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I don't know if this is the right board or not but I just have some general questions about the breed itself and what better place to ask than a place that loves Labs, right? If it's not the right board, could someone PM me or just move it to the correct board?

Like I said in my Introductory post, I have a Cocker Spaniel, 2 cats and a bird. We are currently house hunting and although we have slightly different views on what we want, we agree on one thing: a large fenced back yard. I want more nature, he wants more urban - I'm hoping we can meet somewhere in the middle. I'm one of those girls who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty outside. I enjoy hiking (well, technically it's just trails), camping etc. I take my Cocker once a week to a Nature Park and just walk with her through the trees. However, it's my Fiances dog and they are totally bonded. So, I chose Labs for my breed because I think we could have a good fit. He says okay. Of course we won't even start looking at breeders until after we buy our house. Which could be next week or in a year or two. Until then, I want to learn as much as I can.

I love goofy, happy dogs. I want a dog that can come with me on walks/jogs. I want a dog that can go in the snow with me (someday) or a dog that can tolerate the Florida sunshine. I want a dog that is eager to learn, is ready to go in a second or ready to cuddle. I want a dog that gets along with other animals - that likes the outdoors as much as I do. I'm not looking for big grooming requirements, or a lot of skin/ear problems (like my Cocker).


...so do Labs fit me like I think they do?
 

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Sounds to me like you have found your breed! ;) Labs are wonderful all around dogs. Our Gracie loves to go camping, hiking, playing in the snow, basking in the sun, playing with the kids, swimming, retrieving..I could go on and on! If you are looking for low coat maintenance, labs are a good choice. They do not require regular grooming/bathing but they do benefit greatly from a good regular brushing. Don't let their short coats fool you, they can shed quite a bit! Regular brushing will help to keep this under control, but if you don't like dog hair everywhere (and I mean everywhere!!! In our house, we consider it another spice ;) )then you might want to look for a low shedding breed.

The skin/ear issues can turn up in just about any breed. You can keep the skin issues to a minimum by not bathing (with shampoo) often. The shampoo can damage their coat if bathed too often and you will most likely end up with dry flaky skin. Gracie gets sprayed off regularly (she does a lot of swimming in the Erie Canal and ends up smelling like dead fish if I don't spray her off!) but she gets bathed very seldom. Make sure you feed a good quality kibble (or raw if you prefer) and that should help also.

One of the biggest health issues with labs are joint problems (hip/knees/elbows). Make sure you get your pup from a reputable breeder who has all the appropriate health certifications. Keeping your pup at a healthy weight will help to minimize problems with the joints. You mentioned jogging with your lab...it really isn't recommended that you jog with them until they have finished growing (about 2 years old) Extended periods of forced exercise can contribute to joint problems.

We have had labs for 19 years...I remember when my husband talked me into a lab...he had gotten a book from the library that listed the pros and cons of dog breeds. The lab was the only one that did not have anything listed in the "cons" column! :D I cannot imagine our house without at least one labbie now!

Good luck with your move (whenever that is!)

Here are a couple of pics of Gracie doing the things she loves!

Hanging out by the campfire:


Playing with the kids:



A good romp in the hose spray!
 

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Well you definitely found the right place to ask your questions this board is the best lab board I have found it has a wealth of knowledge in the postings and if you can’t find what you are looking for ask a question and you will get good answers from other Lab owners based on there own experiences. Spend enough time on this board and you will “get to know” the member and there dogs I almost look at this board as a community of friends with a common interest.

It sounds like a lab would be good for you. They need lots of exercise and commitment. Once you’re Lab attaches to you are prepared for Him/Her to be at your side 26 hours a day… 26 wasn’t a typo :p

They can be goofy…but they are also very smart…mine is a clepto but she knows to look around before she steals something ;D

If you have plenty of patience a lab can be trained to be a fine companion one of the reasons they use Labs as companion dogs for the def and blind.

They can be a bit stubborn as in my case my lab is just about a year old and is going through the teenage years and is a little rebellious.

Labs get along good with other animals if there well socialized from the beginning. I have seen pictures on this board with labs cuddled with all types of dogs and even cats.

They get along well with children too. I have a 3 year old and my lab is his favorite toy. The only thing my Lab does to my son is steal his snacks…then again I have also seen him give them willing to her too so I don’t know whom to blame half the time. :-\


Good luck on your information search and welcome to the board.
 

