Labrador Retriever Life Span – How Long Do Labs Live?

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labrador lifespan - how long do labs live

The average Labrador Retriever life span is 12 to 12.5 years.

Although a recent study suggests that chocolate Labs live shorter lives, at 10.7 years, than black and yellow Labradors.

There are many factors that influence life span in Labs. These include diet, healthcare and management, and inherited diseases.

Read on to look at these factors, and how you can influence them.

Labrador Retriever Life Span FAQ:

So we’ve answered how long do labs live on average. But this isn’t a guaranteed Labrador lifespan for every dog.

Some Labradors live a good deal longer than twelve. But some unfortunately don’t even make it to ten.

So what controls how long your Labrador will live?

And how can you influence your dog’s life span so you can spend the best and happiest years together?

What Controls Labrador Retriever Life Span?

There are two key categories of factors that influence your Labrador’s life expectancy. And the life span of any dog.

  • One is the genetic information you dog has inherited from his parents.
  • The other is the events that happen to your dog during the course of his life. Through puppy hood to old age. Things like accidents, injury, and disease.

How Long Can A Labrador Live?

Life span statistics for dogs are often wildly inaccurate and based on outdated information.

But luckily we no longer need to guess. We can give you accurate Labrador life span information, as we now have data from scientific studies.

What They Show

In the UK, two surveys were carried out in 2004 and 2013.

The earlier study showed the median age of death in over 500 Labradors was 12.25. The later study gave a median age at death in a group of over 400 dogs as 12.5 years.

A bigger and more recent study published in 2018 looked at over 30,000 Labradors. This one found a median longevity of 12 years in Labradors overall.

So the average Labrador lifespan seems to work out at around 12 years.

Is This Changing?

But there is some good news. There is evidence that the Labrador lifespan might be increasing.

One recent study, although it only looked at 39 dogs, suggested that the average could be getting closer to 14 years. So maybe our original answer to the question “how long do Labradors live?” is changing!

The longest lived Labrador we can find official confirmation for was over 19 years old. And you’ll find plenty of reports in the comments section below of readers’ Labradors living over 15 years.

So, can you help your dog to reach these high numbers?

Let’s look first at the genes that control how your dog looks and behaves. And which set broad limits to the life span of your Labrador.

Genes & The Labrador Retriever Life span

Every purebred Labrador inherits a number of Labrador characteristics that he will share with all other pedigree Labradors.

labrador retriever life span

These genes don’t just control his coat color, the shape of his ears, and the length of his tail. They also control aspects of his temperament and susceptibility to disease.

Labrador Body Shape

To some extent Labradors are lucky. They inherit a basically sound conformation or body shape.

They don’t have very long spines or short legs that can cause back problems. Their bodies are nicely proportioned and designed for athletic ability – running and jumping.

Labradors have not been bred with shortened faces that can cause breathing problems or small skulls that can damage their brains.

Nor do they have excessive skin or a massive amount of fur. This is great because a good body structure makes a dog naturally healthier than a dog with poor conformation.

Temperament and Labrador life span

Genes also control some aspects of a dog’s behavior. And his ability to carry out certain tasks, like running and hunting, or fetching things.

labrador life span

Temperament, including tendency to fearfulness, is influenced by genes. But it is also strongly influenced by environment. One study showed that fear and anxiety has a negative effect on life span in pet dogs.

And some dogs are euthanased for aggression or behavior problems. So temperament is also a factor to consider when looking at life span.

Some dogs inherit a number of favorable genes that improve their chances of good health – reduced risk of cancer for example. They then pass these favorable genes on to their puppies.

How Inherited Diseases Affect Labrador Retriever Life Span

While Labradors are relatively healthy, there are diseases in the breed that can influence how long a Labrador will live. It will also affect how healthy each dog will be during that lifetime.

For some of these diseases, hip dysplasia for example, and CNM, we have tests that can (and should) be carried out on adult dogs before they are used for breeding.

To find out which tests your puppies parents should have undergone, check out our health screening article here.

For other diseases, some cancers for example, we don’t have tests. We just know that in some cases, Labradors may be more susceptible than some other breeds of dog.

A 2004 study showed that 31% of Labradors die of cancer. Which is slightly higher than the rate of cancer in dogs overall.

Lifespan and Inbreeding

Like all pedigree dog breeds, there are certain genetic diseases that have become established within the Labrador breed. This is due to breeding between dogs that are closely related.

