Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about your pet's health, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Lab / Retriever / Spaniel help!(25 Posts)
We’ve read more books I knew existed, but some real life experiences would really help us - we aren’t sure whether to add a show cocker spaniel, labrador or golden retriever to our family.
We work for ourselves, so can be at home as much as needed and have a fair sized house and garden, but it would be really helpful to know how much exercise in ‘real life’ each breed gets/needs. I know every dog is different etc, but your experiences at various ages would be great. Thank you! 🐶
All of those breeds need a minimum of an hour and a half a day to avoid boredom behaviour.
Our Labrador male is now 7 months old and I’m surprised at how little exercise he needs. A 2-3k walk is enough to knacker him out for the day at this age. He’s active at home playing and up/down every time anyone goes near the kitchen!
He’s surprised me at how very trainable he is. His focus on food is unshakeable though, he will trot along anywhere if food is involved
We take him for about 40-45 min at present
Goldies - you have got to love dog hair everywhere and mud - goldies loove to roll in mud They are intelligent but also super dim in a very lovable way, they will make you smile as you hoover up the hair in your house for the 10th time each day. Generally about an hour and a half off lead exercise a day - then an hour and a half to wash off the mud, change your clothes as you got wet doing so and clean the terrace from said mud!
Spaniels - nutty happy crazy - you need to love picking bits of bracken gorse from their ears and tail -need a lot of exercise (usually) can sometimes be a bit needy. 24 hours exercise a day may make them sleep for a bit! My spaniels need more exercise than my collies but also needs a lot of brain work. They gets 2 hours a day plus scent work each day - then he sleeps (for a bit)
Labs - lovable, hungry, happy still shed but a bit less than goldies they also love water so get used to the smell of wet dog. About the same exercise as a goldie - they also love to use their brain and can be good at many things, they generally love to please you.
Such sweeping generalisations though!
All of the above breeds will need restricted exercise for 18 months until they mature and this can be challenging as they will have loads of energy and will need to use it some way. So even if you are not walking them for 90 minutes you will need to give them this time in brain work and training. But that is the fun bit.
I would get all three
RedAzalea that is a load of exercise for a 7 month old pup
I love all of them! I’ve got a WCS and my mum has GRs, and she reckons my spaniel was more bitey as a pup than her retrievers. He’s (mostly) grown out of it now (teenage stage) but that may be a concern if you have young kids. He is very clever and easy to teach things to, but is possibly more stubborn than the retrievers. On the other hand, his coat isn’t oily and labs and GRs’ are, which I’m not keen on personally as it coats your hands and furniture more. He sheds less than they do. He’s smaller and takes up less room on the sofa and is easier to wash. You don’t need an estate car to put him in. My mum can’t lift the old retriever into the car and he’s too old to jump now, which may not be an issue for you. All of them are friendly and cuddly and like children. The spaniel is more discriminating in his cuddles for adults - he loves people he knows but isn’t interested in strangers - but the retrievers want anyone to pat them. Spaniel hates being left alone and that is a breed trait, but it’s not a given that one would have that. Labs are very prone to becoming overweight. All will do anything for treats, but my spaniel is picky about his normal food and I’ve never seen the retrievers reject any food. They have a lot of very similar traits, it’s just whether you’re more concerned about size, smelliness or hoovering up hair!
Ah I love all three breeds. I'd go with the lab though, all day long. Black lab!
All of those breeds need a minimum of an hour and a half a day to avoid boredom behaviour.
This is true. A happy dog is a walked dog. An hour doesn't cut it for our lab vizsla cross.
My WCS, at 10.5 months, is content with a morning, lunch and after work walk of about half an hour each (off-lead) but is absolutely delighted if we can manage an hour on the beach/in the woods instead of one of those walks. I expect as he gets older he’ll want longer walks. He’s surprisingly calm in between, but you also need to do brain training with him to keep his mind busy - can do this on walks and when feeding him or separately.
@jinxpixie haha - all three is the dream, but we'll tiptoe in with one to start with! Thanks for the detailed outline - really helps!
Aw what a choice! Have lived with a golden and currently have 2 Black labs.
Although there are 2 of them, they cannot hold a candle to the golden when it comes to grooming and shedding. Golden needed brushing every day to avoid mats , and you’d still find his hair in your tea. Black dogs in general have ‘heavier’ hair so while they do shed, it tends to stay on the floor.