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Hi. Welcome. :)

I want a dog that can come with me on walks/jogs.
Adult Labradors make fantastic walking and jogging companions. However, the same cannot be said for Lab puppies. Extra caution is needed in those first 24 months of life in order to protect the growing joints so forced exercise (jogging, long leash walks, etc.) is a big no. As an adult dog a Lab will need proper conditioning if he is going to make a suitable jogging companion.

want a dog that can go in the snow with me (someday) or a dog that can tolerate the Florida sunshine.
Labradors are cold weather dogs through and through. Providing they remain active they will gladly exercise in freezing conditions. On the other hand most Labs do NOT do well in heat, especially not the Florida sunshine. If the temperature is above 80 degrees your dog should remain inside and exercise should be pushed forward or back towards the early/late part of the day. Dogs can come down with heat stroke at a terrifyingly quick rate so exercising in the heat should be avoided at all costs.

I want a dog that is eager to learn, is ready to go in a second or ready to cuddle.
Labradors definitely tick all of these boxes.

I want a dog that gets along with other animals - that likes the outdoors as much as I do.
All Labradors enjoy their home comforts but you won't find a breed more loving of the great outdoors. When they are fully mature they make wonderful outdoor pursuit companions...as long as the activity is safe, chances are they can do it. Running, walking, biking, hiking, swimming, you name it. Adaptability is a great quality of this breed. They are up for anything.

I'm not looking for big grooming requirements, or a lot of skin/ear problems (like my Cocker).
Labs require minimal grooming. They actually never need to be bathed unless they roll in something nasty. They rarely need to be brushed either unless they are shedding seriously. Skin and ear problems can crop up in the breed but it can often be solved by something simple such as switching foods or removing a certain thing from the diet.
 

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Why not consider rescuing an older dog? Look at petfinder.com, or on the rescue/adoption section of this forum.
 

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The lab was the only one that did not have anything listed in the "cons" column!
Ohh, I can think of many 'cons'. LOL

Actually, I think the cons are important to consider. For the OP:

Destructiveness: are you houseproud? Labradors are notorious chewers and require pretty much constant supervision at least for the first year or so. Most Labradors can't be trusted to roam crate free until they are a year or older. They WILL get themselves into trouble if they are bored, with leads me on to my next point.

Exercise: Labradors are an active breed. If they don't receive an adequate dose of daily physical and mental stimulation they will let you know about it.

Mess: Labradors are a breed who enjoy getting dirty...if there is a body of water they will want to swim in it. If there is a pool of mud or a dead animal they will want to roll in it. Also, they shed like crazy. A vacuum is your best friend...prepare for little black, brown or chocolate hairs to get everywhere.

Most Labradors are food hogs. If you get a food crazed Lab they cannot be trusted around food, ever. Trash cans must be kept locked or behind closed doors, no food can be left lying around, counters must be cleared, all the cupboard doors shut. It can be a real pain of you are in a rush to get out in the morning...

Because this breed is so darn intelligent they can easily learn to push your buttons..."give them an inch and they will take a mile" is a good way of describing a pushy young Labrador.
 

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My thoughts:

1. As Rosie stated, labs cannot have forced exercise (jogging, for example) for the first two years.
2. Labs have a double coat for insulation, which helps in heat as well as in the cold. They should be permitted, however, to go full-tilt in the summer heat.
4. Labs should not be bathed, but in my experience, they need to be brushed a lot. Labs shed a TON and you need to be ready to be prepared for hair EVERYWHERE. Brushing helps this, though.
5. Ear problems crop up with many floppy-eared breeds, and labs are no exception. Especially if they are swimming quite a bit.
6. Labs have a propensity to get joint and hip problems, which could quickly remove your new best friends from the active list.
 

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I agree with all of the above. :) I also suggest rescuing an older Lab that is already housebroken and out of the destructo stages. You have a fairly good idea of their temperament, as well.

Labs differ in temperament, just like people. Our Shadow was a gentle lady, sweet, loving, laid-back, well-behaved, would not dream of putting a paw on a counter or table, never stole food (until she was on Prednisone), and was trustworthy out of her crate by the time she was a year old ... with only one or two brief lapses of judgment on her part. ;)

Buddy, the little guy we adopted last Sunday, is just as gentle, sweet, laid-back, and loving. He is also a certified counter-surfer and trash-diver, leaps like a gazelle, will steal food in a heartbeat, and is a typical teen-age boy. ;) In another year (he is about one year old now), he'll be an awesome dog, but until then he will need obedience training and constant watching when he is not in his crate.

Just understand that your pup/dog may need some work to reach the stage where it would be considered safe to leave loose in the house with no one home. Always crate-train your dog, no matter what age, for their own safety as well as that of your belongings and home.
 

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Sounds like a lab would be a good fit. Do your hw (like you are doing now) and be aware of all the pros and cons of the breed. Dont forget, breeders are great but rescue organizations are good too. And I have a lab mix and I am very thrilled with him. So don't rule out a pup if they aren't full lab. Apollo is still a total lab, through and through. Although if you want to be sure about health clearances, a breeder's lab would be a good way to go. Good luck!
 

