If you’re thinking about adding a Labrador Retriever to your family, then you may be wondering, “Do Labs shed a lot?”
The short answer to any of the above questions is yes, all Labradors are prolific shedders.
Bred as waterfowl retrievers, Labs have a double coat to protect their body from cold water and harsh elements.
This coat typically sheds seasonally, but sometimes more—including a full-blown “molt” of the inner coat.
In this article, we’ll talk about why do Labs shed a lot, seasonal Labrador shedding and Labrador shedding solutions.
Do Labradors Shed a Lot?
The Labrador Retriever is a heavily shedding breed.
The heaviest shedders are typically working breeds.
Especially those that originated in colder regions and those who live or work in wet and otherwise harsh conditions.
Now, what about yellow Lab shedding? Black Lab shedding? Chocolate Lab shedding?
Is there a difference in the amount that a Lab will shed based on his color?
All Labradors, regardless of their color, shed a lot.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t notice slight differences in shedding amounts between individuals, though.
Some Labs may shed slightly more or less than others, but we do not know of any correlation between coat color and a major difference in shedding.
But, why exactly do Labs shed a lot, and how is the shedding amount related to the breed’s origins?
We’ll get into the association between breed usage and Lab shedding in the next section.
Why Do Labs Shed a Lot?
Many dog breeds that weren’t bred for outdoor work or bred in a warmer climate have a single hair coat.
This is sufficient to protect their skin and to keep them comfortable.
However, dog breeds that were bred for outdoor work needed a natural defense against harsh elements, such as cold water or cold weather.
Therefore, nature equipped them with not one, but two layers of hair in a double coat as protection from the elements.
The inner coat is a dense layer composed of shorter hairs designed to trap body heat and protect the dog’s skin from the elements.
The outer coat is a waterproof layer composed of slightly longer, tougher hairs designed to repel water and dirt.
This double coat impacts the amount of shedding in that the dog has two layers of hair to shed, which we’ll dive into in the next section.
How Much Do Labradors Shed?
We’ve answered the question of “why do Labs shed a lot?”
But you may still be wondering how much do Labs shed and when do Labs shed?
The answer is that when a Lab is exposed to the weather, her coat may shed in various phases depending on the time of year.
The inner coat completely sheds out in annual spring time “molt.”
This major shed is triggered by longer days, signaling that warmer weather is on the way and a thick coat will not be needed for a while.
The quantity of hair lost can be nothing short of dramatic!
You won’t be surprised when you see it to hear that this type of molting is also known as “blowing their coat”.
How Does Shedding Shedding The Out Coat Compare?
The outer coat generally sheds seasonally.
Since it’s not as dense as the inner coat, you may notice slightly less hair fall when the outer coat is shedding.
However, you may notice an excessive amount of fur and possibly tufts of it coming from your dog if the inner and outer coats are shedding at the same time.
This may be evident, especially if it’s time to shed the summer coat in preparation for the winter coat to come in.
However, since many Labs are kept as house-bound pets, this shedding equation may not hold true for all.
When Do Pet Labs Shed?
Although Mother Nature dictates shedding in Labs who live or work outside, some Labs may seem to shed daily, instead of multiple rounds of heavy shedding each year.
This is so because staying in a climate-controlled environment creates a lack of change in weather patterns, which is needed to trigger a mass shedding in fall and spring.
Just know that you should be prepared to deal with a lot of Lab hair at any time.
For additional information about Lab shedding season, check out our article on shedding Labradors.
How to Stop a Lab from Shedding
Unfortunately, there’s no way to stop what Mother Nature intends.
A Labrador will shed a lot, be it daily and/or seasonally, no matter what you do.
The only solution is to manage the amount of fur that is on your dog and in your home from day to day.
Managing Labrador Shedding
There are a couple of ways to be proactive about Labrador shedding and how much fur is present on your dog and in your home.
You can lessen the amount of seasonal shedding by brushing your Labrador daily or weekly.
Brush her more often during molting season.
Occasionally baths will help to loosen shed fur as well.
You can also decrease the amount of dog hair hanging about in your house by removing already shed hairs.
We’ve highlighted the benefits of each approach below.
Brushing your dog helps to remove dead hairs and stimulates healthy skin to boot.
(If your pooch doesn’t like being brushed, refer to our article “12 Easy Steps to Grooming a Labrador who Hates Being Brushed.”)
Certain brushes and grooming tools are helpful for different stages of shedding as well as how you would like your dog’s coat to look or feel.
Take a look at our article about best dog brushes to learn which tools make Labrador shedding more manageable.
Grooming and Bathing
Labradors are blessed with a short coat that doesn’t tangle, which also repels water and most icky things pretty easily.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should skimp on giving your Lab a thorough grooming.
Using various brushes on your pup can remove dead skin cells and hair, fluff her coat, or make it super smooth and shiny.
However, brushing is only part of a good skin and fur care regimen.
Even if your Labrador miraculously stays fairly clean most of the time, giving her the occasional bath will help to prevent her from getting smelly.
Especially when your dog happens to love mud, water and rolling in particularly nasty things.!
(For additional information on Labrador skin and coat upkeep, go to our article on bathing and grooming your Labrador.)
Keeping loose pet hair on the floor to a minimum will decrease the amount that ends up everywhere else.
One may think that simply vacuuming your home with a generic sweeper will be sufficient to keep the dog hair at bay.
But anyone who has ever owned at least one high-shedding dog will tell you that no, this is certainly not enough.
During peak shedding season, it may be necessary to vacuum your floors daily.
Additionally, you’ll need to remove the fur that has gathered on your furniture and other surfaces.
You won’t be able to use a regular upright vacuum on anything in which dog hair has attached itself to. (I’m looking at you, every article of clothing that a dog owner possesses.)
Fortunately, there are pet-specific vacuums, hair removing mitts and other cleaning products that have an enhanced ability to pick up dog hair.
These even work on surfaces with embedded fur (such as your dog’s favorite lounging area) and areas that aren’t as easily cleaned (such as window curtains and other draperies).
We list our favorite anti-dog-hair products in this article “Best Pet Hair Remover Products for Furniture, Carpets and Curtains.”
Summary: Do Labs Shed a Lot?
When it comes to the question “do Labs shed a lot?” the answer is most definitely yes.
This is so because Labs and other working breeds need extra protection from the elements in which they spend the most time.
For Labs, this means a double coat as a natural defense against cold water and weather when retrieving waterfowl.
With a double coat comes another layer of fur to be shed. Additionally, the inner coat of the double coat is incredibly dense, much more so than other dog breeds.
With this density and the sheer quantity of fur, it’s safe to say that Labradors shed much more than breeds with single hair coats.
To manage the amount of shedding that occurs at any given time, you can
- brush your Lab daily during shedding season and weekly otherwise
- give them the occasional bath
- and remove dog hair from your home using pet-specific cleaning tools.
Find out more about Labs by learning about their lifespan here!
References and Further Reading
“It’s Winter. Why Is My Pet Shedding So Much?” American Animal Hospital Association
Oldfield, J., 2013, “Shaving Your Dog’s Coat – Should You or Shouldn’t You?” Albert North Vet Clinic
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