Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers

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Breed Notes:

The exact origin and ancestry of the Labrador Retriever is uncertain but during the 1800s they were employed by boatsmen in Newfoundland to retrieve fish nets from the ice waters. They were introduced to Great Britain where they were employed as gundogs and retrievers. Due to a heavy dog tax, the breed died out in Newfoundland but was continued in Great Britain. They were first recognized the by the Kennel Club of Great Britain in 1903 and by the American Kennel Club in 1917.
The Labrador Retriever is known for its intelligence, warm affection for man, field dexterity and undying devotion to any task. They have a very gentle temperament. Besides being excellent gundogs, they are often used as guide dogs for the blind. drug sniffing for the police, and for search and rescue work.
The Labrador is a strongly built, short-coupled, active dog. The skull is wide with a slight indentation between the eyes (the stop). The bite is level. The ears are set rather far back on the skull and low. They hang moderately close to the head. The eyes are preferably brown or black. The tail is otter-like with a thick base and gradual tapering to the tip. The legs are straight and powerful and the hindquarters are especially strong and well-developed. The feet are compact with well-arched toes. The coat is a double coat that is close, short and dense. It is waterproof, thus sheds water well. It is short and dense over the entire body and tail. Acceptable coat colors include black, chocolate (from light sedge to chocolate) and yellow (from light cream to red fox). The average height is between 21-1/2 inches and 24-1.2 inches at the withers while the average weight is between 55 and 75 pounds.

Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:

Good-natured, highly trainable, adorable and HYPER.
My husband and I recently adopted a yellow Lab from our local dog pound. He's a wonderful dog. His good nature quickly endears him to everyone he meets, whether they are close family members coming for a long visit or the UPS man dropping off a package. He's really smart and has had no trouble picking up any of the commands we've been learning in obedience school. He's always cheerful and has a number of adorable mannerisms, and he doesn't dig or bark (much). He's also (with training) turning into a really good retriever.
The main downside to owning a Lab is their energy level. This is not a dog I would recommend for a sedentary household. Ours requires daily exercise in the form of a long walk (the more strenuous the better), an hour or so of fetch in the yard, or a play date with another dog. When he doesn't get enough exercise, he can be bored and restless in the evenings, barking, climbing on people, and chewing on things he shouldn't be chewing on.
I think, in general, Labs make terrific pets. I wouldn't trade mine for the world. Before getting one, though, I would recommend thinking hard about whether you have the time and energy to handle a Lab, because they definitely aren't the kind of dog that is satisfied dozing at your feet all day.

Name withheld by request of Sri Lanka writes:

The most human dog I know.
Back in 1989, when my mother decided that it was about time that my sister and I had a dog, a Labrador was her obvious choice, having grown up with this breed. That pup is going on fourteen today, and now though considerably slower, is still an essential part of the family. This breed makes your business its business. She has kept us company when we used to study into the night, kept a watchful eye whenever someone was alone at home, and has simply been a great companion. Not once has she lost her temper with any member of the family. Even today she has to be in the room where all the conversation is. One thing is for sure, once you have a Lab you'll never be satisfied with any other breed; the intelligence, reliability and comradeship is unmatched.

Name withheld by request of Oregon writes:

A loving dog with plenty of puppy drive and enthusiasm &shyp; but good breeders and training are a must.
I currently have four sweet black Labradors. These dogs are kind, lovable, and quite cuddly. I highly reccomend this breed, but there are some things you need to know about Labs before you consider buying them.
First of all, a good breeder is a must. Labs are currently the #1 most popular dog in America, and with such a title come many abusive or careless breeders. A careless breeder can mean an unstable dog. The dog may be aggressive or have other problems. If you are searching for a Lab, try to contact the breeder to get an idea if their dogs will be sound or not.
Labs are usually easy to train, but can sometimes act stubborn or a little blunt. This does NOT mean they aren't smart. If your Lab acts this way, it could be a sign that they are bored, or that they are trying to be "top dog" over you. If they are trying to be top dog, you should make sure they know you're boss &shyp; either by tapping them &shyp; not HITTING &shyp; on the lower end of their back next to their tail, or pinching them SOFTLY. Also, if a Lab acts needy and butts up against you a lot, or puts their paw up onto your lap, don't be fooled. It's the dog's way of trying to be dominant. Don't respond with any petting; tell the dog to go lie down on his/her bed. If you pet the dog, he/she will think you are being submissive, and that they are the top dog.
If you get a puppy and it is chewing up your possessions, it could mean that it doesn't have enough toys to play with. Make sure you get your Lab lots of toys, they love 'em! If you get a Lab puppy and it is unusually nippy, this could be because it was too young to have been sold. If a puppy is taken away from its littermates too soon, it will not know about pain, or not to bite when it feels like it. Always get a Lab that is seven months or older.
One more thing: there are field Labs, and show Labs. Field Labs tend to have longer faces, and longer ears, and are Labs that are bred to excel at hunting sports. Show Labs tend to be stalkier, and their faces are more round. They are bred for the show ring. Either of these is a wonderful family pet, and are worth their weight in gold as far as freindship goes! But if you aren't looking to have a competitive Lab, I suggest the show Labs; they are calm, and won't jump around nearly as much as the field ones.
Even though I have stated the downsides of Labs as well as the good, don't get me wrong ... they are darlings. That's why I rated the breed five stars! of Valley Springs, CA writes:

