A recent nationwide survey revealed that the Labrador Retriever is Britain’s top dog. This comes as no surprise since the Lab has topped dog registrations in the UK for many years now. But polls and canine registrations aside, why do many love this dog breed?
Every dog is a winner but the Labrador is top dog,’ ITV presenter Sara Cox affirmed. ‘They seem to understand humans like no other breed.
What attracts me most to Labradors is their happy-go-lucky, bouncy, tail-wagging personalities,” shared presenter Ben Fogle. ‘They project a euphoria that I find contagious.
From the mouths of Lab owners, there is much to love about Labrador Retrievers. Let’s take a look at the breed’s origins and characteristics to understand why they are so popular.
How Labradors Came to Be
The modern Labs as we know them come from the Newfoundland dog breed, which originated in Canada. They were bred in the 1800s by fishermen on the Canadian island of Newfoundland. They wanted a smaller version of the Newfie that can assist them. Labrador Retrievers can fetch fishing nets and even fish that escaped hooks.
Labs love swimming and they are very good at it because of their webbed paws that act as natural flippers. Their otter-like tails act like boat rudders when in the water.
Because of the kind of work they do, this Gundog has tremendous stamina and powerful haunches. Their strong back legs allow them to jump from great distances into the water (up to 27 feet). Their coats (black, yellow, or chocolate) are a bit oily, which helps them float.
4 Reasons Labrador Retrievers Are Popular
- Incredibly Friendly
If there was a dog breed competition with a Best in Congeniality award, a Labrador Retriever will surely win, hands down. Outgoing and with a constantly happy disposition, this breed likes to make friends with everyone, including other animals. Eager to please, helpful, and fantastic with children, this dog knows how to adjust to various creatures. As such, it can live with smaller pets. It also likes to play the entertainer and bask in the attention!
- Easy to Train
Labs are smart and can be house-trained quickly. They also learn new skills fairly fast, which explains why they are one of the breeds of choice for police work, search and rescue and guide dog. They can compete and win dog shows. Whilst they are easy to train, they are not too smart to be stubborn.
- Wonderfully Versatile
They can take on various roles and can work as assistance dogs, sniffer canines, hunting companions, or dog sport specialists. They thrive in a variety of environments, although they like cold settings. They are best suited for families but can also live with individuals residing in apartments.
- Energetic and Healthy
Labs are like batteries on four legs. They never seem to run out of energy! They like to be active and have a sturdy body and health to go with it. They can live to around 12 years and are easy to care for. Their coats are low maintenance, too.
Should You Get a Labrador Retriever?
Labs are high-energy dogs and are best suited for families or people who engage in a lot of activities. As they love to sprint, they also need room to run. Homes with gardens are good havens for Labradors, although they can also thrive in confined spaces. They should be taken out on daily walks to help manage their abundant energy reserve.
Overall, Labrador Retrievers are great dogs for many types of owners, even first time ones. Just be careful with their diet – Labs love to eat! You can use their great love of food to your advantage. Using treats in training helps them to learn new tricks quickly, but don’t rely solely on edibles as rewards.
How do Labrador owners find having such a lively and warm companion?
I have lost count of the number of times I have returned home after a hard day’s work and my spirits are lifted by the tongue-lolling, excited greeting I receive at the front door,’ Fogle shared. ‘These loyal black dogs have been my guardian angels over the years, silently guiding and directing me.
Another owner of a black Lab said that his exuberant pet gave him many interesting challenges in managing his liveliness. However, he adored the dog and found him a fantastic and uplifting companion.
‘One of my favourite activities was taking Dexter to a sprawling dog park where he’d ramble over hills as if on some private hunt,” said owner Michael Lev. ‘He’d return happy, tongue wagging. His temperament was remarkable.’
‘He got along with cats. He barked at visitors… but never once growled at anyone,’ he added.
Do you have a Lab? If you are looking for one, find one among these pets for adoption/ sale! Or you can share with us your own Labrador Retriever stories!