Is a Labrador Retriever the Right Dog for Me?

are labradors a good pet for you

Labrador Retrievers who are gentle, funny, smart, and sometimes naughty or childish are fun to live with as an owner. I was once a proud owner of a labrador retriever (male) who was loyal, intelligent, playful, and energetic. He always put a smile on my face even when being naughty.

I believe you are here because you are interested in getting a labrador or wondering whether a labrador is a right dog for you and your family. Rest assured. You are in the right place.

In this article, I will answer all the basic questions you might have to make an informed decision. I have written this article based on my personal experience with my Labrador and extensive research. After reading this article, you will be able to decide whether a labrador will be a suitable pet for you.

What do labradors look like?

Labrador retrievers have a short, dense, weather-resistant coat, an otter tail, angular head with the moderately sized muzzle. The eyes of labradors come in two colors: brown or hazel. 

Labrador Retriever coat comes in three different colors. 

  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Yellow

History of Labradors

The history of Labrador Retrievers dates back to the 1500s. You may think that the name Labrador came from the city of Labrador in Canada. However, this is not true. I would also like to point out that the breed was named Labrador Retrievers in the 1800s. 

Where did the ancestors of Labradors originate from? 

The ancestors of Labradors originated in Newfoundland in the 1500s. The Newfoundland was settled by the English, whose main occupation was fishing. At that time, they bred small water dogs with Newfoundlands to create a new breed.

What was the breed called between the 1500s and 1800s?

This new breed of dogs was called the St. John’s Water Dog or St. John’s Dog or Lesser Newfoundland.

What were Labradors Bred for?

The St. John’s Dog was bred by English fishermen in Newfoundland to catch fishes in icy waters. The dogs had a dense coat that could repel water, and webbed paws made them excellent swimmers. The St. John’s Dogs were used to retrieve fish from the icy waters, which fell off the hook and were also used to grab and pull the fishing nets back to the shore. They had a great work ethic and stamina.

The St. John’s Dog lived exclusively in Newfoundland until the 1800s. The dogs were then imported to Poole, England. The breed caught the eyes of the Earl of Malmesbury, who brought them home. In 1830, Colonel Hawker, a British sportsman, described the dogs are good for hunting sports. He described that the dogs are extremely quick in running, swimming, and fighting.

The Earl of Malmesbury started to breed them. They were used in hunting and shooting sports. He was the one who coined the name “Labrador Retrievers” in one of his letters. The name became famous, and the Earl’s son began breeding the dogs. The breed gained popularity, and by 1903, they were recognized the British Kennel Club.

In the early 1900s, the hunters and farmers from the United States began to incorporate Labradors in the daily lives due to the breed’s work ethic. In 1917, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club. Since then, the breed became a loving pet for many families.

What are Labradors Bred for?

The Labradors are sporting dogs used for fishing and hunting. The dogs are excellent swimmers. They were used to retrieve fish, ducks, rabbits, and small animals after being hooked or shot. The dogs are loyal, intelligent, strong, with good work ethic.

Some farmers use them for hunting and fishing due to their speed, swimming skills, and work ethic. In the olden days, they were bred for certain professions (hunting, shooting, etc.). But today, most of the Labradors are companion dogs. They spend most of their time playing, pleasing, and protecting their owners.

Due to their size, intelligence, temperament, and strength, Labradors can work as Assistance Service and Therapy Dogs and assist the police and the military.

What are labradors used for today?

Today, most labradors are companion dogs. They love pleasing their owners. They spend their time playing and protecting their owners. Labradors are the most popular companion dogs in the world. Labradors are good with kids, cats, and other pets. They can easily gel with new people and a new environment. However, some people use them as Service and Therapy Dogs.

Assistance Service

Labradors tend to make good assistance dogs as they are people lovers and even-keeled. Labradors can be trained to help owners who have impaired-hearing, guide the blind, assisting the disabled, alert their caregivers, and owners to various medical conditions. They can act as therapy dogs to those who are in need.

