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There are many breeds of dogs and many types of people, but why do so many people like Labs. Is it to "fit in" as with buying a hard-to-park, gas guzzling SUV? Or are Labs really the best dog in the world? I look at them as fine dogs, but a stupid choice for suburbanites with their postage stamp sized lots.
 

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Labs are generally seen as a good family breed, since they're generally more laid back and get along with most people and animals. However, because of that they do tend to be overweight and under exercised. A lot of them are ok with not a ton of exercise, but that doesn't mean they don't need it. Personally, I'm not a big fan. I like more alert and active dogs myself.
 

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You know I'm not really a fan of Labs in general any more...I read over and over in books and on websites that they are the 'best' dog breed, are wonderful for any family and suit 'all' dog owners...I even read once that because Labs are such a friendly breed you never have to worry about them being aggressive to other dogs or any other animals, even if they've never seen them before. I wish I could remember where I read this :rolleyes:

And we see a lot of Labs around here that are poorly trained - running off lead around car parks with no recall, running across roads, jumping and knocking small children down etc. A significant number of Labs have behaved aggressively towards my dogs, and the majority are extremely rude in their greetings and play. The owners do nothing to get their dog away from mine, even if we ask...I think this has spoiled the breed a little for me.

I also don't remember the last time I saw a Lab at a healthy weight in real life.

When I get to know a Lab personally I do like them, just as I like 99% of dogs...there's been quite a few older Labs I've walked in rescue and they've been lovely. But I am sick of the badly behaved Labs, the families who get them because they're an 'easy' breed then put no time / effort into them, and this idea that Labradors are the 'best' breed for everyone.
 

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There are many breeds of dogs and many types of people, but why do so many people like Labs. Is it to "fit in" as with buying a hard-to-park, gas guzzling SUV? Or are Labs really the best dog in the world? I look at them as fine dogs, but a stupid choice for suburbanites with their postage stamp sized lots.
My SUV is actually very fuel efficient and easy to park, lol.

Yard size is not the final end-all in a Lab (or any dog) getting enough exercise. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who have huge yards/lots that still don't give enough exercise and vice versa.

Labs are very often used as service dogs and therapy dogs. For the most part, they are easy to train new things and are just an all-around nice dog. I find them to be really nice dogs, as long as the owner puts in the time to socialize, train, and exercise the dog. It's not the dogs' fault that their owner lets them be obnoxious during greetings, not obedience training, etc.

I got bit by a dog aggressive JRT that wanted to kill my dog. Does that mean that I don't like JRT's?? No, that's just silly.
 

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Labs are more popular by numbers than the next three breeds combined. That either means they are the perfect dog, or that a lot of dog newbies THINK they are the perfect dog. I'm going with the later.
 

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...Or are Labs really the best dog in the world?...
The best dog is the one that fits in with a person’s life style and what they want in a dog. For us, it’s Labs. For a friend of mine, it’s Yorkies.

...Labs are very often used as service dogs and therapy dogs. For the most part, they are easy to train new things and are just an all-around nice dog. I find them to be really nice dogs, as long as the owner puts in the time to socialize, train, and exercise the dog. It's not the dogs' fault that their owner lets them be obnoxious during greetings, not obedience training, etc...
Exactly! A dog is only as well behaved as the time and effort its owner puts in to training it, no matter the breed. But, yes, in my experience, Labs are easier to train than a lot of other breeds. Which makes me scratch my head when I see ones that obviously have had little or no training.
 

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Labs are the best dog in the world if you think labs are the best dog in the world. My personal current best dog in the world is a pitbull. Get a dog that suits you, your lifestyle and your home.

Labs may be the generic 'go to' family pet but these days they're being bred badly and poorly, and a lot of problems are bubbling up like genetic aggressiveness (I don't mean fear aggression I mean just plain mean bad tempered animals) and health problems out the wazoo. If you DO choose to get the Everyman Lab, make sure it's from a good quality breeder OR make sure you go to a good rescue who can tell you what the dog's like outside of it's 2week shut down!
 

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The best dog is the one that fits in with a person’s life style and what they want in a dog. For us, it’s Labs. For a friend of mine, it’s Yorkies.

Yes. Everyone has their own opinion on the best dog breed. That is great. My question is does the Lab (which is a great dog) get its massive popularity based on the dog's qualities being in line with the owner's needs, or instead due to its "cool" factor among McMansion owners?
 