The average coefficient of inbreeding for Labradors is 6.5%. This is higher than the level (5%) at which we start to see the adverse effects of inbreeding in dogs.

Another factor influencing longevity in dogs is size. This is another area where Labrador are slightly disadvantaged.

How Size Affects Labrador Longevity

Little dogs live longer than big dogs. This is one of the quirks of nature that we don’t entirely understand.

Of course, there are many exceptions to the rule. But in general the longevity of dogs is quite strongly linked to body size.

This is the reverse of what we often find when we compare large species of mammal. The elephant for example, with smaller species – such as the mouse.

When we look at individuals within a single species, in this case the domestic dog, being larger seems to be a disadvantage.

As a medium to large dog, size is therefore a limiting factor in the lifespan of your Labrador. In short, the average Labrador is probably never going to live as long as the average toy poodle.

You can find out more about your Labrador’s growth and size in this article.

If you are interested in different longevity of different breeds there is quite a bit of data on the Kennel Club website

Do Purebred Labs Live Longer?

How long do Labradors live if they’re purebred? The outer limits of your dog’s potential life are also limited to a certain extent simply by the fact he is a pedigree dog.

A study published in the Veterinary journal in 2013 showed that mongrels live on average 1.2 years longer than purebred dogs.

This doesn’t mean that your Boxador will definitely outlive your neighbor’s pedigree Lab. It’s all about averages.

If you are unsure whether your Labrador is purebred or a pedigree dog, check out this article.

lab lifespan

Comparing Pedigree Dogs

When we consider pedigree dogs as a whole, there are differences in longevity between the breeds. Not just in terms of size, though this is important.

There are also differences between different breeds of a similar size.

Sometime shorter life spans are linked to poor conformation.

Many very tiny dogs have hormone problems, brain problems through skull compression, and a range of other health issues.

In comparison, Labrador conformation is pretty healthy.

Let’s take a look now at that topic we mentioned at the beginning of the article. The recent discovery that Chocolate Labs live shorter lives than their black or yellow cousins.

Labrador Retriever Life Span & Coat Color

For a long time it was believed that coat color had no influence on Labrador life expectancy.

With the exception of color dilution alopecia in silver labradors, it was thought that inherited diseases were not linked to any particular color or type of Labrador.

A recent study of over thirty three thousand dogs has thrown that assumption into doubt.

It shows us that black Lab life expectancy and yellow Lab life expectancy is around 12.1 years.

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While chocolate Lab life expectancy is quite a bit shorter at 10.7 years.

We don’t know exactly why this is yet. But the Chocolates in that study were more prone to ear and skin problems. This included self-inflicted “hot-spots” as a reaction to irritants like fleas.

And we don’t know if the two main Labrador ‘types’ differ. So we can’t tell you if English Lab life expectancy differs from American Labs.

The study was a very big sample of dogs. So it is likely that the results represent the wider Lab population as a whole.

How Long Will My Lab Live?

Apart from your ability to be selective over the parents of your puppy, genetic factors are largely outside your control.

But as your Labrador grows and matures, there will be life events that happen to him which may influence his life expectancy. Some of these are events that you can control.

Let’s take a look at those now.

Accidents & Roaming

Many dogs die each year in accidents. And many of those could have been avoided.

Accidents are far more common in dogs that are allowed to spend time outdoors unsupervised.

Fencing your property (or a small part of it) securely will help to prevent your dog from roaming. Plus, training him to come quickly when you call will help you to bring him to you in an emergency.

Neutering

At one time is was believed that neutering increased life expectancy.

One of the reasons that some older studies show a higher death rate for dogs that have been neutered is because if dogs are not properly controlled. Those that have the urge to mate will roam further from home and have more accidents.

Recent studies have however linked neutering to some serious health issues including joint disease and cancer. Both leading causes of illness and death in Labs.

The neutering issue is not clear cut any longer. We recommend you read our extensive information on neutering before having a male dog castrated or a female dog spayed.

These two principles – training and control – will help to ensure your dog lives out his allotted years to the full.

Recall is fundamental for most Labradors safety. So make sure that you take the time to teach him to come when he is called. Whatever distractions may be surrounding him.

Vaccination

In some parts of the world there are still many serious diseases that kill unvaccinated dogs and puppies on a regular basis.

Serious infections and diseases have the potential to kill your dog. But they also have the potential to make him generally less healthy should he survive them.

So, where you live, and whether or not you vaccinate your dog may also affect his longevity.

