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Labrador Life Expectancy

The Truth about the Life Expectancy of Labradors

A pet in the family quickly becomes like one of the family and, judging by the life expectancy of Labradors which is one of the most popular of dog breeds, will be around for some time to come.

Labrador retrievers

Whether your new Labrador is of the English variety or an American breed, you have acquired one of the most popular breed of dogs in the United States.  And no wonder; this breed is great with children and other pets, has a wonderful temperament, is relatively easy to train and best of all has an undying love for their family.  They are also extremely intelligent dogs that are eager to please, so they fit in very well with just about any family.  This breed is also an excellent choice as a leader dog for the blind, companion dogs for the disabled and helpers on search and rescue teams.

Labs are classified among the sporting group of dogs, mainly due to their original use as worker dogs for fishermen; assisting to pull in nets and collect fish that escaped from nets.  They are also efficient game retrievers for hunters.  Because of their sporting activities, the body structure of the Lab is strong and muscular.  Though it is considered a midsized dog, they can measure up to 24” at the withers, with an average weight of around 70 to 80 pounds.  A short, stiff yet thick coat is a common feature among Labradors, and shedding is often limited to a yearly event.

Most American Labs are late developers, which simply put means that you will have a longer period of time to enjoy your pet as a puppy than with most other breeds of dogs.  They generally do not reach adulthood until their third year.

Caring for your Lab

The standard life expectancy of Labradors is between 10 and 14 years; the actual lifespan will, of course, depend on different factors.

  • Breeding and blood line is one important aspect of determining how long your Labrador will be with you.  Over breeding and inbreeding are two factors that can detrimentally affect a puppy.  Both of these unethical practices to produce numerous puppies tend to weaken the blood line of the dog.
  • Genetics.  Puppies born of less than healthy or sound parentage will carry genetic traits of such parents.  When choosing a puppy, closely examine the health and well being of the parents, as healthy parents typically yield healthy puppies.
  • Care of the dog has a great deal to do with determining their longevity.  The healthiest puppy raised in an uncaring atmosphere could very well lead to the early death of the dog.  Labradors are, first and foremost, working dogs with a working dog’s build.  They must have adequate exercise through walks and romps in wide open spaces to keep their muscles strong and maintain a healthy metabolism.  A good diet, regular trips to the veterinarian, protection from common pests and diseases and a positive mental stimulation will serve to keep your Lab healthy and happy.

There are certain conditions that commonly plague this breed which can affect the life expectancy of Labradors.   Joint and bone conditions such as osteoarthritis, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, diabetes and heart disease are all typically associated with this breed.  Most of these can be avoided, however, by helping your pet to maintain a healthy diet and weight.

The general life expectancy of Labradors when aided by good breeding and loving care means that your pet is likely to be a valued and beloved part of your family for many years to come.

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