Lab energy level

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by maybe532, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. maybe532

    maybe532 New Member

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    I just purchased a few books about labrador retrievers and they all mention that there are two types of labs, show and field. They also say there is a difference in energy level and drive between the two types. Some of you may have read my other thread but for those of you that haven't, my family and I are getting another dog next year (summertime) and we are trying to decide between a lab and a golden. We are wanting a dog that excels in obedience, is able to do agility, is excellent with children, gets along with other dogs, and is a family companion. Originally I was thinking Aussie or Brittany but I am drawn to labs. Plus Aussies have a high drive for herding and I'm not sure if that's a good mix with a 3 year old. I am considering goldens because my husband likes them a great deal. I prefer the no-fuss coat of the lab but really I'd rather have the best companion for us.

    Anyhow, my question is how high is the field-type lab energy levels? Or, if you know of another breed I can relate to with similar energy levels that is fine too.

    The field type seem to have the qualities I am looking for but I just want to see what I am getting myself into. I think we can handle lots of energy but if it's like a border collie then no, we can't. We are an outdoorsy family (lots of walks, trips to the park, stuff like that) and I am really hoping our dog will retrieve, I think it'll be a great activity for my daughter and me to bond with our dog.

    If any of you have any experience I'd love to hear it. Thanks! :)
     
  2. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    It depends on how much work the dog will get. I have met some field bred labs that could put a BC to shame when it comes to energy and activity levels. LOL I have JRTs and won't own a lab due to their "hyperness" There are some awesome labs in my area that do agility, one was on the world team I believe.

    Don't discount an Aussie. They might be herdy, but labs tend to be physical and can knock kids over. (all dogs can, but labs seem to LOVE the body bump :) ) Both may require training to live with your child. We dog sit a BC that knows the difference between sheep and my child, never had to be told.
     
  3. maybe532

    maybe532 New Member

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    Well, the dog will get lots of mental stimulation and to be honest physically would most likely be getting:
    30 minutes on-leash walk/day
    Daily free romp in our yard with retrieving involved (with the family)
    Agility (not sure how often, weekly?)

    I am a stay-at-home mom so the dog won't be left alone very often. My daughter is very into dogs and she is involved with training Lucy (our terrier-mix). My plan is to do the same with our next dog, I think it will be a great bonding experience for the entire family.

    I think it's so funny that you think labs are hyper and you own JRT, that goes to show it's all relative to what you want in a dog. I really like JRT, fox terriers, and rat terriers but I don't think they are suitable for 3 year old kids. But they sure are a lot of fun in a tiny bundle. I worked at a kennel for 3 years and they were always feisty little clowns.
    Perhaps when my daughter is older...

    One thing is for sure, I'm glad I started researching what breed to get now, I thought I knew a lot about dogs but I'm learning a lot of new things everyday. My husband wants me to go ahead and pick a breed and stick with it. Haha!
     
  4. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    I have both a field lab and a field golden A(there is also field and show goldens as well).

    My field lab was quite hyper as a puppy but now she is really relaxed in the house and only gets excited when she sees me get her ball.

    My field golden is actually more hyper than my lab ever was. I think that in general though the goldens are suppose to be more laid back than labs but it's not always true.

    Both labs and goldens shed a ton too! The only difference is the lab's fur is shorter (and their fur can either be black, gold, or chocolate) than the golden's longer fur. I brush my dogs 3 dogs atleast 3 times a week and use several different brushes.

    as for energy my dogs get a 45 minute walk about (in the warmer months we do a full hour) in the morning and than a lot of fetch in the back yard in the evening after I lay my two kids down. My lab does fine in the house but my golden will also run for awhile on the treadmill in the afternoon and he's still bouncing off the walls even after all that exercise. Again this may just be him and not the norm for the goldens as well. I'm just going off my experience with the two.
     
  5. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Haha, I have one of each!

    I think my lab is more of the field type and while she does have a lot of energy, it's more of a focused energy. In my experience the show labs tend to just have a lot of spastic energy, because the brains have been bred out of them. She's very "bumpy' though...either it's a lab trait like Dekka said, or she just doesn't have very good body awareness. Actually I think it's a trait, because while she doesn't have a problem ramming into me, I saw her take great pains to avoid bumping into someone with health problems. So they can and do know the difference, but they are basically big bundles of solidness. I call mine the "Wrecking Ball". She loves to retrieve! Which is great, because my Aussie just likes to chase the ball down and then run off with it. So they work as a team.