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There is no other dog quite like the lab. All the responses are on the money. I do wish to warn you that they are addicting. They are an extremely versatile,adaptable breed. They can transition from footwarmer to retrievng machine in a nano second. They will cuddle,console and entertain all in the same day. When you think the whole world hates you,they think your the greatest human alive. That's where they hook you.
 

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love goofy, happy dogs TOTAL lab

I want a dog that can come with me on walks/jogs Labs need a lot of exercise. They dont just love it, they need it.

I want a dog that can go in the snow with me (someday) or a dog that can tolerate the Florida sunshine Our guys love the snow and in the heat of the summer, love the pool.

I want a dog that is eager to learn- Labs love to be lept busy and are eager learners.

is ready to go in a second or ready to cuddle- they call the Lab the "lightbulb" breed....they can snuggle with the best of them, but be ready to work, play at the flick of a switch.

I want a dog that gets along with other animals - Labs for the most part, get along great with other animals. Especially if they were raised with that animal.

that likes the outdoors as much as I do- they love being outside

I'm not looking for big grooming requirements- brush them, keep the nails short and your'e done. They are easy to take care of.

or a lot of skin/ear problems (like my Cocker)- some have problems due to their food. There are some things you can do to help this, choose a food that agrees with your lab.

Check out the articles on my breeder's site. Great info here.
www.woodhavenlabs.com
Sounds like you and a Lab are a perfect match! Welcome to the forums.
 

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I don't know if this is the right board or not
I think you now realize this was the perfect place to ask your question. ;)
I have been trying to think up some negatives so you will know what to expect. There is a good reason so many Labs end up in shelters. It's because people, unlike you, do not do their homework.

Here are my top three "negatives"

Number 1. It is generally accepted that Labs can be house wreckers as pups if not constantly watched. I have a saying, "If a Lab can get it in his mouth, he will eat it. If he can't get it in his mouth then he will tear it up, then eat it. If he can't tear it up he will go find something that he can tear up."
You will have to crate train your pup so your belongings will be safe when you are not home. Most Labs cannot be trusted alone in a house for a least one or two years, some are lifers when it comes to crating. BTW, properly trained, a Lab will love their crate and see it as their den home.

Number 2. Labs shed. This board has had long debates over the best vacuum to own and learning to live with Lab fur in or on everything you eat, drink or wear. It's a good idea to get a sign for you front door to warn guest that if they don't want dog fur on their clothes then don't sit on the furniture.

Number 3. Labs demand to be part of the family and live with the family therefore you cannot avoid the first two problems. Do not think that a Lab will be happy being relegated to life in the back yard living in a dog house. And if you leave your Lab alone in a backyard for any length of time unsupervised, see Number 1.
 

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Another negative...teething. Labs are a seriously mouthy breed and puppies like to bite, bite, bite. Some are worse than others. I know Connie (AngusFangus) had big problems with her Angus biting. Out of my own dogs, even though Joker wasn't technically my dog when he was a puppy (long story) he was a terrible biter. I could correct him until I was blue in the face and distract him until my arms hurt but he would still bite. Sometimes my arms were so scratched I looked like I had been dragged through a thorn bush. ::)
 

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I agree with everything posted so far, including the cons. But, I have to say that while getting through the puppy cons can be extremely trying, it is sooooo worth it. ;D

Just know that if you get a puppy, you are in for 1 to 2 years of hard work, puppy kisses, bite marks, chewed items and many years of totally devoted love, loyalty and companionship. You will be anything but lonely when you have a Lab. 8)
 

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I honestly don't know if I could own another breed. I absolutly love my labs. This is a great site for information. I wish I would have known about it long ago.

My opinions are coming from someone who's learned alot the hard way about the lab breed in general. With our first lab mix (he was lab/retriever mix) we basically learned as we went. And I don't regret any of it... the frustrations, the stress.... but their devotion makes it so worth it. It is so much easier with my girls now that we know more about the breed itself.

In fact, my sister says that her husband wants to get a chocolate lab when they're ready, for bird hunting... I keep telling her that they really need to check out this site because they can get so much information. He wants a pure bred lab so hopefully they'll take my advice and research and decide if a lab is the right breed for them personally.
 

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We have 2 labs and I find they are like potato chips. One just isn't enough. They enjoy each other and we enjoy watching them interact. So on your list of both pro's and con's you might just want to add that one may not be enough. Not saying you need 2, just so many of us on here found that after the first one, we had to have a second. Some went for even more!! ;D I will add that my first one is so mellow that if she were any mellower she wouldn't move. Our second is more active, more of an outside girl, but both love to cuddle, be with us and that is important to us. So if you want a dog that almost becomes a part of your body, this is the dog for you. I think you would never regret having one, I know I'll probably always have a lab. :)
 

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I couldn't possibly add anything else to what has been said. I'm a rather new lab owner myself. I got Annie 1/5 years ago, but lost her at 11 months old. We immediately got another lab puppy....Sally! I would never have another dog after having Annie and Sally. They encompass everything I could possibly want in a dog....or a human!!