Probably the biggest single influence though, that you can control with regard to both your dog’s longevity, and his enjoyment of life, is his bodyweight.

Overfeeding

Obesity is increasingly common in dogs generally and in Labradors in particular. It is a direct result of overfeeding.

Labradors are greedy and friendly dogs that are very good at persuading people to hand over the treats, and to refill that food bowl.

Added to which, many Labrador parents find it hard to judge how much their dog should have to eat. And whether or not he is overweight.

We can help you with that.

Check out our guide to Labrador weight to make sure your dog is at the right weight for best health.

It’s important that you don’t slavishly follow feeding guidelines on packets. But feed your dog according to how he looks and feels. That article will help you.

Labrador Retriever lifespan
If you have a greedy Lab then you might find a slow feed bowl helpful, like this one

What Do Studies Say?

Studies have shown that reducing calorie intake in dogs, can increase life expectancy by a significant amount.

This isn’t really surprising when we consider the health impact of obesity.

But it is a message that is being ignored by a great many dog owners.

A study published in 2003 showed that Labradors are capable of maintaining a consistent lean body mass throughout their lives.

Resist Those Puppy Eyes

There is no “tendency to getting fat” in the breed as many people mistakenly believe.

There is only a “tendency to eat a lot and be very good at persuading people to provide food”.

You have the keys to the food cupboard and you need to resist your dog’s charms.

Keeping your dog slim can help him live a long and comfortable life. It can defer the onset of, and reduce the impact of, conditions like arthritis in older dogs.

Elderly dogs that retain their youthful waistline have a more active and happy retirement.

  

Being firm about the quantity of food that your dog eats each day will also help to ensure you have the benefits of his company for the longest time.

So, Is Longevity In Dogs Inherited?

Yes, to a certain extent, it is clear that longevity is inherited. In that some dogs will have an inherently higher potential for long life than others.

But it isn’t the whole story.

Being a Labrador, being purebred, being a largish dog, all go against your dog when it comes to life expectancy.

On the other hand, being athletic, good tempered, and well structured go in his favor. So, for these reasons, the Labrador falls into the medium range of life expectancy when compared with other dogs.

You Can Help Your Labrador Live Longer

There are some dog breeds that are longer lived than our beloved Labs. And quite a few that are much shorter lived.

You can help to influence your dog’s longevity to a certain extent.

If you are choosing a puppy, choose his parents wisely.

Make sure that they are health tested and bred by a responsible breeder.

Look for a co-efficient of inbreeding that is below 5%.

Consider choosing a black or yellow Lab. And make sure the parents have great temperaments, and have been well cared for.

Socialize your puppy thoroughly when you get him home. So that he is confident and views the world as a happy, friendly place.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

Above all, keep your dog slim. Really slim.

When you look into those pleading eyes, make sure you don’t give in to your dog’s request for second helpings.

How Long Do Labs Live On Average?

So let’s recap how long do Labs live? On average Labradors live to around 12.5 years, and this life span may be increasing.

Some individual Labradors live a good deal longer.

Train, socialize and supervise your dog and make sure he is properly fed and well exercised throughout his natural life.

With loving care, a visible waistline, and a little luck, your friend could live into his teens and be with you for many years to come.

More Information

Happy-Puppy-jacket-image1-195x300For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.

The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.

The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival. And get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.

The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.

Do you have, or did you have, a Labrador that lived a very long time? Tell us about your Labrador Retriever life span experiences in the comments box below.

Other articles that might interest you

References and further reading

  • Adams et al. 2018. Evidence of longer life: a cohort of 39 labrador retrievers. Veterinary Record.
  • Adams et al. 2010. Methods and mortality results of a health survey of purebred dogs in the UK. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
  • O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England. The Veterinary Journal.
  • Selman et al. 2013. Ageing: It’s a Dog’s Life. Current Biology.
  • Kimberly Greer et al. 2007. Statistical analysis regarding the effects of height and weight on life span of the domestic dog. Research In Veterinary Science.
  • James Kirkwood. 1985. The Influence Of Size On The Biology Of The Dog. Journal Of Small Animal Practice.
  • Kaeberlein et al. 2016. The dog aging project: translational geroscience in companion animals. Mammalian Genome.
  • Speakman et al. 2003. Age-related changes in the metabolism and body composition of three dog breeds and their relationship to life expectancy. Anatomical Society.

