Labrador Retriever Characteristics:
Golden Retriever: Golden retrievers are very friendly dogs with a strong sense of loyalty. They have a good temperament and make great family pets. Their intelligence makes them ideal for police work or search and rescue work. Some breeds such as the golden retriever may even be better suited for these types of jobs than other breeds because they’re so intelligent!
Labrador Retriever: Labradors are medium sized dogs with a long coat. They have a playful nature and love to play fetch. These dogs are best suited for working in fields where they need to be alert all day long like farms, vineyards, or other agricultural occupations. They’re not as smart as their golden counterparts but they’re still pretty smart considering how well trained they usually are!
What’s the Difference Between Labrador Retrievers & Golden Retrievers?
The main difference between the two is their temperaments. Golden retrievers tend to be very affectionate and loving while Labs tend to be more reserved and loyal.
Another major difference is size. Labradors are smaller than golden retrievers, which means they’ll fit into smaller spaces and will require less space around them when being walked. They’re also much easier to train since they don’t get as excited as golden retrievers do when training methods involve rewards or praise. No dog is perfect though, and labs do have a few downsides.
They’re not as intelligent as Goldens, they shed more, and they’re prone to gaining weight if you’re not careful about how much you feed them.
Golden Retrievers tend to be larger than labs and are more “in your face” when it comes to their affection for you. They’re less inclined to sit quietly somewhere while you work, and they require a lot more exercise to stay healthy. They shed a lot as well, and their sensitive skin means you need to take extra steps to make sure they don’t get rashes from their collar or wet patches on their fur from the rain.
How to Care for a Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are great family dogs for people with busy lifestyles. They’re very energetic and love playing fetch. If you have time to play with them every day they’ll get plenty of exercise, but if you’re too busy to spend a lot of time playing with them then you need to take extra steps. Taking them for a walk isn’t enough to keep them healthy, and unlike a cat they won’t entertain themselves.
Your options are to take them to a local dog park where they can run around with other dogs or find a friend who also has one and swap dog walking duties with them. If neither of those are possible you’ll have to hire someone to walk your dog or find an outdoor space where they can run free for a few hours. If you do go down this route be sure to check the area first and make sure it’s well fenced in and won’t leave your dog vulnerable to attack from other animals or people. Your dog will need a lot more exercise than usual, so factor that into your daily schedule and take some time out of your day to play with them.
Labradors are prone to gain weight, so don’t over feed them. If you want to measure out a set amount of food each day to keep them at a healthy weight, then you should only be feeding them 1-2% of their body weight per day. For example if your Lab weighs 50lbs you should only be feeding him between 1-2lbs of food per day.
Labradors shed a lot, and you’ll find hair all over your house. You’ll also find that no matter how much you brush them they still shed a lot. For this reason it’s best to vacuum your house a lot. If you don’t like cleaning then a Labrador Retriever probably isn’t the dog for you.
You should also expect to replace things like your couches more often than you would otherwise.
If you have the time and dedication to owning a dog, then a Lab is a wonderful pet. They’re very friendly and playful and will happily greet everyone that enters your house with a wag of the tail. Just remember to keep them active and make sure they don’t over eat.
Breeds Similar to a Labrador Retriever
If you like the look of a Labrador but the shedding and other issues that come with owning one are putting you off, why not consider one of these breeds instead?
Each of these dogs has many of the qualities that people love in Labradors, without some of the drawbacks.
The golden retriever is a dog that loves spending time with their owner and is always happy to see you after even just a short absence. They love playing fetch and swimming, so they’re great for people who like to spend a lot of time outdoors. They are very friendly and always get on well with other animals and children.
They need regular exercise but not as much as a Lab, and they’re less prone to gaining weight if you over feed them. As with any dog, you should measure out a set amount of food each day to ensure they don’t eat too much and gain unwanted weight.
Like the Labrador they need a lot of grooming, so expect to spend a few hours each week brushing their coat. This is a bigger time commitment than a lot of people are willing to make, but if you’re up for it then a golden retriever is a great dog to own.
German Shepherds are intelligent and fearless dogs that love to be challenged. They’re eager to please and will bond closely with their owners. They’re excellent guard dogs and will become aggressive towards anyone they perceive as a threat. For this reason many owners choose to send their German Shepherd for training at a very early age.
They need regular exercise and will happily play fetch for as long as you want to throw the ball for them. German Shepherds are also very clean animals and are prone to chewing their own fur if they’re kept in a small area. For this reason it’s best to keep them in a yard rather than an apartment.
Despite their large size German Shepherds don’t shed as much as other dogs and they’re not prone to gaining weight if you over feed them. Like the Lab they need a lot of grooming, so expect to spend several hours each week brushing and washing them.
The pitbull is a smaller dog than the three listed above but it deserves a mention since it shares many of the same qualities. Pitbulls are loyal and friendly dogs that form a strong bond with their owners. They’re extremely playful and love to spend time playing fetch or Frisbee.
