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Old 11-20-2007, 11:48 AM
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Default Lab energy level

I just purchased a few books about labrador retrievers and they all mention that there are two types of labs, show and field. They also say there is a difference in energy level and drive between the two types. Some of you may have read my other thread but for those of you that haven't, my family and I are getting another dog next year (summertime) and we are trying to decide between a lab and a golden. We are wanting a dog that excels in obedience, is able to do agility, is excellent with children, gets along with other dogs, and is a family companion. Originally I was thinking Aussie or Brittany but I am drawn to labs. Plus Aussies have a high drive for herding and I'm not sure if that's a good mix with a 3 year old. I am considering goldens because my husband likes them a great deal. I prefer the no-fuss coat of the lab but really I'd rather have the best companion for us.

Anyhow, my question is how high is the field-type lab energy levels? Or, if you know of another breed I can relate to with similar energy levels that is fine too.

The field type seem to have the qualities I am looking for but I just want to see what I am getting myself into. I think we can handle lots of energy but if it's like a border collie then no, we can't. We are an outdoorsy family (lots of walks, trips to the park, stuff like that) and I am really hoping our dog will retrieve, I think it'll be a great activity for my daughter and me to bond with our dog.

If any of you have any experience I'd love to hear it. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2007, 11:54 AM
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Dekka Dekka is offline
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It depends on how much work the dog will get. I have met some field bred labs that could put a BC to shame when it comes to energy and activity levels. LOL I have JRTs and won't own a lab due to their "hyperness" There are some awesome labs in my area that do agility, one was on the world team I believe.

Don't discount an Aussie. They might be herdy, but labs tend to be physical and can knock kids over. (all dogs can, but labs seem to LOVE the body bump ) Both may require training to live with your child. We dog sit a BC that knows the difference between sheep and my child, never had to be told.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:30 PM
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Well, the dog will get lots of mental stimulation and to be honest physically would most likely be getting:
30 minutes on-leash walk/day
Daily free romp in our yard with retrieving involved (with the family)
Agility (not sure how often, weekly?)

I am a stay-at-home mom so the dog won't be left alone very often. My daughter is very into dogs and she is involved with training Lucy (our terrier-mix). My plan is to do the same with our next dog, I think it will be a great bonding experience for the entire family.

I think it's so funny that you think labs are hyper and you own JRT, that goes to show it's all relative to what you want in a dog. I really like JRT, fox terriers, and rat terriers but I don't think they are suitable for 3 year old kids. But they sure are a lot of fun in a tiny bundle. I worked at a kennel for 3 years and they were always feisty little clowns.
Perhaps when my daughter is older...

One thing is for sure, I'm glad I started researching what breed to get now, I thought I knew a lot about dogs but I'm learning a lot of new things everyday. My husband wants me to go ahead and pick a breed and stick with it. Haha!
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:31 PM
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I have both a field lab and a field golden A(there is also field and show goldens as well).

My field lab was quite hyper as a puppy but now she is really relaxed in the house and only gets excited when she sees me get her ball.

My field golden is actually more hyper than my lab ever was. I think that in general though the goldens are suppose to be more laid back than labs but it's not always true.

Both labs and goldens shed a ton too! The only difference is the lab's fur is shorter (and their fur can either be black, gold, or chocolate) than the golden's longer fur. I brush my dogs 3 dogs atleast 3 times a week and use several different brushes.

as for energy my dogs get a 45 minute walk about (in the warmer months we do a full hour) in the morning and than a lot of fetch in the back yard in the evening after I lay my two kids down. My lab does fine in the house but my golden will also run for awhile on the treadmill in the afternoon and he's still bouncing off the walls even after all that exercise. Again this may just be him and not the norm for the goldens as well. I'm just going off my experience with the two.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:35 PM
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Haha, I have one of each!

I think my lab is more of the field type and while she does have a lot of energy, it's more of a focused energy. In my experience the show labs tend to just have a lot of spastic energy, because the brains have been bred out of them. She's very "bumpy' though...either it's a lab trait like Dekka said, or she just doesn't have very good body awareness. Actually I think it's a trait, because while she doesn't have a problem ramming into me, I saw her take great pains to avoid bumping into someone with health problems. So they can and do know the difference, but they are basically big bundles of solidness. I call mine the "Wrecking Ball". She loves to retrieve! Which is great, because my Aussie just likes to chase the ball down and then run off with it. So they work as a team.