Labradors are trained to be Assistance dogs from puppyhood. They are trained by volunteers who have experience in training them as Assistance dogs. The puppies are highly socialized with different people and animals so that they can be comfortable and do their tasks in different situations and environments. Once the puppies grow, they are trained to learn specific skills to be Assistance dogs. Once they learn those skills, they are paired with a specific disabled person. This way, the labradors as Assistance dogs help people with disabilities to have more freedom and provide them with loving companionship.

The different types of Assistance dogs are:

  • Guide Dogs
  • Hearing Ear Dogs
  • Disability Assistance Dogs
  • Medical Detection Dogs
  • Therapy Dogs

Emergency Services Dogs

Labrador’s keen sense of smell and excellent tracking abilities make them highly effective in various emergency services. They tend to stick to the job until it is done, which has proved effective in difficult tracking jobs.

Today, Labradors are used as Emergency service dogs in many areas, such as:

  • Police Dogs
  • Military Service Dogs
  • Customs Officers
  • Search and Rescue (SAR) Dogs

Labradors Temperament

Labradors are generally Outgoing, Intelligent, Kind, Agile, Trusting, Even Tempered, and Gentle. 

Let us look at each of these traits one by one.


Labradors mingle with new people very easily. If you take your Lab to parks or public places, they tend to engage with people and their pets in a friendly manner. Sometimes they startle people or other small dogs because of their size. You need to train your Lab not to jump on strangers in common and public places.


Labradors are smart. That is one of the main reasons they are successful as Assistance and Emergency Services dogs. They learn things very quickly. They are easy to train to learn new things.

My dog was very smart. He was able to find out different ways to leave my house to spend quality time outside. My mom and I had to keep an eye on him when he was young. I remember the days I had to search for many streets to find my dog. He gave me a hard time when he was young. But I could never get mad at him. I didn’t particularly appreciate tying him, so I tried to block his access outside. Still, he was somehow able to circumvent it.

Kind & Gentle

Labradors are very kind creatures. They are very good with kids. Kids often pull their hair, ears, and grab at them. You can handle the kids with the utmost care and patience. Labradors are also good with other pets at home. They may get jealous sometimes, but it can be managed by providing time and company.


Labradors are hyperactive dogs who cannot sit in one place. They move around a lot. They love running around with shoes, doormats, and small objects in their mouth. Labradors have a lot of energy to burn. They need a lot of exercise (physical and mental) to keep them happy and healthy.


Labradors are loyal. They love pleasing their owners. Labradors are the most common breed used as Assistance and Emergency Services dogs due to their loyal and trusting nature.

Even Tempered

Young labradors may seem to be ill-tempered and hyperactive. It is in their nature to be playful as they have a lot of energy to burn. You may also misunderstand that they are aggressive. However, young labradors often engage in play biting. With proper training, you can calm this behavior. Once Labradors mature with age, they become even-tempered and calm.

Male vs. Female Labradors – Which one is better for me?

You have decided to get a labrador. But which one? Male or Female Breed?

I am here to help you decide by explaining the differences between Male and Female labradors. 

You can decide the gender of your dog based on Size, Features, Trainability, Sexual Reproduction, and Behavior.


Male labradors are bigger than their female counterparts. Male dog breeds tend to be larger than female dog breeds. If you want to get a dog in the smaller end of the breed spectrum, you can get a female dog. The size of a dog is not influenced by gender alone. I would recommend you look at the size of the parents of the pup you are adopting to predict the pup’s size. 


Due to hormonal differences, male labradors tend to have rougher and more masculine features than the female ones. You can choose a gender based on your appeal. If you plan to get a male labrador due to its masculine features, be mindful that puppies neutered before maturity may never develop these rougher features.


Based on common knowledge, female puppies tend to be more mature than their male counterparts. Research conducted by Patricia McConnell shows that there is no difference. She spoke to hundreds of dog trainers. Half of the trainers vouched that male dogs were easier to train while the other half sided with female dogs for trainability ease. Almost all trainers agreed that it made little difference.

