Labradors are one of my favorite dogs. Many of my close friends and relations have and still own one so I’ve had my fair share of exposure to this fabulous breed over the years.
So why am I telling you 24 reasons not to get a Labrador? The answer is simple: Labs are lovely dogs but they are just not suited to everyone. They can be rather a handful! Read on to see exactly why and know exactly what you might be letting yourself in for.
My Top 24 Reasons Not to Get a Labrador
1. Labradors need lots of exercising
If you loathe exercise you may have a problem owning a labrador. It is really important to walk a labrador two or three times a day to exhaust its energy reserves. A lack of exercise often leads a labrador to misbehave one way or another.
Being housebound or only having access to a small yard is not enough. So, if you think you won’t have time to take a labrador out for long walks, get a dog that doesn’t require long walks.
2. Labradors are big dogs
A labrador can weigh about 70 pounds. This means you won’t be able to lift one easily and if it fancies a cuddle on your lap, you will get squashed. If you want a lap dog, a Lab is not ideal!
3. Labradors are clumsy
Labradors are also quite boisterous and clumsy. Their tails are strong and solid which can result in things at tail-height getting knocked over and broken. You won’t be able to have your favorite ornaments on low tables. They seem to have no spacial awareness and small people and children are run the risk of being flattened if they wander into a running labrador’s path.
4. You’ll find Labrador hair everywhere
Labradors shed a fair amount and wearing black clothes is a nightmare if you own a Golden one. People will guess what dog you own when they notice the fur on your backside! You will need a good supply of lint rollers and even then you’ll miss a bit of fur. If you have light-colored carpets this will perfectly highlight black Labrador fur.
So if you don’t fancy cleaning dog hair from your furnishings and clothes all the time perhaps you should consider a dog that doesn’t shed so much, such as a poodle.
5. Labradors need lots of attention
Labradors thrive on human attention. Once you get back from a long walk, a Lab will still want you to take notice of it. If you ignore it, it will play up to get you to take notice. You’ll find yourself petting one for ages and it won’t want you to stop.
If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, look for a more independent breed.
6. Labradors are susceptible to several genetic conditions
Sadly, this breed can suffer from genetically transmitted conditions. Knee cap dislocation and hip, shoulder and elbow dysplasia, eye and heart disorders are just some.
If you don’t know the background of a Labrador puppy, you won’t know if it has been bred from parents who have been genetically screened. Even though there is no absolute guarantee of a puppy’s health you have a better chance of finding a healthy dog if you go down that route.
So there is a chance of having your heart broken if you get a Labrador puppy.
7. Labradors are immature for a long time
Though they grow fast, their mental age lags behind. So you end up with a fully grown dog that acts like a puppy. They stretch your patience at times so if you are lacking in this department, consider a calmer dog.
8. Labradors have springs in their paws!
I’m sure they have springs in their paws as they bounce upon you every chance they get. This isn’t always amusing, especially when one knocks grandma over or sends a toddler flying. Training is key here or your dog will be a source of annoyance all its life.
9. Labradors get under your feet
A Labrador will love you to bits. It will want to be wherever you are, basically under your feet. As you move about the house you will have to watch you don’t get tripped up. If you like a bit of alone time when you’re home, this is not the dog for you.
10. Labradors are expensive to buy
Labradors are one of the most popular breeds in the United States and the sheer demand holds the price of puppies high.
If you must buy a puppy make sure you buy from a reputable, registered breeder who has proof that their breeding dogs don’t have genetic problems.
Avoid backyard dealers and classified ads. Dogs from these sources cannot be guaranteed as healthy and could carry genetic illnesses that responsible breeders are working hard to eliminate from the breed.
If you can’t afford a puppy from a trusted source, why not adopt from a shelter where hundreds of dogs are desperate for a loving home?
11. Correct training is important
If you want a well-behaved Labrador you must invest a lot of time training it from a puppy, very firmly. A Labrador must see you as the leader of the pack which means you have to be firm but fair with it and show it you are the boss. Puppy training classes really help. If you are not likely to put in the effort it takes to raise a well-behaved Labrador you will always have your work cut and ownership won’t be as enjoyable as it should be.
12. Labradors love to roll or wallow in stinky stuff
Quite often a Labrador requires hosing down after a walk. Given a choice between a clean lake and a stagnant puddle, the puddle wins every time. A rotting animal carcass is irresistible to roll on as is another creature’s excrement. This really is a foul Labrador habit.
If you have a weak stomach when it comes to cleaning a really dirty dog you may want to rethink becoming a Labrador owner.
13. Labradors chew stuff up
Nothing is safe. You can move all your favorite things out of reach. A Labrador will then chew doorframes, carpets, furniture, even walls. The best solution is not to leave a Labrador alone for any length of time. If this is impossible for you, you probably shouldn’t get one.
14. Labradors are retrievers by nature
Labradors were bred as working dogs to retrieve for hunters. This is why they have plenty of energy for running. Even in a domestic environment the retriever instinct still kicks in. A Labrador will swipe food from a kitchen table and run off with it. If you take a Labrador out to a park it will play fetch for hours and hours and never get fed up … however, you probably will.
15. They aren’t small for very long
That cute little puppy that fits in your arms and snuggles on your lap won’t be small for long. A Labrador increases in size rapidly and before you know it, it takes up all the room. Many people are surprised at the size of a full-grown Labrador so bear this in mind before you commit.
16. They are not ideal guard dogs
A Labrador is more likely to welcome an intruder with open arms. Unless that person is willing to stand still long enough to be licked to death, a Labrador is not the best deterrent to a would-be-burglar.
So if you’re after a dog that offers protection, a Labrador isn’t it.
17. Labradors easily gain weight
You don’t often see a slender Labrador – most tend to be overweight and even obese. The breed does have a genetic tendency to gain weight. A Labrador owner has to be strict with its diet and make sure the correct portions are served at every meal. Snacks should be counted in their daily calorie intake and human foods avoided. It’s difficult not to give a Labrador a bit of what you’re eating as they are accomplished beggars.
If you can’t see yourself being strict enough with a Labrador’s food intake, bear in mind that overweight Labradors are prone to suffer from weight-related health conditions as they get older. You probably shouldn’t own one.
18. Pet insurance is not cheap for Labradors
It seems Labradors make a lot of claims – well, their owners do. This means insurance premiums are high. If you decide not to get insurance because you can’t afford it, consider how you will feel when you can’t afford the operation to remove that sock your Labrador ate which is now blocking its intestines … My friend’s Labrador ate her son’s sock recently – the family holiday was canceled to pay the vet’s bill.
19. A labrador’s grocery bill is expensive
A labrador never thinks it’s had enough to eat and good-quality dog food is expensive. Look at your finances and consider if you can afford the monthly food bill.
20. Leaving a Labrador home alone is never a good idea
If you work all day you can’t leave a Labrador home alone. A puppy will fret and chew things up. An adult dog will do the same. Think long and hard before you buy any dog if you will end up leaving it home alone most days. You can’t blame the dog if it becomes destructive under such circumstances.
21. Your lawn will suffer
If your lawn is fit for bowling, perfectly manicured, lush and level, a Labrador will soon fix that for you. Even if the worst it does is pee on it, you will be left with yellow spots that will never get the chance to recover. There is a strong chance that a Labrador will have a little dig around which really does create a mess and spoil the look. Do you still want a Labrador?
22. Say goodbye to perfect flower beds
You may have to rethink your whole yard or garden if you intend to let a labrador loose in it. Delicate flowers won’t stand a chance under those 4 hefty paws. A Labrador will not have the sense to walk around your plants but will merrily trample them into the ground.
So if you are a keen gardener who loves beds of colorful flowers, you may have to give up on them or give up on the idea of a Labrador. You might be able to have a few hardy shrubs and bushes but that’s all.
23. Garden accessories and features won’t be safe
If you have a pretty yard, well kept and furnished, it will be subjected to a Labrador make-over. Not everyone appreciates their hard work in this area.
Fence posts, table, and chair legs may get chewed. Holes will appear everywhere. Sprinkler systems will be thoroughly investigated and may get punctured beyond repair. Ornamental fish ponds will be messed up when used for a dip.
24. Car travel can be problematic
Labradors can be a problem in a car. They should be secured for your safety as much as theirs. Because of their size, if you want to go out in the car as a family and don’t have enough seats you’ll need to buy a bigger car – an expense not everyone can afford!
Should you need to transport a Labrador, here’s an excellent cover to protect your seats (click the link to read reviews on Amazon)
Labradors are my favorite dog and I have a real thing about chocolate ones. As soon as one of us can be at home more, we’ll get one. We like a challenge!
For many people, Labradors are loving, loyal, well-behaved pets and never any trouble. This article is only intended to give a full picture of what owning a labrador can be like in reality. I know it won’t put off the soppy Labrador lovers amongst us. But, as a labrador might say, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew!” Be sure you are prepared for life with a Labrador!