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I feel it's safe to say that for some people, not only newbies, Labs are great dogs. Same as other people day that (enter dog breed here) is the best breed. There's no point in saying one dog is better than the other. Different people have different likes, so no dog is better than the other in reality. It's not nice to lump all dogs into a category. It's like saying all people from an ethnic group are a certain way, it's just not correct. I mentioned before in another thread, people get offended when the size of a dog is scrutinized, so please don't do the same for breeds.
 

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Thanks for the responses, and I would like to close this post. But no one has answered why labs are far and away the best dog available (based on registrations).
 

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My neighbor had two labs and both were untrained and out of control and the yellow lab was aggressive...towards people and other dogs.

HaHa has been showing me how delightful Golden Retrievers are... I love their longer hair, less blocky looking frame and I haven't heard about too many of them being aggressive. I've also heard they are pretty smart dogs, but I can't really judge with HaHa, given his mental handicap.

Stormy
 

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The best dog is the one that fits in with a person’s life style and what they want in a dog. For us, it’s Labs. For a friend of mine, it’s Yorkies.

Yes. Everyone has their own opinion on the best dog breed. That is great. My question is does the Lab (which is a great dog) get its massive popularity based on the dog's qualities being in line with the owner's needs, or instead due to its "cool" factor among McMansion owners?
Aaa In that case, my answer is, when it comes to "John Q Public", Labs are popular because of the 'cool" factor. Which is why there are so many badly bred/hyper/untrained/aggressive/unhealthy ones.
 

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Thanks for the responses, and I would like to close this post. But no one has answered why labs are far and away the best dog available (based on registrations).
There not. They are, however, much more easily accessible then say a borzoi. Reputable breeders are easier to find. I'm also sure that almost everybody here knows a person that got a lab or lab mix from a byb because they are also easier to find. Why? because labradors are 'a dime a dozen'. I actually was told once that they're like apple pie and white picket fences, every body can familiarize with a lab (usually a yellow one at that). Everybody wants to see a well behaved labrador - doesn't always happen but they do.

To be fair, and I will admit a retriever of any kind suits me to a tee (note the labrador mix that owns me) :D, labradors are usually pretty easy to train. They will blindly follow with little resistance vs more independent dogs. I've also never met one that won't say no to food, which makes training easier :). They NEED to be part of the family and, once again WELL BRED, labradors usually are bomb proof (note I said usually, not every case).

**My dog is the perfect example of 'not a well bred lab'. She's a little obnoxious, she's got confidence issues, and she's reactive (also to be fair she's a lab mix and has a little crazy BC in there too;)).

I chose her because the second I saw her she stole my heart. I grew up with labs in the family, so I knew what I was in for. I love the long snout, floppy ears, and long tail. I love that she's a velcro dog. I love that she can be really laid back and relax and be happy doing nothing, then the next second ready to go for a 5 mile hike AND be happy. I have a medium yard, but we don't really use it, instead we walk constantly and play fetch like no body's business. I love how much she loves tennis balls and sticks. To me a labrador is a fuzzy toddler who can't walk upright and is just really big goof. German shepherds don't give me that feeling, either do yorkies. Labradors and their mixes are just....well they define me.
 
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The best dog is the one that fits in with a person’s life style and what they want in a dog. For us, it’s Labs. For a friend of mine, it’s Yorkies.

Yes. Everyone has their own opinion on the best dog breed. That is great. My question is does the Lab (which is a great dog) get its massive popularity based on the dog's qualities being in line with the owner's needs, or instead due to its "cool" factor among McMansion owners?

The reason for their popularity, IMHO, is that they are known for being a laid back breed of dog. They are even tempered, and one of the easier to train breeds. They are known for being obedient, have an easy to keep coat, and moderate exercise needs. They are large enough that they will be safe around small children but not so large that they are going to cost a fortune to feed. They have also stared in a number of kids movies which tends to drive up the breeds popularity (Think Dalmatians in the 90's, Rough Collies in the 50's). A well bred lab makes a good family dog, and is a good dog for a novice owner, BUT it needs to be well bred. Backyard breeders and puppy mills are ruining the breed and more and more labs with horrible temperaments are being bred, not to mention the health problems. It's not the fault of the dog's breed that people over feed it, do not train it.
 

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I personally think Labs are so popular because they're almost a "one size fits all" breed. The Labrador Retriever has so many different variations within itself. You have the "American" or working lines, for the people who want a lean, energetic, drivey dog and you have the "English" or bench line Labs that are stockier, quieter, and generally a great family dog. And then you have the variations between.

I also think the Lab's love of food and propensity towards obesity help make it "the perfect family dog". Everyone thinks Fido is the calmest thing around, but in reality Fido is too out of shape to race around the yard. :(
 
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