Sexual Reproduction and Behavior

Sexual reproduction is one area where a dog’s gender makes a difference. If you plan to breed your dog, you have to decide if you want to have a male or female. Sexual behaviors of non-neutered and non-sprayed dogs are different.

are labradors good for you?

Female dogs go into heat only twice a year, during which she starts looking for a mate. She will secrete a liquid that attracts a male, making it hard to clean up if they are indoor dogs. During this time, if you don’t want to breed puppies, you need to make sure she is away from non-neutered male dogs. You will have a hard time taking female dogs for walks with male dogs swarming around her to pass their genes.

Non-neutered male dogs are sexually active throughout the year, which means they will sniff around female dogs on a heat cycle. They also tend to mount on people and objects to satisfy their need to reproduce. They also indulge in marking activities by peeing on things so that other dogs can scent their territory.

If you are not planning to breed or plan to neuter or spay your dogs, then the difference is negligible.

Also, remember that the cost of spaying female dogs is more compared to neutering male dogs. If you already have a dog at home, it would be preferred to get the opposite sex dog as a companion. Dogs of the opposite sex get along well.

As you know, I had a non-neutered male Labrador. My mom did not want him to be neutered, nor she wanted to breed. She thought it was wrong and against nature. I tried to convince her, but she will not listen. She treated him like her son, and when he reached maturity, he kept humping on her. We tried setting him up with female labs, but he was unable to breed any offsprings. She finally agreed to neuter him after 18 months. 

I would suggest neutering male labs or spaying female labs early (6 – 8 months) if you are not planning to breed.

How big do labradors get?

Male labradors weigh 65 to 80 pounds and stand 22.5 to 24.5 inches, and Female labradors weigh 55 to 70 pounds and stand 21.5 to 23.5 inches.

At what age does a labrador puppy stop growing?

Labrador puppies stop growing between their first and second birthday. In 2004, UK conducted a study on 37 labrador puppies found that they reached their adult weight by their first birthday. A more detailed study conducted by the UK with 4300 labradors found that their weight increased between one and four years old. Proper training and exercise will make sure labradors don’t turn obese.

By nine months of age, most labradors reach their adult height.

How quickly do labradors grow?

A study conducted on 150 labrador puppies in Norway found that females’ weight gain is most rapid at 89 days old. For males, the weight gain is most rapid at 95 days old, around 12-14 weeks. Labradors reach half of their adulthood weight when they are 18 or 19 weeks old.

Labrador’s growth slows down after they are six months old. This is the point where the dog’s bones stop growing. At this point, you can take your Lab for long runs and jumping activities, which will not affect the joints.

How long do labradors live?

The average life span of a labrador retriever is 12 – 14 years.  

A study conducted recently shows that Chocolate Labradors have a shorter lifespan (10.7 years) than their counterparts (black and yellow).

Factors such as Diet, Healthcare, Management, and Inherited diseases influence a labradors lifespan. I would recommend you to check the health details of the puppies parent for any diseases.

Other factors, such as Diet and Management, is up to you. With a good diet, exercise, and proper management, labradors can live up to 12 years.

What do labradors eat?

Labrador Retrievers’ diet should consist of fat and proteins. So you should choose food rich in protein and fats but low in carbohydrates.

Most experts recommend that labradors be fed with a balanced diet. There are currently two very different approaches that are very popular with labrador owners.

Dry Kibble

In the past, owners were feeding their dogs with canned food. But today, major pet food companies supply a dried version of their brands.


  • Opening a packet and instantly pouring food in a dog bowl is very convenient. With modern times people look for convenience.
  • Easy to store in a container.


  • Kibble will not smell bad, but your lab feces will as it contains many fillers.
  • Need to brush your lab teeth regularly.
  • Kibble fed labs may feed on their poop.