    My Aussie, same thing. Lots of energy but so long as they both get a good run in and then some mental exercises, they're easy to live with. In fact, both are passed out next to me right now--we just got back from a run in the park. It sounds like you have a good home for either breed. Sawyer will try to herd children when they're running around in packs and we've had to work on keeping him at a distance, because he tends more towards the "header" style of herding and will jump to throw a shoulder into something, which knocks a kid over pretty easily. But otherwise he's great with kids. A little barky during play but that's an Aussie for you. Again, probably more of the working style, especially in the coat. Very wash and wear, sheds but it's not in clumps like you see with show lines.
     
  6. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    There's a few things to remember here, imo. A) not every lab or golden falls into the category of 'field bred' or 'show bred' there are a lot (I'd bet 90%) of labs and goldens are just plain poorly bred. Sorry, but that's a pet peeve of mine. If it's not show bred, then it's field which is just not true... And B) there's a wide range of type within both field and show lines.

    A lot of the problem with show lines is a lack of drive. The show line labs tend to be more mellow. However, conversly many breeders breeding primarily for field trials are breeding hyperactive dogs with drive over the top because the faster the dog is, the easier it is to win. But labs aren't supposed to be super drivey super fast retrievers but rather slower retrievers that can retrieve all day long if need be. Another big thing is type differences. Show lines can be too short legged and just plain fat whereas field lines are equally distorted. Many field lines are insanely leggy, have whippet like tails (which is very very wrong), very short coats, and really well defined tuck ups. Labs should be stocky dogs (not fat, but stocky) and the thick, rudder like tail and proper coat is very important since they often retrieve in water.

    We had a honest to goodness field lab growing up. He was bred in a kennel that produced hunting dogs and he was my dad's hunting partner. He was a great dog with good drive and quite a bit of energy. Loved to swim at the lake a few times a week, loved to retrieve. So did our GSDxGolden so they'd have a blast together. He also had an off switch which a lot of modern field labs seem to be missing.

    I think if I were looking at labs I'd definitely be going for a moderate dog because in my honest opinion both the extremes have got it wrong.
     
  7. Julie

    Julie Are You Blowing Me Off?

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    I think a majorly important thing is to go to a good breeder, unless of course if you are interested in a shelter dog/pup.

    I have field labs also, and there can be problems with anydog or any breed. Like my Shiloh is dog aggressive towards other female dogs. Although I have worked up to having Shiloh around Rocket during supervision....

    Anyway I think some people will say "field" lab when are unsure of any lines. And that is why some are so hyper. Having unlimited energy and being hyper are two different things in my book.

    Both of my labs could sleep all day OR both could retrieve geese from icy waters all day... They are calm when in the house, but pull out a toy and all bets are off. Charlie has knocked down the kids a couple times, but he usually is careful and not a big problem.. but I never let the kids play fetch with either of the labs if I am not supervising, and we don't play with toys in the house either... One time I threw a ball to Charlie, he jumped up to catch it and his tooth bumped my son in the side of his head... purely my fault. He had a bump and in the middle was an indention from charlies tooth.

    All my dogs are great with the kids, my gsd is very cat like and never bumps into the kids and she follows them around everywhere just watching (call her the babysitter).

    I think either dog would make a great addition to your family, but do research breeders throughly. ;) So many bad ones, just wanting to make a buck.

    I don't think all labs fit into either show(bench) or field. There are alot of dogs that shouldn't fit into either of those. Maybe byb pups or something.
     
  8. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Very good points, Laurelin, and what I was trying to go for in my post, but I think I missed by a mile.

    All I know is that I'm very thankful both my dogs have that "off" switch. I still think Virgo fits your description of a good field-type lab, though she does have that big tuck-up in the back, the rest of her is pretty stocky and old-school looking.
     
  9. Julie

    Julie Are You Blowing Me Off?

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    Laurelin.. you said my thoughts exactly.. well that I tried to say. ;)
     
  10. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Just thinking, have you looked at tollers? They are active but not exuberant dogs, good with kids and AMAZING obed and agility dogs. A toller has one the Canadian agility nationals for the past few years. They are active dogs with off switches to die for. (if they are well bred)
     
  11. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Same to you! We must've been posting at the same time! :D
     
  12. maybe532

    maybe532 New Member

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    Thanks for all the great answers! I am definitely going to be careful about what breeder I choose, I think it is worth the time and effort. I am especially wary of lab and golden breeders because of their popularity. I was thinking the field type lab (or golden) would be less likely to be poorly bred but this doesn't seem to be the case. It sounds like either one would be fine as long as the breeder is good. I definitely don't want a hyperactive dog, especially since they aren't meant to be like that. And I don't mean under-exercised and therefore hyperactive.
    I haven't really considered the Tollers, mainly because I haven't read a lot of literature about them. I will try to find some more info on them, they sound like they might work. Plus they are a bit smaller and therefore should be easier to manage (I'm only 5' tall). Of course my husband is going to roll his eyes when I tell him I've added another dog to our list! And I still love Aussies. I've always been drawn to them. I do like German Shepherds, my cousin has an 11 week old female is she is such a ball of fun.
    Well, just when I think I've narrowed down what kind of dog we should get I add a few more to the list! Good thing it's going to be at least 6 months before we get the dog.
     