Find out what controls how long your Labrador will live. And how can you influence your dog’s lifespan so that you can spend the best and happiest years together

467 COMMENTS

  1. Hi. I have a 19 year old chocolate lab. He is turning 20 on june 19! He has always bewn active, since we have a HUGE backyard. His nane is hershey bar (haha get it) and unfortunatley he does have arthritis and cancer on his chest and front left paw. We are thankful for the life he has lived, and we are not treating his cancer becauss of hos old age. The vet said if, “if we put him under he will probably not wake up” so we decided to wait until he is not well enough, and is ready to cross the rainbow bridge! He has always been on the heavier side but most of it is because of his cancer. Hershey has always been greedy when it comes to food 🙂 i can definetly say he is a handful, but the best dog/best friend anyone could have ever asked for :))

  2. Our very big boned yellow lab will be 15 in May. He’s had to have an eye removed due to glaucoma, has some weakness in the hind end now and is almost deaf but still runs around the property and endlessly wags his tail. So far, so good. He’s been on a raw food diet, greens and no vaccines since he was a puppy. We recently put him on Innovet’s CBD oil.

  3. My yellow lab Kalee is turning 16 in a month she still going strong she slowing down a bit but still acts like she did when she was young she still rolls on her back every day and plays everyday. She has protected me while my husband works out of town and has been like my child I don’t know what I’ll do when I loose her my heart will be broken

    • Mine will be 16 in June. Unfortunately she recently got attacked by a pit bull mix who shattered her right front leg bone and crushed her elbow. She survived a big surgery. I look forward to her recovery.

  4. My yellow lab, Zack is 15 years 7 months. He is on 75mg of Rovera daily. He has had a 13 inch metal rod in his left hind leg since 2008 from being hit by a car (he had 2 rods but removed one himself a year after surgery), was shot in ankle of same leg in 2006. Has survived a fight with a mountain lion and has in the last month been struggling to get up. And even walking has become obviously painful…it is breaking my heart to see him in such pain. He still tries to chase his favorite ball when he sees it and his hind legs just won’t allow it. I am so torn about what to do…
    I cannot imagine life without him…

    • Do you know Jusuru? It is liquid biocel. It might help. My 15 years, 9 months yellow lab takes it and it helps her mobility. Recently she got attacked badly, I boost her dose. She is willing to get up but doesn’t want to put her weight on the injured leg. Best luck to Zack. It is hard to live w/o our beloved pet. Mine was hospitalized for 5 days and I was practically insane. I recently heard cooked chicken feet are good because they are loaded with collagen.

  5. Cooper was the best. A great yellow lab, we did everything together for 14 years and he had a wonderful life as pronounced by many of our guests. We were outdoor adventure guides daily river rafting, kayaking and cross country skiing and snowshoeing. He was posted on read-it 2 years ago walking himself in Leavenworth, Wa. (posted by unknown who took the picture under yellow lab walking himself.) He is missed.
    DB Cooper

  6. Please for those who think their dogs have epilepsy , please please always seek for anxiety – my beautiful DJ who is 7.5 y went through hard time in many clinics – He had laryngeal type spasm licking and weird behavior – he was even medicated with anticonvulsivants – his 3rd vet in a row discovered severe anxiety in him – beside gastritis – Prozac made his life worth – it was amazing – finally, after 6 nights without sleeping, DJ was peaceful and rejuvenated 🙂 hope it helps – dogs can suffer anxiety as humans –

  7. I lost my Sammie, Yellow English Lab, on April 17, 2017 one month to the day after my liver transplant. He was 13 yrs 8 months old. He was the best friend I ever had. Period. As my dog sitter said “he was a Breed Game Changer”. He was big and sweet and looked after my other Labs like a father would. I have cried almost every day since he left. A friend was keeping him while I recouped after the operation and he took a turn for the worse. He had survived Cancer, arthritis, rapid weight lost and 2 home remodels. But he couldn’t survive congestive heart failure. The first day I was allowed to drive I picked him up at my friend’s and ran him to the vet. I thought he would make it but he was gone the next morning. It’s like he held on til he saw me to make sure I was ok. I’m still inconsolable. I still have his brother Spike who is now 14 yrs 5 mons. He’s very sweet and glued to me but he has gone downhill since Sammie went. He had a seizure yesterday. Vet came over this morning @7, gave him IV fluid and a shot. He won’t eat so I’m force feeding him food processor organic chicken and syringing him water with pedialyte. I don’t expect him to last another couple of months. It’s taxing for me since I’m still weak from the operation. But I feel I let Sammie down and I’m not going to do that to Spike. I still have 2 girl Yellow Labs (litter mates) @ 11 1/2 yrs old. One is fine except for diabetes, the other is blind. Both are sweet and always want to be with me. Then there’s Jack. I got Jack a couple of months after Sammie died. He’s very smart, very sweet and instantaneously bonded to me and the pack. He’s 14 months old and bigger than Sammie. While he’ll never be Sammie or Spike he’s found a place in my heart. I miss you Sammie…always.

