If you’re considering a Labrador Retriever for your next family dog, you’ll be happy to know that Labs have been the most popular dogs in the United States for the last 30 years in a row.
And if you’re a family with young children, it’s important to make the right choice when you add a dog to your household, as you have to consider the health and happiness of both your kids and your future dog.
Are Labradors good with kids? Yes, Labs are excellent family dogs, due to their friendly and playful personalities, strong athletic skills, intelligence, trainability, and bond to humans, both big and small.
If you’re looking to add an amazing family dog to your home, read on for all the reasons why the Labrador Retriever should be at the top of your list.
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Why Labs Make Great Family Dogs
Labs are known for an impressive list of physical traits and great personalities that bring them repeatedly to the top of the popularity list, especially for families.
A typical Labrador will usually have the following qualities:
- playful, energetic personality
- easy to train
- eager for outdoor sports, hunting, and activities
- protective without being overly aggressive
- easy to groom with a low-maintenance coat
Labradors are big goofballs: easygoing, athletic, and ready for play. They’ll be up for cuddling on the sofa with your kids, running through the sprinkler outside, or chasing down a ball with them at the park.
Labs are typically easy to train, friendly, and even-tempered. They can be very excitable and bonded to their humans, not wanting to be left alone or left outside by themselves. We recommend if you get a Labrador that you let them be inside-the-house dogs, and not leave them outside to live.
Labs are very attached to their humans, especially the kids in the family. They can be a hilarious source of entertainment for your kids, and also be a big comfort to them when they’re sick, sad, or upset.
Labs are very intuitive and can sense the emotions of their humans, and are a breed of dog that will frequently roam around the house to check on everyone, especially to find out where the kids are and if they’re having a snack.
Are Black Labs Good with Kids? Are Yellow & Chocolate Labs Good with Kids?
Yes, all three colors of Labs can equally be excellent family dogs. There isn’t one color that’s necessarily better for kids than another.
There are three main established colors of Labrador Retriever, which are black, yellow, and chocolate (black is the most popular, and chocolate the rarest).
All three colors can be amazing dogs and great with kids, and your experience really depends on the temperament and personality of the exact dog you’re considering getting.
Black Labs can be great with kids, and yellow and chocolate Labs can get along with kids just as well! There are also many other sub-colors of Lab that fall under these three color categories, which you can read more about here.
If you’re adopting a rescue, make sure the rescue organization knows about the ages of the kids in your home, as some have a policy they’ll only let you adopt a young puppy if you have kids under 8 years old (for the safety of your kids).
No matter which color Lab you choose, you’ll want to focus on proper training and socialization to keep both your kids and your dog safe and create a strong and happy relationship between them.
The Importance of Training & Proper Socialization
Even though Labs have a reputation for being amazing dogs for families with children, it’s critical that you understand the roles that training and proper socialization play in helping your Lab adjust to family life.
In order for your Lab to get along well with the kids in your family, you’ll want a dog that demonstrates kid-safe behaviors and proper manners in the home.
Make sure you take your new puppy to a dog obedience school, hire a trainer, or do dog training lessons at home, starting at the beginning.
Do your research when picking out a puppy and ask the breeder about the temperaments of the parent dogs to get an idea of your future puppy’s personality.
Teach your kids proper behavior around dogs and how to be careful and safe around your new dog. Even if you’re getting a new small puppy, teach your kids how to handle the dog carefully and to properly play with the puppy so as to not teach aggression or unwanted behavior in the dog.
Make sure you socialize your dog carefully and with safe and appropriate people (and other dogs). Don’t let your dog be socialized with aggressive people or other kids who may create a reaction in your dog that you don’t want to translate to your children.
Kids may not understand or recognize signs of an upset or fearful dog, and some dogs can react to fear with aggression.
Don’t leave your children unsupervised with the dog, especially a young child and a dog that’s still getting acclimated to your home and routine.
Involve your kids in dog training, and teach the dog to respect and obey the kids’ commands, as well as those of the adults. Your dog needs to understand that all the members of your family are equally valued and important, not just the grown-ups.
Labs can be protective, and excellent watchdogs, and though Labs aren’t known for normally being overly aggressive or ferocious, any dog can bite, and it’s best to not leave any opportunity for that to happen.
Creating good training habits from the beginning and establishing a great relationship between you, your kids, and your Labrador will benefit all of you.
Ways Kids Can Help with Lab Care
Getting a new dog is really a responsibility for the entire family, and it’s a great idea to get your kids involved in the care of your new Labrador Retriever.
Depending on the ages of your children, you can choose appropriate responsibilities that your kids can take on to help with the care and training of your new dog.
One of the great traits of Labradors is that they are playful and friendly with kids of all ages and abilities, and tend to be very gentle and patient even with kids who are much smaller in height or weight than them.
If you have older kids, they might be able to walk your Labrador, attend vet appointments or dog training classes with you, feed your Lab, give them a bath, or take them to the park.
Younger kids can help you with scooping dog food, carrying your dog’s food or water bowls, putting a collar on the dog, petting your dog, or brushing them.
Even a toddler or preschooler can help with Lab care by throwing a toy for fetch, splashing in a baby pool with them, or sitting outside having a picnic (which Labradors love!).
Getting your kids involved in taking care of your Labrador will teach them how to love and care for a dog correctly and will help them understand the amount of responsibility and commitment that comes with dog ownership.
It will also help your Lab bond with your kids, have positive and playful interactions with them, and help your Labrador love your children as the valued family members they are.
Similar Breeds That Can Be Great Family Dogs
In addition to considering the amazing Labrador Retriever, you might also consider a few other breeds of dogs that share some similarities with Labs as great family dogs.
Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Beagles, and Newfoundlands are some other breeds famous for their playfulness and child-friendliness.
If you or one of your children has an allergy to dogs, be aware that Labs are considered high shedders, as are some of the dog breeds listed above.
You might want to consider the Labradoodle breed (a mix between Labradors and Poodles) that might be a better fit for you, as it may shed less than a purebred Labrador and be less likely to trigger your allergies.
You can also explore the Goldendoodle, another popular designer breed created by breeding a Golden Retriever with a purebred Poodle.
This dog breed might be another great option for reducing allergies and still enjoying the playfulness of a larger-breed dog that does well in family environments.
Summary – Are Labradors Good With Kids?
Labrador Retrievers are absolutely wonderful dogs for kids and families. Their fun, playful, adventurous nature and high energy make them delightful for active families. No matter which color Lab you choose, make sure you research the temperament and personality of the particular dog or puppy you’re choosing.
Training and proper socialization are critical to your dog’s success in joining your family. Make sure your kids know how to be safe and act appropriately around the dog, and make sure your dog is trained to not be aggressive and that your kids aren’t left alone with them.
Get your kids involved in the fun and responsibility of pet ownership, and you’ll be on your way to creating a lifelong bond of happy memories between your kids and your lovable Labrador.