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Labrador Retriever pros and cons

Owning a Labrador Retriever pros and cons

Labrador size

Labrador Retriever temperament and personality traits

Do Labs shed?

Labrador Retriever care

Labrador Retriever training

Labrador guide dog

Labrador Retriever facts

Labrador Retriever health issues

How much does pet health insurance for Labrador Retriever cost? Check out Embrace Pet Insurance for a FREE quote and more information.

Labrador gifts

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Labrador pros and cons

Labrador pros and cons

Owning a Labrador Retriever has many advantages and some disadvantages. Labrador pros include the breed's sociable and friendly temperament which is an essential quality for good family pets. Other positives associated with Labrador Retriever breed include ease of training. Labs are intelligent dogs that can be trained to a high standard. Labrador Retrievers are frequently used as guide dogs for the blind. Labradors enjoy being around people and make excellent companion dogs for families with children, for single adults and for seniors. Labradors are active and playful and require a healthy outlet for their endless energy. The breed is not ideal as an apartment dog, although older, less energetic Labrador retrievers can comfortably live in an apartment as long as the dog gets enough exercise during the day. Labrador Retrievers are excellent swimmers. This dog enjoys playing fetch and is an excellent family pet choice for families with older kids. Labradors are ideal for country living and having a large yard can be a big plus for Labrador owners.

Labrador Retriever cons include the amount of exercise that this breed requires. High exercise needs of Labrador Retrievers make this breed not ideal for city life. Labradors love to eat and quickly gain weight with inadequate exercise. Mental stimulation is important for this initelligent breed. Labrador Retriever owners need to spend most of the time with the dog. Working people who are only around to spend some time with the dog in the evening after work should consider a different breed as Labradors are quite demanding in terms of attention, physical and mental stimulation and training. Labradors need to be properly trained and the owner needs to invest time and energy into a Labrador Retriever puppy to raise a well adjusted and well behaved dog. Early socialization is important for this breed. Although Labradors tend to get along with other dogs, some Labrador males can be dominant with other male dogs.

In the beginning of the 19th century, fishermen from the Canadian island Newfoundland brought the ancestors of Labrador retrievers to Great Britain. These dogs were excellent swimmers that helped the fishermen to bring out nets full of fish to the shore. In England this breed quickly became very popular. The name of the breed comes from the name of the "Labrador sea" in the area where this breed originated. The breed standard was established in 1887. Only black coat color was recognized as standard at that time. Much later, at the end of the 20th century yellow and then chocolate coat colors were added to the standard Labrador breed description.

Labrador Retriever size

Labrador retriever weight:
Labrador retriever male weight: 27 to 40 kg (60 to 88 lb)
Labrador retriever female weight: 27 to 35 kg (60 to 77 lb)

Labrador retriever size:
Labrador retriever male height: 56 to 63 cm (22 to 25 in)
Labrador retriever female height: 54 to 60 cm (21 to 24 in)

Labrador retriever coat: short, dense and straight
Labrador colors: black, chocolate and yellow

How many puppies do Labs have on average?
Labrador retriever litter size: 5 to 10 puppies

How long do Labs live?
Labrador retriever life span: 12 to 13 years

How much does a Labrador cost?
Labrador retriever price starts at $300 per puppy and upwards depending on many factors.

Labrador Retriever temperament

Labrador Retriever temperament

Main advantages of owning a Labrador include the dog's temperament. Labrador retriever has a calm, easygoing and stable temperament. Friendliness is considered to be the breed's standard. Are Labs good with kids? A great family dog that enjoys playing with children. Labrador retriever can easily adjust to either a small or a large family. Labrador retriever breed is not considered to be aggressive which makes it a good fit even for families with young kids. The sociable nature of Labrador retriever allows this dog to easily become friends with other pets in the household. Labrador Retriever temperament is very loyal to the owner/s. Labrador's friendly personality makes this dog a great companion for families with kids and for older people, who have the time and energy to dedicate to the dog. Sociable Labrador needs plenty of interaction with his human family. Do not get a Labrador retriever if you are planning to leave the dog alone for extended periods of time. Loneliness is the worst enemy for your Labrador retriever. Your companion dog may start chewing on furniture or on other items in the surroundings as a result of being left alone too long. In the worst case your Labrador may develop psychological issues due to lack of socialization.

