Of all the dogs out there, few dog breeds have a reputation for being as friendly, nice, and easy-going family dogs as Labradors. It’s what makes them one of the world’s most popular dog breeds. But why is that? What makes Labs so friendly?
Why Are Labradors So Friendly?
Labrador Retrievers are so friendly due to their breeding. As a sporting dog breed that was designed to assist their human hunting companion during the hunt, they are friendly and form strong bonds.
When they were historically bred, certain personality traits and characteristics were bred into them to serve their specific purpose. This popular breed was bred to be a close companion to their handler and assist in whatever sport or activity was needed.
Labrador Retrievers were also bred to get along with other dogs when they were a part of a hunting or sporting pack of dogs.
For this reason, breeding created a dog with a well-rounded personality that makes them friendly with everyone.
Labrador Retrievers get along with everyone, including kids, seniors, and other animals, During a first meeting, some Labrador Retrievers can seem somewhat reserved and cautious, but it depends on the individual dog.
Even if this is the case, Labrador Retrievers will easily come out of their shell and make many friends. As required per their breeding, they needed to get along with an assortment of people and critters to do their job well.
Labs are not known for being good guard or protective dogs due to their friendly nature, and their closest family will be the foundation of their happiness.
That being said they do form close bonds with their family and at times may take on a protective role in the situation warrants. These instincts make them great therapy dogs.
Labrador Retrievers love to play and have fun but also have a sweet, loving nature which blends well with all people.
They can move from playing a game of rough house with the kids, then a long walk with grandma and enjoy some ice cream right next to the household cat.
When purebred dogs are created they serve a specific purpose. With that purpose in mind, certain traits are required. These traits are physical, mental, emotional, and behaviorally.
Breeding is always the foundation of a dog’s temperament and personality.
Beyond breeding, their early life experiences affect who they are as a dog.
Breeding will provide the foundation but life experiences through the puppy phase will make them more or less friendly. For this reason not all Labrador Retrievers will be as friendly as others.
If a Labrador was abused, mistreated, or neglected during the pup stage they may be more reserved, guarded, and cautious. Depending on the severity they might struggle with making friends throughout their life.
What are Labradors bred to do?
Labradors were historically bred to be hunting and sporting companions. Thorough out history this has been their principal role but over the years they have been used successfully in other occupations due to the amazing character and qualities they possess.
They were originally bred by blending the St. Johns Water Dog from Newfoundland and British Hunting Dogs. This blending created the friendly and well-rounded qualities we see today in Labrador Retrievers.
Other occupations include search and rescue dogs, aiding in locating missing people in a variety of atmospheres.
They also make fantastic therapy and guide dogs, assisting people to manage their personal life challenges. They make wonderful assistance dogs for the same reasons.
Also, they are great scenting dogs which is directly related to their hunting and sporting breed background. Their scenting abilities can be helpful during sports but also during fun games with the kids, like finding the dog bone that’s buried in the backyard.
These occupations put them in close proximity to humans working alongside them in their daily life and perform lifesaving skills that help our communities.
Most of these skills are primarily related to their friendly nature and who they are as dogs. It’s one of the reasons why they make such amazing companion animals and family pets.
Can a Labrador Retriever be aggressive?
Yes, a Labrador Retriever can be aggressive but this is not related to their breeding but a byproduct of their life experiences and environment
Dogs of any breed that live in an environment that instills fear, anger or other negative behaviors will shape the dog’s personality too.
As noted above dogs that are mistreated, abused, or neglected will respond to this environment and act accordingly for their safety and survival. If that dog is exposed to a negative environment for too long, the habits and behaviors they have in place for their protection can be harder to remove.
Thankfully, dogs that are rescued from these environments are often placed in rescues where they are treated with love, affection, patience and understanding.
These rescues will also work to rehabilitate them so the Labrador Retriever can live a happy, fulfilling life with a loving family.
If a once very friendly family Labrador Retriever suddenly turns aggressive for no reason, parents need to take a step back and evaluate the cause. They will want to find the root cause of the sudden aggression, such as being mistreated recently by someone.
Once that source is revealed they can work to rehabilitate the Labrador Retriever and promote trust, respect, and friendliness so they recover.
Aggression can happen at any time to any dog. Some dog breeds are more dominant than others, Labradors are not aggressive by nature. Still, they can become that way for various reasons and the sooner the issue is uncovering the higher the likelihood that they will completely recover.
Friendly dog breeds that become aggressive need patience, understanding, and plenty of love to completely recover from what traumatized them in the first place.
Labrador Retrievers hardly ever suffer this issue without a clear reason. Their nature and personality is friendly, loving and good natured.
Labrador Retrievers are very friendly due to their breeding. They possess qualities required to fulfill their job and possess many different occupations in our community due to their personality.
While they are a friendly dog breed with everyone there can be instances where that is not the case. No matter that, their breeding and nature make them one amazingly friendly dog breed.