My two female Labradors are my kids.
My grown daughter says, "Mom, you love those dogs more than you love me," joking. Yes, my two female Labs are my children. We call them our girls. I would recommend a Labrador Retriever over any breed, and I have had many growing up. I brought home our first black female Lab from a breeder when she was eight weeks old. My husband was not too happy, I had been telling him I wanted to get a puppy and he didn't want one at the time. Needless to say she won his heart in a second and was an instant part of the family. Easily trained I took her through obedience school. She's amazing, follows all the commands and knows to go directly to her bed in the living room or bedroom. We don't give our dogs free reign of the house that is our only rule. Our family and friends love her. She will stand next to even the youngest of our nieces and nephews or friends' kids knowing that if she moved in the slightest she could knock them down, very protective and willing to do anything for you. They love to play, play, play. We love every minute with our girls. I swear they are human. Intelligent, caring and loving. How can you resist when they look at you with those beautiful eyes? You truly feel as if they can read your mind, understand everything you say and love you unconditionally. Labs are the best! of California writes:

Sweet, loving, happy in general.
I have a yellow Lab. We got her as a guide dog puppy in training. She would have passed, except that she had juvenile cataracts. I know she is a smart dog. Her only problems are medical ... epilepsy, and a small bladder. Other than that, she is a great dog, one of the most loving I've ever had. These dogs are GREAT with children, very tolerant. She is very loyal, following me all over the house. In the morning when she first sees me, she gets so excited she runs around the kitchen! Good dogs, and very beautiful. of Minneapolis, MN writes:

Best dog ever.
I just bought my second Lab today. Our first fell ill two weeks ago and after eleven years in which we had two children born we had to put her down. The whole family was crushed. That dog was super with our kids. She took a lot of poking and tail-pulling, yet she never once lost her gentle personality. She was great! They do need to be well trained &shyp; that is the key to being happy with any dog.

Name withheld by request of Tampa, FL writes:

The greatest breed that ever lived.
My family has owned Labs since I was born. I currently own a black Lab mix, and he is wonderful. He is a HEAVY chewer, and must be monitored with any toy that is easier to tear than a lead pipe, but he is comical, lively, sweet, loyal, protective but not aggressive, friendly, happy ... I could go on for days with his positive attributes. Granted, he has had his setbacks, (barking, whining, chewing things that were not his to chew, trying to get into EVERYTHING) but these were due to a lack of training, which is what most people see as a fault in the breed. This is a fault in the OWNER. Negative behaviors, (with certain exceptions, such as aggressiveness, or dislike of children/cats/etc.) can be corrected with training. Don't fault the dog for their person's errors!
In addition, my family's Labs have always picked up unbelievably quickly on training. I even taught my male "manners" (sitting to say please, shaking to say thank you, letting people go through a door first, which is my personal favorite). They read people like no other. He is happy when I am happy, sad when I am sad.
We have owned other dogs, in addition to the Labs, and members of our extended family have owned dogs other than Labs, but none come close to the trainability, friendliness, loyalty, and laid-back nature of the Labrodor Retriever. I plan to have other dogs in addition to Labs, and explore other breeds, but I won't ever be without the joy of a Lab in my life. of Egypt writes:

The best friend in the world.
I have had my black Lab for seven years. We play, swim and sit all the time together. He is very beloved by all who meet him. I consider him a friend. He is extremely clean all of the time. He never has a doggy smell or bad habits. I believe one who has a Lab is a very lucky person to have a friend.

Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:

Good dogs in their home environments.
I work in a boarding kennel, vet clinic and grooming shop. Every single Lab I have ever met in a home setting has been the most great, laid-back but still energetic dog in the universe. At the vet, they are so happy to see the vet and the techs and getting cookies and treats that you could give them 90 shots and the only thing that moves is the tail. "Oh boy! Oh boy! A shot! I LOVE shots! ... Hey, are you gonna eat that cookie?" You get the idea. But stick a Lab in a kennel and they morph from great dogs into complete idiots. Spilling food and water, peeing everywhere, barking and jumping nonstop (and, I DO MEAN NONSTOP), flying out of the cages and knocking people over. (I'm saying this from seeing literally hundreds of Labs acting the same way in a kennel, so it's not "this one dog sucks so therefore all Labs are stupid all the time."
If you're going on vacation, PLEASE for the love of your dog find someone in a home setting to take care of your Lab! It goes the same way in the grooming shop. Every little thing excites them and they don't sit still, drag the groomers across the floor and generally make everyone dislike the breed.
Fortunately I still have the good ones who I see in their homes and the ones who are great at the vet. I'm conflicted about this breed!

