January 30th, 2013

Still on top: the Lab

The Lab is still the most popular dog breed in America, and has been for the last twenty-two years.

I dunno. I like Labs, don’t get me wrong (who wouldn’t like Labs?). Sweet, loyal, good with kids. But they’re sort of big lugs, aren’t they? And they shed up a storm.

But this is an awfully cute picture:


Who’s gaining on the Lab? Why, the bulldog, of course.

The bulldog? I’d noticed that, actually—or at least, I’d noticed more of them around. Usually being walked by sleek young women.

But a bulldog is not my cup of tea. It’s not the ugly factor that bothers me, it’s the drool. Hate that drool:

As much as we love our dogs, they all have little quirks and habits that seem to annoy or bother us. With the British Bulldog, it’s their never ending drooling. It’s true that many dogs drool, but the bulldog seems to have it a little worse than most dogs. Many owners of bulldogs would like to know first of all why they have this problem and secondly, if there is anything they can do to help the problem.

The reason why British Bulldogs drool is because of the size of their face and all the loose skin that hangs on their face. The more loose hanging flesh they have, the more they drool. There really isn’t enough “sturdy” flesh to hold the drool inside their mouth. Anytime the bulldog has anything to drink, they are going to drool and there really isn’t any way to prevent that. Many owners will dry the dog’s mouth after they drool to lessen the chance of them getting a pimply rash, which is common with Bulldogs.

I know that love is love, but really.

I had a cockerpoo (actually, a cockerpeekapoo). Great dog. He had his problems too, in the grooming department. But he didn’t shed and he didn’t drool. He was friendly to all and not even barky, despite the fact that he was about a 20-pounder.

31 Responses to “Still on top: the Lab”

  1. LarryG Says:

    In the dog world you spell stupid, fat, lazy and stubborn as ‘Bulldog’! Now let me tell you what I really think…

  2. holmes Says:

    We have two pugs. Ridiculous creatures, but quite funny. And they shed worse than any dog I’ve ever seen.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    holmes: I adore pugs. Wanted to get one. But the shedding and the breathing problems held me back.

    I visited a pub breeder during some especially bad shedding time, to look at the puppies. Cutest little things. But the house was full of those tiny little hairs.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    neo-neocon: I just saw my typo above—pub breeder! I like it; I think I’ll leave it.

  5. thomass Says:

    “I like Labs, don’t get me wrong (who wouldn’t like Labs?).”

    Yep. I don’t even like dogs but like Labs… half Lab also seems to pass the like test for me.

  6. Occam's Beard Says:

    Labs shed? Try golden retrievers. They shed two things like crazy: fur, and love.

  7. vanderleun Says:

    You had a cockerpeekapoo? REally.

    And did you play “peekaboo” with the peekapoo?

  8. vanderleun Says:

    No shedding? Bedlington terrier?

  9. Capn Rusty Says:

    I knew only one bulldog. It sat under the round table when I was invited to have dinner with my friend. It passed gas. I thought I would die.

  10. oldflyer Says:

    Neo said, “I dunno. I like Labs, don’t get me wrong (who wouldn’t like Labs? Sweet, loyal, good with kids. But they’re sort of big lugs, aren’t they? And they shed up a storm.” All true, but to paraphrase Hilllary, “what difference does it make?”. The family Lab is a big pain in many ways, but she makes up for it with her very Labness.

    I am actually partial to mutts; although I think Corgis are really among the cutest and brightest little creatures.

  11. Doom Says:

    If I could handle the incessant need, I would pick a bitch German Shepard. Honest, faithful, and willing to die or kill, as with me. I hate dogs that are, otherwise, useless.

    As is, I pick cats. They come and go and, between us, as we wish. They can handle my…. distance. And yet they can pull me to them and the obverse… if I still pick females. Other males simply don’t have a place and I win, period. Where as with females… it’s… always in the air. *sigh* I may be a dog, but I’m a loyal dog, despite being male. At least now that I have learned to bend a knee, to Christ. *hush… it’s all I can do, and know, for now*

  12. Steve Ducharme Says:

    I LOVE bulldogs because its actually not a good idea to overexercise them… ummm but that a quirk that I have… never mind..

  13. Paul A'Barge Says:

    Rat Terrier
    Jack Russell Terrier
    German Shepherd

    these are the breeds currently living in state at Barge Manor.

