Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques
Posted June 18, 2014
I have had experience with Labradors in the past, as a close family friend used to breed them. In my time with Sixx, our wonderful little puppy we rescued, I saw a lot of the qualities I had come to expect from this breed, though there were slight differences that were likely due to the Border Collie in him.
Sixx never really had a negative quality, though Black Labs and Border Collies are both breeds that are meant for those people who are already active or do not mind becoming very active. Also, if you are looking into getting a dog of this caliber, a big yard is a must. Labrador Retrievers are bred specifically for retrieving, as indicated by the name, and love endless hours of playing fetch. Be warned though, Labs have been known to play fetch until they literally exhausted themselves to death. Therefore, structured playtime is a good idea, and if you notice your Lab becoming exhausted, take the ball and do not throw it. Border Collies are also very high-energy, are very smart and are specifically bred to guide animals by nipping at their heels. This being said, adding that to the Labrador personality means a few things: a) be prepared to get lots of exercise and time outdoors, b) your dog will likely be very intelligent, loyal and easy to train, and c) your dog may or may not exhibit herding instincts which, when paired with young children, could possibly be an issue.
With Sixx, there was never an issue with small children, other than the tendency to jump up which resulted in little ones getting knocked over. The exuberance exhibited by these breeds can be a bad pairing with children; however, with proper training, your dog can easily learn to reign in that energy in certain situations.
Both breeds are prone to extensive shedding, as they are long-haired dogs, which can result in your carpet and furniture becoming quite black and furry. Regular grooming, both professional and at home, does help quite a bit and also keeps your pet comfortable, especially during the hot summer months.
As a companion, I have seen few better breeds. These dogs, whether mixed or purebred, are amazingly loyal and protective, and can hold their own in a fight should their owner be attacked. Sixx specifically was very loving, so much so that he would often wait at the door for us to come home. He lived and breathed for us, and it was with heavy hearts that we had to find him a new home as we had moved to a place that did not allow dogs.