Labrador Retriever

milos_mommy

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#2
They can be great family dogs...for a pretty active family.

I see tons and tons of labs put in a shelter because they're too high energy or unruly or needy or knock the kids over. 20 years ago labs were the perfect family pet: for families who played ball in the backyard after school and went camping or to the beach with their dog on the weekend. I've found a sort of phenomenon of families with young kids getting a lab and sticking them in an expen while they're at school/work, coming home to let them out, then going to ballet or karate or playing video games or doing 4 hours of homework to let the dog out before bed or MAYBE take it for a walk around the block and well, that's not gonna cut it for a lab. And then people are surprised when the dog maniacally runs around knocking the kids down or tearing up the linoleum.

However: for a family that can provide the exercise they need (which I find to be significant more for lab puppies and it reduces a good deal as they age), not anything too extensive but maybe more than the family expects, they're very biddable, can be fairly healthy depending on breeding, are not typically aggressive/protective towards peoebor animals, are very eager to please and people oriented, and generally great with kids once taught to be polite and gentle.
 

milos_mommy

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#4
I've found their energy levels vary immensely (maybe more than a lot of other breeds), based on breeding, bench or field bred, age, etc. your best bet would to ask about exercise needs to the parents/dogs in the line or ask the rescue or foster family about the dog's energy level. I think 2 hours a day harder exercise might be excessive for a more typical lab, but definitely require maybe 15-30 minutes of harder exercise (fetch, swimming, jogging, dog park) and a longer walk. But again, there's a huge range.
 

thehoundgirl

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#5
They need more than 2 hours. They need physical and mental stimulation. Most of the Labs I have met adore water and they excel at dock diving. So if you have an outlet where you can take the dog swimming it'd be very beneficial to you and the dog. Play with them with the hose when it's warm enough and even get a kiddie pool.

I even knew an 10 year old Lab who was very active, it just depends on genetics honestly. Yes a lot of young Labs get turned into shelters because they get them as a cute puppy and give them up because they aren't prepared for the energy they have.

Not every Lab is active but most are happy playing fetch until the cows come home. An off switch definitely can be trained if you just want to cuddle on the couch. But be prepared to exercise the dog physically and mentally. They are a very smart breed and love to learn in my experience. And food motivated lol but if you don't want to train with food every time a ball or favorite toy would probably make the dog happy.

They are just an active breed in general.
 
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#6
Wow, more than 2 hours? That's a lot. I know they need mental and physical exercise, but I thought it could go like 30 minute walk, 30 minute run and an hour of training. Is that not enough? :confused:
 

FG167

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#7
Wow, more than 2 hours? That's a lot. I know they need mental and physical exercise, but I thought it could go like 30 minute walk, 30 minute run and an hour of training. Is that not enough? :confused:
Get a nice show/bench lab and be straight with the breeder what you want, you will be fine with that sort of schedule. I started in Labs and raised two. I did a variety of sports with them (both byb boys), one had drive to go for days and still would nap with me, the other was lazy lazy lazy :)

ETA: My crazy boy was out of a dog that hunted regularly. A dog that is more "field" type is going to be a LOT more dog than what you say you want. IMO. Also, go to a shelter or find a rescue where the dog is in foster care, best best place to get a read on an adult and what they need :)
 
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#8
Get a nice show/bench lab and be straight with the breeder what you want, you will be fine with that sort of schedule. I started in Labs and raised two. I did a variety of sports with them (both byb boys), one had drive to go for days and still would nap with me, the other was lazy lazy lazy :)

ETA: My crazy boy was out of a dog that hunted regularly. A dog that is more "field" type is going to be a LOT more dog than what you say you want. IMO. Also, go to a shelter or find a rescue where the dog is in foster care, best best place to get a read on an adult and what they need :)

Cool! Aren't they really nippy as puppies too? I might not get a puppy until 2016-2017, but it doesn't hurt to prepare! Are they easy to house break?
 

milos_mommy

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All puppies are nippy lol. I've never noticed labs to be noticeably so.

I've also never known a lab (ok maybe one) that needed more than 2 hours of exercise. The only dogs I've known to need that much have been working bred, intense breeds like herders.

