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Labrador with kids

Labradors and Children: Are Labs Good with Kids?

Labradors are the most popular breed in the world. We look at how good they are with kids, and whether they’re the right choice for you.

Labradors are highly popular, playful, and intelligent dogs that make wonderful pets. However, if you’re looking for a family dog and are interested in getting a Labrador, you might be curious to know: are Labs good with kids?

Labradors make excellent companions for both sole owners or as part of a larger family. This breed of dog gets along well with children as well as other pets due to the fact that they are gentle, fun-loving creatures that make the perfect addition to your family.

We will cover some key information about Labradors, including their temperament and whether they are good with children and babies.

What is a Labrador’s Temperament?

Labradors tend to be fairly laid back and easy-going dogs, but also have high energy levels, meaning that they love extra attention, playing games, and need a lot of exercise.

Labradors make wonderful companions, and are often used as service dogs due to their affectionate and sensitive nature.

Are Labs Aggressive?

No, Labradors are known for being a patient and non-aggressive breed.

Labradors are among the least aggressive dog breeds in terms of their interactions with both humans and pets.

However, any animal may act aggressively if treated poorly or if they feel threatened.

Why Labradors Make Great Family Pets

Labradors Are Gentle

When you have children of any age, it’s crucial that you find a breed of dog that is gentle and loving by nature.

Labs are known for being gentle and patient dogs. They are loyal, building strong bonds with their owners and will provide you years of companionship.

Labradors Are Affectionate 

Labradors are extremely friendly and affectionate dogs, making them one of the most compatible of dog breeds for a wide variety of different people.

Their friendliness has been bred into them over time, and is something that should be nurtured by the way that you train your dog. You should always:

  • Speak calmly to your dog and not shout as this could result in them learning to fear you
  • Interact with your dog calmly
  • Ensure your dog has a safe environment to go for social interactions

Labradors Are Playful

In the same way that children love to play, so do Labs. Labradors need constant mental stimulation, and have a wonderful sense of humor.

Children and Labradors have a matching playful nature at heart which helps them to build a strong bond. Even as they mature, they maintain that childlike spirit and are always up for playing games.

Labradors Are Highly Trainable Dogs 

Labs are generally easy they are to train. As a breed, these intelligent dogs like to please their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement training.

Training and socializing your Lab from a young age teaches them the necessary socialization skills to be able to cope with the erratic nature of young children.

That being said, the responsibility doesn’t solely fall on your dog. You will also need to instill boundaries as to how your children interact with your Labrador in the same way that you instill boundaries in how your Lab interacts with them.

Are Labs Good with Babies?

Yes, labradors are great with children of all ages. They are very patient and loyal dogs, and by nature, are very protective to ensure that no harm comes to their family.

They are a loyal and trustworthy worthy breed, making them wonderful pets to ensure that no trouble comes to your baby.

Tips for Having a Labrador Around Babies 

Never Leave Your Dog Alone Around Your Baby

To ensure that your baby is safe at all times, it’s important that you don’t leave your Lab alone with your baby.

Although Labs are very gentle and patient creatures, it’s not worth the risk of ever leaving your baby unattended with them.

Always provide supervision when your lab is around your baby.

Don’t Punish or Yell At Your Dog Around Your Baby

It’s crucial that your dog doesn’t associate playing with your child with being punished. This will teach them that your child is something to be feared, which could lead to aggressive behaviors further down the line if you’re not mindful.

Labrador Retriever with children

Tips for Having a Labrador around Children

Teach Your Children How to Treat Dogs Properly

Having a dog is a two-way street, and your children need to be taught how to interact with your Lab gently to minimize any risks. Make sure they know not to play with your dog when they are eating, not to pull a toy directly out of their mouth, or to pull their tail and ears.

A surprised or hurt animal is an animal that will potentially bite or behave aggressively as a natural reaction.

Your children need to learn from a young age to respect your dog and their boundaries just as your dog needs to learn the same about your children. As an adult, this is your responsibility to make certain this happens.

Teach Your Kids How to Play with Your Labrador

This might sound silly, but it’s important that your children understand how to play with your Lab.

Quickly rule out any games that you think could end up in tears, and always make sure that your children respect your dog as an animal that has the potential to react negatively if they don’t treat them appropriately.

Are Labradors Good for Families in Apartments?

As long as your Lab gets a sufficient amount of exercise through walks or trips to the park, an apartment is perfectly suitable. Many believe that a large home with a yard is necessary, but this is not the case.

First of all, your dog is not getting their exercise inside a home or apartment. They are getting it through long walks and running outside. So for the most part, the size of the interior of your home is irrelevant.

And while a yard can be very convenient to just let a dog out or to play with your children, dogs the size of Labradors don’t generally get enough exercise in a yard, either. Leave a Lab out in the yard all day and they’ll spend most of their time doing what they do inside — sleeping. Leaving a dog outside all day often leads to poor behaviors like incessant barking.

Just make sure that, regardless of your living situation, you give your Lab adequate exercise.

Factors To Consider Before You Commit to a Labrador

Will A Labrador Suit your Lifestyle?

Labradors are active, high energy dogs and require at least an hour or two of exercise per day, including walks.
Bearing this in mind, if you and your children are at work and school for a large majority of the day and too busy in the evenings to provide the dog with exercise, then a Labrador might not be the right fit for you right now.

Do You Have Enough Space for a Labrador?

While Labradors need to be walked every single day, they still need the space to be able to roam around the house. So exercise requirements aside, if your place is so small that your dog will be underfoot often and in the way, it might be reason to not get a dog. But this goes for any breed, not just a Lab.

Will a Labrador Fit Into Your Family?

Another factor to consider is whether a Labrador will fit into your family. If you have older children, for example, it’ll be easier for your kids to keep up with you on the long walks that your Labrador will require.

Consider your children’s needs as well as your dog’s needs to determine if you will be able to provide both. A dog is a big responsibility, and though they can be a great asset to a family and bring lots of joy, it isn’t fair to the dog if they won’t be able to get the attention they deserve.

Remember that you can’t rely on children to care for the dog. Ultimately, you will be taking care of the dog, and you must decide if you have the time, energy, and desire to take on an additional charge.

Final Thoughts

Labradors are excellent family pets that are great with both children and babies. But there are circumstances where getting a Lab (or any dog for that matter) may not be in the best interest of your family or the dog.

Always do your research and make sure that you are prepared to care for a Labrador before committing to one. You never want to have to rehome a dog.

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor