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Labs -The Irreverent Vet’s Opinion on the Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever – Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds. Their personalities are generally good with kids and they can be wonderful family dogs. However, there are many breed lines that are very hyperactive and eager to chew on everything, as well as some that are known to be aggressive and have the potential to be fear biters. I would recommend getting your Labrador Retriever from a reputable breeder and closely looking at the parent’s personalities for indications of these traits.

An important consideration before owning a Lab is evaluating how much available time you have for exercise, grooming, and training. Labs are known to mature late – they can act like a puppy for 2 to 4 years. While some pet owners may love this trait, many pet owners who wanted a very calm, laid-back pet ask me “When is he going to grow up?” It is important to make sure you have the time, interest, and space to give a Labrador retriever plenty of exercise and stimulation.

If you do not have the time or interest to give a Lab the proper amount of play and exercise, then this breed is not for you. In addition, this breed does a fair bit of shedding and it is important to regularly brush your dog if you don’t want hair all over your home. Finally, training is very important in Labs. They are smart and eager to please but you will need to teach them what you expect. A well-trained Lab is a wonderful pet!

Labrador Retrievers are also known to have several orthopedic problems e.g. hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and osteochondrosis. They also can get some heart problems – make sure when you take your puppy in for his initial physical examination you have your veterinarian carefully auscultate both sides of his heart. Genetic predispositions such as these make choosing your dog from a reputable breeder that much more important.

Although this opinion discusses many of the negative aspects of this breed, it is still one of my favorites. Take time to choose the right one and give him what he needs to be happy and you will have a very special dog. Just remember, you’ll need to make sure you eat your “Wheaties” to keep up with this breed!

This article promoted a lot of emails and comments from lab lovers. To be balanced, I’d like to share some of those comments with you. To read these comments, go to: Owners Comments About Good and Bad Traits of Labrador Retrievers (Labs).

The Irreverent Vet is a columnist that regularly contributes to The goal is to add a balanced and alternative view of some controversial pet issues. As happens with all of us, veterinarians can’t say what they really think without offending some clients. This commentary allows vets to say what they think and give you, the pet owner, the opportunity to consider another view. All opinions are those of the Politically Incorrect Vet and not the views of and are not endorsed by

For the full breed profile, click here.