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Is a Labrador Retriever Right for You? Survey Results from Lab Owners

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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The number one most registered dog breed in the United States according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) is the Labrador retriever. We have a breed profile on the lab but the breed profile can only tell you so much. So...we really wanted to give possible lab owners a better understanding of the lab such as: are they good for families with kids? Are they aggressive? Do they shed a lot? Do they bark a lot? What are their good and bad traits.

We wrote a survey asking lab owners just these questions. Read the real answers from over 450 Lab owners. We don't want to discourage anyone from getting a dog. But we want the right match.

Read the responses of hundreds of lab owners and find out if a lab is right for you!

Questions we asked in our survey included:

1. What type of pet or pets do you own? In our survey, 62% have dogs, 1.6% had cats, 30.5% had both dogs and cats and approximately 6% had a dog but recently lost him or her. As you can see 30.5 % of lab owners have cats!

2. Do you have a Labrador retriever at home? Over 98% answered yes and the remaining answered that they had a lab until recently.

3. How old is your lab? In our survey, 23% were less than 1 year old, 35% were 1 to 3 years old, 18% were 4 to 6 years old, 9% were 7 to 9 years old and approximately 6% were over 9 years old.

4. How much does your lab weigh (Approximately)? The majority of labs weighed 51 to 70 pounds followed by 71 to 90 pounds. More than 72% were between 51 and 90 pounds. Approximately 13% were over 90 pounds and 14% were less than 50 pounds. We believe those less than 50 pounds were growing puppies.

5. What is the gender of your lab? In the labs owners surveyed, 39% were neutered males, 37% were spayed females, 13% were intact males and approximately 11% were intact females.

6. Do you think your lab is weight proportional? More than 85% of responders believe that their lab is just right, 13% believe their lab is overweight and 1.6% thought their lab was underweight (too thin). In our experience, labs can have a tendency toward obesity.

7. Do you think a lab is a good "first pet"? (I mean the first dog for someone that has never had a dog before). Approximately 84% say, yes, the lab would make a great first pet. Approximately 16% said no, the lab would not make a good first pet. Out of the lab owners that expressed concern about a lab being a first pet, their concern stemmed around the fact that labs can be demanding requiring both substantial time and energy. Any first time dog owner needs to realize and plan for the time and exercise that a lab requires to have a good dog-owner match.

8. Do you think Labrador retrievers are good pets for senior citizens? Approximately 41% say, yes, the lab would make a good pet for senior citizens and 49 % said no, that the lab would not make a good pet for seniors. Many lab owners thought labs would be good companions and would benefit seniors by encouraging them to walk and exercise their dog. However, many lab owners had concern that a high-energy lab may be too much for some seniors and that they dog may not get the exercise they need. In general, the opinion of lab owners is that if a senior is active and willing to give them the attention and exercise they need, they would be GREAT dogs for seniors.

9. In general, do you think a Labrador retriever is a good dog for families with children? Approximately 99% answered an enthusiastic YES! Only 1% said no. Relative to other breeds we surveyed, the lab is the winner for being good with for families.

10. Do you think a Labrador retriever is good with other dogs or prefers to be alone? Approximately 93% believe that labs are good with other dogs and 7% thought they preferred to be alone.

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