Labradors are an extremely popular family dog and with very good reason. Their laid back attitude is a great part of their charm, making them good for kids of all ages, a hit with guests and an all-around nice guy! These sweet-natured dogs are also high on empathy and compassion which makes them brilliant therapy and assistant dogs. And while we’re on a roll it’s also worth noting that they excel at as search and rescue dogs given their origins as retrievers for hunters.

Energy to burn

Of course, all of this positivity doesn’t mean you’ll instantly have a dog with good manners! Lab puppies are full of energy and their large size can make them a rambunctious handful. They need a lot of exercise to keep destructive play at bay. What’s more, given half a chance will chew through anything and everything in sight. This includes your favourite possessions and furniture, so they’ll need plenty of chew toys and a little help understanding the difference between right and wrong things to chew lest your Jimmy Choo shoes be gone!

The Labrador Retriever’s playful yet easy-going nature makes it a fantastic family dog provided it has enough room to run. It’s great at obedience training and is highly in-tune with its people (hence the breed’s success as a guide dog).

Gluttony is rife

A quick word to the wise, if you do get a Lab, never ever leave the pantry door open! Labradors love their food and the concept of full hasn’t hasn’t been part of their evolutionary journey; they will eat until their stomachs explode if given half a chance. And if given even a quarter of chance they’ll easily stack on a lot of weight, which could cause future health problems. It’s probably also worth being aware that despite their large size and loud bark the Labrador is no guard dog. Intruders are likely to be greeted with the same love and affection as your favourite Aunt.

Character traits: loving, lovable, easy-going, empathetic, energetic, mouthy, hungry, huggable.

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