If you can make it through those puppy months (I'm not kidding, it's tough much of the time)....the biting, chewing, hyperness....but if you hang in there with your obedience training and are consistent, you'll have an awesome dog.

Sally is only 7 months old (she'll be 7 months on Mothers Day), but already she's calmed down a lot and is easy to handle. She's loving, affectionate, hilarious at times, loves to retrieve and retrieve and retrieve and retrieve, loves to swim and play in the water, doesn't know a stranger whether man or beast. Everyone loves Sally. How could anyone possibly want more than that? ;D

But if you're going to get a lab from a breeder....DO YOU HOMEWORK!!! Check them out and make sure they are reputable breeders. I'm sure there a many threads on here about reputable breeders. I can't stress enough how important it is NOT to just grab up the first cute puppy you see from someone advertising lab puppies.

Good luck....and when you get that lab, be sure to post pics....lots and lots of pics! ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
First, thank you SO much for all of your replies. They have cemented what I already read about the breed.

My Cocker was a handful as a puppy. I lost 3 Camera Chords, countless amounts of items of clothing, 2 cell phones, a pair of glasses and who knows what else. I've found that a busy mind or busy body gathers NO "no-nos." ;D What I mean by that is I learned to keep Keegan busy during her "I'm bloody bored" looks. If she had a "no-no" item, I immediately traded her up for something better (like a squeeky toy, or a walk outside). It worked wonders.

I have a pretty good vacuum right now because my Manx (cat) and Keegan shed like there is no tomorrow. I've begun to be really good about using the "extra attatchments." It's funny where Cat and Dog hair will reach.

I am a firm believer in house dogs - no outside dogs. I, hate the Florida heat in the summer. It's oppressive. If I wouldn't be out for more than a half hour, I wouldn't subject my dog to it. Pools? No problem. Sprinklers? Good deal. I also believe in Crates - I think they provide a safe place for a puppy, adult dog etc. Especially when potty training puppies - they are a great aide, no?

Best part of all? I REALLY like the fact that they are a minimal brush kind of dog. Keegan gets that doggy smell after a few days without a bath. I've already switched her food to **** Van Pattens Duck and Potato to alleviate HER skin problems. So I'm a pro at that.

I think I might have just found my "it" breed. Don't get me wrong, I love my Cocker and I like her happy go lucky attitude - but I'm looking for something along the same lines...but different - in good ways :)

Thanks SO much for all your help!

Our house would be about 900-2000 square feet (is what we're hoping for). I'm aiming for at LEAST 1200.
 

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You sound like the perfect Lab owner to me, my friend! :)

I know Connie (AngusFangus) had big problems with her Angus biting. Out of my own dogs, even though Joker wasn't technically my dog when he was a puppy (long story) he was a terrible biter. I could correct him until I was blue in the face and distract him until my arms hurt but he would still bite. Sometimes my arms were so scratched I looked like I had been dragged through a thorn bush.
Ohhhh boy! Yes, yes YES! Does that ever sound familiar! I tried everything anyone ever suggested, wrote in a book, talked about in a class...for at least a year, there was no stopping it. :eek: People constantly suggested that I should give him back to the shelter. Then, it became a battle of wills...he was NOT going to get the best of me! Dammit, if I bled to death, I was going to die trying! :D

He did outgrow it. Mostly. ;) He still likes to put his mouth on me. I have learned to accept a certain amount of it. He doesn't break skin anymore...I think it's an important way of communicating with him. Whatever. As long as he's gentle, I'm good.

One thing that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet (and you've gotten a fantastic snapshot of the breed from the posters above) is this: Labs are very powerful dogs. Before Angus, I had Crash (in my Avatar). Crash weighed in at 130 pounds. A very big boy. Yet he was gentle as a lamb.

Not so with Angus. He is half Crash's size, but he could take me down in a heartbeat. :eek: Strong as an ox. When he hits the end of that leash at full-speed, I am at the chiropractor for several days. :D

Just something else to think about. There is a big difference between an excited Cocker and an excited, muscle-bound Lab. :p But I will tell you this: If you're not already (and maybe you are), you will be more physically fit than you ever dreamed possible!

Angus gave me hell his first year, as a puppy. I may never adopt another puppy again after what I went through. :D But honestly, I couldn't love him any more. He's almost three now. He's still pig-headed, and frustrating, and I just wanted to strangle him last week when he ran out of the Rally ring before I even took one step :D But he's so brilliant and exciting and yes, even sweet. I'm crazy about him.

You'll have to come back and let us know when you adopt!
 
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