Raw Meat and Bones

In recent years, Raw meat has become a popular way of feeding by dog owners. Raw meat does not have any fillers, which can cause an allergic reaction to some dogs. The downside is that it is not convenient. You need to have a lot of space in your refrigeration unit (freezer) to store meat. It would be best if you also had a designated preparation surface and good meat preparation hygiene (Think of it as preparing meat for people).

How often to feed a Labrador? How many times to feed a Labrador each day?

Labrador puppies under three months should be fed four times per day. For 3 to 6 months old, feed 3 times per day. For six months and older, feed only two times per day.

How much should you feed a Labrador?

The amount of food you feed your Labrador varies depending on the Lab’s age and type of food you want to feed.

The Eukanuba Adult Breed Lamb and Rice food suggest these serving sizes:

  • 40 – 45 pound Lab, feed: 2-1/2 cups per day
  • 50 – 55 pound Lab, feed: 2-1/2 to 3 cups per day
  • 60 – 65 pound Lab, feed: 3 to 3-1/2 cups per day
  • 70 – 75 pound Lab, feed: 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups per day
  • 80 – 85 pound Lab, feed: 3-1/2 to 4 cups per day
  • 90 – 95 pound Lab, feed: 4-1/4 to 4-1/2 cups per day
  • 100+ pound Lab, feed 4-3/4 to 5 cups per day

Can labradors eat fruits and vegetables?

Yes. Labradors can eat some fruits and vegetables. 

It is common for us to share our table scraps with our pets. It is wrong to think that it’s safe for your Lab if it is safe for you. While many human foods are safe for dogs, some are very unhealthy and dangerous. It is critical to know which fruits and vegetables your labradors can eat. The digestive system of dogs is different from that of humans. Labradors do not need fruits and vegetables on their diet. But the occasional fruit or vegetable as a treat is OK.

Fruits Labradors Can Eat

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupes
  • Cranberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon

Fruits Labradors Should Not Eat

  • Tomatoes
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Avacado

Vegetable Labradors Can Eat

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Spinach

Vegetable Labradors Should Not Eat

  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus

Do not feed chocolate and beverages (coffee, tea, bottled juices, etc.). Stick to natural foods like Fruits and Vegetables and avoid feeding them processed food.

Are Labradors good family pets?

Labrador Retrievers are widely considered good family dogs, which is true for many families. They have a reputation for outgoing, gentle, and easy to train. It would be best if you considered your lifestyle and family dynamics before adopting a labrador.

Are labradors good with kids?

Labradors are excellent with kids.

Due to their chilled attitude, easy-going nature, and low aggression levels, they are usually OK with being petted, cuddled, and prodded occasionally. However, Labradors are large breed dogs who are overenthusiastic when it comes to greeting and playing. 

Sometimes labradors can accidentally hurt frail people and young children by knocking them down while showing its affection. My grandmother was knocked down by my Lab while trying to jump on her. It took her a few days to recover. 

Labradors are a perfect match for older children. Due to their high energy levels, both can play for hours without getting tired.

Are labradors good with cats and other pets?

Yes. Labradors are good with cats as long as the cat can get along. They can also get along with other pets like dogs, birds, rabbits, hamsters, etc.

I have also heard the news about Labradors used as companion dogs for zoo animals like Cheetah, Tiger, and Leopard.

People have a misconception that dogs and cats do not get along well. This is not true. Some dogs can easily get along with cats than others. Labrador is a great example of dogs getting along with cats, other dogs, and other pets such as birds, rodents, and small animals like a rabbit.

Do You Own a Cat

If you already have a cat at home, 

  • Make sure your cat has its own space. 
  • Train your Lab to control its puppy aggression. 
  • Prepare for your new Lab by getting necessary items so that both cat and Lab do not end up fighting with each other for shared access to resources such as bowls, beds, and toys.

You do not have to worry too much about your cat as they can easily escape from an overwhelming situation and stay alone for a while. In contrast, labradors don’t like to stay alone and in constant need of companionship.

