Labrador Retrievers are a friendly, loving breed that are excellent with children. Labs are also very intelligent, motivated, and easy-to-train. This makes them a great dog for first-time owners.
It is not hard to find Labrador puppies for sale, especially in America.
There are many ways to welcome home a Labrador ranging from breeders to dog shelters. But, all of these options come with different prices and things to know. For example, there are different types of Labs, mixes and different colors.
Keep reading to learn what you should know before buying a Labrador. We also share Labrador Retriever prices and the cost of owning one too!
Labrador Retriever Price
Labrador retriever puppies can vary in price depending on their pedigree, color, health, and appearance. The normal price of a purebred lab puppy is between $400 to $1,500, with the average being around $800. Higher prices are usually for puppies from a prestigious bloodline, with several award winning show dogs as ancestors.
There are many factors that can influence a Labrador puppy’s price:
- Type of Labrador
Breeders that work to raise show-quality Lab puppies put more money, care, and time into raising their puppies. They also register their puppies with the American Kennel Club. This registration acts as a certification of their pedigree.
These factors make their puppies more expensive when compared to a breeder who raises Labradors to be pets. A Labrador puppy raised by a show dog breeder will cost about $2,000 compared to $800 for a pet Lab.
Labrador retrievers come in three standard coat colors: yellow, chocolate, and brown. An analysis of advertisements for Kennel Club registered purebred Labs showed that yellow Labradors are the most expensive:
Yellow Labs are more expensive because they were traditionally used by aristocratic hunters. These men wanted their dogs to be as white as possible, so the Yellow Lab became associated with wealth and status.
On the other hand, the reason Black Labradors are cheaper is because they suffer from Big Black Dog Syndrome. It is a phenomenon where people are less likely to purchase or adopt black dogs, in favor of dogs with lighter colored fur.
Do not let this stigma dissuade you from letting a Black Lab into your home. They are just as sweet and loving as any other Labrador!
There are two different types of Labradors: the American and the English.
The English Labrador is short and stocky, with a wide chest and thick neck. They are typically used as show dogs. While the American Lab is tall and lanky with a slim, athletic build. Americans are also known as field labs and are working dogs.
English Labradors are more expensive than Americans because they are more likely to be used in the show dog circuit. Show line lab puppies can easily cost over $2,000.
If you are looking for a pet Labrador, there is no major price difference between American and English labs. But, English labs are generally calmer, less active, and quieter.
Another type of Labrador Retriever you may see advertised is a miniature Labrador. These smaller dogs are bred by either breeding the runts of a litter, crossbreeding them with smaller breeds, or breeding labs that carry the gene for dwarfism.
Their price can range from $1,000 to $2,500. It is not recommended to buy miniature Labs because most come with joint, hip, and breathing problems. Breeders who breed miniatures are generally not honest about how they were bred and if the Lab is a purebred.
Labrador Retrievers can have some health issues. The most common issues include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy, which results in blindness.
You should always ask a breeder if they have screened the parents for hip, elbow or eye problems prior to buying a Labrador puppy. If there is a history of hip or elbow dysplasia in the bloodline, then the puppy’s price will be less.
A good breeder will provide health papers and certificates of both parents. This will ensure the puppy does not inherit progressive retinal atrophy and has a better chance of having good hips and elbows.
On average a puppy that comes with health papers will cost about $400 more than a puppy without papers.
Adopting a Labrador is the cheapest option with the price typically ranging between $50 and $500. Adoption fees are determined by the dog’s age and health, with senior dogs being cheaper.
American Labradors are more likely to end up in shelters because inexperienced owners underestimate how much exercise they need and are unable to tire this working dog out.
It is rare to find an English Lab in a shelter. This is because they are show dogs and typically belong to more experienced owners. They also have far less energy so are well suited to young families looking for their first dog.
While labs are pretty easy-going, a rescue Labrador may not be great for first-time owners.
They may have behavioral issues due to past neglect and need additional care and training. You also won’t know their history, bloodline and the Labrador you end up adopting may be a mix.
The average cost of a pet Labrador is $800. The Lab is a popular family dog known for their intelligence, playfulness, and friendly disposition. They are much cheaper than other family pets like the Golden Retriever. The price of a Golden retriever puppy can range from $1000-$2500.
Labrador Retrievers are a timeless favorite. Puppies are always being bred and are easy to find:
|Pet Puppy||$400-$1,500 ($800 typical)|
|Show Quality Puppy||$2,000|
Fun Facts About The Cost Of A Labrador
- Labradors are very popular in the United States, and other parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, puppies cost on average between £1,500-£2,000. In Australia, purebred puppies cost about $2,700 and their popularity means potential owners are often put on waitlists.
- The most expensive dog ever sold was a Labrador Retriever named Lancelot Encore in 2009. He is a clone of the deceased Labrador, Sir Lancelot who belonged to Edgar and Nina Otto. When Sir Lancelot passed in 2008 the couple paid $155,000 to have the DNA of Sir Lancelot extracted, placed into a blank embryo, and carried by a surrogate mother in order to produce an identical clone.
- Labradors are the most common breed trained to become service dogs. The National Service Animal Registry estimates that a service dog will cost a minimum of $17,000 and about $40,000 on average. Even though they are expensive, service dogs are wonderful animals that can grant someone independence.
