I am a proud lab owner who likes educating others about the breed.

Luna: my Labrador Retriever puppy

Luna: my Labrador Retriever puppy

Amber McDonald

Owning a Labrador Retriever

My family recently decided that we were ready to open our hearts and adopt a
puppy. We spent many hours researching different breeds. Before bringing a new
dog home, you should always do research on the specific breed. Every breed is
so unique, and each come with their own set of perks and challenges.

My family fell in love with the idea of owning a black lab, and not too long
after, we found a female lab waiting for a forever family at our local pound.
We named her Luna. I love Luna with all of my heart, but owning a Labrador
Retriever is not a good idea for just anyone! Wondering if a Labrador the
right dog for you? Look no further.

Is a Labrador Retriever the Right Dog for You?

  1. Where Will You Be in 10–12 Years?
  2. Can You Afford a Large Breed Dog?
  3. Can You Keep Up With a Lab?
  4. Will a Lab’s Temperament Work With Your Lifestyle?
  5. Are You Willing to Make Training a Priority?

Did You Know?

Labs rank number one on the list of the most popular dog breeds in America. In
fact, the breed is so popular that Providence, Rhode Island, is the only US
city where Labradors do not appear in the top five most popular breeds in the

1. Where Will You Be in 10–12 Years?

It is important that you only bring a dog home if you fully intend to provide
a forever home for the rest of the dog’s life. It is very hard for a dog to be
ripped away from its owners and home and be expected to adjust and be happy in
unfamiliar surroundings.

The average lifespan for Labrador Retrievers is 10–12 years. Think about how
your life might be different a few years down the road. Is there any chance
that you may need to move? Finding pet-approved places to live is not always
easy, and moving with a pet makes things harder.

Are you planning on having children soon? Will this affect your desire and
availability to be a pet owner? Will you have the same job? Will you still
have as much money and time to properly care for your lab a few years down the
road? Just remember that by adopting a pet, you are making a commitment to
care for your new friend for the rest of their life.

2. Can You Afford a Large Breed Dog?

The average weight for Labrador Retrievers is anywhere from 50–90 pounds!
Expect your lab to grow as tall as 24 inches or taller. Bigger dogs obviously
are going to have a much bigger appetite than miniatures.

Even lab puppies tend to have fairly large appetites for their size, and most
adult labs require feeding at least two to three times per day. Will you be
able to afford the food? Will you be able to afford toys, treats, and bones to
keep your lab happy?

Many veterinarians, dog trainers, and pet groomers also charge more money to
work with large breed dogs. Call your local dog services for more information
because large breed policies vary by location.

Puppy play time!

Puppy play time!

Photography by Amber McDonald

Did You Know?

Most labs are great swimmers. Their webbed feet help them swim fast, and their
otter-like tails help them steer in the water.

3. Can You Keep Up With a Lab?

Labrador Retrievers were originally bred to be work dogs. Their purpose was to
retrieve fish or birds or whatever their owner needed them to do (hence the
name). This type of work required that the breed be full of energy. Labrador
Retrievers are very high-energy dogs and require a lot of exercise.

They need to be taken on long walks or jogs daily. Most labs love water and
are very good swimmers. A large backyard is ideal for lab owners so that the
dog will have plenty of room to run and play outdoors. A lab with owners that
will play games (such as fetch or hide and seek) will be a very happy dog!
Make sure that you have not only the energy but also the time to devote to
making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

Scroll to Continue

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If a Labrador Retriever does not get the proper amount of exercise, it can
lead to problems such as obesity and other health problems. It can also cause
the dog to start acting out with hyperactivity, such as barking, jumping on
others, and chewing on furniture. A properly exercised lab will be a better-
behaved dog.

4. Will a Lab’s Temperament Work With Your Lifestyle?

Labs are very excitable, hyper dogs. Another notable personality trait for
Labrador Retrievers is that they are generally very friendly dogs. This makes
them great for family dogs. Labs are usually great with children but should
still never be left unattended with a child. If you are looking for a guard
dog, then chances are you will be disappointed by a Labrador’s non-aggressive

5. Are You Willing to Make Training a Priority?

One of the last things you want is to be stuck with a 60-pound lab that won’t
listen to you! Training should begin as soon as you bring your lab home; the
sooner, the better. Make sure you break certain habits like jumping up on
people and countertops and biting and chewing before your lab grows too old.
The older the dog is, the harder it will be to train them.

Teaching your lab tricks will help you bond with your pet and will help keep
them mentally stimulated (which also will help eliminate unwanted behaviors).
Labrador Retrievers love to learn and please and are very intelligent. This is
why the breed is often used for service or rescue dogs. Make sure you will
have enough time to work with your lab and take advantage of their full mental

Labs make awesome pets!

Labs make awesome pets!

Photography by Amber McDonald

Think, Don’t Rush

I absolutely love my black Labrador Retriever puppy. She has stolen my heart,
and I wouldn’t trade her for the world; however, I will be the first to admit
that she is a lot of work and costs my family a good bit of money. Before
adopting or buying a Labrador (or any breed, for that matter), please consider
the questions asked above and continue to do research and prepare yourself.
Owning a dog is a big responsibility and a long-time commitment.

Labrador Poll

Additional Reading

  • Labrador Retriever Breed Information & Pictures (Lab, English Retriever, St. John’s Dog, Black W
    Detailed Information on Labrador Retrievers, from health to temperment. You
    will find all the information you need on Labrador Retrievers.


Prema on July 30, 2020:

I like all animals

Paul Dcunha on May 14, 2020:

I like all the animals

ava on April 20, 2018:

can you add pros and cons. Like do a chart

Rebecca Furtado from Anderson, Indiana on October 01, 2013:

You make the perfect case for adopting older dogs. Many lab and lab mixes are
in rescues specifically made for labs. My sister lab was about 2 when she got
him,and he would be voted best all around dog by the whole family. He is 13
now. He never played much, but he goes everywhere the office, houseboat,
trips,etc.. We jokingly call him stupid pet cause he just never got that
retriever down.. but he is the best dog ever, even over the many I have had
over the years..My mom is 80 and has a rescue lab and a dog run… She does
not have to walk her a lot and she is a nice dog for an older couple.. Young
labs are hyper but older labs are great companion dogs.. but they do need
exercise.. Nice piece.

Kristin Tamke from Frederick, MD on March 01, 2013:

Good hub on the basics of labs. Im very very happy that you went to a shelter
for a puppy! shelters just dont have mixed breeds, many pure breeds are there.

Thanks for pointing out they need training and exercise. Many people think the
perfect family dog just happens….