    Next up hopefully will be a Border Collie, for herding cattle. But at our home we never know which breed G-d is going to direct to walk on and be rescued.

    Previously rescued and lovingly re-homed:
    Shar Pei
    mutt (of course)

    For the folks for whom shedding is a big issue, try a Shar Pei.

  14. expat Says:

    We had a standard brown poodle when I still lived at home. He didn’t shed, but he needed rather short haircuts to prevent matting. He had a great personality and liked cats. My brother now has a golden retriver, and I agree with Occam’s that they are great dogs.

  15. Don Carlos Says:

    Sweet, loyal, drool, shed are all observations about dogs in the role of domestic companions.

    Dogs have other jobs, too.

    In my part of the USA, waterfowl hunting is BIIG.
    Labs are properly named Labrador Retrievers, because retrieving is what they do.

    Story: Three of us in a blind shot 3 ducks simultaneously. One fell way to the left, another way to the right, and the third duck, wounded, was paddling hard toward the marsh grass (and escape). The Lab lept into the cold water, swam and retrieved the two dead ducks without human direction, and then swam, caught and retrieved the cripple. All without direction.

    My dogs are German shorthair pointers, because I hunt quail. They find the birds, will stay frozen on point as long as the covey doesn’t move, and they retrieve to hand. Pointing Labs are rare…Labs just retrieve.

    Border collies are deemed by most dog people to be the smartest breed. They live to herd. That’s their job, and they can be quite incredible at it.

    Bulldogs, Cockers, Irish setters, Afghans and the various yip dog breeds all had jobs at one point. But these breeds have become functionless except as companions; their job instincts have been bred out of them in favor of cuteness, and it is women who have caused those morphs. Women who treat their dogs as children or as objects of beauty or pity, not as partners in serious and productive endeavors. Reminds me of socialism.

  16. Dan D Says:

    We have two gorgeous German Shorthair Pointers, they are fantastic dogs: smart, loyal, extremely easy to groom, and they shed short hairs. The three year old sheds much more than the eleven year old ever did, but it’s not bad. They have great personalities and exceptional dogs.

    But they are not for most people, Shorthairs are extremely athletic and have very high energy levels. Give them three to five hours a day in the fields and woods, every day, and they are terrific in the house. Less than that and life can be a bit more difficult, but drooling and shedding is minimal.

    I know that Ben Stein and his wife adopt older Shorthair rescue dogs, and those seem to adapt to a more urban and sedate lifestyle for them, but I wouldn’t give up our fun afield for anything.

  17. CV Says:

    When I was growing up we had a cock-a-poo. Very sweet dog, minimal shedding.

    My kids demanded a dog about 8 years ago and we got a “designer dog”: a labradoodle. Her mom is a yellow lab and dad a standard poodle. Great dog! However, our fancy mutt was advertised as non-shedding and I spend most days scooping up tumbleweeds of fur throughout the house. She’s so adorable, though, that we love her in spite of this character flaw.

  18. artfldgr Says:

    pause in thread:

    the past week i have been listening a lot to the andrews sisters.

    today, patty andrews, the last of the three died at 94…

  19. Don Carlos Says:

    From my previous comments, you may surmise (correctly) that I am not a big fan of rescue dogs. Most of them have been bent, if not ruined, from the task of doing their jobs. They are grateful, to be sure, but are generally not suited to any job other than companion. The rescue folks are 99% women, and they have very strict, maternal, requirements for placement of a rescue dog. The GSP rescue crowd does not seem to have any interest in the dog’s performability, but only in its safety (fenced yard, must be an indoors dog, etc.)

    GSPs and Brittanys are indeed very high energy dogs. They run, and hunt, for the sheer joy of it.
    My GSPs are my partners in the field. It is real teamwork. They have my total loyalty, as I have theirs. When I miss a flushing bird, one of them, still in pointing stance, looks back at me over her shoulder as if to say “I did my job, but you didn’t do yours.”
    My motto, as when a GSP goes on point where I know there cannot be quail, is “Always trust the dog.”

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    “He was friendly to all and not even barky, despite the fact that he was about a 20-pounder.”

    Perhaps that was because you didn’t attach him to your arm as a purse? Since that tends to give dogs the idea that they need to be big and powerful to protect their pack, making them pretty neurotic in the long term.