Personally, I find spaniels too busy round my feet, but I love pretty much all gundog breeds as they are that hybrid of people / other dog socialites & are at home anywhere.
Just be careful of too much exercise too soon, it's not good for young dogs bones to have too much
@jinxpixie maybe, but it’s led by him. In that time he spends ages snuffling in undergrowth etc and we are doing long line training with a whistle for recall. The rest is walking as he follows scents,re traces steps. It’s not a straight walk anywhere
We followed the 5 min rule til he turned 6 months and used to allow time for socialisation with dogs we met on our walk. Before lockdown. But now we know him better and gauge his walks accordingly
He just loves being outdoors and being in the garden
My GR is nearly two. He has two walks a day of about an hour each time. He’d go all day if necessary though.
He sheds to a certain extent, but it’s not been half as bad as we were led to believe.
He was very bitey and a bit playfully aggressive around the 7-8 month mark. I was getting a bit worried at one point when he kept “attacking” me as a laugh. Grew out of it though thank god, he’s sooo lovely now.
Here he is with a stick
Oh dear @PuppyMonkey, could your poor boy not find a bigger stick? 😏
Previously we had a GR, now have a 4yr old WCS.
Our experience is this:
The GR whilst a fabulous dog with the kids was quite ''aloof''. He was extremely stubborn - did what he wanted, if he wanted, when he wanted. Recall? forget it!! The shedding was insane, and he had a unique smell akin to sweaty socks, breed trait. He was very sweet natured around the house, no bother whatsoever with feeding - would eat pretty much anything and I dont recall any health problems until the end at age 11. He wasnt particularly demanding for loads of exercise, happy with whatever he got really. And loved absolutely everyone and everything - appealing to some, but very frustrating for recall purposes. A true muck magnet and water baby.
Our WCS on the other hand is a very different dog. He has been extremely easy to train - highly intelligent, eager to please (us, not himself ) He is extremely cuddly and loving, but is very much OUR dog - doesnt have much time for people he doesnt know, but loves the bones of close family and demonstrates it enthusiastically. Yes he is lively and mad as a box of frogs, but is very much a creature of habit and routine. Whilst he is always up for playing, he also knows when chill out time/bedtime is. He has been quite a fussy eater at times and will not entertain dry food for more than a couple of days. Cockers are notoriously demanding in many ways, but the work is a pleasure with him, and he makes us laugh every single day.
Show cockers are lovely, lovely dogs. They are lazier than workers and love to snuggle with their owners - they are essentially velcro dogs though and must be with people for much of the time.
Look at setters. Same exercise requirements, not so smelly or sheddy, gentle, non-barky and love to please.
I wouldn’t go anywhere near a spaniel. They are hyper and bark a lot. I like Labradors and Golden Retrievers but Goldies take first place. This is due to their beautiful nature.
I have had all three types of dog.
I would also recommend a bitch. Having had both, a bitch tends to be more loyal and doesn’t need to sniff and cock their leg on every blade of grass, post, wall etc. It drives me nuts on a walk 😂🦮.
I wouldn’t go anywhere near a spaniel. They are hyper and bark a lot
And are wonderful funny, loyal, loving, snuggly balls of loveliness!
Alos, a hyper barking spaniel is probably not having its needs met properly.
We have a Labrador and now a spaniel (happens to be a show/working cocker cross). We are loving the lack of shedding of the cocker, but the flip side is that he is much harder to dry and clean. Muck and water just slides off the lab with a quick towel swipe. The spaniel’s hair must be hollow or something- the water just soaks in and does not come out!
If you live anywhere with sticky burrs that will be a definite pointer to getting the lab; nothing sticks to them. The spaniel on the other hand.... oh my god.
Both are obsessed with food. Both are very trainable. The spaniel is more “needy” and cuddly; lies at your feet and follows you around. But the lab, in a way, is more playful and engages with what you want to do - the spaniel has slightly more of his own agenda (throw my ball. Again. Again. Did I mention my ball?).
And finally, I would say that you can “boss around” the lab more than the spaniel. We had the lab, then aged 2 himself, with toddlers and he was bulletproof. I can already tell that the spaniel would not have been to the same extent. That’s not really a bad reflection on the spaniel; just that the lab was exceptional.
Both are fab dogs; you can’t go wrong with a good one of either really.