Labradors are popular dogs, but they aren’t perfect. There are certain characteristics of Labradors that some people may find to be more frustrating than endearing. so, what are these disadvantages to owning a Labrador?
The main disadvantages of owning a Labrador are that they require a large amount of attention, exercise, mental stimulation, and affection throughout the day. Labradors are large dogs and need space to run around and to burn energy. They also shed a large amount of their fur.
Owning and caring for a dog is an important responsibility, so make sure you are prepared for both the benefits and drawbacks before committing to caring for a Labrador.
Size of Labradors
A female adult Labrador grows to be 21.5 to 13.5 inches tall and weighs between 55 and 70 pounds. Adult male Labradors are typically larger than females and weigh between 65 and 80 pounds. They grow to be 22 to 25 inches tall. This breed is usually considered a medium to large-sized dog, but their high energy levels can make it feel like they are taking up even more space at times. (Source)
You should not own a Labrador if you have a small living space, especially if you do not have a backyard. Labs need plenty of space to run and play throughout the day. If you don’t have enough room for a Lab, you will need to take them to doggy daycare while you are at work or take them to a dog park often. You can also hire a dog walker. This can become inconvenient to schedule around and can become expensive.
In addition to the space that the Lab will need to move around and be active, there are many extra items that you need to have when you own a dog. A Lab will need food and water bowls, a large crate, leashes, a variety of toys, and a place to use the bathroom indoors if you are not home during the day.
Labrador Energy Levels
One of the main reasons why Labs need a lot of room is that they have insane amounts of energy. Many dog owners think it is really fun to have a dog that will play with you anytime, but problems arise when you don’t have time to play and your dog has a high amount of energy. If you have a busy lifestyle, a Labrador may not be the right breed for you.
Labs need physical exercise from playing as well as mental stimulation. If they are not kept busy enough, they may try to find something else to entertain themselves like chewing furniture or making messes. Labradors are generally well-behaved dogs, but that is only when their energy needs are being properly cared for.
Labs are made for work, which is extremely helpful for police work or disability assistance. However, they still need those high levels of exercise even just as a pet. Labs need to be taken on at least one long, brisk walk a day. They also need to have some sort of mental stimulation such as performing tricks or playing games. It is not enough to simply let your lab run around in the backyard all day, as they need more interaction, or else they will become bored and their mischievous side will come out. (Source)
Attention Requirements for Labradors
Labradors are needy in every sense of the word. Not only do they need extra space and exercise, but they also need extra love and affection. Many people will choose Labradors because they want a cuddly dog that will act as a companion. If you are not an affectionate person, a Lab will be a poor fit. A happy and healthy Lab needs cuddles, hugs, kisses, and lots of petting from its owner.
Their clingy and loving temperament becomes problematic if you are not home often. Labradors are prone to separation anxiety that makes it difficult to leave them home alone for very long. You shouldn’t leave a Lab alone for more than four hours at a time. Before leaving them alone, you should make sure they get plenty of exercise and have access to toys while you are gone. If you need to consistently leave home for longer periods of time, you will need to pay for doggy daycare, dog walker, or a dog sitter.
Not receiving enough attention and affection may make your Lab feel neglected and unloved. If this happens, they can develop anxiety. They will also be more mischievous to get more of your attention.
Labrador Health Issues
Labradors are associated with a variety of genetic health issues. Adopting the dog from a reputable breeder can help lessen the likelihood of these problems, but you should still be aware of the chance of disease. Some common health problems that Labs experience are: hip and elbow dysplasia, seizures, anxiety, and arthritis.
Their high activity level makes them prone to a lot of issues and injuries, which are even more problematic when they reduce the Lab’s ability to exercise. Torn ligaments, arthritis, and joint dysplasia can all reduce the dog’s activity level, leading to more issues of under-stimulation. Exercise-induced collapse (EIC) can also be an issue for hyperactive Labs. (Source)
Health issues in pets are unfortunate, but they are also expensive to resolve or manage. The owner of a Labrador needs to be prepared to handle the emotional and financial stress of medical issues that may occur, especially as they get older.
Labradors have the size and strength of a guard dog but simply do not have the necessary aggression. Labs can be trained to be watchdogs that alert their owners of potential dangers, but they are too friendly to attack.
Their friendly demeanor automatically labels strangers as friends, although they may growl at strangers who pose a threat. Labs are highly trainable, but their friendliness is too integral to their character to train against. If you are wanting an aggressive dog to protect and attack, avoid getting a Labrador.