- There is a prestigious bloodline of labs in the United Kingdom known as the Drakeshead Labrador. This line has been bred for over 50 years and the dogs are specially bred for field trial competitions. People who are interested in this line are usually put on a waitlist due to the demand. Lab puppies from this line typically cost around £2,000.
- Labradors can come in colors such as silver and red. Regardless of their origin, these dogs are rare and overpriced. If you are able to find a breeder, you should be prepared to pay a price of up to $2,500.
It costs a lot of money to care for and raise Labradors.
Food and treats will cost on average $30-$50 per month. Veterinary bills, insurance, and flea prevention for the first year will cost about $185 per month. It can easily cost more than $250 per month to raise a Lab.
Some of the most expensive ownership costs of a Labrador are:
- Puppy Supplies
- Veterinary Bills
|Puppy Training Classes||$100|
|1st Year Veterinary Bills||$600|
|Flea, Tick and Heartworm Prevention||$420|
A lot of equipment is needed before bringing home a puppy. Your Labrador puppy will need a bed, collar, leash, poop bags, food bowls, food, treats, toys, grooming supplies, and a dog crate.
The average cost for these supplies for the first year will be around $450.
Licensing a Lab will cost between $10-$20, with intact dogs costing more. It is important to get any dog licensed to avoid legal issues. Microchipping typically costs around $25-$50.
Labrador Retrievers are easy to train and do not require professional training. But, some keepers choose to take their Lab to puppy school. Five weekly, one hour sessions will cost on average $100.
Because they are highly motivated, Labradors also do great in agility training. This is also a great way for them to use up their energy.
Owners can either build their own agility course or pay to put their dog in agility classes. Similar to training, agility classes will run to around $100 for five, one-hour sessions.
Vet Fees and Insurance
One of the most expensive parts of owning a dog is all the vet visits.
First year veterinary bills will cost around $600 for a puppy. This includes all of their shots and monthly checkups.
You can also spend $250 to spay or neuter your Labrador and $35 a month on flea, tick and heartworm prevention.
A way to help reduce the cost of veterinary bills is through buying pet insurance. On average, standard pet insurance that covers accidents and illnesses will cost about $565 annually. Accident only coverage is about $190 per year.
It is best to start paying for a pet insurance policy when your Labrador is a puppy. Senior dogs are more expensive to cover since they are more likely to develop health problems.
When it comes to feeding a Labrador, they are not cheap.
Labradors eat a lot of food. They are medium to large-sized dogs and weigh around 70 pounds.
A puppy will eat around $260 worth of kibble in their first year. An adult eats about $310 of food per year. These prices are based on feeding a high quality kibble.
Wet food can easily cost several hundred dollars more.
What To Know Before Buying a Labrador
One important thing every potential owner should remember is to avoid backyard breeders and pet shops. It is true that these places sell dogs for a much lower price. But, that does not mean they will be cheaper over their lifespan.
Backyard breeders do not screen their dogs to determine if they have inheritable health problems. This results in Lab puppies being born that are more likely to develop health issues such as hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy.
These breeders also do not provide proper veterinary care for their puppies. Many are sold while having worms or fleas and having received no socialization.
Ethical Labrador breeders ensure their breeding stock is screened and their puppies are healthy and socialized before placing them into their new homes.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy Screening
When buying from a breeder, ask them if they screen for PRA.
Labrador Retrievers can develop diseases of the eye. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (“PRA”) is a collection of degenerative diseases of the eye. The form of this disease that is very common is Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration. Caused by an inheritable genetic mutation, it ultimately leads to blindness.
Screening will help to prevent you from buying a puppy that may become blind later on in life. Dogs with this disease will lose their sight between one and eight years of age.
Hip and Elbow Scores
Another health problem that Labradors are prone to is hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic skeletal disease that causes the hip joint to not form properly. This results in the femur grinding against the hip causing deterioration and loss of function.
Many Labradors with this condition end up having to undergo surgery to reduce pain and regain function in their hips.
Nowadays, good breeders have their dogs’ hips scored before mating. This is done by taking several x-rays of the dog’s hips and hind legs. The dog’s hips are then scored, with a score of zero considered perfect.
The average hip score for a Labrador retriever is 12, so any score below that is considered good. Ideally, good breeders will only breed dogs with hip scores under 12.
Always research the breeder and ask them what the hip scores were for the puppy’s mother and father. This will prevent you from purchasing a Labrador puppy that will require expensive surgery later on in its life.
American Labradors are best suited for active families. Families that enjoy activities such as swimming, running, and hiking. They are great for families with older children who can engage and play with them more.
American Labs would also do best with owners who can dedicate more time to them because they require a lot of exercise every day. People who work from home or part time would be ideal.
English Labradors would make great pets for quieter families because they have a calmer personality. They are also gentler and would do well with a family that has young children. Since they are less active, they are suitable for a busier family who has less time to exercise them.
Their docile, patient attitude also makes them excellent candidates to be service dogs so they would be a great dog for people who need one in their life.
The price of a Labrador can vary depending on if you get one from a breeder or rescue. Its color, pedigree and health will also influence the price.
You should expect to pay around $800 for a pet Labrador puppy.
All Labradors are prone to health conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy and hip or elbow dysplasia. Make sure the breeder screens for these health conditions before breeding. This will help to ensure your puppy is healthy.
The cost to keep a Labrador healthy, exercised and happy can get pricey. It can run to over $3,000 a year. But, if an owner has done their research and prepared themselves, then Labradors make an excellent addition.
What Lab do you prefer? American, English, or mixed? Let us know!