If you're a dog lover, then your family most likely doesn't feel complete without a canine companion and the pitter-patter of four little paws running about your house. A dog brings something very special into the family dynamic, and if you have children, your pup and your kids can quickly become the best of pals.
If you have visions of your dog-to-be and your children frolicking together in the backyard and being an inseparable bunch, then you are no doubt paying close attention to which dog breeds are supposed to be a good match for families. While some breeds, like Labradors, are known to be a better fit than others for homes with kids, every pup is different and unique. Therefore, before you purchase or adopt a dog, make sure you get to meet your potential new pooch before making your final decision.
The Labrador: Family Dog and Ultimate Companion
Labradors are one of the most lovable and playful dog breeds on the planet, and they are known for being exceptionally great with children. Of course, Labs are also extremely energetic and bouncy bundles of fur, which might explain why they make such a perfect match for young kids. These loving dogs are also very faithful and relaxed, but won’t hesitate to stand alert when needed, making them excellent guard dogs.
While you never want to make assumptions about any dog, you can be pretty confident that adding a Lab to your family is a great choice. Here are 8 reasons why a Labrador is the best family dog:
- A Labrador is full of energy and vigor, making him the ultimate doggy playmate.
- A Labrador is very loving and friendly.
- A Labrador, while active, is also very relaxed, making him very tolerant of young children.
- A Labrador is family-oriented and loves being a part of his human pack.
- A Labrador is loyal to his family, and although not aggressive, will stay on alert like a faithful and devoted guard.
- A Labrador is very patient and even-tempered.
- A Labrador has a high threshold for activity, and can keep up with the most active of children.
- A Labrador is eager to please and very trainable.
Getting To Know the Labrador
When it comes to positive qualities, there’s a long list for the Labrador: family dog, faithful friend, constant companion, devoted guard, and many more. However, no matter how wonderful a pup’s personality is, that isn’t the only thing that you should consider when selecting a dog for your family. You also need to take into account the basic facts about the breed, such as size, grooming requirements, trainability, and health concerns.
For example, a Lab might be a great companion for your kids, but what if you live in a tiny apartment with no backyard? In this situation, getting your Labrador the exercise he desperately needs might become a bit of a problem. On the other hand, you could find a dog that is the perfect size, but requires extensive grooming that you aren’t prepared to handle. In other words, personality and temperament are not the only considerations when it comes to finding the best dog for your family.
Knowing the basics about any dog breed is important before you decide to bring a pup into your home. The more you know in the beginning, the less likely you are to be hit with any major surprises down the road.
Here are some good-to-know facts about the intelligent and exuberant Labrador:
The average height of a Lab is between 21.5 and 24.5 inches, and the average weight is roughly 55 to 80 pounds. The males, as is common with most dog breeds, are usually slightly larger than the females.
A Labrador lives an average of 10 to 12 years, so keep this in mind when deciding whether to adopt a younger or older dog, especially if your children are still very young.
A Labrador doesn’t require extensive grooming, but he does have a thick, double-coat that sheds. This pup just needs an occasional bath, regular nail trims and dental care, and a good once-over with a brush every week to help get rid of loose hair.
Overall, Labs are a pretty sturdy breed, and if you get your pup from a reputable breeder, then he’s likely to be screened for a number of different issues like hip dysplasia, heart conditions, eye problems, and muscle weakness. Like other large breeds, Labs are subject to a condition known as bloat, so knowing the facts about these potential issues is always a plus.
A Labrador needs to exercise a lot and he needs to do it every day. If your Lab doesn’t get enough opportunities to engage in appropriate levels of exercise, the result is likely to be a dog that ends up getting into mischief and is rather unruly and hard to handle. Therefore, one of your main responsibilities is to see that your dog gets adequate exercise, whether it’s snapping on a leash and taking him along on your morning jog, tossing a frisbee at the park or any number of creative activities that you can come up with. Labs also really enjoy swimming and participating in a variety of events like agility training and tracking.
When you aren’t able to play with your pup, or for times when you’re not at home, provide your Labrador with items that can help keep him stimulated and focused, like the Rolly Cannoli and other interactive toys or treat puzzles.
A Labrador is very intelligent and eager to please his family, but he’s also very energetic, so early training is key to help him focus. It’s also important to provide ample opportunities for socialization by exposing your Lab to a variety of positive people, places, and events so he can become the well-behaved and well-mannered pooch he’s meant to be. You can start with the basics by enrolling him in a puppy obedience class, which is also a great way for him to socialize, and then you can progress to teaching him some fun tricks that are sure to make your kids smile.
Labradors and Kids
Although Labs are known for being great dogs for homes with children, it is still important that both your new pup and your kids understand how to treat each other. Make sure that your children know how to properly interact with a dog and that they are aware of any special rules regarding your new furry family member. Likewise, as soon as you bring your new Lab home, it’s imperative that you begin training him right away and set clear expectations about what behavior is acceptable and what is off-limits.When you’re ready to add a Labrador to the family, petfinder.com is a great place to start your search. You can also check out National Labrador Rescue Groups if you decide that you want to rescue an animal in need. Don’t miss out on more awesome tips and helpful information that can turn you into the super pet parent that you want to be! Check out the rest of our blogs, and learn all about how you can do the very best for your pets!