How Long Do Labs Live (And Why)?

How Long Do Labs Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10 – 12 Years

The Labrador retriever, shortened as labrador or lab, is a breed of dog from the UK. It is one of the most renowned dog breeds, particularly in the western part of the world. Dating back to the 1830s, the labrador is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.

One will find a great variety among various labradors. They are medium-large in size. Their head is broad with slightly pronounced eyebrows. The eyes of the labrador are either brown or hazel. Labradors are characterized by their expressive eyes. This breed’s ears hang closer to the labrador’s head and are set slightly above its eyes.

The labradors have a powerful and muscular body. The tail and coat are some of the distinguishing as well as distinctive features of the dogs belonging to the labrador breed. They are mostly found in three colors which are black (pitch black), yellow (ranging from creamy white to fox-red), and chocolate (medium or dark brown).

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How Long Do Labs Live?

The average life span of a labrador ranges from 10 to 12 years. A recent study has suggested that chocolate Labradors are seen to have a shorter lifespan as compared to the ones that are either yellow or black. Various factors can influence the lifespan of this breed. Some of those factors include diet, healthcare, management, inherited diseases, etc. One needs to pay attention to their labrador’s health to make their dog live longer.

Although the average lifespan is up to 12 years, this cannot be the same for every lab present in the world. Some labradors can live even longer than twelve and on the other hand, some might not even make it up to ten.

As per 2 surveys carried on in 2004 and 2013, the median age of death in about 500 labs was 12.25 years according to the earlier survey. The 2013 survey gave the median age of death as 12.5 years in a group of about 400 labradors. A recent survey in 2018 showed the median age as 12 years from the study on 30,000 labradors. Thus., it is safe to say that the average lifespan of labs is about 12 years.

Different Dog BreedsLifespan
Labrador Retriever10 – 12 years
Shih Tzu11 – 14 years
Chihuahua14 – 18 years
Pug12 – 15 years

Why Do Labs Live This Long?

Labradors inherit a good body and have an athletic body type. They don’t have a very long spine or extremely short legs that can cause back problems to this dog breed. Their bodies are properly proportioned and hence are suitable for athletic activities like running and jumping.

As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the dogs are, the longer they live in comparison to dogs belonging to the large size category. Of course, there might be exceptions to this general rule as well. But in general, the longevity and lifespan of dogs majorly depend on their body size. Thus, as labrador comes in the medium-large category, it does possess a very long lifespan.

To a certain extent, it can be said that the tendency to live for a longer duration in dog breeds is mostly inherited. As the labrador is not very huge, it falls in the medium range of life expectancy when compared with other dogs having a small body size. Many genetic and environmental factors contribute to labrador’s life expectancy. The lifespan will majorly depend on what kind of lifestyle does the labrador has.

The longest-lived labrador that one can find in official confirmation was over 19 years old. Adjutant, the oldest known labrador was born in August 1936 and died in November 1963 at the age of 27 years and 3 months. Therefore, nothing is impossible and if labs are well taken care of and kept happy, they might live a long, happy, and fulfilling life.


Labradors are not short-lived breeds nor they are one of the breeds that have the longest lifespan. The average lifespan of labradors is about 10 to 12 years. There are many variables involved that determine the lifespan of any particular breed including the dog’s weight, height, diet, and overall health. It is observed that chocolate labs have shorter lives than the yellow and black ones.

There is no exact and sure-shot way to find the exact lifespan of any particular breed. However, irrespective of every condition, one should always keep their labrador in their best health possible. They must be taken to frequent walks and care must be taken to monitor their weight regularly. One can try and understand the challenges they face and help them out whenever needed. One must never forget they are after all dependent on their owners for their well-being.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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