  21. JuliB Says:

    I’ll give a shout out for the little breeds. I have 2 pinheads… err….. miniature pinschers. While they are small (between 10 and 15 pounds), you wouldn’t know it from the attitudes…

    My male’s name is Thor, and the female is Penni (Penni Pinscher).

    In terms of watchdogs, while he doesn’t bark, my male cat is very aware and has run to the door growling…

  22. teddy Says:

    We have a pug, 9 years old. He sheds like crazy but he doesn’t have breathing problems. I think that is because we watch what he eats very carefully and — unlike many pugs — he is not overweight. We were surprised by how active he is. He has no endurance because he overheats easily, but he still runs very fast and he can still jump up onto a pretty high chair from a dead stop.

  23. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:


    }}} I dunno. I like Labs, don’t get me wrong (who wouldn’t like Labs?). Sweet, loyal, good with kids. But they’re sort of big lugs, aren’t they? And they shed up a storm.

    I was kind of surprised, but “lug” is not really accurate. They did a study, and labs are in the top 10 most intelligent dogs. Even if you disagree with the exact criteria used for the study (which strikes ME as fairly reasonable), most other studies have come to similar conclusions.

    “Lug” seems to me to suggest a measure of amiable density, and that clearly does not apply to Labs. They’re pretty damned smart.

    FWIW — Bulldogs, on the other hand, are waaaay down on the scale, in the bottom 5 of the 79 breeds they measured. They drool AND they’re kinda stupid. I like em, but it seems somehow appropriate that they are the mascots of Georgia and Mississippi State



  24. teddy Says:

    Yale too.

    One of the Yale fight songs has the immortal words,

    “Bulldog, Bulldog, bow wow wow, Eli Yale”

    Would you believe Cole Porter wrote that?

  25. Rick L. Says:

    I generally take pleasure in bucking the crowd, but, when it comes to Labs, I’m just like every other Boulder yuppie. They’re great dogs and wonderful companions. And their “lugginess” is part of the appeal.

    Here one of the great dog tributes from one of the great people:

  26. waltj Says:

    I’ve always found certain breeds of dogs to be useful servants, Labs included. Retriever, bomb/drug sniffer, sentinel, guide, comrade-in-arms are all jobs effectively performed by Labs, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, among others. Other dogs, especially the “barking rat” types, I have no time or use for. And for overall companionship, I much prefer cats. I never liked being gushed over, slobbered on, or licked to death, and I don’t have to worry about any of that with a cat.

  27. RandomThoughts Says:

    JuliB Says:
    January 31st, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I’ll give a shout out for the little breeds. I have 2 pinheads… err….. miniature pinschers.

    You’ll have to imagine how that made me laugh! I came thisclose to adopting a rescued min pin last weekend. Instead, and quite unexpectedly, I ended up with a 7 pound scruffy little terrier mix who is quickly proving just about the smartest dog I’ve had in half a century of dog ownership. She’s a very quick learner, quiet, loving, and unbelievably well mannered, once she figured out that our other two dogs are friendly but the cat (twice her size) is Not To Be Messed With.

    For 13 years I had a part lab, part sheltie too, and he was loveable but far from a “big lug.” I expect that was the sheltie in him.

  28. GW Says:

    Labrador retrievers are many things: unguided missles, anarchists, loyal companions who dispense affection beyond measure, smart and trainable are the descriptors that come immediately to mind. Our family had a 15 y.o. lab that died three weeks ago. If you want to know why we loved her so much, I wrote a description of her life, and life with her, here.

    We kept two of her puppies. Yes they shed, but on the scales of what they bring to the table, no animal can come close to matching labrador retrievers in my book.

    Charles Krauthammer also had a labrador retriever, Chester. Krauthammer wrote a paen to the dog when – and indeed, all dogs – upon its passing. It is quite humorous – Of Dogs & Men.

  29. John Dough Says:

    This is why I keep coming back to this blog. Good solid political discourse, with a smattering of the daily world

  30. Roy Lofquist Says:

    My first dog was a black lab. That was 65 years ago. My current is an 80 pound pit bull – biggest lap dog ever! Every once in a while I try to count how many I have loved over the years but I kinda choke up after a while and turn to this:


  31. Don Carlos Says:

    Just in case anyone is still reading the Dog Post:

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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