Are labradors good for first-time owners?

Yes. Labradors are good for first-time owners. They are gentle, even-tempered, loyal, and easy to train. They love pleasing their owners. They are excellent with kids. They get along with dogs, cats, and other pets.

You need to consider the two things before getting a Labrador: your family dynamics and activity level

Labradors have high energy levels. You have to make sure to keep them busy, both physically and mentally. You have to take them out for long walks, which means raising your activity levels if you are suited to a sedentary life. 

Labradors are large breed dogs. If you have a toddler at home, I would advise waiting for 2-3 years until your child grows up. If you have very old and frail people at home, you might want to revisit your choice of getting a large breed dog. I don’t see why Labradors cannot be good for first-time owners besides the two above reasons.

Are labradors hypoallergenic?

No. Labradors are non-hypoallergenic.

Labradors have a double-coated fur that repels water. The coat underneath acts as an insulation to keep them warm. Labradors are great swimmers and were used by English Fishermen between 1500 and 1800 to retrieve fish and pull fishing nets from icy waters in Newfoundland due to their fur coat.

are labradors good for you?

Though Labradors normally shed throughout the year, they have two heavy shedding seasons, known as molt, which occurs during spring and after autumn. With hair around the house throughout the year, a person with dog allergies cannot cope with a Labrador.

By the way, Labradors of all coat colors shed equally.

Now you know that Labradors are non-hypoallergenic. 

How can you tell if you or your family members have pet allergies?

Symptoms of Dog Allergies

I am sure you would have come across dogs and cats in your lifetime. If you have not come across them, I suggest looking at some of the dog allergies symptoms below.

  • Rashes
  • Running nose
  • Sneezing
  • Hayfever
  • Asthma or wheezing
  • Itching and skin reaction

If you showed these symptoms around dogs and cats, there is a high possibility that you may be allergic to them. If you are not allergic, your family members may be allergic to them. I suggest you do a trial run by visiting a pet shelter with your family or bringing a pet to your home for a trial visit. I am sure one of your friends or neighbors with dogs will be happy to help.

List of Hypoallergenic Dogs

However, suppose you or your family members have dog allergies and still want to adopt a dog. In that case, I suggest you adopt a hypoallergenic dog published by the American Kennel Club. The dogs are as follows:

  • Bichon Frise
  • Poodle
  • Chinese Crested
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Afghan Hound
  • Maltese
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Havanese
  • Fox Terrier
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Portuguese Water Dog

Do Labradors shed?

Yes. Though touted as short-haired dogs, Labradors are notorious for shedding a high amount of hair throughout the year.

Don’t be surprised if you find dog hair in carpets, hardwood floors, couches, and your car’s seat. You may think that if you clean once in 2-3 days, it will be fine. But let me promise you, it will never go away. You will keep finding the dog’s hair at places where they spend their time.

You may ask me how I dealt with the problem. I made sure I vacuumed the floor every day and accepted that I could not completely eliminate my labs’ hair. So if you plan to adopt a shedding dog like a Labrador, you need to do a lot of work to keep their hair off furniture, carpets, beds, sofas, cars, and common living areas. You should also accept that you cannot get rid of the dog’s hair for good.

I am sorry, but that is how it is when it comes to Labradors shedding routine. I can also promise you that the fun and joy they bring to your life can trump their negative aspects like shedding.

Do All Colors of Labradors shed?

Yes. Labradors of all coat colors shed equally. Shedding is an inherent trait in Labradors of different coat colors. So, Yes. All Labradors are non-hypoallergenic.

Do Labradors shed a lot?

Yes. Labradors do shed a lot. You will find your two hands full of lab hair when you brush them every day. 

Labradors shed hair throughout the year, but they have two heavy shedding seasons: Spring and Autumn

You will find your Lab shed a lot of hair for three weeks before spring to lose their heavy winter coat and three weeks before winter (during autumn) as they get ready to bulk up for the winter. You might need to keep your vacuum cleaner running full time before the summer and winter season.