Name withheld by request of Kingston, Ontario writes:

Labs are fantastic, but they love to eat!
I've had a dog in my family all my life and I have been living with a black Lab for a year and a half. I have been very involved with his training and he is intelligent and extremely willing to please. He is super friendly to everyone, but is very submissive, maybe a result of poor breeding practices. Labs love to eat! They have a tendency for obesity, so be careful how much and what you feed them. Despite our best efforts (our dog knows at least a dozen commands), he cannot help but get into the garbage and will, if not checked constantly, eat anything remotely edible on the street (wrappers, lotion, Kleenex, lasagna), or in your home. In fact, our dog will eat until he throws up and he will eat that, and keep eating. He will also drink until he urinates in his sleep. I've heard this kind of gluttony is typical of Labs from many Lab owners including vets. They are the perfect family dog and I highly recommend their friendship and love. of Rhode Island writes:

Active and fun-loving, but in my experience not too bright.
I had a black Labrador Retriever that was very fun-loving and playful and overall friendly. However in my experience it was very hard to train him and he seemed a little unintelligent. I also have a friend who has a yellow Labrador Retriever who was also hard to train. I've heard from others that this dog is very easy to train and perhaps it was because we didn't train him right away as a puppy. of Los Angeles, CA writes:

The best person I ever knew, but they'll break your heart.
My beloved chocolate died recently of cancer. He was the most special and wonderful friend, companion, brother, son, buddy, person I ever knew. The sad part is we know that we will lose them, the saddest part is it appears that cancer among other ever increasing critical health problems is plaguing this most special of creatures. My Lab was a perfect small condo companion, who loved his food, and walks, and trips to the pond. He travelled the world with me. Don't buy a Lab if you are the kind of person who views a Lab as some dog to be stuck in a kennel or yard. If you want them to express their fullest potential treat them like the people they are and believe it or not, you will end up with a human, only a non-selfish one. of the U.S. writes:

Labs are great.
They will play, play, play and never stop until you do. My mom used to tell me to go wear the dog down but when I would come in I would be so tired and my Lab would be ready to go again. I have only had one, but one is enough to know that Labs are great!

Name withheld by request of Ohio writes:

Sweet but extremely troublesome.
We got two Lab puppies in April. They very loving and are quick learners. But they get distracted by everything. They also destroy things. We buy each of them bones and they eat them in a couple of weeks. One time we left them alone in our bathroom for two hours and they chewed through our wall. They are very energetic. So much so that when they start playing they run into walls, furniture, and us! My mom did teach them how to shake in a couple of minutes and they are obedient when they want to be. of Middle Amana, IA writes:

Labs are great family dogs.
Labs are great because they work well with children. They are protective, but once you become close to the dog, they are your best friend and only work in the best interests of the owner. of Los Angeles, CA writes:

A great family dog.
I have a Lab who is a fourteen months old. He is always willing to play fetch, swim, or learn. We could play fetch for hours at a time and he'll never get tired until I go in the house. I love this dog a lot. of Alaska writes:

Best all-around family dog.
Labs are friendly, loyal, loving, smart, easy to train. They are versatile in the areas of workability.

Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:

Wonderful pets.
We got our Labrador a year and a half ago. Since then she has stolen the hearts of everyone she meets. But she's really taken over my heart. She's my best friend and buddy. She stays right by my side when I'm at home.I would be lost with her.We have had other dogs in the past but never a Lab. Since we've gotten her we have fallen in love with Labs and would definitely get another. She's the best dog we've ever had, I love her to death. I wouldn't trade her for any other dog in the world. Words cannot describe just how much I appreciate and love my Labrador Retriever.

Name withheld by request of South Africa writes:

A wonderfully obedient and loving dog.
Our golden Labrador Retriever is the most fantastic dog we have ever owned. He was a breeze to train and always wants to please so he is extremely obedient. Full of energy and life, he loves going on his daily walks and catches the ball until he falls down from exhaustion. A very loving dog, he is a wonderful companion who thinks he is a lap dog and will try to climb on your lap at any available opportunity. He joins in the conversation and loves it when kids come to play as he is a tireless playmate. We have never worried that he might snap at any children, he sits back and enjoys the tail pulling with a slobbery kiss. Although extremely friendly he does watch out for strangers and warns somebody lurking around that he won't take kindly to intruders. (What he thinks HE is going to do, we don't know!) To sum up this dog in a few short lines is an impossible task. We love him as we love our own child, we always refer to him as our firstborn. He is a dog in a million.
A dog like this is a people-dog and needs a lot of love and attention. If you are considering a Labbie, make sure you are going to be a dedicated dog owner or he may display destructive behaviour in order to get attention. e.g. digging, chewing, barking. writes:

Wonderful, affectionate, happy dogs.
We have a four-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever. She has been a wonderful addition to our family. She has brought us lots of joy and especially laughs. Our Labrador loves people &shyp; everyone including strangers. If you talk to her, she is very happy and wags her tail constantly. She was easy to house-train and crate train. She loves to chase the Frisbee and go for walks. of Indiana writes:

The breed that made dog man's best friend!
I have yet to come across a breed that I enjoy and admire more than the Labrador Retriever. I have raised one male, which was the most loving, loyal, and intelligent dog I have ever encountered. We recently had to put him down due to old age and I felt as though I had lost a child. He was always willing to please, and we never had a problem, except for his bottomless stomach! I now have another male puppy. He is nine weeks old, and already has learned to sit, stay and speak. He is eager to learn, and greets us with a kiss and wagging tale every day. This breed is perfect for the whole family. Not only are they great with children, but are perfect as a cuddling companion, or hunter. I would never think of raising anything except a Labrador!