Do Labs shed?

Yes, Labradors do shed. How much do Labs shed? Labrador Retrievers shed constantly and more abundant shedding happens twice a year. During the Lab's shedding season which happens twice a year - in the Spring and in the Fall, you will notice a lot of the dog's hair around your home. Labrador shedding can be managed by regular brushing to keep the dog's coat neat and your home clean. Heavy shedding can be a disadvantage of owning a Labrador, but with the right tools it is very manageable. Use a Bristle brush to remove loose hairs and help spread natural oils through the coat to keep it healthy. A slicker brush can help to gently brush the hair on the dog's face and legs, to separate the coat and let the dog's skin breathe.

Natural bristle brush
Slicker Brush

Furminator Deshedding Tool videos and reviews by Labrador owners
Labrador Retriever owners know that it is important to have the right tools for managing their Lab's shedding. Finding a brush that really helps to remove the dead hair off the dog means less cleaning and vacuuming is needed around the house and more time to spend with the wonderful companion dog. There are many different brushes and deshedding tools available and some are more effective than others.

Furminator is a deshedding tool that many Lab owners find very useful to manage the Lab's heavy shedding. Furminator videos below provide reviews of the Furminator deshedding tool by Lab owners.

Furminator for Labrador Retriever - video
Furminator Deshedding Tool for Labrador Retrievers video review

Furminator deshedding brush can help manage Labrador's heavy shedding. Brushing a Lab outdoors is a great idea as clean up is much easier.

Labrador retriever care

One of the pros of Labrador Retriever breed is that Labradors come in three distinct colors: black labs, chocolate labs and yellow labs. Regardless of the color of your lab, the dog's coat needs to be brushed regularly. Brushing your Lab's coat at least a couple of times per week is recommended. Labrador retriever's coat helps to protect the dog in colder climate and as a result the breed is not afraid of cold water. There is no need to bathe the dog frequently as the coat repels water and stays clean. This dog breed loves swimming and even diving. Whenever there's an opportunity to swim, your Labrador's natural desire to swim may be difficult to control. Letting your dog swim can be a reward during training. After your dog successfully follows your command and establishes eye contact with you - reward the dog by allowing him to swim. After a few minutes call your dog by the name so that he comes out of the water and immediately reward the dog to train the dog to get out of the water once called.

When bathing your Labrador, use a mild dog shampoo to keep his coat in best condition. Breed specific dog shampoo for Labradors is designed to keep Lab's coat fresh and beautiful.

Bathing the large dog may be cumbersome and a dog shower attachment can make bathing the dog easier.


From an early age get your Labrador Retriever accustomed to having his teeth brushed (only use toothpaste formulated for dogs). Brush the dog's teeth every day to prevent dental issues.

Trimming Lab's nails is an important part of grooming. If you notice that your pet's nails are too long - it may be painful for your dog to walk. Trim your Labrador's nails when you hear clicking sounds as the dog walks on a hardwood floor.

Labrador's ears also need to be cared for. Keep Lab's ears clean with special ear wipes for dogs and be sure to wipe the dog's ears with a clean, soft towel after each bath or after swimming to prevent ear infections.


Labrador retriever training

Owning a large breed such as the Labrador requires training the dog. Labradors have the advantage of being easy to train. Labrador is a very intelligent and obedient dog that prefers to be in the center of your attention. These dogs will try their best to understand your intentions and as a result Labradors are fairly easy to train. Labrador retriever is an energetic dog that needs a lot of space to run around. Be prepared to take at least two long walks every day to provide your active Labrador with enough physical activity. At around nine months of age your Labrador Retriever is ready to learn to retrieve. A well-trained Labrador retriever can retrieve an egg without breaking the shell. There's no need to go hunting with your Labrador retriever in order to follow the natural instinct of the breed. Training your dog to retrieve a throwing stick or any toy can be a very enjoyable activity for your Labrador retriever. Labrador retrievers are often used as guide dogs for the blind. The police is using the breed for narcotics/bomb searches. Keep in mind that Labrador retriever breed is not fit for personal protection because aggression is not one of the components in the nature of the breed.


