs can easily learn bad habits, like figuring out how to open the refrigerator, a dangerous behavior for an animal with strong food motivation. Training and patience on the part of the owner are vital to taking full advantage of the labrador retriever’s smarts.
3. These dogs have an excellent temperament
If you’re looking for a dog with nearly perfect character, look no further than the labrador retriever. Their selfless devotion to their owners shines through everything they do, and their sweet, happy countenance brightens dim days.
But this kind of love isn’t a given. In addition to being very intelligent, labs are also curious and playful. They have the best behavior when they have daily exercise and mental stimulation; otherwise, they can become incorrigible and destructive.
4. Labradors are known for patience and loyalty
A considerable part of the labrador retriever’s personality is patience and loyalty. To labs, most kinds of attention are good attention, so they’ll put up with a lot of poking and prodding before becoming aggressive. This includes tail pulling, ear yanking, and fur grabbing, often committed by small children.
Labrador retrievers are also very loyal. They form strong bonds with their people and are eager to please them at any moment. So naturally, they crave the praise and attention of their owners and intentionally stay near them at all times, including at night.
5. They love people… and other dogs!
Labs are one of the best breeds if you have a house full of children, other pets, or a combination of the two. They are highly social creators that easily acclimate to situations with multiple children or other animals.
Early exposure ensures labs mesh well with human or animal siblings. Putting them in these environments as early as two months old will help them become more social and normalize interactions with the other people and animals in their lives.
6. Labs are expert fetchers
There’s a reason why “retriever” is in this dog’s name. During hunts, they were bred to retrieve downed prey like ducks, grouse, and even rabbits and squirrels. So whether you plan to hunt with your dog or not, there is still much to enjoy about this interesting benefit.
Labs love to fetch. They’ll go after anything from a tennis ball to a bone and do it with a smile on their face. Generally, labrador retrievers need 60 minutes of exercise daily to stay happy and healthy, and a good game of fetch is a great way to play!
7. These dogs aren’t afraid of water
Labrador retrievers are excellent swimmers. Originally bred to help retrieve fallen prey from lakes and fishing lines from the shore, these dogs may have invented the doggy paddle.
Labs love it all. Whether you’re at the beach, enjoying the pool, or have a small pond on your property, they’ll happily swim the day away. In fact, taking your dog for a swim is a great way to get their exercise in and tire them out a bit.
8. Labradors are generally healthy
No matter what kind of dog you get, their health and longevity are always a concern. As a pure breed, labs are predisposed to a few genetic disorders, but on the whole, they are healthy dogs.
Owners of labrador retrievers may want to screen their dogs for hip and elbow dysplasia. They’re also known to suffer from heart disorders, muscle weakness, and eye conditions later in life.
The best thing any owner can do to keep their pet healthy and comfortable is to feed them well-balanced dog food, play and exercise with the dog daily, and keep them up-to-date on all vaccinations and vet exams.
9. They are easy to take care of
Despite their health concerns, labrador retrievers are a very easy breed to maintain. To keep their coat healthy and reduce shedding, use a de-shedding brush several times weekly to remove excess fur from the undercoat.
And unlike many other breeds, labs require minimal grooming. However, owners should wash their dogs once a month with a mild dog shampoo formulated for their coats.
Labs are great dogs, and there are many more benefits to enjoy beyond the nine listed here. If you want to add a labrador retriever to your family, find a reputable breeder who can match you with a great pet!