Name withheld by request of Burdett, NY writes on 8/8/01"

People-oriented, needy and loving - easy if you understand them.
I've owned Labs for14 years. I've had up to 13 adults at one time plus puppies. I find Labs to be a great joy and mine are the essence of my life; but they are not for everyone. I think many problems stem from people who do not understand them and/or are just a bad personality match. The Labs I've known are soft temperamented, easy to train, and very easy to life with. I would rate them as "very needy" compared to other breeds. They crave attention and want to be with their people ALL THE TIME. They want to touch you and sit by you and go with you where ever you go. If you don't want or like that, then do not get a Lab. They are extremely easy to train if you make it fun for them. Make it easy to succeed. Show them what to do and they WILL do it. They will do anything for you. It's important to them to succeed; their feelings are easily hurt. If they fail they are liable to go one of two ways - hyper with stress, which many people read as just hyper. Really the dog is stressed out and can't figure out what to do to make you happy. They get more hyper and so does the person... no good. Or they go brain-dead/catatonic. Also no good. You have to train a Lab, they need and want it, that's part of their "undivided personal-attention time". So don't get one if you don't have the time. But train them with positive reinforcement (Clicker training is great!) and it will be like falling off a log, it's so easy. Be patient and have fun. Heavy hands and "speedy gadgets" won't give you the companion you are looking for -- but I'm talking about companion dogs. If you want a kennel dog to take out to work for you from time to time, don't get a Lab. You will break their heart - there are other breeds much less needy. of Las Vegas, NV writes on 4/21/01:

After a trying puppy stage, you have a companion for life.
When our twins were 3 years old and we were settled into our new house, my wife wanted a dog. We got a Lab. Being the appointed dog expert by my wife, I selected the biggest, most alert and active of all the male pups at 4 weeks of age. One month later I brought my pick home to meet the rest of the family.
The twins loved it and it was an instant member of our family. Then came housebreaking and training. Labrador pups are a handful, needing constant care and a watchful eye. My wife was unprepared for the first year of our pup's development. The chewing of the furniture, clothes, shoes, etc., etc. were wearing thin on my wife. Wearing so thin that she suggested getting rid ( TO THE POUND! )of our new puppy. She just could not take the antics and behavior of the pup.
Seeing that a family meeting was radically needed. I called a meeting with the black lab pup was that main topic ( only topic ) of discussion. After much convincing we decided that we needed to focus more on the training and care of our young pup.
Once the the goals were set and training underway, our Lab has turned into my wife's shadow. And to this day she will deny any thoughts of getting rid of our Lab. Our Lab is still a puppy at heart (only weighs 100 lbs.), but is a true part of our family. He faithfully watches our twins (now 8 years old) wherever they may be. Also like clockwork, he will check the twins, my wife and myself every night to see if we are breathing. No joke, he will go from bed to bed and check on all of us (documented by my wife and myself many times) before going back to sleep, every single night. He and my wife are inseperable.
If you have never owned a Lab like myself before - it only takes one time. Can't think of owning any other breed. And if you own a Lab you know what I'm saying. The more attention given to your Lab the greater return you'll see as a guardian of your children, friend, companion and pet. of Providence, RI writes on 2/27/01:

The best dogs.
We have had two Labrador Retrievers and I truly believe they are the most wonderful dogs in the world. Our first Lab helped us raise our children, kept us from ever feeling blue or unloved and behaved without exception like the honest gentlemen he was. The second Lab is keeping us company now that our kids have grown up and left home. We got him from a very conscientious breeder who checked us and our intentions out - she knew we would use him for hunting and that we knew his exercise and general health requirements. He has been a joy since the day we picked him up, at eight weeks.. He is now two years old, still chewing but much better about leaving our shoes alone ( I lost three pairs of those expensive Dansko clogs the first year!) and is content to chew the rubber toys I buy him at the pet store. He loves the hunting, retrieves the duck willingly and with pride, doesn't mind gun noise a bit and is also happy to sit in the car while I do grocery shopping. He currently weighs 75 lbs, perfect, the vet says, and so far, no real problems other than the odd grass allergy. We switched him to a premium brand dog food and that went away. He does get lots of walk time, almost two hours most days. With plenty of exercise he just sacks out at home.

Name withheld by request of Cincinnati, OH writes on 2/26/01:

Sweet, but overrated!
I owned lovely black Lab for eleven years, as have my sisters. I find the breed to be sweet, easy-going, highly trainable, and puppyish until old age. We never found our Labs to be hyper - a daily walk with play and/or training is all they need. While I think they are sweet and good with children, they are NEEDY! If you are in the room with it, it must be petted and loved at all times - otherwise you will get a heavy paw plopped in your lap! More troublesome are their eating habits - they will eat anything that is not nailed down. This makes them incredible beggars, and prone to obesity. We had friends who bred and raised labs, and one of theirs got into the food and gorged herself until she couldn't move! Beware of these issues if you get one. You can't leave anything out on the counters or in the trash, and you can't feed them anything but dog food or they will beg and gain weight. Also, they are not as spunky and interesting as some other breeds. They will not entertain you with their funny, quirky antics - they are sweet and plodding. I thought mine was a good, sweet, all-around dog, but so were my two mutts I picked up from the pound. of Derby, NY writes on 12/29/00:

Overbred and truly underappreciated.
Having Labs in our family since 1953 or 1954, I have had a number of them roll through my home. They have filled my life with joy and ultimately heartache as I have had to say goodbye. This is definately not a breed for just anybody. True they are great with kids, but they require a great amount of training as they are usually much smarter than their families. There are usually two years of necessary vigilance required as they are sporting dogs meant to retrieve. That means they like to have things in their mouths at all times and they are not too concerned about the dofferentiation among their toys, your shoes, chair rungs or birds. "This too shall pass" if you are consistant. Your time must be available to them. They are cute jumping up at 8 weeks but they are overwhelming jumping up at 80 pounds.
They have been my protectors, companions, confidantes and my friends when the two legged varieties have been too busy. They are as comfortable curled up on my bed as they are in front of the fireplace as they are in the duck blind and I have enjoyed them in all those places and more.
If one wants an honest obedience dog, this is the one. They rarely have such a great lack of intelligence that they are happy being the little wind up automoton. They will be more than respectable on their scores, without looking as though a string is attached to their head as they glare at their owners face during the heel. They are interested in the world around them and have to make sure that it is safe for their person to be going where they are headed.
I say they are underappreciated because if the people who are doing the majority of breeding really loved the Lab for its qualities they would be more concerned about the genetic disorders, the purpose for which they were originally bred and certainly for the numbers that are registered annually with the AKC (@125,000 per year).
The breed has developed into one that looks more like a Rottweiler and the temperaments may soon be lost as well. The "style of the day" has enjoyed great success in the show ring but the results of the overbred, overweight, overboned dog has or will result in shortening their lifespan, their ability to be an upland and water dog and perhaps destroying all the qualities that are and have been the joy to so many families since the early 1900's.
As a breeder I have probably bred my last litter as of this past year due to the overglut and the uncertainty of lines, where people are less than honest or less than knowledgable regarding health disorders, in an effort to make money or win glory in the show ring.
There are so many things to say about this breed, their clean athletic looks, their kind and intelligent temperaments, their unequalled sense of humor, their ability to bond with any kind soul, their honesty and their unequalled trainability as well as their unequalled ability to train their people that I can't find the words at this time to praise them enough. Perhaps that is why there are so many published books about them.
In conclusion if you are lucky enough to find an honest breeder and be owned by one of these grand friends, count your blessings and pass them on to others. of Oklahoma City, OK writes on 12/6/00:

Beautiful, faithful, smart and all around good dogs!
The first dog I had was a Labrador. She was always the first one in the water when we took her to the lake and we could direct her to the ball if she got a little off course. Of course, when she came into heat, she really came into heat. we once had a male chew through the garage door just to get to her. We just bought a new Lab and I, at the age of 15, am responisble for feeding her, training her and reprimanding her. She was a horrible chewer but that was broken with providing for things for her to chew. she loves to lick, even through the hot sauce and the such but she learned pretty fast what happens if you lick the wrong thing. The only thing I can't break her of is jumping, though I know that she will. We have seen signs of her not being able to see as well as expected but her hearing is quite unique. I love my Lab and i know you will too. of Ontario, Canada writes on 7/2/00:

A most loving,docile companion.
The first black lab we got when hubby had to work out of town. She became our child and through the years she gave all her love and devotion to us. At age 13+ she had to be put to sleep with severe hip problems but had lived a good life with us and our parents down the street. Three weeks was too long without a dog so a new dog came into our life - yes another black lab. Could we say smarter than the first? Who knows but again so loving and giving of herself. For 10 years she was again our "gal" until cancer took her from us. Now we've been blessed with a yellow labrador. I don't know about blondes! - this poor gal was kept in a cage in the basement of her former owner's residence for her first 1 and a half years..we truly believe she is not overly intelligent but she is our gal and we love her dearly. She is another blessing to us although we cannot find what she is alergic to and she constantly scratches and bites. Even tried Gold Bond Medicated Powder (which by the way works as well as the over the counter sprays!

Name withheld by request of Califronia writes on 6/16/00:

Sweet but sickly.
My family has owned a Chocolate Labrador Retriever for eight years. Our darling dog has been a joy to have! She is remarkably clever and has an incredibly sweet disposition. However, because of overbreeding of Labradors, she has a variety of genetic problems. She has horrendous allergies. She is allergic to everything indoors and outdoors, and as a result she constantly suffers from a rash all over her body. She itches all of the time and is on constant medications. She must take cortizone, prednizone, and a variety of other medicines each day. These medicines make her more thirsty and hungry than she would otherwise be. She needs enormous amounts of water. Worse than that, she has fought cancer all of her life. When she was three, a tumor was discovered on the digit of her front left paw. A tiny sliver of the digit was removed, and afterward she seemed fine. A few years later, the cancer returned in the same place. She now has only three digits on that paw. About four months ago, she as diagnosed with lung cancer. There are presently two very large tumors in her chest, and she is dying. She is in an incredible amount of pain, and it hurts all of us to see her like this. We have decided to put her down when she is no longer able to eat. She has been hanging on to life but is not expected to live through this month. Labradors are wonderful family pets, but the overbreeding has caused immence genetic problems. The only way for this to stop is for the demand for the breed to go down. I love her with all of my heart, but I would not recommend that anyone buy a Labrador Retriever for his or her family. Not unless he or she wishes for his or her dog to die years ahead of time.

Name withheld by request of New England writes on 4/16/00:

The best breed of all, but be prepared.
We currently share our home with a 5-year-old neutered black male Lab we purchased from a breeder when he was 7 1/2 weeks old. Best thing we ever did. We've just now started contacting breeders about acquiring another Lab puppy next spring. Before we got our first guy, we spent two years reading about different breeds, and about raising a puppy. I'd suggest that anyone interested in a Lab read a good training book BEFORE bringing the pup home so you'll know how to handle the problems of adolescence. Seamus is our first dog, and we had him housebroken within 2 weeks (with crate training). Chewing was a problem for a very short period when he was a pup, but dogproofing the house and providing plenty of chew toys helped stop that habit. Labs need a lot of love and attention, and plenty of exercise. Without the latter, they can end up hyper and fat. Long walks and jogs are the answer. Also, seek the help of a reliable trainer who uses positive training techniqu
s. Labs need a job of some sort, like carrying in the paper, to help them mature. Shedding fur can be handled by brushing the coat three or four times weekly and feeding a well-balanced food with vitamin supplements. If you want to ensure a well-bred Lab, go to a reliable breeder who will let you meet the dog's mother and father, and will put you in touch with other owners she's sold to. Well-bred Labs are eager to please, very bright, willing to learn, and loving. They can turn "on" instantly, but also know when to settle down. They'll give you everything they have, but you have to keep up your end of the bargain _ do the research and be ready for what comes along. Adolescence can be frustrating, and it can take them a good two years to mature. Give them time, be patient, and don't give up - you'll be rewarded with years of loving companionship.

Name withheld by request writes on 5/18/00:

Sweet, loving, and LOUD.
As I type this my Lab is barking, probably at a squirrel. He is very sweet and craves attention. He can also be a pest - he jumps on people when they come into our house and insists on be pet. His loud bark can be heard down the block! He loves to eat more than exercise and as a result is 10 lbs. overweight. Excellent with children. Be warned- this is a dog that should not be left alone all day and must have a big yard. They eat EVERYTHING. Mine try to eat a brick! We love him and he is the sweetest breed I have ever had, but a bit too big.

Name withheld by request of Massacusetts writes on 4/26/00:

The ideal companion.
I have worked with many dogs over the years while being employed as a Veterinary technician. During the course of these years, I've discovered that Labs are the most wonderful breed of dog. They have fine qualities that place them at the top of my list. I'll list them as follows (in no particular order)-loyalty, companionship, intelligence, high-spiritedness, good-natured, durable, friendly, and attractive! I recently lost my boy of 12 years. He was a wonderful dog with all of those traits. I miss him so. I will eventually look for another to befriend. You can't beat this breed! of Indiana writes on 4/17/00:

Loveable, intelligent, versatile and easy to live with.
Labrador Retrivers are well rounded, easy to live and have the highest desire to PLEASE. In the field, show ring, in service or just at home playing with the family, the Labrador Retriever is "First in Class". They require very minimal grooming and are easy to train and enjoy year round. Give this fine animal a job (obedience, agiility, tracking, hunting, showing, therapy) and you'll have a trusted and loyal life-long companion! Great with kids at ANY AGE! They seem to relate to everyone they meet and have an instant rapport. They are strong, yet gentle! Intelligent yet non-hyper! The perfect companion!

ciera@wcnet.cet of Wharton, TX writes on 4/13/00:

A wonderful breed.
We have owned Labs for twenty years now and I can't think of another breed that I would want,t hey are loving animals who give so much and ask so little in return. We have had to put three of our friends to sleep and I still cry when I think of them. One was our champion male who taught us so much I know we will never be able to replace him , but we now have a beautiful black female that I am showing and she is a love. Labs are loving to all who meet them and adore children. The best breed ever. of North Dakota writes on 4/2/00:

Second to none.
I have had a Lab ever since I can remember. My house will never be a home without a Lab in it. I will never be without this wonderful breed. There isn't another breed that even comes close to the good-natured, loving, and loyal hearted Lab. Labs are excellent with children of all ages. They will be there for you when no one else will. They are very active, expecially as a puppy. That is why it is so important that you begin training your Lab right away. They are super smart, which makes training fun. Labs aren't hard to exercise. As long as you have 15 minutes and a tennis ball. My Lab will play fetch all day if you let her. Another thing I love about this breed, is that they want to be part of the family. They are the type of dog that wants to be right there next to you. Labs are a breed that were bred to serve. And that's exactly what they do. You have to be very careful when you are looking to buy a Lab, though. Labs are the #1 breed in America, so many people have bred Labs just to make money. They don't care about the breed at all. That's why it is so important to look into the
breeders before you buy. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and make sure you look at the parents first. Please don't buy the first one you see just because they are cheap. Cheaper, in this case, does not mean better. Look for people that have been breeding for a while, and that knows a lot about
the breed. If you are looking for a hunting dog, Labs are the breed for you. They are excellent in retrieving upland and waterfowl game of any kind. Labs aren't right for everyone, but if you are looking for a loving companion this Do-It-All-Breed, might just be the perfect match. of Pennsylvania writes on 3/30/00:

Good for those only with a lot of time and patience.
I found the breed to be very hyper and not train very fast, they are very great at chewing everything, they need alot and I enfasize a lot of room to exercise. They are however wonderful with children big and small. They are wonderful sweet tempermented dogs, but someone interested in them should really do their homework to make sure they have the time, patience and energy to keep up with them.

