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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Lab

A Lab can be an emotionally high maintenance dog, and while you may love the breed, are you sure you have the time and the resources to devote to its well being?

A Labrador Retriever can live from 10 to 15 years or longer. To get an idea how long a Lab's lifetime may be, consider how old you will be 15 years from now. Are you willing to make this long of a commitment?

Is there a chance that you might move at least once in the next 15 years? If yes, are you willing to take your Lab with you wherever you go, and restrict your choice of housing to places where pets are allowed, even if this is overseas?

Have you carefully considered how the Lab will fit into your current lifestyle? Are you flexible enough to make this change?

Are you willing to take your Lab on daily walks or provide it with daily exercise?

Think about what major changes might happen in your life in the next 15 years, such as a marriage, children, divorce, care for an elderly person, etc. Are you willing to continue spending the time, energy, and money to care for your Lab when taking on new responsibilities like these?

What will you do if your spouse, children, or other adults in your household don't get along with the Lab?

If you're getting a pet primarily for your children, how old will they be in 15 years? Once they grow up and leave, are you willing to continue caring for the Lab as your responsibility?

Are you willing to teach young or inexperienced children how to respect and properly handle a live animal?

Contrary to popular belief, Labs shed. Are you willing to live with the fact that your home will have dog hair?

Like some dogs, many Labs drool and have gastrointestinal problems. Are you willing to accept this into your life?

Labs are very active dogs. Are you willing to accept the fact that your house will not be "squeaky clean" because of the dog?

Young Labs are voracious chewers. Are you willing to provide adequate chew toys for the Lab? Do you understand that the Lab may chew things in your house that you do not want them to, such as furniture, shoes, etc.?

Are you willing to supervise your young children AT ALL TIMES around the Lab?

Are you willing to accept that the Lab may not like all your childrens' friends?

Have you previously owned a pet that didn't live with you for 10 years or more? What will you do differently with this pet to prevent it from going the way your previous pet did?

Does everyone in the family want a Lab?

Would any of your neighbors object to your getting a Lab?

Does anyone in the household have any known allergies to animals?

Are you willing to occasionally brush and bathe your Lab? Are you willing to make sure that your Labs toenails are clipped and ears cleaned regularly?

Are you willing to maintain a vaccination schedule for your Lab?

Are you willing to provide Heartworm preventative on a monthly basis?

Are you prepared to deal with the cost of both routine veterinarian care (worming, annual shots) and non routine/emergency veterinary care, especially as the Lab gets older?

Labs are people-oriented dogs and need human companionship. How much time each day do you have to spend with your Lab?

Who will have primary responsibility for the care of your Lab?

Approximately how many hours a day will your new Lab be alone? If it is more than 6-8 hours, are you willing to hire a pet sitter or dog walker to check on your pet?

Where will your Lab spend the day? Where will the Lab sleep at night? Are you willing to keep your Lab inside the house the majority of the time and supervise it's activities whenever it is outside?

Do you travel frequently? If yes, can you provide care for the Lab while you are away?

Have you asked yourself whether your lifestyle is so busy you might not have the time or energy to properly care for a Lab?

To facilitate the bonding process we recommend every Lab owner attend some introductory obedience training. Would a formal obedience training program be something in which you would be willing to participate?

Are you willing to provide training to resolve behavior problems rather than surrender the Lab to a shelter or rescue group at the first sign of trouble?

What kind of behavior do you expect of this Lab? Is this reasonable? Are you willing to accept that dogs make mistakes and aren't obedient all the time?

What amount of time and effort do you want to devote to training him?

These are but a few questions you and your family need to think about and answer truthfully before bringing a dog into your home. The more you educate yourselves on dog ownership, the more rewarding the experience will be.

And then consider the following:

Please keep in mind that rescued Labs are usually in rescue for a reason. They all have lots of potential, but almost all require basic obedience training by their adopters. Some may have behavior issues that caused their original owners to relinquish them or abandon them at shelters.

Is A Labrador Retriever Right for You?

As you probably know, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed of dog in the United States. But popularity and suitability are two different things. Our shelters full of Labs are a good testament to that a Lab is not right for every home.

Before you consider adopting a Lab, please bear in mind the following:


Our Labs range in weight from 40 lbs to over 100 lbs! Their tails can make a clean sweep of a coffee table. Quite simply, they need room, even inside a home.  Uncluttered houses and yards are a must!


Labs were developed as a sporting breed to routinely endure a day in the field with no ill effects. They need to have consistent exercise (30 minutes of vigorous exercise twice daily is usually sufficient) or they will have difficulty adjusting to the “calm house pet” role that is expected by most owners.


If you require a fastidiously kept house, don’t get a Labrador Retriever! Labs shed all year long and require daily care.  Even with daily brushing, you will have dog hair around, especially on rugs, clothes, furniture ~ oh yes! ~ occasionally in your food!

Health & Care

Labs are a sturdy breed. But like any dog, they have their share of health concerns.  Ear infections are common and can sometimes be chronic, requiring cleaning and medicating. Some Labs have skin allergies that require medications and special food. 

This breed is prone to orthopedic problems such as hip dysplasia, and injuries such as torn ligaments in their hind legs. These conditions can be very costly to correct. Keeping a Lab at a normal weight can significantly help avoid or manage these problems. Your vet is your best resource for advice on weight.


Most of our Labs require basic training. Not only does it promote good behavior, but also helps them bond with their families.  Labrador Retrievers are smart and eager to please and do very well in training classes. Once given basic training and a job to do, no matter what it is, a Lab previously labeled as a problem, will improve tremendously.  

A very handy training tool and one we strongly endorse is crate-training. Labs are curious and “nosy”. Having a comfortable crate to hang out in when not supervised and especially as a Lab is settling into your home, makes it easier for the whole household. If you are not willing to consider crate training a rescued Lab, you may want to consider another breed.

Watch dogs

Labradors are not good watch dogs. If you want your dog to protect your home and property, this breed is not a good choice.

And Last...

The Labrador Retriever Club of America’s web site provides additional excellent information on “Living With Rescued Labrador Retrievers”. We strongly encourage you to visit this site before completing your application.