FOR decades now, one purebred dog has solely owned the hearts of most Americans and many other people in this world, myself included. There's no contest: the world loves the greathearted Lab.
For the 24th straight year, the American Kennel Club declared the Labrador Retriever as the most popular breed among its members. Other purebreds enter or leave the group's Top 10 circle, but few can hold their place for long.
Why are Labs so beloved?
It's one big, beautiful dog. The Labrador has a sweet countenance and attitude that belie its physical strength. The fact that it is a very powerful dog that exercises great care to be gentle towards well-meaning folks and animals reveals its other finest qualities: loyal, obedient, amiable, patient.
A Lab has ample girth that allows for fuller hugs. You can even rest your head partly against the side of its head and shoulder as you embrace it and, if you are lucky, it might graciously place its heavy paw on your shoulder.
Take good care of a Lab and it will also do the same for you. They can and will protect you from anyone or anything that bothers you, be it a person or a frog! My own yellow Lab would not rest until she could find the frog that scared me to death. She would always come rushing at the slightest shriek I made.
Even in the middle of merry distractions, a Labrador remains committed to its master 100 percent. At parties, despite the array of delicious food and friendly faces competing for its attention, the Lab will devotedly stick close to or at least keep an eye on its owner.
Labs are highly energetic, outgoing dogs who love to play fetch, hide-and-seek and swim. They also know how to just chill out by quietly sitting next to you. They love to please and show their affection. Being patted on the head as a confirmation of their good behavior or accomplishment means the world to them.
Labs laugh and smile. This is one dog that wears its emotions on its sleeves. Their happiness is infectious especially when they happily roll on their backs with their legs up in the air. They know how to live in the moment with total abandon.
But they also know how to sulk. Aside from being left alone, Labs also feel bad and guilty when they know they did something wrong, or look terribly hurt when unduly scolded that you'd end up hating yourself.
The charisma of Labradors works even when they are asleep. Get used to some funny snores coming from this broad-chested dog or you'd end up in stitches every time it snoozes.
From its broad head to its “otter” tail, the Labrador Retriever, deserves all the admiration it gets. Covered in dense, weatherproof coat in Yellow, Black or Chocolate, the Lab is truly a dog of substance. Noble, warm, affectionate, intelligent, sensitive, the Labrador is top dog, bar none.
(In memory of MacyGirl, a sweet Yellow lab,
who left other dogs some big paw prints to fill three years ago.)