Name withheld by request of New York writes on 3/18/00:

My favorite breed.
Although I've always loved dogs of all shapes and forms, the Old Yeller movie of my youth made me fall especially hard for Labrador Retrievers. Lassie had appeal, sure, but nothing impressed me like the way in which Old Yeller died for his family. In the twenty-two years that I've owned Labs they've never disappointed me either. They've been excellent companions for my sons (they were three when I got my first one) and wonderfully comical, good-natured goof-offs for me and my husband. Of course we've learned to be comfortable with chewed EVERYTHINGS during the three year puppy stage, and we have to ignore the seemingly constant shedding that comes with the double coat, but in exchange we get LOTS of love. I often wish my husband and family would greet me with the same unbridled ecstacy of my three Labs when I walk in the door each day after work!
Anyone interested in purchasing a Lab should know they have a lot of energy when they're young, they need human companionship so they should not be banned to the outdoors, they aren't guard dogs,and they are prone to hip dysplasia, PRA, and other hereditary diseases so they should come from a reputable breeder.

Name withheld by request of Pennsylvania writes on 3/14/00:

Very faithful and loving j- but can take awhile to group out of the puppy stage (jumping, chewing, etc.).
I had a yellow Lab for 15 years who was the best, most calm and loving dog there ever was. When he passed away 3 years ago we decidd to get another from his line. Wow were we wrong. The dog is the complete oppostie of his great-great grandfather. She is a jumper and very aggressive chewer. We love her to death and would never give her away, but this stage is the hardest to get through - and if I had to choose all over again I'm not sure I could do so. Perhaps it's because I'm 15 yeas older. Labs are the best breed you can have for a family. With any animal, we are all taking a spin on the wheel of chance. of Morgantown, WV writes on 3/7/00:

My best friend.
After 13 years together, since I was 14, my best friend left me this Winter. He was a black lab that we paid about $15 for when she was 6-7 weeks old. The lady whose lab had the pups didn't think they were "worth anything" because the father was yellow and the mother was black. Cinder never carried a registration, though she was a pure Lab, and it never mattered to us. She was my constant companion when I was growing up, and met very few people that she didn't like - those were the ones I kept a close eye on, trusting her character judgement. She was the stereotypical Lab - always gentle, great with kids, loyal friend, and tennis ball junkie. Of course she could also destroy anything within reach during her adolescent period, but only when she became bored while I was at school during the day. She raised 5 grandchildren, including the first two years of my own son's life, for which I will always be grateful. I cannot imagine a better breed for anyone who wants a friend, or anyone with children. Labs are great company amd great playmates for children. She could snatch a toy or treat from between our fingers without ever touching a tooth to skin. Labs are wonderful dogs. of N. Kentucky writes on 3/5/00:

Loyal protector and family companion.
I acquired a stray Labrador five years ago. She has been nothing short of the best dog I have ever owned. In the past I have owned many different breeds. She was easy to house train and listens to every command intently. She had slept in my son's doorway when he was an infant. Now, I have new twin boys and she sleeps in their doorway ever watchful. I just bought our second :ab through a breeder. The purpose was to help my son (and family) with a smooth transition after our first Lab is gone. He has his own personality, but all the excellent traits are still there. I trust these dogs like I would a fellow soldier in combat. They are the best - bar none. of College Park, MD writes on 2/16/00:

Best dog put on this planet.
We had our black Lab my wife got from a friend since he was 9 weeks old. We hiked, swam and did everything together - the three of us. He was never a problem dog. The second day we had him he let us know he had to go out an do his thing. Never chewed up the furniture or got into anything - just a great loyal and devoted dog. He was 18 yrs old and could not walk any more so last November we had to regretably put him to sleep. I still cry every night thinking of him. We got another dog one week ago, he is 5 months old and also a black Lab. He has gotten into everything - big difference but he can do no wrong in our eyes. We just clean up after him and love the heck out of him. He is very smart and we have already taught him some basic commands already. Labs are great and if anyone is looking for a great breed get a Lab - you will not regret it.

name withheld by request of Utah writes on 1/21/00:

My best friend...
My experience with Labradors began when I was a child. My dog was a black Lab who was a wonderful friend. He always seemed to know what to do to make me happy. Whether he was protecting us from danger, playing fetch with his "beloved" tennis ball, to make me laugh with his comedy routines, he always there for us. I don't have a dog now but when I do you can bet that I will choose to get a Lab for my family. of Texas writes on 1/7/00:

Where God stopped practicing and achieved perfection.
There is, bar none, NOTHING like a Lab! I'm not a breeder; I don't show my Labs ... they are beloved pets ... loyal, obedient, affectionate to the point of adoration, hardy, perfect companions, gentle giants. We have been fortunate to share our lives with two of these wonderful creatures, an adored Chocolate male and an equally-adored Yellow female. The "boy" was a terror until he reached the age of two ... but THEN, his brain kicked in and he became a MAN ... and what a man he was! He lived with us for 11 years and left us (with a big "hole" in our hearts) almost two years ago. We still miss him, and always will. Thankfully, our female is still with us. In my opinion, Labs are the finest breed of all, and their #1 position in popularity, year after year, is rightly deserved.