Best dog food for labrador Retrievers

Labradors aren't picky with food. Be sure to feed your Labrador with high quality dog food. Do not overfeed the dog as Labradors tend to get overweight rather easily and this leads to all kinds of health issues. Human food is not recommended for Labradors as human food does not include all the necessary nutrients to keep your dog healthy and in good weight.


Labrador guide dog (seeing eye dogs)

Labradors are the breed used most often as guide dogs. Labrador guide dogs need to go through an extensive training program than enables these dogs to be the seeing eye dogs for blind people and for visually impaired. Before a dog can be employed as a guide dog, he/she needs to go through a special training and not every Labrador is fit for the job. Just like people, Labradors differ in their temperaments and usually labradors that are calm and willing to please are the ones that have a potential to be a guide dog. There are around one hundred guide dog schools around the world and these schools share the same goal, which is to provide a vision impaired person with independence through the use of a trained guide dog. Some guide dog schools even have a breeding programs, where they are able to produce puppies from their best guide dogs.

These puppies inherit the good qualities of their parents, such as temperament and physical qualities that make them the best of the best guiding dogs with the proper training. At birth most Labrador puppies weigh between 340 and 440 grams and about as long as an adult's hand. Puppies and their moms are cared for by the animal nurses. By week 4 the puppies begin eating dried food with the puppy meat and start drinking water. Puppies begin to develop their personalities during this week. It is important to start socializing the puppies with people and to let puppies start exploring their environment. By fifth week a number is tatooed on each puppy's ear and a tiny microchip is injected under the loose skin between the shoulders to identify the pup as a member of the guide dog community for its life. Each year the litters are listed in alphabetical order: A litter, B litter, up to Z. Every puppy has a name beginning with its litter's letter. Each dog gets a unique name. During weeks six to seven, the pups are fully weaned. The animal nurses take them out to explore and play in the grass. Puppies get soft toys to play with and are given rawhide strips to chew and help them with teething. Puppies are gently introduced to wearing a collar and walking on a leash. This is the time when puppies start getting their vaccinations to protect them from life-threatening diseases such as parovirus, distemper and hepatitis. Kennel cough vaccination is given later. At this time the puppy is ready to go and live with a puppy raisers for their first year.

Puppy raisers are people who are responsible for caring and socializing the Labrador puppy until the puppy is ready to live at the kennels. Puppy raisers must not leave the puppy alone more than three hours a day because as a guide dog he will live beside someone day and night. House training starts the moment the puppy arrives. Gradually it learns to relieve itself outside on the command "Quick, quicks!" which is important for its future work. Over the year the puppy raiser and the supervisor will help the puppy to get used to people and to noise. The dog needs to learn to be relaxed going to shops or any locations with a lot of people, and even when walking past dogs and cats in the street. Puppies are trained in quiet voice to listen for all their commands so they respond calmly and don't become anxious. Dogs are taught good manners and when offered food the dog should not start eating until the dog gets the "Eat" command. At one year old the puppy goes back to the centre to continue its training as a guide dog.

At the kennels the dog needs to adjust to a new way of life. Dogs are very well cared for, they spend a lot of time with other dogs and with trainers who train the dogs all of the basic obedience commands and much more. The dogs are kept in a very calm and peaceful environment. A veterinarian checks each dog's health and a veterinarian who specializes in animal opthalmology examines each dog's eyes to make sure they are perfect, because the guide dog is a seeing eye for its handler.