Though short hair breeds, Labradors shed a lot because their hair is amazingly dense. Labradors have double coat fur, which is made up of the outer layer of hair, which is waterproof and a fluffy undercoat to keep him warm whatever the weather maybe.

How to manage Labradors Shedding?

You cannot stop your Labrador from shedding, but you can manage it by grooming him regularly. During shedding season, brush your Lab daily to remove the dead hair instead of letting it fall on the floor. Bath your Lab at least once in two months. You can get the required item like the De-shedding tool from local pet stores or online.

Are Labradors easy to train?

Yes. Labradors are very easy to train. They love pleasing their owners. Labrador pups are very smart and learn things quickly. They are highly motivated dogs, which makes them easy to train. Promise them a treat or two, and you will see how motivated they are to follow your command.

Based on their ancestry and history, Labradors were bred as working dogs to retrieve fish, duck, and small animals during fishing and hunting season. 

Today, Labradors are used mostly as companion dogs.

They are also trained as Assistance dogs to support people with disabilities(blind, hearing aid, etc.), and Emergency Services dogs to support Police, Military, Customs, and Search and Rescue services.

You can train Labradors with a few treats. All they need is motivation. Remember that Labradors are highly active breeds with a lot of energy to burn. So they need a lot of training exercise to keep them healthy and happy, especially when they reach adulthood. 

How much exercise do labradors need?

The amount of exercise a Labrador needs depends on its age. Labrador puppies need less exercise compared to adult ones. Over-training a Labrador puppy can overtire it and affect its developing joints, causing early arthritis. 

During puppyhood, a general rule of thumb is 5 mins of exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown. For example, you can exercise a 3-month-old Labrador for 15 mins, a 6-month-old for 30 mins and one-year-old for 1 hour. Labradors reach adulthood between 9 and 12 months, where the dog’s joints development is complete.

Adult Labradors need exercise based on their lifestyle. A hyperactive Lab needs 1.5 hours of exercise every day, whereas a more relaxed Lab needs 45 mins of exercise every day. An hour-long gentle walk with your dog will not be considered a proper exercise. The exercise should consist of running, jogging alongside you, jogging, or running alongside while you ride a bike, playing fetch, and swimming.

To own a Labrador, you need to make lifestyle changes and take an active part in exercises. If you are a laid back person, and prefer a sedentary life, better avoid active dog breeds like Labradors.

Are labradors good apartment dogs?

Yes. Labradors are perfect for apartments.

Contrary to popular beliefs that Labradors are large breed dogs that need a large amount of space for exercise and stretching, they are the best breeds for an apartment. When properly trained and acclimated, Labradors are well suited for an apartment due to their temperament, demeanor, and easy-going nature.

Do Labradors need a lot of Space?

People think that since Labradors are large, they need a lot of space for exercise and running around the house. Hence they are not suitable for apartment life.

This is not true!!!

This comes from the misconception that your Labrador will be running and exercising inside the apartment, which is not true. If you regularly exercise your Labrador, they will be doing most of their running and exercising outdoors in local parks or along the sidewalks of your neighborhood, not inside your apartment.

are labradors good for you?

The apartment’s size will not matter too much to them as their favorite place is next to you. My Labrador lived in an apartment with my mother and me. He used to sit with me on my couch when I watched TV, used to follow me when I moved between rooms, stayed near my feet when I worked on my computer, and whimpered & showed signs of separation anxiety when I get ready to leave for office.

However, there a few things to consider when you get a Lab into your apartment. They are:

  • Make sure pets are allowed in your apartment.
  • Allocate a specific amount of time daily to exercise and train your Labrador.
  • Spend time in Potty Training your Labrador.
  • Be friendly with your neighbors.
  • Maintain regular Vet appointments.

As long as Labradors receive enough training and exercise daily, they can happily live in an apartment.

