Lab Terrier Mix Variations

Lab Terrier mix

The Terrier is a feisty dog with a diverse history full of digging, chasing, rushing about and working in a gang. Depending on their modern purpose, they can also be extremely loyal and protective too.

The Labrador Retriever, whilst it has split into two types in modern times, is a rather more reliable character. Outgoing, almost too sociable, prone to jumping, using their long tongue to surf the countertops, but also pretty easy to train.

The Lab Terrier mix inevitably combines two very different dog breeds, regardless of which Terrier you choose to make up that half of the parentage. You could get a Lab Terrier mix puppy which is much like a Labrador, Terrier, or hodge podge cross of the two.

Different Types of Terrier

Terrier is a catch-all term for types of dog that were used historically for chasing quarry that went to ground. These dogs have been separated over masses of generations into a variety of roles. From pampered pets to fighting and protection dogs. Although they now have fairly different qualities between the breeds, all Terriers are still tenacious, stubborn, active and enthusiastic dogs.

The most common Terriers that are mixed with Labs to create hybrid dogs are:

  • Pitbull Terriers
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • Rat Terriers
  • Bull Terriers
  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers
  • Fox Terriers
  • Border Terriers

That gives you a huge amount of potential variation for any Lab mixed with a Terrier, depending on which parent you choose. But there are even some differences to be found within the single Labrador Retriever breed.

Lab Terrier mix

Labrador Deviations

The two types of Labradors are born from working or show stock. They have slightly different appearances in terms of heaviness of build, and the field bred Labs tend to be more switched on and hyped up.

However, in general the characteristics of the Labrador breed are similar across the board. Especially when compared with the twists and turns of Terrier types!

pooper scooper

Consistent Traits

Although there are distinct variations between the Lab and especially Terrier types, there are some traits that you are guaranteed to see in a Lab Terrier mix puppy as they mature.

Your Lab Terrier mix will have high prey drive, and need plenty of exercise. They will be energetic, come rain or shine they will need to run, play, train or fetch to burn of that excess bounce.

Some of these hybrids will be cleverer than others. When it comes to intelligence in dogs, we tend to be talking about trainability.

Labradors are very focussed on their owners, which makes them easier to train with positive reinforcement. But I’ve found that some Terriers are also quicker than you might think. Our Jack Russell is very motivated by food, and loves to please us. As a result, doing basic training with her is a total pleasure.

Both Terriers and Labs are devoted partners. This can be expressed in different ways, from following you around your home to feeling stressed when you leave for short periods, but they will all love their families fiercely.

border terrier

Friendliness and Socializing

Labradors tend to be confident around people, and if anything a little keen to greet everybody they meet. Yet the Terrier Lab mix temperament is a factor that will vary the most. Not within the family unit, but towards strangers or visitors to your home.

Some Terrier breeds are very socially confident, or indeed largely indifferent to people they don’t know. They’ll tolerate handling and interactions with strangers, but won’t be delighted to see them.

Other Terrier breeds have a bit of a reputation for being aloof or even wary of unfamiliar people. This reputation is linked with the American Staffordshire Terrier, Pitbull Terriers and English Bull Terriers.

These breeds require more socialization than the average Labrador puppy or even Border Terrier puppy. They need to be familiar and confident with plenty of visitors to their homes, and given plenty of positive reinforcement to understand that everyone is welcome into their territory.

There are also concerns about bite type. It’s by no means a certainty that your average Pitbull will be more aggressive than another Terrier type, but they have a bite style that is more damaging. They tend to grip hard, shake and pull. Whereas other breeds are more likely to dart in with a quick nip, which is less damaging.

Something to consider if you have small kids or want a dog that people are not going to feel nervous of, sadly, due to public expectations.

Several Sizes

Labrador weight sits on average at around 70lbs. But a full grown Lab Terrier mix can range in size enormously.

The Rat Terrier, Border Terrier or Jack Russell Lab mix is likely to be the smallest version of this diverse designer dog type. They could weigh as little as 15lbs into adulthood.

The Bull Terrier or Pitbull Terrier Lab mix will be one of the broadest, heaviest and generally largest Lab Terrier mix breeds in adulthood. Topping out around 70lbs, but sometimes even more.

Fox terrier

Choosing The Right Terrier Lab Mix

If you are looking for a Labrador Terrier mix as a family pet and companion, then I highly recommend going with a Border Terrier or Jack Russell Terrier Lab mix.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson(paid link)

You could end up with a dog that’s the classic feisty, fun loving Terrier type, or a bouncy, friendly Labrador style of pup. But either way, whatever the combination of characteristics you land with, you’ll have a lovely family pet.