  13. maybe532

    maybe532 New Member

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    Oh, a friend of mine has 3 working-line German Shepherds and they are insane. They have so much energy and if she isn't working them they go nuts. They are all search and rescue dogs so I guess they have to be like that. But she has told me they aren't great pets if they don't get to work. They are so smart and obey her instantly, a true joy to watch.
     
  14. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    There is a a member here who has a toller named Dance. (Toller08) Here in ontario the agility trials are just full of them. I have friends with them, and know some breeders, so if you have any questions PM me. Tollers are one of my fave breeds.
     
  15. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    I also think a Toller would be an excellent compromise between a Lab and an Aussie. I have to take Dance to dog classes right away and don't have the time right now to tell you a lot about them, but if you're interested in Tollers and have any specific questions, I'd be more than happy to tell you a bit about them later tonight. :)
     
  16. Labra

    Labra New Member

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    Good points have been made. A HUGE, HUGE pet peeve of mine is when people call their backyard bred Labs "field" Labs. A backyard bred Lab is NOT a field Lab! a field Lab is one who comes from a reputable breeder - breeding stock are titled, worked, health tested, etc.

    95% of Labs are backyard bred. Backyard bred Labs may resemble field bred Labs in some cases but they are most certainly NOT field Labs. Don't let anyone fool you. When you become more familar with true field bred Labs and their lines you will instantly see the difference between a backyard bred and a field Lab.

    In regard to a field Labs energy level, they are intense. When you take a dog that is bred for working, that instinct and desire to work will run through every fibre of that dogs body. With the right amount of exercise and stimulation, they can make wonderful pets. Without either of those, don't even think about introducing a working bred dog into your home.
     
  17. maybe532

    maybe532 New Member

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    Thanks Labra for that clarification, I want a house pet, no farm here!

    I've been reading about Tollers but I don't think they are right for our family. Thanks for all the advice and info everyone.
     
  18. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Why don't you think tollers wouldn't work. Just curious, as they seem to be everything you want.
     
  19. maybe532

    maybe532 New Member

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    I searched the forums to find info on them and I read the one about why people shouldn't get your breed. One person wrote (Toller 08, I think) that they aren't that easy to train although they are very intelligent. Plus they don't always want to obey if they don't think anything is in it for them. They also mentioned they don't like repetition, I'm not sure to what degree this is but I want to do lots of obedience and retrieving and don't want a dog that isn't interested in stuff like that. I know you have to mix things up with any dog, I just am worried the dog would get bored of my daughter and me. They mentioned they are quirky, not sure what that means but I've come across this in several threads. I guess what I'm getting at is the Toller seems to be a bit more difficult than I am looking for at this time. Maybe when my daughter is older (she's 2 1/2) it will be a better fit for our family. Or am I getting the wrong impression?
     
  20. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    They are easy to train with the right motivation. They just aren't generally a type of dog with a "Just tell me what to do and I'll do it because I know it makes you happy" attitude like a Lab has without and recognition of a job well done. Dance does absolutely anything I ask of her when I ask it. A quick "good girl" is reward enough for her. They like to know how it is going to benefit them and depending on the dog, it might just be a "good dog" or a pat on the head. For others it may be a ball toss or a treat. Nothing too difficult. As far as repetition goes while training, they don't like to hear "sit", "sit", "sit", etc. over and over again. They quickly lose interest. They like to move on after about 10mins (as with many other breeds) and learn something new or just take a break and play for a while, and then go back to learning "sit". Once you've got the right motivation and such, they're incredibly quick learners (not Border Collie quick, but close) It's hard to explain through a forum. As far as retrieving goes, that is something a Toller would love to repeat all day long if you wanted. They don't tire of working and playing. They love obedience, agility, retrieving, etc. They thrive on those sorts of activities.

    As far as being quirky goes, they can react weirdly to different things that they aren't used to. They're just more sensitive than many other breeds in this aspect for some reason. This, however, is easily controlled and stopped with lots of socialization and getting them used to hundreds of different things. In my experience, they are by no means a difficult dog to live with (especially the girls it seems). Dance is by far the most easy going dog I've ever had, and Tango (my last dog, a Toller/Border Collie mix) was about the same. Other Tollers owners I know say the same about their dogs.

    Perhaps you could try to meet a few somehow? That's the best way to get to know a breed. It's really hard sometimes to explain exactly what I mean to say over the internet.
     

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