The Arundell Arms is proud to be a dog-friendly hotel, and as those of you that have visited us before, either in person or via our blog and social media, will already know; we are lucky enough to have had the companionship of our wonderful black labrador retriever named Basil for many years now.  We firmly believe that dogs are our best friends, and Basil is a big part of our life, we spend endless hours making sure that he is happy and healthy.

adam and basil

But what if you are just looking into bringing a dog into your home for the first time?  Is a labrador retriever right for you?  Have you got the time necessary to devote to their care? As experienced labrador owners, we put together a short care guide to help you make the right decision, and hopefully learn a little more about this loyal and loving dog breed.

The Labrador Retriever

Most often simply known as a Labrador or Lab, these dogs are one of many types of retrievers.  First seen in Newfoundland, it is said that they were first brought to England by the Earl of Malmesbury, who prized their ability to retrieve felled waterfowl during the hunt.  At this time they were known as St John's Water Dogs, and through breeding in the Earl's kennels the breed was stabilised and the lineage perfected over years to have the intelligence and athleticism required to make them the Earl's ideal duck hunting partners.  Indeed, labrador retrievers are often used as gun-dogs in today's world.

Types of Labrador

Due to specialised breeding, two distinct lines have emerged known as Field and Show:

Field dogs are bred for their energy and working characteristics. They feature a more lithe and agile body, a shorter and more manageable coat, as well as a longer muzzle.

Show dogs are typically stockier in build, and have longer, more lustrous coats.  Their muzzle is shorter and wider, and their head more broad altogether.

Labradors present in colours from pale cream hues, through the brown shades and all the way to jet black.  These are typically separated into three groups; yellow/golden, chocolate and black.


Temperament and Personality

Labradors generally have a kind and outgoing character and their personable nature means they are often trained as assistance dogs for the blind, or as therapy dogs for those with learning difficulties.

This breed is highly energetic and will require a lot of exercise.  At least two hours a day is considered a good guide, although young field dogs may require slightly more.  This can be broken up into various sections of play, walks and runs, and it is a particularly good idea to include some swimming where possible, as due to the heritage of the labrador as a water dog, this is something they particularly enjoy and excel at.

Get acquainted with your keys, you will be popping out the door for exercise a lot with a labrador in the house!

Due to their sometimes boisterous energy and large size, labradors are not suitable for small flats, they are most comfortable in larger homes with plenty of activity to keep them occupied.  They enjoy the company and stimulus of interacting with people, and make a great family pet.


Labradors are a highly intelligent breed and have an excellent sense of smell.  They are quite naturally adept at using their sense of smell to trace an object back to its origin.  For this reason they are obviously natural candidates as sniffer dogs and hunting dogs, but it also means that a game of 'fetch' or 'hide and seek' plays to their skill set well.


Due to their aptitude for swimming and their natural advantages such as their webbed toes and soft touch (a labrador can carry an egg in its mouth without breaking it) labradors are great to train for lifesaving.

Labradors are intelligent enough to be relatively easy to train without needing harsh measures or professional help, and in fact they do enjoy the mental stimulation of learning new things.



Even show dogs tend to have a short and smooth coat, meaning that grooming is usually a fairly painless exercise.  A firm bristle brush once over now and again will easily do the trick and will reduce the need for baths.  Bathing is not needed with great regularity unless getting dirty out in the field.

We hope this guide has been useful for you in understanding the labrador retriever and its needs a little better before deciding to embark upon a new friendship with one.  Do you have any further advice about labrador care to share?  Or any further questions?  We'd love to hear from you!  Catch up with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ or Pinterest.

Post By Sadie