As you probably already know, Labrador Retrievers are an extremely popular and unique breed. They are the ultimate package of being docile, loving companions while having the ability to hunt, compete, and at times, protect. They have the reputation of being so friendly to everyone who meets them. They are beyond intelligent and so eager to please, hence the name, retriever. Many people love labs for their outdoorsy characteristics. They are the type of dog you can go running in the mornings with and play fetch with all day long. Although Labrador retrievers are quite unique, there are some breeds that are similar to them in many ways. For example, Golden Retrievers have many things in common with Labs. First of all, they are both “retrievers” which means they are eager to please. They are also great family dogs. Also, exercise and being outdoors is crucial for both dogs to be happy and healthy. They both have lots of good energy to exert. Golden retrievers are also used as hunting companions, although many say that labs have stronger hunting skills. They both like to swim, especially labs that have some otter-like features. Some of their health problems are shared as well. Unfortunately, Golden retrievers and labs are both prone to hip dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Furthermore, labs are said to live about 10-12 years, similar to Golden retrievers who can live 10-13 years. They are similar in height and weight for males and females as well. In addition to Golden retrievers being similar to Labradors, Irish Setters are said to have some things in common with labs. Like Labradors, Irish Setters are natural hunters who require lots of exercise, including long walks and runs. They are high in energy and also need to exert some of this energy outdoors. Although, labs seem to be the calmer out of the two, both dogs need an owner who is active like them. Furthermore, these two breeds share some similar health concerns. They also both share being prone to hip dysplasia and PRA. The height, weight and lifespan of Irish Setters are somewhat higher than a Labrador’s.
Many people look for a dog that has similar traits as Labrador Retrievers but is smaller in size. An alternative to a pure lab is a lab-mix. If you don’t mind getting a hybrid dog, you may get many of the Labrador’s personality traits such as its temperament, outdoorsy nature, and eagerness to please, while having a mix with a smaller dog with some other traits to add. It is not guaranteed that each breed will contribute all of its good traits. However, if you want a lab but don’t have the space for it, a hybrid dog is not a bad idea for getting the next best thing. Moreover, many claim that Papillons, Shi Tzus, and Cocker Spaniels share the outgoing characteristics that labs are known for. Other dogs in the Retriever family are similar to labs. The Flat-Coated Retriever and the Curly Coated Retrievers have similar a temperament to Labradors.