I would take a look at the German Wirehair, or other similar versatile gun dog breeds. I currently have both a lab and a German Shorthair Pointer. I will tell you right up front that you won't be able to beat the lab for an all around water dog/family pet.
My shorthair, as well as most of the versatile breeds, are inherently more "high maintenance" than labs around the house. This can be a challenge that will require an understanding and cooporative spouse, as well as plently of time investment to train your young mallard muncher to behave.
The up-side to their obsessive personallities is in the uplands, where they really shine. After spending ten years hunting behind only labs, my first shorthair was an eye opening experience in hunting the open high desert of Central and Eastern Oregon. These dogs never stop! You begin to understand why they can be a bit obnoxious around the house when you see the kind of energy these little rockets have!
I say wirehair/griffon/ect. because the courser coated dogs definitly seem more at home in the water, particularly in cold weather. What ever the breed, make sure you get good instruction on introducing your pup to water, and get them around water early and often.
If I never or rarely hunted uplands, I would without a doubt stick with a lab. The shedding and size will be minor annoyances compared to the "high maintenance" commonly found with the other common water dog breeds. What ever you choose, spend lots of time with pup, and get him in the field often, and you'll have a hunting buddy who always wants to go. Good luck and have a blast!