If you want a puppy your best bet is to talk to breeders, or if you are open to a range of exercise needs, adoption would be ok. But I'd say meet some breeders dogs and see.
 

Maxy24

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#10
I'm no expert but I want to echo what has already been said about choosing the right breeder and type. A field bred lab is going to be very different from a conformation bred lab, both physically and in activity level. So ask the breeder if his/her dogs are going to be okay with your planned schedule.

My aunt and uncle just brought home a 7 month old conformation style lab and she's very laid back. Yes, she's excitable for a little while but nothing like many of the labs I've met. She gets a 3 mile walk a day (they plan on increasing that over time to match my aunt's workout but she's kind of chubby and had never been walked on leash before they got her) for her main exercise. She also gets played with. But then she just lies around. Some labs are crazy, into everything, super destructive, never want to stop going. It depends. Also keep in mind some exercise is more effective than others. On leash walks are not going to tire your dog as easily/quickly as something that involves hard running or other very physical activities.

They are generally mouthy but may be "soft mouthed" meaning that although they mouth a lot they do so gently unlike say, terriers, who may leave you bleeding. They also have a reputation for being big chewers and eaters of non-food objects so supervision during puppy hood is important. They also tend to mature later than many breeds, acting like puppies for 2-3 years.


I think they housebreak pretty quickly. Not as fast as some of the more "primitive" breeds, but they don't have a reputation for being difficult like many small breeds.
 

thehoundgirl

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I'd stay away from hunting/field bred Lab lines if you're not interested in an active Lab. There are breeders out there that breed for family pets/show but they are still active as they are retrievers. You might get lucky with a mellow Lab but it just depends on genetics.

Keep in mind Lab mixes from a shelter are also active and sometimes mixed with Golden Retriever or herding breeds. I have worked with a lot at the shelter I worked at and there were a few that were mellow. They were usually yellow Labs and a few years old so already trained.

My brother's dog is a Lab/Husky mix. He will be 3 in November. He's super active and he adopted him when he was 9 weeks old. But he has a good off switch as well but still needs physical and mental exercise every day. But he is mixed with Lab and Husky and they are very active breeds.

My brother takes him swimming often, for walks and he loves playing fetch and tugging. Speaking of soft mouths like said he has a very soft mouth even when tugging and won't accidentally get you.

There is a Lab specific board if you are interested in joining you could learn a lot there. PM me if you want the link.
 

thehoundgirl

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That sounds like your best way to go if you don't want a super active Lab. They are still active as they are retrievers. Talk to some breeders and meet their dogs if possible to see if the lines they breed are for you. :)
 

sillysally

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#18
I have a lab, Jack, who is from show lines. I wouldn't call him laid back exactly, but he has never been a dog to need over 2 hours of exercise a day. Labs that are great family dogs get that way through proper training, guidance, and outlets for their energy. Jack is 8 and goes swimming weekly year round, plays with our other dog, and goes to the dog park regularly.

Jack really was not a nippy puppy, but we was taken from his litter at 10 weeks, so that may have had something to do with it. Sally was a year old when we got her, and she had more of an issue with play biting then he ever did. They are mouthy in that they LOVE to carry things in their mouths. Jack never greets us without a toy in his mouth. Labs are also pretty notorious for eating the inedible as well--Jack has eaten 4 socks and a pair of my underwear. I know many people who have had their labs eat everything from children's toys to soap to rocks, so keep that in mind when dog proofing the house.

Also, they shed like, a LOT. If dog hair bothers you this is not the breed for you.
 
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#19
I would be surprised if the average lab needs more than 2 hours exercise a day, though I don't doubt there are some out there.

Most labs I meet these days are neurotic - though I strongly suspect its because their life is exactly as Milos Mommy describes - crated during the day, let out briefly, then left again. No REAL mental outlet, or physical outlet.

I think your best bet is through rescue - that way you know exactly what you're getting in terms of activity level and temperament.

And keep in mind that until your dog is 18 months old or so, you should really limit the amount of exercise it gets. You don't want to deal with joint issues later in life. Training can be very draining for a pup, so excessive exercise really isn't needed.
 

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