The Standard of the breed says that “true Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the ‘otter’ tail.”. This couldn’t be more true. The Labrador is known as a friendly, happy dog. It is not prone to being aggressive, territorial, insecure, nervous , hypersensitive, possessive, or any of the many temperament traits seen in other breeds. Temperament is the very reason we selected the Labrador as the dog for our family. We looked at several breeds, and realized that the Labrador was bred for two purposes; to be companions and to retrieve for their owners. Their entire reason to exist is to serve and love their owners. They have a reputation for being excellent with children of all ages and other animals. They’re very people-oriented, and do not do well without a vibrant social life.
This is why Labradors are suited for, and used as Service and Therapy dogs. Aggressive behavior is a serious temperament fault in a Labrador. They have a kind, outgoing nature, and are eager to please (sometimes too eager). What more can you ask of a dog? We knew this breed was perfect for us.
When we started in the breed, we had four young, energetic children, who could keep our dogs happy, healthy, and social. While these traits are inborn in the Labrador, we know that socialization is an important need for the Labrador. With our children grown and gone, the importance of socialization is all the more important, and we found that nature provided grandchildren for more than spoiling by grandparents. Grandchildren make perfect puppy/dog socialization tools. We have seven of them. That provides us with a never-ending source of puppy socializers. Our newest grandchild, born in April, already had a Labrador in place when she was born, waiting to teach her to enjoy licks, body-slams, and big furry bodies close by. As her mother and father teach her to be gentle with the dog, he will teach her that a Labrador will tolerate any amount of poking and pulling from a young child. She will become the center of his world, and he will likely become her best friend.