Labrador retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the world, and there's no denying the beauty of a black Lab. Plus, with so many black Lab mixes, you don't have to search for purebred pups to get the looks and personality of these large dogs.
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the best dog for your family. You might also wonder about their life expectancy. So, how long do Lab mixes live? Here's some information on what you can generally expect.
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Lab mix life expectancy
The average life expectancy of a Lab mix is 12 to 14 years. It's important to keep in mind that a dog's lifespan can depend on their parent breeds – in other words, the breeds that make up the Lab mix. For example, the Labrador retriever, which is a sporting breed, has a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years. Unfortunately, recent research indicates that coat color does influence the lifespan of a dog. Chocolate Labradors don't live as long as black or yellow Labs. chocolate labs seem to also be more prone to ear infections and skin diseases.
Other factors, such as a dog's diet, environment, and activity level, can also affect the life span of a black Labrador mix or purebred black Labrador retriever.
Labrador retriever health problems
A reputable breeder will take care to screen dogs for certain genetic conditions that tend to affect Labradors. Those conditions include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
Tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD) is a heart defect that Labradors can be born with, but there isn't a genetic screening test for it yet. Other types of testing, including physical exams, chest X-rays, and echocardiograms, can be used to determine the risk among breeding dogs. However, there's no guarantee that a breeding dog won't develop the disease later in life or that their offspring won't develop it.
Do mix breeds live longer than purebreds?
There is some debate over whether mixed-breed dogs tend to be healthier than purebreds. One study determined that out of 24 genetic disorders, 10 of them were seen more in purebreds, while mixed breeds were more likely to get only one of them. But there wasn't a difference between purebreds and mixed breeds when it came to the other 13 disorders. It's thought that the introduction of more genetic information tends to decrease some genetic problems. But every dog and every mix of dog is different based on nutrition, grooming, and whether they get veterinary checkups or not.
Another study of the DNA of purebred and mixed-breed dogs found that purebreds are more likely to have a recessive disease, but mixed breeds are more likely to be carriers of recessive diseases.
What mix is my Lab?
A Labrador retriever can be crossed with almost any other breed of dog. Here's a short list of some of the common crossbreed Lab mixes:
- Goldador (golden retriever)
- Labradoodle (poodle)
- Rottador (Rottweiler)
- Beagador (beagle)
- Borador (border collie)
- Afador (Afghan hound)
- Huskador (husky)
- Labernese (Bernese mountain dog)
- Boxador (boxer)
- Mastador (mastiff)
- Bassador (basset hound)
- Sheprador (German shepherd)
- Pitador (pit bull)
- Bullador (bulldog)
If you aren't sure about your dog's background, a dog DNA test might provide answers.
Mixed-breed dog size and life expectancy
Compared to a purebred dog, a mixed breed may have a different body composition, especially if they're a cross between a large and small breed.
Generally, big dogs tend to live shorter lives than smaller dogs. For example, the tiny Chihuahua's average life span ranges from 14 to 16 years, while the massive Great Dane's life span averages seven to 10 years.
It's important to keep in mind, though, that a dog's life expectancy will depend on more than just their size, and health issues can impact any dog.
Black Lab retriever care
Whether you share your home with a black Lab mix or a purebred Labrador, there are ways to help them live a longer life and enjoy a good quality of life. You can start by diving into everything you need to know about your dog's breed(s) so you can get a better idea of their risk of developing certain health problems. Also, learn about the symptoms to look out for and work with a veterinarian to ensure you give your pet what they need to thrive.
Both black Lab retrievers and black Lab mixes need daily exercise. These family dogs are known for their high energy level and outgoing temperament. They're sure to love playing with toys, walking in the park, running in the backyard, and swimming.
Early socialization is important for any dog, whether a mixed breed, designer breed, or purebred. Allow your pet to interact with a lot of people and other animals. Consider obedience training and head out to explore interesting places with your canine companion.
Also, provide your pet with the highest-quality dog food. Talk to your veterinarian about how much you should feed your Lab based on their size, age, and energy requirements, keeping in mind that these dogs can be prone to obesity if they eat too much.
The bottom line
Lab mixes have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, while purebred Labs live an average of 11 to 13 years. But many factors can influence how long a dog will live, from their unique genetic makeup to the daily care that you provide. There are several popular crossbreeds you can choose from if you're looking for a designer dog breed, and there are also many Lab mixes in animal shelters waiting to be adopted. Overall, these social, loyal, and energetic dogs are sure to bring you joy and help you stay active.
- American Kennel Club: Labrador Retriever
- American Veterinary Medical Association: Study Reveals Genetic Diseases of Mixed-Breed, Purebred Dogs
- American Kennel Club: Are Mixed-Breed Dogs Healthier Than Purebred Dogs?
- American Animal Hospital Association: Study: Coat color could mean reduced longevity, increased health risks in some Labrador retrievers