My Aussie, same thing. Lots of energy but so long as they both get a good run in and then some mental exercises, they're easy to live with. In fact, both are passed out next to me right now--we just got back from a run in the park. It sounds like you have a good home for either breed. Sawyer will try to herd children when they're running around in packs and we've had to work on keeping him at a distance, because he tends more towards the "header" style of herding and will jump to throw a shoulder into something, which knocks a kid over pretty easily. But otherwise he's great with kids. A little barky during play but that's an Aussie for you. Again, probably more of the working style, especially in the coat. Very wash and wear, sheds but it's not in clumps like you see with show lines.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:00 PM
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There's a few things to remember here, imo. A) not every lab or golden falls into the category of 'field bred' or 'show bred' there are a lot (I'd bet 90%) of labs and goldens are just plain poorly bred. Sorry, but that's a pet peeve of mine. If it's not show bred, then it's field which is just not true... And B) there's a wide range of type within both field and show lines.

A lot of the problem with show lines is a lack of drive. The show line labs tend to be more mellow. However, conversly many breeders breeding primarily for field trials are breeding hyperactive dogs with drive over the top because the faster the dog is, the easier it is to win. But labs aren't supposed to be super drivey super fast retrievers but rather slower retrievers that can retrieve all day long if need be. Another big thing is type differences. Show lines can be too short legged and just plain fat whereas field lines are equally distorted. Many field lines are insanely leggy, have whippet like tails (which is very very wrong), very short coats, and really well defined tuck ups. Labs should be stocky dogs (not fat, but stocky) and the thick, rudder like tail and proper coat is very important since they often retrieve in water.

We had a honest to goodness field lab growing up. He was bred in a kennel that produced hunting dogs and he was my dad's hunting partner. He was a great dog with good drive and quite a bit of energy. Loved to swim at the lake a few times a week, loved to retrieve. So did our GSDxGolden so they'd have a blast together. He also had an off switch which a lot of modern field labs seem to be missing.

I think if I were looking at labs I'd definitely be going for a moderate dog because in my honest opinion both the extremes have got it wrong.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:02 PM
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I think a majorly important thing is to go to a good breeder, unless of course if you are interested in a shelter dog/pup.

I have field labs also, and there can be problems with anydog or any breed. Like my Shiloh is dog aggressive towards other female dogs. Although I have worked up to having Shiloh around Rocket during supervision....

Anyway I think some people will say "field" lab when are unsure of any lines. And that is why some are so hyper. Having unlimited energy and being hyper are two different things in my book.

Both of my labs could sleep all day OR both could retrieve geese from icy waters all day... They are calm when in the house, but pull out a toy and all bets are off. Charlie has knocked down the kids a couple times, but he usually is careful and not a big problem.. but I never let the kids play fetch with either of the labs if I am not supervising, and we don't play with toys in the house either... One time I threw a ball to Charlie, he jumped up to catch it and his tooth bumped my son in the side of his head... purely my fault. He had a bump and in the middle was an indention from charlies tooth.

All my dogs are great with the kids, my gsd is very cat like and never bumps into the kids and she follows them around everywhere just watching (call her the babysitter).

I think either dog would make a great addition to your family, but do research breeders throughly. So many bad ones, just wanting to make a buck.

I don't think all labs fit into either show(bench) or field. There are alot of dogs that shouldn't fit into either of those. Maybe byb pups or something.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:02 PM
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Very good points, Laurelin, and what I was trying to go for in my post, but I think I missed by a mile.

All I know is that I'm very thankful both my dogs have that "off" switch. I still think Virgo fits your description of a good field-type lab, though she does have that big tuck-up in the back, the rest of her is pretty stocky and old-school looking.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:06 PM
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Laurelin.. you said my thoughts exactly.. well that I tried to say.
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  #10  
Old 11-20-2007, 01:08 PM
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Just thinking, have you looked at tollers? They are active but not exuberant dogs, good with kids and AMAZING obed and agility dogs. A toller has one the Canadian agility nationals for the past few years. They are active dogs with off switches to die for. (if they are well bred)
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