Can Labradors be left alone?

Labradors are companion dogs. They require social interaction and company. Labradors are more prone to separation anxiety. It is OK to leave them alone for 2-4 hours, provided you tire them out by training and exercising.

It is not advisable to leave Labradors alone without any social interaction for more than 5 hours. They will develop separation anxiety and resort to destructive behavior or excessive barking for long hours, disturbing your neighbors. Neighbors disturbed by barking dogs are not easy to deal with daily.

When I was away at work, my mother spent time with my Labrador. When I had to travel with my mother, I hired professional dog sitters to make sure my dog had company and not left alone.

If you are single and work in a 9-5 job, raising and caring a Labrador from puppyhood will be hard and taxing on you. But I have seen people leaving their Labs alone in their apartment when they go to work. I believe it depends on how you train your Lab and ways you adopt to keep him busy when he is alone.

Do labradors bark a lot?

No. Labradors are kind, gentle, and friendly. With proper training and reinforcement, Labrador’s barking is not a big issue. 

Vocalization is common for all dog breeds. 

Though Labradors aren’t troublesome in the barking department, barking problems can still occur.

Labradors usually bark a lot when they are left alone due to separation anxiety. They prefer socializing with people around them than being left alone in solitude. There are many other reasons for Labrador’s barking behavior, but separation anxiety is one of the main reasons.

With proper training and companionship, Labradors are a breed of dogs who bark less compared to other barking dog breeds.

Common Health Problems Specific to Labradors

Though Labradors are the most popular dog breed globally, they are more prone to genetic diseases such as Arthritis, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Obesity, and Cancer. Suppose the puppy parent had the above conditions. In that case, there is a very high chance that your puppy would inherit the above diseases. 

Labrador’s health problems can occur due to genetics, environmental, or a combination of both.

Some of the common health problems specific to Labradors are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Seizures
  • Cancer

I would advise checking the health certificate of the parents of the puppy you are planning to adopt. 

It also does not mean that your puppy will not get the above condition if its parents are healthy. I am just suggesting you make sure that your puppy does not inherit health issues from its parents genetically.

Cost of Owning a Labrador

OK. You have decided that a Labrador is a right pet for you. Before you decide to get one, you need to think if a Labrador Retriever will fit your budget right now.

Dogs are expensive to own during their first year as it needs more veterinarian care. Owning a Labrador Retriever is between $1,100 – $12,000 annually or between $100 – $1000 monthly, and veterinary care will be the most expensive part.

How much do Labradors cost?

The cost of owning a Labrador may vary depending on where you want to buy it from a local kennel or a labrador breeder. Labrador’s cost also varies if you plan to buy those already trained for hunting or specialized purposes(Assistance Service).

You can find many wonderful Labrador puppies or adult dogs at local shelters. It will cost you around $100 – $300 for paperwork and vaccinations. I believe they charge this amount to make sure that you are serious about owning the dog and not abandoning them. 

If you plan to buy Labradors from a reputable breeder, get ready to shell out between $400 – $2000. You can also see the Labradors parents’ health certificates to check for any genetic illnesses passed down to your Lab. 

If you want to buy Assistance Service Labrador dogs or Labradors specialized in hunting, it will cost you around $10,000 – $15,000.

How much will it cost you per month or year for owning a Labrador?

Typical Veterinarian Expenses 

Once you get a Labrador, you need vet paperwork to get a license and tags. Based on where you live, you need to visit your local vet. If you own a Labrador puppy, then typical costs include:

  • Routine Vet Checkup: $45-$55
  • Core vaccines: $75 – $100
  • Heartworm tests: $45-$50
  • Fecal Exam: $25-$45
  • Geriatric Screening: $85-$110
  • Dental Cleaning: $70-$400
  • Allergy Testing: $195-$300
  • Rabies: $15-$20
  • Bordetella: $19-$45

Neutering or Spaying

If you own a Labrador puppy and are not planning to breed, you need to neuter (male) or spay (female) your dog when it is between 4-8 months old. Spaying is more expensive than neutering as it a most extensive operation. The cost to neuter or spay is between $50 – $400. You can get it done cheaper at low-cost clinics.

