You might be reading this article because might want to bring home a Labrador puppy or you might want to know more about the Labrador.
Actually, one of the most important things every dog parent should know is the suitability of the dog breed for their home and life. Raising a dog is a responsibility, it includes many things such as the cost of food, its medical expenses, the amount of time possible for you to spend with your dog, and many more things.
I wanted you to know that handling a small tiny breed dog and handling a 70 pounds Labrador is not the same. Both are different experiences and both have different challenges.
Here you need to know about Labradors. Labradors are very popular dogs that exhibit a combination of strength, balance, and gentleness. They are the best family dogs that shower your home with love and affection. Sometimes they even fill your house with their fur too.
Like every other dog breed, the Labrador retriever also comes with its pros and cons. There are some very good aspects associated with them and also some aspects that might not suit your family or your lifestyle.
This article explains to you everything regarding the Labrador pros and cons.
As a responsible owner to avoid issues with your Labrador, it is important to know all the pros and cons of Labradors before bringing one to your home.
Labrador pros and cons
First, let us talk about the pros which are all the wonderful things that happen to you when you bring home a Labrador.
Pros of a Labrador
1. Most loving and friendly
Are you craving some love? Or do you need a friend who could sit beside you all the time? Then a Labrador is the best choice. Labradors are very friendly breeds of dogs. They are sweet and always loving.
This is one of the main reasons for their popularity as family dogs and service dogs.
A Labrador will gaze at you with all love in their eyes and create an emotional connection with you and almost it becomes a part of your life. They even exhibit friendly behavior towards other people and maybe even with strangers.
2. Easy to train
This is one of the important factors that is needed to be considered if you are an amateur in dog training or if you are bringing home a new puppy for the first time.
Dog training is a very essential part of a dog’s life and it is not the same with every breed of dog. When we talk about Labradors, they are very responsive to training and learning all forms of commands.
Labradors naturally have the urge to please their owners and they are strongly motivated by appreciation and food.
You can motivate your Lab by giving him some treats or some appreciation and thus you can train him with new behaviors.
Their innate intelligence allows them to grasp your body language easily and training them can become an easy task for you.
If you are a true amateur and find it difficult to train your Lab, you could simply enroll in this best training program to train your Lab very well.
3. Soft mouth
Dogs usually bite. Many people say this and are afraid of this behavior. As they are animals, any kind of interaction is usually done by their mouth. But every dog breed does not use its mouth in a similar way.
Have you heard the word bite inhibition? or have you seen videos of dogs holding delicate objects such as eggs and balloons without damaging them? Yes, this is called soft mouth and Labradors have this trait. This trait is a very important social behavior and too important while leaving your dog with kids.
I sometimes allow my Labrador to use its mouth while playing. He tries to grab my hand using its mouth, but in a very delicate way, such that i do not get hurt. It has the capacity to moderate the strength of its bite and it is very crucial while playing rough with dogs. Especially when you leave your dog with children.
Its soft mouth makes them relatively safer when compared with other breeds of dogs.
4. Good temperament
One trait that makes a Labrador the best choice for a family or social life is its temperament. Labradors are mostly outgoing and friendly in nature.
They are happy to spend time with people and usually peaceful with other animals. Even when a stranger enters your house, do not be shocked f your Lab welcomes him and starts playing with him.
You might have seen videos of small kids playing with Labradors by pulling their ears, hugging them, and kissing them. Even in such cases Labradors are not easily annoyed or provoked.
They have a very good level of tolerance. Although this is not the same case with every Labrador, Labradors are usually considered safe and less likely to make any accidents.
5. Wonderful mood booster
When you have a bad day or when you feel lonely, your Labrador’s loving eyes and wagging tail could instantly lift up your mood.
Whenever i feel low, i don’t know how my Lab understands me, but it comes beside me keeping its head on my lap. That soothing behavior immediately sets my mood right.
Labradors have an enthusiastic attitude toward life, and their cheerful attitude will certainly have a positive impact on you.
Labrador retrievers are generally sweet and happy most of the time. They connect with humans on an emotional level, which is why they are so effective as support dogs. You are almost guaranteed a smile every day when you share your home with a Labrador.
Now, Cons of a Labrador
Although these Labs are wonderful, they even come with some cons. Sometimes when managed improperly, your Labrador could make your life messy.
One of the first issues that i wanted to tell you when you bring home a Labrador is dealing with shedding. Yes, Labradors are angels of love but with a lot of furs.
Life with a Labrador could truly become a little messy when not managed properly. For example, you could find its fur everywhere, on the bed, on the sofa, and even sometimes even in your food.
Because of their double coats, in spite of shorter coats, they shed a lot and this can surely be an issue. Have a look at the article on Labrador shedding to get a brief idea about it.
If you want to bring home a Labrador, It is always essential to invest your time in a proper grooming schedule. You should also invest in a grooming brush and a good vacuum cleaner to keep your surroundings clean.
Do you know that Labradors are one of the smelliest breeds? Yes, It is called the Labrador smell. And trust me, a Labrador stinks when left without bathing for long periods.
Although all breeds of dogs have their distinctive smell, Labs have a strong smell which could be because of their oily double coat.
After living many years with my Labs, because of the daily exposure, i usually do not feel any Labrador smell. But when some guests visit my home, they would immediately ask me about the Labrador smell.
Hence regular bathing and coat maintenance are essential if your want to avoid the strong Labrador smell in your house. Have a look at this article to get an idea regarding how often should you bathe a Labrador.
3. Do not expect a guard dog
When you bring home a Labrador, it plays with you, your family, your neighbors, even strangers, maybe even burglars. Again, do not get shocked if see your Lab trying to play with some stranger or even an intruder.
Although this is usual with Labradors, it is not the case with every Lab, For example, my Labrador gets alert and barks whenever some new person visits my house. Usually a “woof”. A small bark.
But in general, Labradors never work as perfect guard dogs when compared with other breeds. Because of their unaggressive nature inherited from their ancestors which were trained to retrieve things, Labradors are unsuitable as guard dogs.
4. Excess energy and need lot of exercise
Labradors are a highly exuberant and energetic breed of dogs. Your energy could never match the energy of a Labrador puppy. Even your Labrador grows into an adult, it still remains youthful and active till it reaches at least 4 or 5 years of age.
So, if you are a sedentary person who likes to watch tv and chill, a Labrador might not be a suitable one for you.
Simple walks or basic physical and mental stimulation may not be sufficient for your Labrador. It requires long walks, a good amount of exercise, and good mental stimulation. Your Lab will enjoy all kinds of activities such as walks, jogging, outdoor activities, swimming activities, etc.
5. Health issues and life span
One of the sad things about Labradors is its average lifespan. Although better than the larger and giant breeds of dogs, it is still less than the small breed of dogs that could live for even 20 years.
In general, your loving Labrador could not stay with you for more than 10 to 12 years approximately.
Although being a healthy dog breed, but still Labradors are prone to certain health issues.
Like other large-chested dogs, there can be a risk of bloat in Labradors. Labradors are also at the risk of developing health issues like hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, and some other inherited ones.
Your Lab might have a much shorter life span without required care. This includes care with respect to health, diet, and exercise.
These are all the major pros and cons of having a Labrador. Like every other breed even Labs come with some issues and some advantages.
All the labrador retriever pros and cons which are mentioned above may not be relevant for everyone.
For example, the issue of smell that comes with Labradors is not at all a problem for me, but for some, it might be a problem.
Hence as a responsible owner, go through all the pros and cons of owning a Labrador before bringing home a little one.
- McGreevy, Labrador retrievers under primary veterinary care in the UK, Canine Genet Epidemiol (2018).