Is a Labrador right for your family?

A Labrador could be an amazing addition to your family. They’re incredibly smart, friendly and good around children. We’re here to help you make an informed decision and choose the right dog for your family. Book in a consultation with your local Greencross Vets if you’d like to know more.

Much more than a guide dog

When we think of a Labrador, many of us think of the loyal and intelligent Guide Dog. But the Labrador has actually been a working dog before. The most popular belief is that the Labrador was developed in Newfoundland, working with fishermen off the coast of Canadian provinces. They rescued drifting nets, brought back shot waterfowl and hauled the catch to market in carts. Nowadays, they also work with Customs and Police as tracking and drug detector dogs, and the Military in bomb-detection. There’s really nothing a Labrador can’t do. The Labrador came to Australia in 1929 and has had the highest number of registrations in Australia and around the world for many years.

A devoted companion

When it comes to temperament, the Labrador may be the friendliest breed around. Labs just love to play and could fetch a tennis ball for hours. They also love their food and have an endless appetite. So watch out for those snacks that could be harmful and keep them out of reach – they will try and dig their teeth into just about anything. Labradors remain young at heart, living life to the fullest and even though they’re a bit goofy, don’t underestimate the intelligence of your Labrador. Labradors are highly trainable and fast learners, so get them into puppy school as soon as you can. See your local Greencross Vets if you’d like to know more about a Labrador’s temperament.


Labradors come in three main colours – black, yellow and chocolate, with a few variations of that shade. In some parts of the world ‘silver’ is promoted as a colour – but not in Australia. A Labrador’s build is solid and athletic.They have a broad head and a wide muzzle, with medium-sized pendant ears and friendly eyes. Labradors should stand at the shoulders from 57cm to 62cm. Did you know they have the ‘waggiest’ tail in the world? So you always know they are happy to see you!



The Labrador is a loyal companion, babysitter and best friend, so could well be the perfect family dog. They’re very patient and don’t show any signs of aggression unless provoked. Their loud bark makes them a good watchdog and protector. Because of their extreme playfulness and zest for life, the Labrador needs a nice backyard to run free and play in. They need love, attention and plenty of walks, so could be a great addition to an active, growing family. Ask your local Greencross Vets if this breed would suit your family’s lifestyle.

Health & Wellbeing

Because Labradors do have such a healthy appetite, it’s important to regulate their diet. They should have at least 30 minutes walking or play a day. Labradors have an average lifespan of approximately 12-16 years. Some health issues that they might develop are Hip and Elbow Dysplasia and eye problems. Reputable breeders have worked hard over the years to minimise the risk of these health issues. Breeders registered with an ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) affiliated body must have parents of the puppies x-rayed and assessed for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, before they register a litter. They should also have Eye Clearance Certificates. It’s important to check breeders are registered and members of the relevant state authority. Many health issues can be avoided or greatly reduced by keeping their weight in a healthy range. Talk to your local Greencross Vets for more health information.


They have a great weather-resistant fur coat. So with a complete and balanced diet they should only need two or three good brushings a week. Too much washing with soap-based shampoos will remove the natural oils from their coat. Labradors do shed their coat heavily throughout the year though, so brush them regularly to keep flyaways under control.

At Greencross Vets, nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of your four-legged friend. If you have any more questions, please reach out to your local Greencross Vets. You can find your local Greencross Vets here. We’re more than happy to help!

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