The Labrador Retriever

Stomach on legs, expert swimmer and counter surfer, famously trainable—the Lab is a dog of many distinctions. The well-socialized Lab is bouncy outdoors, gentle when cuddling on the couch, and can put her paw to anything from tracking to agility, from competitive obedience to police and therapy work. The Lab is the most popular breed worldwide, even in countries where the Cottonelle Puppy ad has never run on TV. Life with a Lab is not without challenges, though. Given half a chance, she’ll chew her way through carpets and shoes, eat candy wrappers off the sidewalk, and dive into any mudhole. Training and ample exercise is the cure and a must if your Lab is to thrive. Catch recent Labs in the limelight in Orange is the New Black (Little Boo the therapy dog) or in Who Gets the Dog? (Wesley).

To re-home a Lab, visit your local shelter or rescue group.