Are Labradors Known to Be Aggressive?

Many labs are terrific with kids.
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When you're interested in bringing a certain pooch into your home, it's essential to do your homework on his breed, whether it pertains to typical aggression levels, common health problems or adult size. If you're looking into a Labrador retriever, you might be in luck. These bright and jovial mid-sized dogs are rarely aggressive.

Usually Not Aggressive

If you're looking to steer clear of a breed that is specifically known for aggressive tendencies, Labrador retrievers might be the breed for you. In general, they aren't especially aggressive in behavior toward humans or other pets, according to veterinarian and author Karla Rugh. Labs with optimal temperaments are friendly, dedicated and not truculent, whether to fellow pets or to people, according to the American Kennel Club.

Aggressive Exceptions

Although Labrador retrievers are often pleasant and sweet as can be, exceptions are a possibility. Many factors can contribute to aggression in Labrador retrievers, including inadequate experience with their mothers and littermates. If a lab puppy is taken away from his siblings prematurely, his chances of growing into an aggressive mature dog are higher, notes author Joan Walker. This is why it's so important for young pups to remain with their canine families until they're a minimum of 7 weeks in age. Bad experiences can also lead to aggressive behavior in labs. If a lab was harassed excessively by another dog in his household, it could make him react fiercely to all canines. Insufficient socialization in general can contribute to aggression in Labrador retrievers. When a lab behaves in a truculent or unusually scared way, he's acting in a manner that's not characteristic of the breed, indicates author Terry Albert and veterinarian Debra Eldredge.

Aggression and Gender

Labrador retrievers frequently do well with other pets. Males of the breed, however, are sometimes aggressive to other canines. Female Labrador retrievers are often more mild-mannered around other dogs. That doesn't mean that female Labs never act aggressively, however. Protective Mamas of the breed can be extremely defensive -- and aggressive -- when it comes to keeping their wee pups safe from outsiders. Remember, too, that all Labs are different. No two individuals behave in the same exact way.

Professional Assistance

Never take signs of aggression in a dog lightly, regardless of breed. If your Labrador retriever ever shows any hints of aggression, get him assistance from a professional without delay. It's not safe to attempt to fix the problem by yourself, period. Talk to your veterinarian to get suggestions for good pet behavioral experts or trainers in your area. If your lab bites, tries to bite, growls or stares in a menacing way, don't ignore the behavior. It's crucial to keep aggressive labs away from children and other pets at all times.