Would a Labrador from working lines make a good family pet?

Discussion in 'Labrador breeding & genetics' started by Sal, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. Sal

    Sal Registered Users

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    We are currently looking for a lab puppy to join our family. We live in the country, have a large garden and country walks on our doorstep. We have had dogs before and have decided that we would like a lab this time. Many of the litters I am looking at are from working lines. We would like an active dog who enjoys playing, jumping into water etc.. I know that working dogs have got more drive but can they also switch off in the home environment? Just concerned that being working it won't be too needy verging on neurotic around the house! The ones I am looking at are very well bred and healthy so it's just answering the question about temperament and suitability for a family home.
     
  2. Edp

    Edp Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hello and welcome. Our Meg is from working lines. Both parents are working Gundogs and as are most of her family going way back. There are many champs in her pedigree. I am a working Mum with twins age 8. We are an outdoorsy family with large garden, 4 acres and another elderly dog. She is the perfect family pet. I have never had a lab before and have been blown away how well she fits in. As long as she has reasonable amounts of exercise she is very settled and chilled in the home. She is only 2 and has been very calm for a long time. Her daily exercise routine varies and she adapts well to this. We did know her Mum so we're confident she would be sweet natured, so I guess individual personalities come it to it. She is the perfect dog for an active, slightly chaotic young family. Best wishes in your search , Emma Meg and rabble :)
     
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  3. Sal

    Sal Registered Users

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    Thank you for your message, what you say is reassuring. Meg sounds like a fantastic active family pet and exactly what we would hope for. As you say it does depend on individual personalities of the dogs and I am trying to find out as much as possible about them by either visiting and meeting the mum-to-be or messaging the breeder where this is not feasible. Finding and choosing a puppy who will be with us for several years is a big undertaking and a big decision to make so I think my nerves are getting the better of me to some extent! Thanks again and best wishes to you all x
     
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  4. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Hello there, I have showline dogs but take my dogs gundog training - so know a lot of showline dogs and a lot of working line dogs.

    Most people who say 'showline' actually mean 'pet bred'. There is a big difference between showline in terms of from top show lines, and pretty much random breeding for the pet market. Bred for the pet market is not really show line in my opinion. Just like random breeding between 2 dogs that run around out of control on a shoot, without retrieving anything, would be no guarantee of a good working dog.

    Comparing my showline dogs (and other showline dogs that I know) to the working line dogs I know, they do not have less energy than working line dogs. They are less likely to be chilled in a very exciting environment, more likely to whine, and they are certainly very high energy. They are also less likely than working line dogs to have phobias, fears, and be reactive - although many working line dogs are also completely free from phobias and reactivity, it does seem more likely to occur in working line dogs than show line.

    Best of luck with your search for a puppy!
     
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  5. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    My girl comes from working lines and is a fantastic pet. She is nearly 3 and calms down well at home (but is a bit excitable when visiting certain friends who have dogs!). We walk about an hour a day, doing a few short training session ps at home, play each day for short periods and do agility once a week. At home she is really chilled and is at her happiest snuggled next to / on me snoozing her little head off!
    Good luck with your search
     
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  6. Sal

    Sal Registered Users

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    Thanks for your message. Interesting to hear that show line dogs are not necessarily less energetic than the working ones. On the positive side I have heard that working line are usually easier to train. The phobias/ reactivity is a bit of a concern but I suppose a lot if that is in how the puppy is brought up and looked after. Thanks again.
     
  7. Sal

    Sal Registered Users

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    Your girl sounds fantastic! Good to hear she can chill at home as well as enjoy walks etc. Was thinking I might have a go at agility too. Thanks x
     
  8. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Working line dogs tend to be more sensitive dogs (hence the increased tendency to reactivity etc) than show line dogs. They are easier to train with old fashioned methods that rely on intimidation and punishment - and, very unfortunately, most pet dog owners are still training with mild aversives and intimidation. But show line dog are just as easy to train with modern methods of positive reinforcement - they are harder to intimidate than working line dogs. I think this is a good thing. They are extremely easy to motivate, and very forgiving of novice handlers. :)
     
  9. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute Forum Supporter

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    All three of our Labs have been working line. Our first Lab, Ginger was a rescue but was obviously from a working line and very birdy. We don't know anything about her pedigree, but she was a great dog, and always easy to live with. She was about as good a dog as anyone could ask for.

    Tilly is probably a mix of both show and field lines since her mom looked more like an English dog, but she was a Master Hunter and her dad was Field Trial Champion. Tilly is just a pet for us, but she was a high energy dog when she was younger. She was very easy to train and has no phobias at all. Loves ever person or dog she meets and goes everywhere with us. She is not particularly cuddly but is happy to be close to us.

    Cooper our pup is also a Field dog, Dad is a Master Hunter and Mom was Junior (now Senior) Hunter. Cooper is also a high energy dog, but very trainable. Her recall is better than Tilly's, and she also gets along with all the other people and dogs she has met. She does have some issues with being constrained for brushing and similar things, and has a very demanding attention bark, but all in all she is a great dog and easy to live with.

    Labs in general and working dogs in particular were bred to get along with other dogs in hunting situations and with people (hunters) they had never met before. I think they are a lot less likely to be reactive to other dogs or people than most other breeds. That is probably an over statement, but after all the only reason we have other breeds is so we can compare our Labs to them to see how good they really are.
     
