They emerged top of a list of runaways compiled from a survey of 2,000 dog owners in Britain. The breed to land in the “runner-up” spot was the cocker spaniel, which was followed by the jack russell.
The German shepherd was found to be the fourth most common breed to have owners worrying.
The study, commissioned by Blue Cross pet charity, set out to remind pet owners that they have just a year to make sure their pets is microchipped before it becomes compulsory on 6 April, 2016.
The charity also advised that microchipping can help reunite missing pets with their owners after they took in 1,673 dogs and cats last year because owners could not be traced.
Sarah Bussell, a rehoming supervisor at Blue Cross, said: “Many dogs just want to play and explore but it was interesting to see labradors came on top for being the most likely breed to run away.
“While they don’t mean to become lost, if they catch a smell or see something exciting in the distance, it can be hard to get their attention and call them back to you.
“And if you panic, sometimes they will get scared, so the best thing to do is try to remain calm and encourage them to come back to you with a toy or tasty treat.
“It is important to teach your dog good recall from a young age and also make sure your dog has a tag and is microchipped, to help the chances of you being reunited if they become lost.
“It also means you will be fully compliant with the law, with the new regulations about microchipping now just a year away”.
Finishing off the top five list of dogs most likely to run away from home or while on a walk was the English springer spaniel.
Staffordshire bull terriers are also culprits for sneaking off and leaving their owners searching for them.
The average dog owner has experienced the panic of losing man’s best friend three times already, and six in ten know other owners who have lost their pet as well.
One in five do not have their pet dog microchipped, and half of these owners admit they probably will never have it done.
Those who leave their dog un-microchipped could be facing a hefty fine when the process becomes compulsory in 2016.
When asked how much they believed the fine would be, one-third thought it would not be any more than £100 – however in reality it could be anything up to £500.
Dogs wearing a tag when in public is already the law but only 23 per cent of owners knew this was the case and only half knew the tag must include the owner’s name.
One in six owners believes that vet details should be included on the tag. A third of people wrongly believed the fine for a dog being without a tag was £100, when really they risk a penalty of up to £5,000 if their dog is not wearing a correct ID tag in public.
Ms Bussell added: “So many animals arrive at our centres as strays but they have clearly been cared for and could be much-loved and much-missed pets.
“We have a dogs called Taters who is just over a year old and came to us from the pound. She is a lovely dog who understands basic commands so someone must have taken the time to train her.
“Her owner could be missing her if she is lost but without a microchip, there is no way we can trace them.
“She’s currently being cared for by Blue Cross until will find her a loving new home.”
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