The Labrador Retriever is a dog whose reputation goes before him. A dog whose good nature and loyal disposition are legendary.
It isn’t just the Labrador’s good points that are widely recognised. Most of us also know all too well how messy and boisterous a Labrador can be, especially in the early years of his life. Yet despite the promise of muddy paws, chewed table legs, and hairy carpets, thousands of families each year, open their homes and hearts to this large and often smelly breed of dog, falling head over heels in love in the process, says Pippa Mattinson.
So just what is it about Labradors that has powered their relentless rise in popularity. Why are Labradors entrusted with so many important roles in human society. Why do I and thousands like me love Labradors so much?
Reason 1 - The Labrador is a perfect companion
Can you imagine having a friend that never moaned or complained? A friend that always wanted to do whatever you wanted to do? A friend that was always cheerful, always interested in you, and always willing to eat whatever you put in front of him? That’s what you get when you bring a Labrador into your life.
If that sounds a bit boring, don’t worry. Life with a Labrador is never dull, because a Labrador is also a bit of a clown.
Reason 2 - The Labrador is a playful dog
It goes without saying that most puppies love playing. And then they grow up. Unless they are a Labrador of course. If you are wondering when your nine month old Lab will be grown up, you have quite a wait. These are playful dogs and many remain young at heart their entire life. My nine year old and three year old still play together for up to an hour each day.
Labs also love to fool around with people, and most will happily fetch a ball or catch a frisby from dawn until dusk. You’ll never be short of things to do when you share your life with a Lab.
Reason 3 - A Labrador is perfectly formed
Physically, a Labrador is close to perfect. He has an easy care, wash and go coat. His body is strong, robust and athletic. He is powerful yet surprisingly agile for such a large dog. He is in fact a thing of grace and beauty.
This beautiful and endearing appearance is extremely important because it will help to sustain your affection for him when you return to your vehicle and discover he has eaten both front safety belts, only to vomit them up later while you are having your supper. And yes, that was one of my dogs. And yes, I now use a dog guard or travel crate in my vehicles!
Reason 4 - A Labrador is not just a pretty face
You might not think so when your Lab is trying to jam a long stick through a narrow doorway without turning his head, but he’s a pretty smart dog.
Not only is the Labrador a very intelligent animal, he is also extremely co-operative. And it is this wonderful mix of co-operative nature combined with intelligence that has made the Labrador so very successful in many important roles.
Reason 5 - Labradors serve mankind in many ways
From war zones to care homes, Labradors are there, making peoples’ lives better. They protect us from disease and explosives, help and guide us when we are lost or disabled, and befriend us when we are alone. Thousands of Labradors have lived and died in the service of man, and the debt we owe them is beyond estimation.
The success of the Labrador Retriever both as a working dog and as a human companion lies in his origins, and the way that his original purpose has shaped his destiny. Generations of being bred for life as a working retriever, capable of being controlled by whistles and hand signals over great distances, has produced one of the most biddable dogs on the planet. A dog that is trainable, smart, tolerant and above all friendly.
Reason 6 - The Labrador is everyone’s friend
There are those that find the Labrador’s friendliness a bit too much. They rather like the idea of combining his qualities with those of a guard dog. And I quite often receive letters from people wanting to train their Lab to bark at strangers.
If you want a guard dog, the truth is, a Labrador is probably not the dog for you. He is more likely to show a burglar where you keep your laptop and offer him the contents of your fridge, than he is to chase him away. Most Labradors are everyone’s friend, and most of us love them all the more for it.
Reason 7 - A Labrador’s enthusiasm knows no bounds
Labradors don’t just love people, dogs and anything else that happens along. They love life itself, and with a passion that few can match.
Labradors are the world’s greatest experts on joining in. Whatever is happening, they want to be a part of it. Their enthusiasm for each day that dawns knows no bounds and it is this perhaps above all else that I love about this breed.
Photo Credit: lisamurray
As you can see, I could talk all day about this ordinary yet very extraordinary dog. Which is why my latest book is all about Labradors.
We have touched on just a few of the reasons Labrador Retrievers are the world’s most popular pedigree breed. A position well earned through generations of loyal service and companionship. If you already share your life with a Lab, I’m sure you’ll agree that Labradors Rule, and I’m guessing you’ll probably be able to think of many more reasons why Labradors are simply the best.