Food & Traning Costs When Owning a Labrador

You will be spending more on dog food annually compared to other expenses. You may need to dish out $500 – $1,000 annually based on a raw diet, kibble, or both. Monthly expenses for dog food will be between $50 – $850.

are labradors good for you?

Suppose the Labrador is your first pet, and you are unsuccessful in your training methods. In that case, you can attend Group classes (one hour per session) to socialize your Lab and improve your dog handling skills. Group classes’ costs will vary between $50 – $150 for a four to eight-week class. Working with a personal dog trainer will cost you between $400 – $1,000 for four to eight weeks.

Grooming Costs When Owning a Labrador

Are you too busy to groom your Lab but want him to be clean and happy to pay someone else to do your work?

If you are tired of running behind your adamant Lab for bathing, trimming, or cleaning, you can take him to a dog grooming salon who can take care of everything. Many dog grooming salon offers mobile dog grooming services to save you a ride and time.

Mobile or Local dog grooming salon offers two types of dog grooming services: Full-Service Dog Grooming and Basic Service Dog Grooming. Local dog grooming salon also offers Self-Service Dog Grooming.

Full-Service Dog Grooming

Full-Service Dog grooming includes: 

  • A bath with towel and hair drying
  • Eye & ear cleaning
  • Nail trimming
  • Teeth brushing, 
  • Brush out, and a haircut 

The cost of Full-Service Dog grooming at a local and mobile dog grooming salon for a Labrador is around $70 and $75, respectively.

Basic Service Dog Grooming

Basic Service Dog grooming includes: 

  • A bath
  • Eye & ear cleaning
  • Nail trimming

The cost of Basic Service Dog grooming at a local and mobile dog grooming salon for a Labrador is around $50 and $60.

Self-Service Dog Grooming

Suppose you are OK with grooming your Labrador but do not want to cause a mess in your home (wet floors, hairs everywhere, messy bathtub, and bathroom). In that case, you can opt for self-service at a local dog grooming salon. The salon will provide you towels, brushes, dryers, shampoos, and charge you between $15 – $25.

Insurance costs When Owning a Labrador

Illness and Accidents are unexpected situations to deal with as human beings. To protect ourselves from extraordinary situations, we take medical insurance. Medical insurance protects us from sudden medical expenses occurred due to illness or accidents. The same should apply to our pet dogs, who are part of our family.

To protect yourself and your Labrador from unexpected expenses, it is advisable to get pet insurance. The average Pet Insurance cost for Labrador Retriever is between $450 – $600 annually or $35 – $50 monthly.

Pet Supplies You Need for a Labrador

Before you bring a Labrador to your home for the first time, you need to be prepared. You need to get a list of things mentioned below. You will buy these items again only when it gets old or destroyed by your Lab.

Grab a pen and a pad to note down the supplies needed for a Labrador puppy.

  • Water and Food Bowls
  • Crate and Puppy pads
  • Collars, leash, harness
  • Puppy safe treats
  • 4-5 puppy friendly toys
  • Puppy playpen 
  • Puppy gates
  • Grooming brush
  • Quality nail trimmer
  • Bedding
  • Puppy shampoo

The list of items mentioned above is necessary before bringing a new Labrador puppy into your home. These items will help you and your puppy thrive in the new environment.


Labradors are great pets to have as a first-time owner. They are loyal, smart, easy to train, and love pleasing their owners. Labradors are great with kids, cats, and dogs. Live in an apartment, no issues. Labradors can easily get well adjusted to their surroundings as they are even-tempered and friendly. They are non-hypoallergenic dogs who shed a lot. It will be an issue if you or your family members suffer from dog allergies. Finally, As Labradors are large breed dogs, they are more expensive to own compared to small breed dogs.