If what you want is a dog with a job, one to provide a hunting, therapy or working role, then you are better off sticking with a purebred Terrier or Labrador. They will have more reliable traits, and you’ll have a better chance of raising the dog you want.

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. Well my experience
    I have a black Labrador/terrier he is around 1 year old and is a great dog, is very lovely and loves people, he is putty trained and at home I can leave him free at the house alone and never chew on anything other than his toys, not even my curtains which go all the way to the floor, he never get into the couches or make a mess at all and don’t grab anything that is not his. When I leave home and come back from work, the house still exact the same and I love that. He loves cuddle, sometimes I feel that he is too much into cuddling and if I don’t want more cuddle he starts crying or barking. (I’m training him to stop barking I hate that sound inside the house)
    My problem is that he don’t do good at all around other dogs and I’m working on training him with the leash because every time I take him for a walk he wants to run. Other than that he is just great, obedient, intelligent and fast learner. He is all black and physically don’t have anything from the terrier breed.

  2. Hello. My name is Kipp Helwig, 68, retired, and live in Boca Raton, FL. I adopted a year old black lab/terrier mix rescue dog this past March who’s name is Kiesha. She was a handful at first because I could tell she was very wary of people, including myself for awhile. Now, she is as loyal as all get out and will follow me or look for me everywhere just to know where I am. My problem is barking, growling and she tried to nip at people she doesn’t know, including my close family members. I attribute this to what happened to her from her previous owner, which I am not familiar. I’m working on it slowly, but I really can’t trust her yet based on her reaction, especially when my ten month old grandson comes over. She really shows a lot of affection for me and I can tell she really trusts me now, but I would like input for tips you might offer. Thanks.

  3. We have a sweet Staffordshire t mix with lab. he’s so sweet to the hole fam. He is protective over my girls and he loves them so much. we got him from the pound when he was a pup and our dear sheltie sheep dog very loyal ,adopted that lab mix and when our poor sweet loyal sheltie died our lab mix did not eat he got to eating again but he’s all ways depressed.

  4. Hi
    I need your help because they certainly went through this, my little labrastaff was two months old, his behavior is the same as the other dogs, but I don’t know why his game is always trying to bite us, on his heels in his hands, there is no moment be quiet, the leash always bites the leash and growls, plays alone and bites everything and growls, will it be normal behavior? Amstaff or Labrador go out more? do we need to correct something?

  5. We have a three year old male cockapoo/terrior mix and a going on one year old female Jack Russell Terrier/Labrador mix. We fell in love with our high energy but so very sweet male and decided to get another rescue mixed breed with terrier in it. We found our female on Petfinder, She and her five siblings had been with her mom for ten weeks and I believe that has much to do with her fearlessness and good nature. She too is very high energy, smart as a whip, and extremely confident. Her size is on the smaller side weighing in at 26 lbs. right now (just short of a year). We couldn’t be more happier with our two dogs. We adopted her in February which for potty training purpuses is the best time, so it did take longer than normal to potty train. By May she was successfully potty trained.
    Again they are both high energy and need daily exercise. I am an avid runner so they run with me three to four times a week and on the rest of the days they have regular one to two mile walks. Both are very inteligent and have a strong desire to please so training is relatively easy as long as you are consistent.

  6. We rescued an 8 week old Choc/lab and Jack Russell Terrier mix. Gracie is now 3 and hands down is simply the best! Very intelligent. The word active for Gracie is an understatement. She luckily fell into the hands of a very active family that spends a lot of time outdoors. Her tracking and hunting skills are impressive and if there is water around you hear a splash. Protective at first meeting new people but after a few seconds she is your best friend. When people see her they ask, “How old is your lab puppy?” She weighs not quite 40 pounds. Very few toys that can withstand her drive and focus to remove the squeaker. I can’t say enough positives about this mixed breed. Except. You have to see to it that they get lots of daily exercise!!! It’s a MUST!!!

  7. Take it for much longer walks and give treats/positive reinforcement. We had the SAME problem. I learned that they pee, but always hold reserves to mark their territory. Hope your problem got resolved.

