Do Labs Need Haircuts?

do labs need haircuts

Labs do not need haircuts. There are a few situations where you might need to clip a few furs because something is stuck onto them, or have a patch shaved before surgery or when injured, but no Labrador needs a full haircut like a longer coated breed might. In fact, Labrador haircuts can be damaging to your dog’s skin, not to mention their weather protection.


Do Labs Need Haircuts?

The Labrador Retriever is America’s favorite family breed, and has been for over twenty years! Labradors have great personalities, and have been used in a number of working roles throughout their history, on top of being a beloved family companion.

This means new owners are often researching the best way to care for their Lab’s lovely coat. Dog haircuts are popular for a lot of fluffy breeds, like the Pomeranian. And, they’re even necessary for some working dogs, like the Poodle. But, Labs don’t need haircuts, even in their working roles. In fact, the Labrador coat is perfectly designed to suit all of their needs, whether they’re kept as a family pet, or used as a formal retriever.

The Benefits Of A Double Coat

Labradors, no matter what color fur, have a thick double coat. They shed moderately all year round, and heavily during shedding seasons. Lots of owners don’t realise quite how much maintenance a Labrador Retriever coat can need! A regular grooming routine is really important to keep on top of this shedding and to help your Lab look their best. But, haircuts aren’t a part of this routine.

The Lab coat has a very important role. It serves to keep your Lab nice and warm during those colder months, but also to keep them cool and to protect their skin in the summer. Labradors were originally working dogs, used to retrieve game in water and on land. Their thick, water resistant coat would protect them from all terrains when they were retrieving game for their owners.

Although most Labs are just kept as family dogs nowadays, this thick coat can still protect them when out on walks, or when running about in the dog park. Cutting their fur, or shaving it, can actually cause your Labrador more harm than good. Plus, it can make cleaning shed fur even harder.

do labs need haircuts

The Risks Associated with Labrador Haircuts

Labradors don’t need haircuts, because their coat and shedding patterns are finely tuned to give them complete protection from the weather and outside world. If you live somewhere hot, you may be worried that your Lab isn’t staying cool enough with all that fur. But, most of their double coat will thin out before the hottest time of year. And, their thinner summer coat will protect their sensitive skin from the sun. If you cut or shave their fur in an attempt to cool them down, you may actually just be increasing their risk of sunburn or skin damage.

In the winter, your Labs coat will be thicker in order to keep them warm. This is important, even if they’re kept as a family pet. Without this thick, dense coat, they could get too cold during walks and exercise. And, they may struggle to get warmer once their body heat has dropped.

Trimming or cutting your Lab’s hair might make them look tidier, or temporarily delay shedding. But, overall it will do more harm than good to your Labrador. And, it will likely be itchy when it grows back. But, scratching excessively could damage the newly exposed skin.

Should I Shave My Labrador?

Shaving a Labrador can be very harmful to your dog. It will expose their skin to the sun, and other harmful elements. Labs with shaven coats could suffer from sunburn, or extreme cold, as we mentioned in the section above.

There are times when your veterinarian may need to shave a small part of your Lab’s fur, such as before surgery. But this is very different to shaving them for aesthetic reasons, to control shedding, or to assist body temperature regulation. When vets need to shave a part of your Lab’s fur, it will usually be a very small patch, and won’t disturb the overall coat. You should never shave a Lab’s coat unless specifically ordered to by your vet.

Do Lab Haircuts Stop Shedding?

One of the main reasons people give their Labradors extreme haircuts, or shave them entirely, is an attempt to stop and prevent shedding.

Labs shed moderately all year round, and will shed heavily during shedding seasons. Shaving your Lab, or giving them a haircut won’t solve shedding problems. In fact, the fur that grows back will be shorter. So, when it sheds, you may have more trouble cleaning it up. Many people find that these shorter hairs aren’t picked up by their vacuums, and stay on the carpet.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

The best way to control shedding in your Labrador is to set up a strict, regular grooming and cleaning schedule. Bathe your Lab occasionally, groom them at least once a week, and vacuum any hairs around your house weekly. You should also wash their bed regularly, and any bedding or soft toys they use.

The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. Been giving my Choc Lab a lion cut every Spring in Florida. Zero problems and it really helps him keep cool (far less panting) during walks. Grows back quickly in fall and he’s set for our very brief winter.

  2. Been trimming my lab for decades. No problems associated with it. I don’t know what sources you are building this article on if any. There is a huge difference in trimming a dog versus shaving it down to a couple of mm.