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5 Things to Know If You’re Thinking of Getting a Labrador

Labradors are the most popular dog in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada — coming in first place for nearly three decades. But labs didn’t just get to the top of the list by themselves: there was major help from the people who have fallen head-over-heels in love with this breed. 

“What attracts me most to Labradors is their happy-go-lucky, bouncy, tail-wagging personalities,” writes Ben Fogle, an English broadcaster and writer who has owned three labs. “I have lost count of the number of times I have returned home after a hard day’s work and my spirits are lifted by the tongue-lolling, excited greeting I receive at the front door.”

It’s true: a lab’s happy temperament is unmatchable and always persistent. Known for their sweet personalities and loyal companionship, there’s really no question as to why labs are so favored. So, if you’re one of the many considering getting a Labrador, you’re in for a lifetime full of excitement — but there are a few essential things you should know first. 

There are many reasons to get a Labrador: they are smart, loyal, friendly, and outgoing. Before you begin looking for your new companion, it’s best to become familiar with the breed so you know what to expect. 

#5: The Difference Between English and American Labs

Did you know that there is a difference between English and American Labradors? 

Although they bear many resemblances, English and American labs differ in many ways. For starters, English labs are known to be more docile and calm-tempered when compared to their energetic American counterparts. Both are excellent family pets, but English labs have been raised alongside children for generations.

image comparing american and english labradors

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These differences aren’t supposed to be strict but instead act as a basic guideline. The American Kennel Club (AKC) doesn’t recognize a difference between the two. 

Even so, English labs are known for their stocky build and broader heads, which is why they are called “show dogs.” In contrast, American labs have excellent work ethics and much more energy, making them ideal “working dogs.” 

Pro Tip: Becoming familiar with the differences between the American and English Labrador will help you better decide which one is better suited for your lifestyle. 

#4: Labs Need Physical and Mental Stimulation

It’s all in the name: Labrador retrievers are meant to retrieve.

Endurance and intelligence were the main purposes when this breed was being developed a few hundred years ago in Newfoundland. At the time, locals were breeding small water dogs with Newfoundland dogs, which created St. John’s Water Dog (better known as the Labrador). With an impressive double-coat, webbed paws, and the desire to fetch, labs helped fishermen retrieve fish and materials that had fallen into the water.

hand drawn image of st john's labrador

Since then, nothing has really changed. As a Sporting group dog, labs are still as energetic, friendly, and active as the original breeders intended. So if you are considering getting a Labrador, make sure that your puppy gets plenty of time to do the things it loves most:   retrieving. 

#3: Labs Have Double Coats

As retrievers, labs acquired some quirky and unique characteristics. Since they were primarily retrieving game from the water, they developed webbed toes and “soft mouth,” which is the unique ability to carry something without biting into it. They also produced a unique double-coat from spending generations swimming in the water. 

The double-coat refers to a lab’s two layers of fur, which are called the topcoat and undercoat. The topcoat is rougher at the touch and the undercoat is much softer. A lab’s double-coat is vital to the dog because it helps protect the body from UV rays, repels water, regulates body temperature, and acts as an insulator in cold weather and keeps them cool in the summer. 

image showing how a lab's coat works

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But with this significant benefit comes a bit of a downside. A double-coat means that labs shed a lot, especially when the seasons begin to change and they are preparing to transition to different weather. 

Pro Tip: Although tempting, it’s not recommended that you shave the dog. Doing so could affect the dog’s health and make it more susceptible to illness and vulnerability. Keep in mind that your lab will likely shed twice a year very heavily during spring and fall — so be sure to have a very durable vacuum and brush on hand!

#2: Labs Have Big Personalities

Within a puppy’s first few months of life, accidents are expected. Labs, however, are known for being especially clumsy and bouncy, so make sure you’re prepared to practice a little more patience. 

As adults, Labradors are known for their impressive intelligence, accompanying a very adventurous and curious personality. Overall, they are smart and well-natured animals that make an excellent companion for just about anybody — but they also require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. 

Pro Tip: If you decide to get a lab, be sure that you have plenty of time and space for playtime that can both stimulate your dog’s mind and body. 

#1: Labs Are Perfect Family Pets

There’s a reason that Labradors are the number-one dog in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom — and it’s because of their incredible temperament and personality. The American Kennel Club describes labs as friendly, active, and outgoing. They are patient and playful, which makes them perfect for any size family.

little girl smiling while playing with a puppy

Labs are also famous for their easy trainability. Some dog breeds are more independent and standoffish than others, but that’s not the case with Labradors. These dogs aim to please and have a high willingness to learn. Training your dog to have proper manners and respond to verbal cues will come easy with a lab.


Taking the time to understand the traits of a lab will benefit both you and the dog. You’ll have a better understanding of the lab’s natural personality and desires, making it easier for the lab to understand you and work together. Before you begin looking for your next companion, remember:

  • English labs are stockier and more docile, whereas American Labs are more energetic
  • Labs were meant to retrieve, so it’s important to keep them active and busy
  • Labs have double-coats, which means lots of shedding
  • Labs have lively personalities, so make sure you’re ready for playtime
  • All their winning qualities ultimately make them the best type of family dog

If you’re ready to bring a lab companion in your life, then you don’t have to look any further! Snowy Pines White Labs specializes in breeding the best labs in the United States. With incredible temperaments and personalities, all of Snowy Pines’ white Labs are ready to call your home their own. Contact us to learn more about our spectacular puppies.

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About the Author


Tom Massey

Tom Massey has owned and operated Snowy Pines Labradors for over a decade. They have become the leaders in English Labradors in the US. He and his team serve customers all over the US and Europe. They house their "dog family" in a state of the art facility on a large farm in the Ozark Mountains. With an obsession for genetics and temperament they raise and train dogs known across the globe for health and personality. Tom serves the pet industry in many forms campaigning for ethical breeding, training, and pet ownership.


Calm Tempered, AKC Purebred, and Certified Genetics.