  8. We have a soon to be 3 month old. She doesn’t have her 4 phases of shots yet, three more weeks to go. We have her inside and it’s been quite the experience. First pet/dog in our home. She’s a lab, terrier, golden retriever mix. Not sure what I’m in for, we got her for our 12yr old daughter. She’s in a kennel as of now, with a pee pad in her corral. We exercise her on and off throughout the day. She wakes crazy early to pee and eat. Is very smart, but needs to be trained not to bite my daughter, I don’t go near it too much (I’m sorry I’m not very good with pain). So I tend to stay away. I bring her food, water, and clean up after her, I praise her for going back into her kennel so that I may get inside the corral to pick up her poop. I’m hoping for the best, my daughter adores her. She doesn’t go in the kitchen nor the bedrooms, we’re hoping she stays this way. We’re going to invest in training classes soon as my husband returns from work out of town (2 more weeks). Wish us luck! We need it,

  9. I have a Staffordshire yellow lab mix
    Pure on both parents side. I have had Nala for just over six wonderful years! Since a pup, Nala has excelled in every training aspect to a T!! Super smart so much that she watches my every move
    By watching me she has learned to open doors, refrigerator, get my keys, bring my purse or shoes, or boots! All by name
    As a matter of fact I have never really trained her to do anything at all except to go to door when she needs to potty
    She has had two accidents in the house her whole life which was when she was a pup. I got her at 5 weeks because owners were going to kill all the pups! So a rescue of 16 pups were on my list and I kept her, the rest went to good homes and the humane society!
    I would say this mix is the best! She is the smartest most intelligent dog I have ever owned, super easy to train, not a single aggression problem ever! She has mothered countless pups and kittens with a very loving, gentleness about her, she is a hunter of many things and only hunts what I name off at the time we go
    Her favorite is mice and rats, no need for a cat with her around! She is protective only when asked to be and at a snap of a finger she responds to what I or we as a family wants, she is patient but full of extreme energy that never fills! An excellent swimmer,retriever,lover, mother to any animal great or small ( by choice) she is truly a gem! Nothing but muscle and smooth non shedding coat in a pretty red color in winter which is blonde in summer, she truly is a wonderful part of the family that we would never trade
    I have owned pure bred labs and had nothing but trouble so having her being a half breed, I never would have thought I would end up with a dog like her
    The only problem I have had with her is she will not breed
    I have picked many males, males she knows and have known her whole life and she will not breed
    Guess she is picky or ?
    Vet says she is picky and some dogs are like that
    It would be nice to have a pup but we will see

  10. I just adopted a yellow lab mix. I believe the mix is Jack Russell terrier. She is 3.5 months old and sweet as can be. I hope to train her as my service dog. She loves to cuddle and play. Judging by the size of her feet she is going to be a large dog. In love with my girl.

  11. I have a beautiful 6 month old Staffordshire/yellow lab mix. She is brindle. 54 lbs. We have a reactive, territorial blue heeler whom she has never backed down from. They get along great. Very vocal! When she hears a noise outside, she barks and runs towards the door. We let her out but she generally waits for big bro (heeler) before she’ll investigate. Shes a non stop chewer so we leave her basket of toys accessible. Sometimes she is affectionate and other times she grumbles at me when I try to give her love. She is a voracious eater and doesn’t come up for air until her bowl is empty. Good with people, kids and other dogs.

  12. I have an 8 year old jack Russell lab mix. He’s a little bit bigger than a jack Russell and weighs about 40-45 lbs. He’s super sweet, obedient, protective, and hyper. He has his days where he’ll just chill on the couch and then there’s days where he loves to run around outside. He always brightens up my bad days, getting a Jack Russell lab mix was the best decision I’ve made ❤ If you have any questions feel free to ask, I’ll do my best to answer them 🙂

    • Ours hack.lab. 6 months. Active. But chews on arms and hands. Very springy. Any ideals on. No chew. Very intelligent

  13. I have what looks like an Amstaff/lab mix, but I’m not sure. I got her from a relative who got her from somebody else. I guesstimated her age to be 6 mths, based on size. I was not really looking for a dog when she came into my life. But my relatives didn’t want her and she was on her way to the shelter. I am so glad I saved her. She also saved me from loneliness. She is now approximately 6 yo, and is the friendliest, most playful doggy you ever saw. She’s so eager to please that I was able to train her myself, tho I had no guidance and very little experience. She sits, stays, always comes when called, walks well on a leash (I trained her to sit down at intersections), she has NEVER pooped in the house, but there was some peeing when she was a puppy. She will go to her bed on command. On top of all that, she has a glossy black and white coat which is absolutely beautiful. I actually appreciate the fact that her face has bully features, because living in the city, I want people to be wary. Nonetheless, when I walk her, she is approachable and affectionate to strangers if I allow them to pet her. Her snout and body are much more streamlined than a typical “pit bull,” so I can only guess that’s the lab in her. Basically, she is the greatest dog ever, but I have noticed a bit of dominant behavior around other dogs, so I haven’t taken her to dog parks, etc. Also, she does chase prey, including cats, if given the chance. Too bad, because I am also a big cat lover and would like to have another cat. My beloved tabby lived to the ripe age of 20 before becoming gravely ill. To sum, three cheers for my Staffador (if that’s what she is). She’s the best of both breeds.

