A Labrador with correct temperament is never hyperactive. A Labrador
with a correct temperament should also never be extremly shy. True
Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed
as the "Otter" tail. The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing,
tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards man or
animal. The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways,
intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog. Aggressiveness
towards humans or other animals, or any evidence of shyness in an
adult should be severely penalized.
With the steady increase of popularity of the breed in recent years,
more and more Labradors are being bred by people who have less
regard for temperament than established breeders. Some people claim
that field line Labradors are hyper and show lines are mellow. Others
claim that field line Labradors are mellow and show lines are hyper!
In reality, it appears that "backyard bred" Labradors have by far
the worst temperaments. If you don't breed for good temperaments,
you won't get them except by accident. ("Backyard breeders" refers
to people with little or no knowledge of breeding dogs doing so mostly
for the money or because it seems the thing to do, or even by accident.
A better term is "disreputable breeders." There are plenty of
small-scale, or hobby, breeders with wonderful reputations for
producing sound, good tempered, well-balanced dogs.)
The best advice for finding a Labrador with the right temperament
is to thoroughly investigate the breeders you are considering. Ask to see
their other dogs--this should give you an idea of the energy level
you can expect from their puppies. Ask for the names of other
people who have previously purchased dogs from them -- and then
contact these people and ask them whether they'd recommend this
breeder or not. Labradors with poor temperaments are often the
result of thoughtless breeding and will not appear in dogs from either
show lines or field lines that have been conscientiously bred.
However, Labradors are active dogs especially in puppyhood. And
Labradors often do not fully mature until around 3 years of age! This
means you will have a dog that is mentally a puppy (with a puppy's
energy) until this age regardless of its physical size! Often a Lab puppy
is labelled hyperactive when it is simply a normal, exuberant and
bouncy puppy. If you are prepared to deal with this period of time
in their lives, you will not have problems. It is the people caught
unprepared who then label their puppy hyperactive and
incorrigible and dump it.
We would like to stress that such dogs, untrained and unexercised,
WILL be a huge problem for their owners, becoming destructive,
unmanageable, and in many cases escape artists. Once under proper
discipline (which does NOT mean beating the dog!), most of these
Labs will grow up into good pets.