It takes one walk a day, five times a week for five months to train a guide dog. Trainers use a lot of praise as they train the future guide dogs. The dog is trained to climb different stairs and to be comfortable using all kinds of transportation. Avoiding obstacles is another important skill that the dog must learn. Many trainers say that the most difficult part of training is to train the dog to allow enough space for the handler and the dog to travel together. Height is especially difficult concept to train the dog, as the dog needs to understand how to avoid obstacles that may potentially be in the handler's way, for example a branch that is at the level of the handler's head needs to be avoided.

Seeing eye dogs also must learn how to safely cross the road and when not to cross roads. Dogs are taught "intelligent obedience" by following a command only when it is safe to follow. For example, if a handler wants to cross a road, and gives a "Forward!" command to the dog, the dog must not obey the command if there is a car coming and the situation is not safe for crossing the road. All of these various situations are addressed when trainers work with future guide dogs.

Only about half the young dogs pass the assessment to train as guide dogs. The ones that don't pass the test might work for a police bomb detection unit. Others may be offered back to their puppy raisers and a few are sold to new owners as pets and some become companion dogs for children or adults who have special needs. These dogs can be very helpful as pets-as-therapy dog. When you are getting a Labrador retriever puppy, keep in mind that the puppy should be at least two months of age. Find out if both parents of the puppy have a good health history. There are some genetic diseases associated with the Labrador retriever breed and your puppy has a better chance at good health when both of its parents have a good health history. If you get to meet the puppy's parents, pay attention to how friendly the parents are during the meeting. Friendliness is considered to be the breed's standard. Labrador puppies tend to bite and it is your responsibility to train the dog to not bite starting at young age. Provide your puppy with a toy that the dog can use to chew on as it may help to overcome the discomfort of teething. Once you bring the puppy home, remember that it is easier to teach your Labrador Retriever puppy good habits from the start than it is to correct bad behavior down the road. If you are not planning to let your adult Labrador to sleep in your bed then do not bring the puppy to your bed from the very start. Also if you want your dog to behave while you are having dinner then do not offer your puppy any food from the dining table during any meals so that you do not establish the habit of begging food. Remember to reward your dog for good behavior and do not encourage the behavior that you will need to correct later on. Also keep in mind that a young puppy will need to urinate every couple of hours and sometimes even more frequently. Be prepared to clean up often and remember that puppies tend to urinate after meals and after sleep. Bringing your dog to the area designated as your dog's toilet immediately after meals and after the puppy wakes up is a good idea. As soon as your puppy urinates in the designated area remember to praise your dog.


Learn as much as possible about Labrador Retriever breed info before you decide to get a Lab puppy. When you are ready to get a Labrador retriever puppy, choosing the right breeder is very important. A good breeder will explain how to properly care for your Labrador retriever puppy, and will provide you with all the important information about the breed. The breeder will care not only about the look of his dogs but also about the temperament and health of the dogs. See video below where a Labrador retriever breeder is providing some great information about selecting a Labrador retriever puppy from a litter and how to pick the right puppy for yourself.

Labrador retriever facts

Labrador retrievers are excellent jumpers thanks to their strong hind legs. This physiological advantage enables Labradors to make jumps up to 17 feet long!

Labrador retriever health issues:

Ear infections are common for dogs that dive and swim and if you notice any discomfort associated with the dog's ears immediately consult with your veterinarian.

Labrador retriever is a large breed with deep, narrow chest and as a result this breed is more at risk of developing bloat. Feed the Labrador Retriever twice a day and use slow feeder dog bowl to slow down a fast eater to minimize the chance for bloat to develop.


Hip and elbow dysplasia are also common for this large breed. Keep your Labrador retriever in healthy weight as obese dogs are prone to a number of diseases associated with extra weight. Older Labrador Retrievers enjoy sleeping in a comfortable orthopedic dog bed that allows the dog's body to distribute weight more evenly, thus helping to soothe the arthritic pain. A nice orthopedic dog bed with removable, washable cover is an investment that can last for years and will keep your dog comfortable and less inclined to take over your own furniture.


Labrador gifts

Labrador gifts can be grouped in three groups - black lab gifts, yellow lab gifts and chocolate lab gifts to make it easier to select the perfect gift for a labrador retriever owner.

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