    • Awesome! I have a black and white jack Russell terrrier/lab puppy and she is awesome! She has pitbull features as well. She has one ear that sticks up…sooo cute!

  14. In November 2017 we adopted a hard to place 6 yo female black Labrador mix. We’re really not sure of the other part is though from internet pictures we think cattle dog. At first she was aggressive and afraid so we think she may have been abused in some fashion. As of this posting I’m happy to say that with patience and love she has become very affectionate and is only mildly aggressive when placed in unfamiliar surroundings. She exhibits the lab side of personality most often. Bella is now our 47 lb. “baby”.

  15. The shelter I got our puppy from did a DNA test that told us our pup is 37.5 AmStaff, 12.5 Labrador, 12.5 Boxer, and the rest is a mix of working dog breeds. Here’s a little about him and our training:

    So far, at two months, Darwin (what we call him) is curious, alert, friendly, and playful. He’s mouthy, but this makes perfect sense because he still has his first molars coming in. We just redirect his biting or chewing towards safe options like toys or treats. We refuse to allow our dogs to have bad habits (which tend to come from owners allowing them and being inconsistent, in my opinion), so he’s already in a training program and getting well-socialized. He loves coming to my school with me and playing with the students – especially our special needs students. He’s great with other dogs too, of all sizes. He’s almost potty trained – he’s at least learned where the door is (and where we keep his food!). He learns quickly. He knows to sit before we place his bowl down. He’s learned to come at hearing his name.

    The key to developing a well-behaved and well-trained dog in my experience, is consistency, plenty of socialization, and confidence. It doesn’t hurt to let them spend some time alone either, even when you are with them a lot. As I am newly deaf, Darwin will start a 2 year hearing dog program when he turns one to become my service dog (this is why we got him).

    Darwin is 9weeks old, 12lbs, and about 10-12 inches tall.

    He’s sweet beyond belief, but mostly, he’s just learning from us as much as we are learning him. I can’t ask for more!

  16. I bring my half lab half terrier outside for 20 to 30 min. And five min. After I bring her in she potties in side the house. Sometimes she potties outsid then goes inside and potties again. How do I stop her from potting inside the house.

    • Hi, we have a fox terrier blond lab mix. Ozzie had this problem as well when he was little. We gave him extra praise and a tiny little treat when he went peepee and poopoo outside. He would do the same thing with poo too. He finally got it. It didn’t take too long to train him. Good luck with you great friend!

  17. We adopted a lab mix at the Humane Society last year. I couldn’t figure out what he was mixed with until one day he looked up at me and I saw a Jack Russell Terrier face. He is such a sweetie. He was rather mouthy for about six months, but now he’s a great dog. He LOVES to play fetch and always wants to tug the toy. He’s very smart. I taught him several tricks and within 2-3 times of doing it, he had it down. He looks like a Yellow Lab except for the narrow face. He has a small white streak on his forehead and the wrinkles between the Terrier ears. He now weighs about 54 pounds. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

  18. I just adopted a dog. They say he’s a lab mix. They lied about his age, telling me he was 3.5 months old (we were skeptical cause he’s 23 lbs), and when we took him to the vet, he said that he’s 6 months old. He looks like he might be mixed with terrior (we don’t know the mix), but he doesn’t really look like these mixes. He kinda resembles a jack russel terrior, but he’s all black and also has lab features.

  19. I have a staff lab she is 12. Totally nanny dog, love ppl and kids, any animals. Not a lap dog tho. She loves her bed but also a nice long walk more so when she was younger. Took her til 4 yrs to mature and was distructive in her early yrs, but nothing too bad. She totally food driven and likes a chat. Fab dog love her to bits

  20. My lab terrier is 30 lbs. She stays in the yard off of a leash, but will run after squirrels and rabbits. She puts up with the kids. She is a protector. She doesn’t have “too much” energy for our active life. She wouldn’t hurt a fly. She’s is very territorial and does not get along well with other dogs. I never trained her too much and she will come in the house immediately when I call. She is kennel Trained and goes in there herself when she see the kids get there coats on, when the adults grab the keys, or when the baby is put in the car seat. SHe sheds a lot. She only barks when people come over to the house or when she wants to come in from outside. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect pup! (She’s 9 now)

  21. i have a labterrior mix his age well the shelter i adopted him from said he was a year not true is is under a year i excerise him he has a big yard but my problem is i can’t let him loose he runs off and when i call him back he ignores me he is hyper and i want to train him to be my service dog but i have my doupts that will be possiable he jumps on people and no matter what i say he won’t stop i love him but he is so frusting to train first dog i ever had i find hard to train

    • Doesnt have the rite temperament for a service dog im afraid. Sounds like hes left footed. For a service dog u need a rite footed dog. (The foot the first lead with at the front).