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Labrador Retriever Lifespan: How Long Do Labs Live?

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key point:

  • The oldest Labrador on record lived to be 27 years old.
  • The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is 12 years.
  • The Siberian Husky, Bulldog, Golden Retriever, and Boxer all have a similar lifespan to the Labrador.

Labradors are truly man's best friend – these lively, cuddly puppies are perfect for active families as they always want to be part of the action!

As pets, they are friendly, cooperative, loyal, and active. They need a large, enclosed yard and lots of daily exercise.

Labrador Retrievers have a lifespan similar to other large breeds at 10-12 years. Some Labradors live shorter than that, and many well-cared-for dogs live much longer. The oldest Labrador lived to be 27 years old.

In this article, we'll discuss the lifespan of these beautiful puppies, Labradors, and their various stages from birth to old age.

How Long Can a Labrador Retriever Live?

Beautiful labrador retriever dog in the park on a sunny day
Labrador Retrievers are beautiful, docile family dogs.

©iStock.com/sanjagrujic

On average, Labrador Retrievers live 10-12 years. The oldest ever Labrador retriever has been named Adjutant. He lived to be 27 years old, far from being the oldest dog in the world!

Lifespan can vary based on genetic health, care and other factors. For example, most labs will eat until they throw up if you allow it – and then go back for more!

Overweight dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan, so it's important to keep your Labrador on a balanced diet to prevent this.

If you are buying a Labrador from a breeder, be sure to request veterinary records and make sure the dog was raised responsibly and ethically. Poorly bred dogs are also at risk for more health problems and a shortened lifespan.

The shelter also has a lot of Labradors and Lab mixes waiting for adoption!

labrador development

newborn

Oldest Lab - Newborn Lab Puppy
newborn labrador retriever

© Avphoto.av/Shutterstock.com

Newborn puppies are born without the ability to see or hear. They are completely dependent on their mother for heating and sustenance.

After about two weeks, puppies are starting to be able to see, hear and even stand on their own! They will begin to interact more with their environment, mother and siblings.

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When puppies are 4 weeks old, the first critical period of socialization begins. They should get used to being cared for by humans for short periods of time, while still spending most of their time with their mother and siblings.

Never adopt a Labrador puppy younger than eight weeks of age. Even after weaning, they need this time to learn how to be a dog!

Their mother and siblings teach them important skills like biting inhibition, how to interact with other dogs, and more.

infancy

Labrador Retriever Lifespan - Labrador Puppies
a labrador retriever puppy

©Odua Images/Shutterstock.com

At 8-12 weeks of age, Labrador puppies usually go to their new homes. It's an exciting but sometimes overwhelming time in their lives!

Things should go at the puppy's pace, without crowding them around or rushing them into a new environment before they're ready.

Begin basic training at about three months of age. Keep training sessions short and sweet, using only positive reinforcement methods.

Train your dog by redirecting bad behavior when needed or by calmly walking away and ignoring them for a few minutes at a time. This will tell them that they will not receive attention (negative or positive) for inappropriate behavior.

Remember that puppyhood continues until your dog is one to two years old — only then will they reach full maturity.

adulthood

labrador retriever
Friendly, loving, and tolerant, the Labrador Retriever is a popular family dog.

©Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock.com

Labradors who are one to two years old are considered adult dogs. They stop growing in height at one year old, but may continue to grow until their second birthday.

This is a golden time in your dog's life. They need plenty of exercise to stay healthy, including at least one walk per day, playtime and space to run around outside.

Senior grades

Labrador Retriever Lifespan - Senior Labrador
senior labrador retriever

©TM Creations/Shutterstock.com

Labradors are considered senior dogs at the age of seven. They may remain healthy and active for years to come, but they may also start to develop health problems such as hearing loss, arthritis, or tumors.

Dogs over the age of eight have an 80 percent risk of developing arthritis. They can still lead full, happy lives, but may have difficulty performing strenuous activities such as running, jumping, or climbing stairs.

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Labradors are also prone to lumps and bumps, which can range from harmless lipomas to life-threatening cancerous lumps.

Keep your older Labradors as healthy as possible by taking them for regular check-ups at the veterinarian.

What are the most common causes of death in Labradors?

the tumor

Unfortunately, tumors are very common in Labradors. Female Labradors are most likely to develop tumors, with skin tumors on the chest and legs most common.

Tumors are not always cancerous or advanced. Your senior lab may develop some lumps and bumps as you age, and your veterinarian can advise you on how to treat them. They may perform a biopsy, opt for surgical removal, or suggest other options.

arthritis

Labradors are prone to arthritis as they age. This isn't a death sentence for the dogs per se, but it does affect their movement.

In the beginning, arthritis can be treated with supplements, pain relievers, and other treatments as recommended by your veterinarian.

However, it can progress to the point where the dog has difficulty getting around and may even lose leg function entirely.

Ultimately it is up to the owner and the veterinarian to decide when a dog's quality of life is severely compromised to consider euthanasia.

heart disease

Heart disease in Labradors stems from many factors, including diet, weight, and genetics. While keeping your dog on a healthy diet can reduce its risk, it won't eliminate it.

If you notice symptoms of heart disease, such as tiredness, coughing, or difficulty breathing, see your veterinarian right away.

Renal Failure

Labradors can die from acute or chronic renal failure.

Acute kidney failure usually occurs when a dog eats something poisonous and its kidneys quickly stop working.

Chronic kidney failure, on the other hand, occurs more slowly over time. It can have a number of causes, including poor dental hygiene.

Some ways to reduce your dog's risk of kidney failure include regular dental cleanings and dog guarding in your home so your dog is not exposed to any toxins.

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How Does Labrador Retriever Lifespan Compare To Other Dogs?

Dog Facts for Kids
Cute labrador retriever, the most common dog, lies on the green grass in the summer park.

© New Africa/Shutterstock.com

In the animal kingdom, small animals such as guinea pigs have shorter lifespans, while larger animals such as whales live longer.

This is usually reversed when you look at a particular animal, like a dog. Scientists don't yet understand all the reasons behind this, although we're starting to get a clearer picture.

Large dogs grow faster than small dogs and even wolves. Breeding of large dogs may result in a shortened lifespan.

Labradors do have a shorter lifespan than smaller dogs, but they live as long as other popular large breeds such as:

  • Golden Retriever – 10-12 years old
  • Siberian Husky – 12-14 years old
  • American Bulldog – 10-12 years old
  • Boxer – 10-12 years old

Five Interesting Facts About Labrador Retrievers

dog eating apple slices
The Labrador Retriever is the national dog of Newfoundland and the official animal of Canada.

© EVGENII LEONTEV/Shutterstock.com

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, and there are some fun facts you might not know about this adorable breed.

Here are five interesting facts about the Labrador Retriever:

  1. The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in America.
  2. The Labrador Retriever was originally bred to assist fishermen in Newfoundland, Canada.
  3. Labrador Retrievers are excellent swimmers and love to play in the water.
  4. Known for their friendly, outgoing personalities, Labs make great family dogs.
  5. Lab comes in three colours: black, chocolate and yellow.

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featured image

Labrador Retriever Lifespan - Senior Labrador

© TM Creations/Shutterstock.com


about the author

heather hall


I'm a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by nature. When I do my daily runs, I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I have two dogs that take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

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