Name withheld by request of Ontario writes on 1/2/00:

He was my sunshine!
He wasn't my choice! I wanted a yellow one. He sat at the back of the litter with a look mixed of disinterest and a need to jump into the frey. He grew on me that day. His dark brown eyes and crooked sneer while chewing on my coat. A beautiful coat of dark chocolate with a nose to match (rare at that time). Little did I know that he would dig himself deep into my heart. He pulled me through many experiences and I like to think that in the end I helped him too. REBEL! He never lived up to his name, while maybe once or twice, he was a Lab you know. What a wonderful dog for an active family. PLAY PLAY PLAY. He received direct, consistent training, which resulted in very little casualties during his adolescents. If I remember only one book succumbed to his sore teeth and it was still readable. Boredom and loneliness are disasterous for this breed. They are smart and need the opportunity to show you. Rebel and I trained and obtained a CD certificate. We enjoyed it very much and he never forgot his training,sometimes he just pretended that he forgot.
Obedience is a must for this breed as with any. Just the socialization in the class is of large benefit. They are very smart and will take the upper hand if given the opportunity. Don't let them have it right away, they love to think that they pulled the wool over your eyes later on. Within a year they will be on the bed, couch and any other place that you thought the dog would not be allowed. Rebel was diagnosed with nose cancer last year. After several months I could tell that he had gone through enough pain. As hard as it was I laid beside him and sang our song while the Vet did his work, "You are My Sunshine". He was buried with his favourite Teddy. Several months later another Lab came into our lives. A beautiful Yellow Lab. She is a champion now and is working toward her CD. Her favourite activity is a half-gainer off your hip at a dead run. hopefully without complications she will be bred. I have never met a lab I didn't like. If brought up right most are just a mass of muscle and love. I call them little bulldozers. They are physically strong but they will also plow right through your heart. A reputable breeder that provides a guarentee is a must. of Alabama writes on 12/28/99:

A great breed.
Labradors are the best breed I have ever owned. When I come home from the dog clinic where I work, they, unlike some other dogs I own, always come up and greet me. They seem to understand, however when I have had a bad day and aren't as goofy and playful. They wait till I acknoledge them and warmly lick my hands. My Labs have never givin me any trouble; such as fighting with other dogs around the house, running away, disobeying me when I ask them to sit or such, or giving me trouble when I try to train them as pups. I highly recomend Labs for any breeders , people who live alone, hunters, or anyone at all. of Nashville, TN writes on 12/20/99:

Man's best friend and then some...
My dog is the greatest man friend ever. He has been with me since my second year of college( 6 yrs now). He has seen his fair share of parties and people and has never had a bad time with either. He has had some skin problems lately but nothing that we can't take care of. He acts as a guard dog for my girlfriend and a best friend for me. I would recommend one for everyone but I feel that mine is the best. of North Carolina writes on 12/9/99:

My Lab is the best dog I have ever owned and I have been the owner of many dogs - registered and also stray dogs that were wonderful. I got this Lab when she was one year old. She has adjusted to our family in every way. She is very gentle with the grandchildren, friendly to everyone and full of love all the time. She is trained and rarely does anything at all wrong. She is the joy of our lives. We have a motor home and she loves to go camping or wherever we go for that matter. She just wants to be with people, anybody. Everbody in the neighborhood knows and loves her too. She is the best. She is the best friend that I have in the world.... of Boca Raton, FL writes on 10/16/99:

Very people pleasing and a trusting breed.
I have owned two labradors, my parents two before when I lived at home. They love to please, they love to be obedience trained, they are totally trust worthy and loving to your children. AND, you can trust them with your children's friends. My boys were brought up with a Lab and he was their best buddy and because of Willie, all the children on our block, origianlly afraid of dogs, wound up convincing their folks to get them a dog. Both our Labs were watch dogs when the need arose. I think they are the best all around dog to raise a family with. of Houston, TX writes on 10/11/99

Wonderful all around!
I have a black Lab that I found at 4 weeks old in a dumpster (poor baby!). This dog has been absolutely wonderful! I have found him very easy to train, he knew "Sit" by 10 weeks old and has been housebroken and accident free since 13 weeks old. He is a real people dog and wants to be where ever I am. The puppy chewing has been minimal and he'll bring the item to me and give it up when asked. He LOVES to play in his water dish which is not a problem for me but might be for other people if their Lab were to do it.
My former experience with Labs has taught me that they tend to be extremely energetic until they are about 2-3 years old and this one is no exception although once he runs his "crazies" off he will flop himself down and behave like a little gentleman. He's been great with my kids and my other dog.
I have found Labs to be easy to train and housebread. They shed moerately (brush regularly). Barking is minimal to moderate. They have a sweet, soft Labby face with a busy tongue (be prepared to be licked often). Some snore. Tail wagging can clear a coffee table. They have a perpetual smile and are great with kids. They love to play. Be prepared to be soggy. As with any medium to large breed, at least basic obedience training is highly recommended.

Name withheld by request of Wrentham, MA writes on 10/9/99:

Would not trade for a million dollars
I love the breed of Labrador Retriever for many reasons, but the main reason is their (generally) reliable temperment - (make sure you find a reputable breeder). I think it's wonderful to own a dog that people assume will be "friendly." I investigated the breed, before chosing and had dealt with many of them in my job as a Vet. Tech., and thought Labs would be a good choice for my very active life- style. I planned to always include my dog though, as any dog , Labs in particular like to be contsantly involved with the family. If there is one downside to owning a Lab (I don't know one), HA- BUT they do shed. Especially if they have "proper coat". I wouldn't trade my Lab for a million dollars!

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