Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular dogs in the United States for the last 30 years.
But if you’re new to the Lab world, or the dog world in general, you might be wondering why Labs are the most popular dogs.
Out of all the dog breeds in the world, and all the options people have to choose from, what makes people choose the Labrador Retriever over so many other types of dogs?
And not only as family dogs, but as specific types of helping dogs and service dogs, Labrador Retrievers have become extremely popular choices.
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We’re going to look at why they’ve grown to be so loved and valued in the human world.
We happen to adore Labradors around here, if you haven’t noticed yet!
So we’re going to explore four reasons why Labradors claimed the top spot for popularity back in 1991 and have kept it ever since!
4 Reasons Why Labs Are the Most Popular Dogs
Labrador Retrievers are extremely intelligent dogs, capable of adapting quickly to new environments and learning new skills more rapidly than other dogs.
If you’ve ever spent time around a Lab, you’re aware that they are very in-tune with their people and read both their environments and the mood of their human pack members.
Labs have a reputation for being easier to train than other breeds of dogs because of their intelligence. There may be many dog breeds that are adorable, but Labradors are adorable and smart.
They also can have a mischievous streak, which is a result of curiosity and their high level of intelligence.
We have a Labrador who’s been known to create a diversion to one side of the room, in order to draw your attention away… and while you’re not looking, he’s up to something sneaky while you’re distracted!
Labs have also been known to watch and observe their humans, and then attempt to copy this “learned” behavior, such as nudging door handles, opening gates, and lifting open containers.
If you have a Lab in your life, you may have already witnessed some of their behaviors in watching and attempting to copy your actions.
A canine researcher named Stanley Coren performed a comprehensive study on dog intelligence, and the Labrador Retriever was ranked the #7 smartest dog breed.
We’re not surprised at all, and we support his findings!
Friendliness, Especially with Families and Children
Another reason why Labs are the most popular dogs, and have been since 1991, is that they are known to have a typically friendly disposition.
Most Labradors that have been correctly socialized since birth, and with appropriate care, love, and training, are extremely sociable and friendly dogs.
You’ll find them overly excited at the dog park, usually the first to run and greet a new arrival to the canine pack.
You’ll also find them typically greeting the owner of the new dog, in addition to sniffing and saying hi to the canine new friend.
Labs are typically not aggressive, hostile, or guarded in new situations.
This can vary depending on the actual individual dog’s temperament, and can also be heavily dependent on how much the dog has been socialized since birth.
Labradors aren’t usually shy dogs or fearful, especially if they’ve been socialized well.
This is one of the reasons they make such popular family dogs, due to their abilities to love children as much as the adults in a family.
Labs tend to welcome everyone returning home as if they haven’t seen them in AGES, and they act like seeing you is the highlight of their entire day when you walk back into a room.
It’s hard not to love a breed of dog that acts like everything you do makes their day!
Unlike some other breeds of dogs, Labs don’t usually align with only one person, especially in a large household.
They tend to love everyone, and if someone in the household isn’t a huge dog fan, the Lab will make it their goal to win that person over!
Dogs such as Labs that have been properly introduced to new dogs and not had trauma from encounters in new surroundings are most likely to be friendly, relaxed, and confident in new situations.
That’s why it’s really important to socialize your dog correctly from the start, and take steps to properly introduce your dog to a new dog so they don’t develop anxiety or fear from trauma.
To read more about how to make this happen and establish a good relationship between your dog and others from the start, check out How to Introduce A New Dog to Your Current Dog.
Another key reason why Labs have been and remain to be the most popular dogs is their stable and even-tempered personality. Labs are not known for huge swings in mood or temperament.
They tend to be very stable, consistently happy, and agreeable dogs.
Many Labradors have a goofy, somewhat humorous nature of being very happy-go-lucky, and easy to please.
They tend to be flexible dogs that remain happy and jovial even when introduced into new situations.
For example, traveling with a Lab, or taking them on a car ride, or to the pet store generally results in a happy-natured dog.
Our experience has been that Labradors are even extremely excited to go to the vet! Every experience is exciting and has the potential for fun for them.
What you see is what you get with a Labrador, and their nature tends to stay fairly consistent from puppyhood all throughout their lives into senior years.
There’s no doubt that Labradors have fantastic personality traits, but one of the reasons why Labs are the most popular dogs has to do with their physical abilities.
Labradors as a breed originated as a water-retrieval and hunting dog in Canada. You can read more about the history of the breed in our quick overview.
The Labrador’s famous otter tail allows them to perform excellently and superior to other dogs in the water.
Their coat, tail, and body size allow them to flush game and retrieve in a way that makes them a popular choice for pheasant, duck, and other wild game hunters.
Their physical abilities extend beyond their coats and body size. Another trait of the Labrador is their spectacular nose.
While many dogs have great noses, the Labrador nose, combined with its excellent temperament and trainability, has led the Labrador to become the first choice for service dogs, especially for organizations such as Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Labs are excellent candidates as service dogs for children and adults with disabilities. Their loving nature, larger size, and stability in stature give them an advantage over smaller types of dogs.
The Labrador’s physical talents also allow them to excel in their use as arson and explosive-detection canines.
Did you know that almost ALL of the arson and explosive dogs used by federal agencies are Labrador Retrievers?
Their excellent temperaments, combined with adaptability to new environments and stable personalities, have made them the most popular dogs for this delicate detection work that keeps us safe.
These specific physical traits possessed by Labradors are some of the reasons why Labs are the most popular dogs, and why they’ve stayed that way for such a long time.
Summary – Why Labs Are the Most Popular Dogs
It’s easy to see now why Labs are the most popular dogs in the United States and have been for 30 years.
We expect that due to their amazing traits and wonderful loving personalities they will continue to top the popularity charts for many years to come!
If you’re thinking of adding a Labrador to your life, we know that you’ll be in good company with millions of others who’ve fallen in love with the Labrador breed.
We happen to think Labs are pretty amazing dogs around here, and we hope that this guide has given you more reasons to love them!