If you want a dog that has a bubbly personality and a strong desire to make you happy, you may want to consider
buying a Labrador Retriever. Of course, these big, exuberant dogs aren't for everyone. Our neighbors dog shown to the left
on a trip to the country. Before you buy one of these roly-poly little puppies, you may want to consider
some of the plusses and minuses of the breed.
The Labrador Retriever is a powerful, dependable dog. This breed weighs from 55 to 80 pounds and stand 21 to 24
½ inches tall at the shoulder. These dogs have quite a lot of stamina and can work or play for hours on end. Labs
are known for their soft chocolate brown eyes and thick, rounded tail. Their coats can be black, yellow or
chocolate, with black Labs being most commonly available. The dense hair of the Labrador Retriever's coat is almost
Labrador Retrievers are classified as part of the American Kennel Club's Sporting Group. These dogs were bred
to spend hours retrieving game from areas that hunters had trouble getting in to. Labs usually enjoy the water,
which makes them ideal boating or fishing companions.
These dogs require plenty of exercise, especially when they are young and full of energy. They do not make good
apartment dogs, as they require plenty of room to run and play. A home with a fenced yard is the ideal situation
for a Lab. Even if he has space to play, he may need to go for a daily walk or romp in the park to burn off some
Since Labrador Retrievers are high energy dogs with plenty of muscle, they
eat quite a bit of food. While your puppy is growing up, you may want to feed it food that is especially
formulated to help large breed dogs develop healthy bones. If you are planning to use your Lab as a hunting
dog, you will need to buy dog food that contains plenty of protein.
Most Labrador Retrievers make excellent family dogs and love being around children. However, some Labs do not
have good temperaments, so, if it is at all possible, be sure you meet both parents before buying a puppy. If your
children are still small, you may want to wait until they are steady on their feet before buying a Lab puppy. These
dogs can knock toddlers over just by wagging their powerful tails.
Since Labs are such big dogs, it is important to start
training your puppy at eight to twelve weeks of age. Be sure you work with your puppy to keep it from jumping
up, as a full grown Lab can bowl people over with an enthusiastic greeting. You may want to take puppy
obedience classes to socialize him and get some training help, as Labs can be a bit head strong at times.
Labrador Retrievers need very little grooming. You should brush your dog once a week to remove loose hair and
dirt. Also, you will need to trim his nails when they grow too long. Finally, you will have to check for ticks
after your dog has been playing outdoors.
If you want a friendly dog who is eager to please and don't mind some occasional stubbornness, then a Labrador
Retriever may very well be the perfect breed for you.