BREED SPOTLIGHT

Breed Spotlight: Labrador Retriever

4 min read Dec 13, 2022

Labrador Retriever: Quick Stats

Lifespan: 11 – 13 years

Weight: 55 – 80 lbs.

Height: 21 – 25 inches

Do I shed?: Yes

Personality: Outgoing, eager, full of energy, adventurous

Common health problems: Elbow and hip dysplasia, centronuclear myopathy, progressive retinal atrophy, obesity

Labrador Retriever: How Do I Look?

The eager, fun-loving Labrador retriever remains one of the United States’ most popular dog breeds.³ A typical member of this breed stands anywhere between 21 to 25 inches and can weigh between 55 pounds and 80 pounds. Their short, but thick coats come in a variety of colors but it’s their strong, active, and “ready-for-anything” attitude that makes a Lab a household favorite.

Coat Type and Colors

Labrador retrievers have a beautifully thick, water-repellent double coat. There are only three official colors you can find: black, chocolate, and yellow.³

Shedding and Grooming

Labrador retrievers shed often so they’ll need to be brushed daily to remove excess fur.³ You should give your Lab a bath with high-quality shampoo every 2 months (or as needed) to keep their coats healthy. You should also keep your dog's nail clipped and teeth brushed regularly to prevent infection and disease.

Ears

Labrador retrievers have medium-length, floppy ears that block airflow into the ear canal. This creates a moist environment that bacteria loves. Pet parents should regularly clean their dog’s ears to prevent ear infections.

Drooling Level

Labs are not known to be heavy droolers; however, they do drool if they’re excited.

Labrador Retriever: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

No matter what happens, I’m just happy to support my human friends. After all, I’m called “man’s best friend” for a reason — I’m ready to join a family who loves to run, jump, and play all year round!

Labrador retriever temperament

There’s a reason millions of pet parents choose Labrador retrievers. This breed is adaptable to almost every environment, happy to be with their pet parents and any visitors they may have in their home. A Lab’s friendly nature combined with their intelligence makes for a fun-loving dog for active families. Sport-lovers, hikers, runners, soccer players, and active children will have the perfect companion.

Trainability

Labrador retrievers are very intelligent dogs who are eager to please their pet parent, making for easy, successful training.

Exercise Needs

Labs have an extreme amount of energy and need a significant amount of daily activity. You should expect to spend at least an hour each day exercising your Lab so they are happy and on their best behavior. Whether it be playing fetch or a long walk, there are many ways to get their hour of play time in.

Consider giving your Labrador retriever a job to do, like volunteering at children’s hospitals for pets and snuggles or running an agility course. Labs make great working dogs because of their exceptional abilities to hunt and track game.³ Invest in training classes that will engage their mind and you’ll surely be rewarded.

Good With Kids?

Labrador retrievers are fabulous family dogs who are excited to participate in all household activities. They must be a part of their “pack” at all times. They’ll enjoy spending time with your children whether on a car ride or simply watching television.

Good With Other Pets?

Labs are generally friendly and non-aggressive towards all animals. Take the time to socialize your pets with slow, supervised introductions until you are sure the two (or three, or more) animals will get along without you.

Barking Level

As hunting dogs, Labrador retrievers can be very vocal dogs if pet parents don’t nip it in the bud early. Positive reinforcement training is necessary to teach your pup when to bark, who to bark at, and when barking isn’t okay.

Labrador Retriever History

Hailing from Newfoundland, Labrador retriever dogs were bred to assist farmers and fishermen bringing in fish. A Lab’s coat is perfect for the ice cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean by repelling the water, unlike their fancier cousin — the Golden retriever — whose long coat freezes in the snow. Their coat and “otter tail” caught the eyes of 19th century British, Canadian, and American dog enthusiasts who worked together to perfect the breed.³

Today, Labrador retrievers can be found all over Europe and North America in households as family dogs, as working dogs on farms, as search and rescue dogs for police forces, and even working in hospitals acting as service dogs. A Lab’s high-energy, loving personality will ensure that they’ll stick around for decades to come.

Common Labrador Retriever Mixes

There are dog enthusiasts across the country who’ve taken advantage of the Labrador retriever’s healthy breeding and great personality, so you’ll find Lab mixed with virtually every breed out there. Here are some of the most popular mixes:

  • Labradoodle: a Labrador retriever mixed with a poodle.
  • Labsky: a Labrador retriever mixed with a Siberian husky.
  • Boarador: a Labrador retriever mixed with a border collie.
  • Aussiedor: a Labrador retriever mixed with an Australian shepherd.
  • Beagador: a Labrador retriever mixed with a beagle.

Keep in mind that the American Kennel Club (AKC) doesn’t recognize the majority of so-called “designer breeds.” You’ll have to ask the breeder a lot of questions to make sure any puppy you buy doesn't have major health problems.

Common Labrador Retriever Health Issues

Your Lab should be seen by a veterinarian for routine check-ups to keep them healthy. Even though these are generally healthy dogs, Labrador retrievers may experience a variety of health issues, including:³,

How Pet Insurance Can Help Your Labrador Retriever

A Labrador retriever’s lifespan is roughly 11 to 13 years — a decade's worth of happiness and plenty of trips to the vet. Without pet insurance, you may be missing out on thousands of dollars in savings.

Centronuclear Myopathy

Centronuclear myopathy is a genetic disorder found in Labrador retrievers that causes type 2 muscle fibers — the muscle fibers that provide short burst of energy while running or walking — to break down or become weak.⁷ Usually, vets notice clinical signs in puppyhood, at around 5 months of age. These signs include stunted growth, weakness while walking, muscle atrophy, and clumsiness (sometimes called ataxia).⁷ Your vet will take blood samples and order digital scans of your Labs’s body to get a proper diagnosis. Luckily, dogs with centronuclear myopathy can live long lives with proper treatment and care.

This sort of diagnosis in puppyhood costs pet parents a fortune. Consider investing in dog insurance while your dog is young before it is considered a preexisting condition. The way pet insurance works, genetic disorders could be covered along with alternative treatments like supplements.

At MetLife Pet Insurance, winner of the “Pet Insurance of the Year” Award, we’re committed to helping you keep your pets happy and healthy, whether that means learning all there is to know about your pets or protecting them with an insurance policy..1,2

Protect your Labrador Retriever 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal, or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

³ “Labrador Retriever,” American Kennel Club

⁴ “Recommended Health Clearances for the Labrador Retriever,” The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.

⁵ “Osteochondrosis in Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual

⁶ “Progressive Retinal Atrophy,” VCA Animal Hospitals

⁷ “Centronuclear Myopathy,” Merck Veterinary Manual

⁸ “Dynamin-1 Associated Exercise Induced Collapse,” University of Minnesota: College of Veterinary Medicine

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