  10. FayRose

    FayRose Registered Users

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    Our previous lab was from a fully working line yet was a superb family dog with a wonderful temperament and keenly active all his life.
    Our current lab pup has both 'show' breeding and working breeding in her pedigree, both her parents work on shoots. As she's still a pup we don't really know what she'll be like as an adult but so far she is proving to be a very confident and happy little thing. She is though a totally different character from the first lab.

    You're doing all the right things, finding out about the parents, seeing them with people and other dogs and checking health details. The rest will be a mixture of chance and how the pup's raised I guess.

    I'm sure once you've got your lab, all the family will have found a wonderful playmate and companion.
    Good luck with your search.
     
  11. Cath

    Cath Registered Users

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    Both my two are from working lines. They are very active dogs with wonderful temperaments.
    Both very willing to please and are sensitive to my voice. I never raise my voice to them. They are very steady dogs, but I train them everyday with out fail. Its a bit like farming, you only get out what you put in. I have 3 sons who have enjoyed our dogs over the years with no problems. They love cuddles too ( dogs and sons) :)
     
  12. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I have two dog from working lines (several FTChs in their histories, although none too close for comfort, and their parents both work in the field). I have to say it's absolutely about the individual dog. Even between my two, who are litter mates, they have massively different personalities. They are both exceptionally good at sleeping for most of the day, both love going on long walks, swimming and playing games and both love learning. But, they certainly aren't the archetypal laid-back, genial Labrador, either. They don't like children and they are scared of strangers. The boy, Shadow, is fearful of other dogs, which expresses itself as lunging and barking, and the occasional scuffle if I don't manage the situation in time. It's a work in progress.
    I could have done more with socialisation in the early months, in hindsight, but I thought at the time I was doing plenty.

    I would definitely have another working dog, but I would put in a lot more work with socialisation. I would also definitely have a show/pet line dog, without hesitation, if the breeding was right. If that's what I got, I would surely compare its temperament to that of Willow and Shadow, but since each dog is different, I'm pretty sure it would be all be fairly meaningless. I think the most important thing (which I know more about now than I did when I got my two) is to ensure the breeding is well-thought-out, that the parents are both fit and healthy, passing all the relevant health checks with flying colours, and have the temperament you're after. That gives you the best chance of having the best puppy to fit your family's needs.
     
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  13. Lucy

    Lucy Administrator Forum Supporter

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  14. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I have a working line dog and he's been a great family pet. Not without challenges - mainly around over friendliness to other dogs impacting his recall. He's not got red all over his pedigree though and his mum was a working pet with a lovely temperament. The next lab I get will be decided on the temperament of the parents, the effort put in by the breeder in socialising and developing the puppies and working ability in that order. Good breeders who put time and effort into their puppies are worth seeking out in my opinion.
     
  15. Hollysdad

    Hollysdad Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Over the years we've had one show Lab and one working Lab, all from good breeders. For our current dog, Holly, we went back to the working line. We wanted an outdoors dog that would accompany us on long walks & walking holidays as well as being a pet.

    Our show Lab was quite relaxed and was happy to have a walk and a bit of a play, but mainly liked to mooch around near us. Grandchildren could crawl all over her and tug at bits and she would take it all in her stride. Holly has turned out to be like our previous working Lab. She needs a good walk, some play, and a bit of mental stimulation every day. She has energy to spare and will walk all day if we let her - we walked her for seven hours in the Lake District and she pulled us to the pub!

    Its difficult to generalise after only three Labs, but we found that a working Lab is likely to be more demanding than a show Lab. They need more of your time, more exercise and plenty of stimulation. Try to spend time with the dam and the litter, and take advice from the breeder about likely personalities.

    Good luck with your search.
     
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  16. Hollysdad

    Hollysdad Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Harley is a lovely dog.
     
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  17. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I have to draw issue with that. I have working Labs and have been to many classes, and apart from one person, I can honestly say that old fashioned methods of intimidation and punishment have not been used. I am just dashing out, so will quickly say that my working bred dogs, once past puppy hood, spend most of the day sleeping! I take them out for about 20 minute 'sniff and stroll' in the morning and an hour of free running exercise in the afternoon.
     
  18. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I didn't say that the gundog class you go to use intimidation and punishment - although did say old fashioned methods are probably where the myth that working lines dogs are easier to train comes from. :)

    And I did say there are loads of working line dogs that are fine - obviously yours are. But I've met stacks now that are not - that are reactive to other dogs, people, noise and so on. In every single session of introduction to shot I've been to (about 5 now) a working line dog has had to leave because it has reacted badly to the noise (and I've been staggered to learn later that some of those same dogs have been used for breeding). Of course, loads don't too, and are fine.
     
  19. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    By coincidence at a training class last night @JulieT, one of the trainers was saying that drive was beginning to be missing in working Labs and she put this down to women handlers wanting easier dogs. I haven't come across a working Lab yet who has reacted badly to shot, but have known one who has reacted to other dogs and people, my older one! This was due to his sire, the owner of him managed to control it, the people who bred my dog, did not know about this. There were three dogs in the litter and all three were reactive, one of them is the Mother of my second Lab, he is fine, hasn't inherited any of the problem and is very biddable. Older dog is ok now with some training with an ex police dog trainer, this was mainly walking in a small town and having coffee in a hotel :D His attitude was to give dogs confidence, no harshhandling.
     
  20. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Willow is working lines and terrified of gunshot. I think Barbara's Riley was fearful some time back, too. I've tried explaining to her that she's a gun dog, but it doesn't seem to sink in :D
     
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