Is a Labrador right for our family?

Choosing the right breed of dog to fit you and your family is a major decision. Ensuring your dog suits your lifestyle is imperative to a happy, long term home for your dog.

Temperament

Different breeds of dogs have different temperaments. Labradors are easy going, loving and need to be around their humans. If you are away from home for extended periods during the day a Labrador may not be the best fit for your family.

While Labradors are easily trained and intelligent, if bored they will create their own entertainment which may include destroying gardens, chewing shoes or barking which will soon upset the neighbours.

There are many doggy daycare facilities available which you may consider if your puppy will be left alone.

Energy Levels

Labradors are a high energy breed but also love to laze around. It is important a Labrador receives at least an hour per day of exercise to ensure they do not gain excessive weight- Labs are prone to obesity!

Puppies do not need this much exercise and should only be walked for short distances until they are 12 months old.

Due to Labradors being a highly intelligent breed they also need the mental stimulation of going for a walk and experiencing different sights, sounds and most importantly smells!

A Labrador is just as happy having a ball thrown for them to bring back to you- they are retrievers and will not tire of returning a stick or ball to you.

Size

Labradors are considered a large breed and can weigh around 35kg for a female and 40kg for a male. Their renowned 'otter' tails are thick, heavy and extremely active and can knock over a small child. It is difficult to manage a Labrador's wagging tail!

Shedding

A Labrador has a double coat; a layer of outer coat and an undercoat which is waterproof. Most articles I have read state a Labrador will shed twice a year. My vacuum cleaner begs to differ! Labradors shed all year round and have a surprising amount of fur. Twice a year they will 'blow their coat' and the shedding is excessive at these times.

Maintenance

Labradors don't require frequent bathing. In fact, washing a Lab too often will strip their coat of the nourishing oils their skin and fur requires to remain waterproof.

Labradors, like most dogs, do like to roll in all things stinky but a quick spray of deodoriser can sort that.

Regular brushing will assist to remove the dead coat and prevent shedding inside.

Health

Labradors are prone to obesity. They have extremely large appetites and coupled with their lovely brown 'feed me' eyes it can lead to over feeding and your Labrador becoming overweight. This can have a significant impact on their health, well-being and longevity.

Many of the health issues that affect Labradors can be eliminated or greatly reduced by ensuring they are feed an appropriate diet.

Labradors have been prone to Hip and Elbow dysplasia, reputable breeders have worked hard to reduce the incidence of dysplasia in Labradors. Registered breeders must ensure their breeding Labradors have undertaken x-ray and assessment of the hip and elbow joints which are then 'scored'. This assists breeders to identify possible issues in their breeding stock and to make informed decisions when selecting a mate.

The introduction of Genetic or DNA testing has enabled breeders to test and receive a full panel of results of possible hereditary diseases or traits their breeding Labradors may carry. This has reduced the incidence of many genetic diseases affecting Labradors in the past.

Conclusion

Labradors are the most popular pet dog in the world due to their happy, friendly and loving natures. With the right care a Labrador will live for 12-16 years. They are perfect for families due to their love of children and their placid natures.

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