Due to their past history of being bred to fight other animals Pitbulls can have a very strong bite, so it’s important that you socialize them well when they’re young. Unsocialized Pitbulls are prone to being aggressive towards other animals and people.
Pitbulls shed more than most dogs but they don’t blow their coat and have loose hairs all over the house like the Labradors do. They’re also less likely to snack on your furniture or chew through your backpack when you leave it out.
Pitbulls need a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy, so if you’re short on time then this probably isn’t the breed for you. They also need to be socialized and obedience trained while they’re still pups, but if you can dedicate the time and effort to them then a Pitbull can be an excellent pet.
Making Your Choice
There are pros and cons to each of these breeds, so it’s largely a matter of deciding which characteristics are most important to you.
Do you want a dog that is happy to lie around the house all day or one that needs a lot of exercise? Do you want a dog that has a strong aggressive trait or one that is extremely friendly?
The most important thing when picking a dog is to do some research into the care and temperament of each breed that takes your fancy. It’s good to spend some time with dogs of the same breed so you can see how they behave and if you feel comfortable with them.
One of the most popular breeds at the moment is the Labrador Retriever. They’re bred for hunting and have a good sense of smell. Labs are usually friendly and placid, although that depends on how they’re raised and how they’ve been trained. Labs are good for people who just want a friendly, playful dog to romp around with.
They’re not the best guard dogs though, since they tend to let anyone just approach them. This makes them poor guard dogs, but great pets for just about everyone else!
Labrador Retriever temperament: The Lab’s temperament is what makes the breed such an excellent all-around working dog. His intelligence and willingness to work, loyalty, playfulness, and friendliness make him a consistently popular breed. There are some things you should keep in mind with this breed, however. Labs have powerful bodies with very strong jumping abilities.
This means that you will need high fences (minimum of 6 feet) to keep them in, as they have been known to clear lower fences with ease. They are also incredibly strong, which means that you’ll need to make sure that their training is consistent and thorough. Labs are famous for chewing, which can lead to some costly mistakes (i.e. chewed furniture).
Lab Personality: The lab is the happy, playful and friendly type. They are one of the most affectionate breeds you will ever meet. They love everyone, including children. While they are extremely intelligent, they do not often show off that intelligence, which makes them excellent for non-experienced owners.
Lab Loyalty: The Labrador’s loyalty knows no bounds. If trained properly, they will follow orders and rules more reliably than most other breeds. They are also extremely protective of their owners, which makes them more likely to act aggressively toward intruders. They are also one of the few breeds that can detect various scents, which means that they are often used in search-and-rescue operations.
There are many other dog breeds out there aside from these three, but these cover some of the main points to think about when making your choice. There are many other factors that can affect your choice, so do your research before picking out a pet.
What’s the point of owning a dog that doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle?
There’s more to it than this.
For example, where will you acquire it? What money is that dog or puppy going to cost you?
And remember, you may think that a cute little ball of fur is the cutest thing in the world now, but be prepared for when that cute little ball of fur grows into a 115 lb. beast that wants to play non-stop.
Also, remember that dogs are not just pets; they are more like your children. They rely on you for food, water, shelter, love, and attention. So please be a responsible owner and choose a dog that will fit your needs. They depend on you to take care of them day in and day out, so don’t give them a reason to hate you, or worse, get a pet you can’t look after.
Dogs deserve to be treated as more than just property, so don’t abuse them or anything like that. A loving pet is a happy pet, and a happy pet is a loyal pet. Be responsible, be loving, and be patient and I’m sure you and your new pet will become the best of friends!
This guide is part of an assignment for my English class. The aim of the assignment is to find out what are the most commonly asked questions about a subject and answer them in a clear and helpful way. If you’re interested in learning more about dogs, check out some of these links below.
Thanks for reading!
The Canine Chronicle: Dogs 101 by Lisa Tedrick Stacy
K9 Behavioral Basics by CPT. Stephanie Mora (Ret.); CGSC
Have a good day, and remember to always love and care for your dog!
Sources & references used in this article:
- Morphometric characteristics of the pelvic limbs of Labrador Retrievers with and without cranial cruciate ligament deficiency (AA Mostafa, DJ Griffon, MW Thomas… – American journal of …, 2009 – Am Vet Med Assoc)
- Morphometric characteristics of the pelvic limb musculature of Labrador Retrievers with and without cranial cruciate ligament deficiency (AA Mostafa, DJ Griffon, MW Thomas… – Veterinary …, 2010 – Wiley Online Library)
- Multivariate analysis of morphometric characteristics to evaluate risk factors for cranial cruciate ligament deficiency in Labrador retrievers (CA Ragetly, R Evans, AA Mostafa… – Veterinary …, 2011 – Wiley Online Library)