    • so sorry about your Sammie. I lost my 13yr.4mo old yellow labrador retriever one week ago and his name was also Sampson. I had him since he was 8 weeks old so we spent a lifetime together. I never loved a dog more than him . best dog ever. my loyal buddy. he and I were so close. he hung on for me as long as he did even with diabetes, blindness and arthritis. I knew it time to let go when he recently got sick vomiting with diarrhea, his tummy distended and last of all he lost use of his hind legs. I’m heart sick without him. Id like to find another like him but I don’t know if I ever will… someday maybe

  8. I have a beautiful black lab named Zoe that I bought while stationed in Germany! She has travelled the world with me and has led a very healthy life! Last month she turned 15 and all though she has lost mobility in her back legs which requires extra work for us with her care, she is happy. I know the time is coming in the very near future to make the decision any pet owner dreads. We now live in Okinawa Japan and we knew coming here that Zoe would most likely not return with us. I try to figure nd peace in the fact that Zoe knows we love her and that I am appreciative of her friendship and love she has devoted to me over the years!

  9. My black lab Jess, turned 15 on the 13 Dec. She is fit other than her back legs give on her when she stands, she can also sometimes play with our younger lab, Lucky, like a pair of young pups. I honestly think getting Lucky 3 years ago gave Jess a new lease of life!!

  10. Our little yellow lab is turning 14 in a couple of weeks. She has PRA and has been blind for about 6 years. She’s had a hard life, with a leg joint operation and pancreatitis twice. Despite these hurdles, she is happy, and spoilt. We feed her Royal Canin Gastro and keep her lean at around 29kg (she’s a small build). She feels safer inside these days, and can still jump up on her favourite leather couch (with a little assistance sometimes). We’re not sure how long we have left but we’re not taking anything for granted ????

  11. My Lab is 12.5 years old and since 6 months I noticed some weakness of his hind limbs and incontinence of urine now and then. Now he cannot get up by himself but can walk bit unsteadily, if we help him to get up. Also, his urinary incontinence has become more. I have taken him to the vet, who says he is suffering from 1.Arthritis of hind limbs 2. Degenerative nuerological disease of spinal cord. He took Laser treatment to spine without much improvement. LAB club members are requested to give their experiences and suggestions how to manage these 2 problems.He his on nuerotropic vitamins, Eviam tablets, Petjoint tabs for Arthritis.Hwe was 40 kgs earlier but now reduced to 34kgs. Thanks in advance

  12. I have a female yellow lab called Fanny, she is 10 and a half years old now and I think she is in pretty good shape for her age. Her good vision and hearing is intact and she still can be very fast. She loves sniffing around on our long daily walks, loves people and behaves nicely with other dogs. Of course she is always hungry, but I strictly control her weight, so she has a nice lean body. Her only health problem for now is a mild arthritis in her left shoulder, but she still can hike with me 20+ kilometers without limping, it only comes forward when she gets up after a long rest. Her lab results are better than mine 🙂 Of course she is a bit slower than in her early years, but she is still crazy about fetching her ball and sometimes still does labs’ characteristic “crazy laps” like a puppy 🙂 Of course I have noticed that she sleeps a bit more and more and she is a bit more concerned about bad weather (still not much though, she always brings her ball to me in rain…). And she started to keep a little distance from dogs, especially the “idiot” young adults, who she always wanted to run with a few years ago, but I think this is natural and she still can find new friends who she likes from the first moment. All in all, she seems to be aging very nicely for now, we regularly meet people who think she is a young dog and her real age really surprises them 🙂 (of course these people are clearly not very experienced with dogs, but yet I find these remarks satisfying :)).

    I am very glad to read these many stories about labs who lived happy long lives, this and her good condition give me hope that I could have my old friend by my side for many more years. I really love most dogs, but with mine labs became very special for me, I think they are the best, I can’t imagine my future without a lovely lab around me 🙂 I wish happy long life for all of them.

  13. we had two black labradors Jack and Jolson and they lived up to 17 and 16 respectively . they were handsome dogs . The hardest decisions to make . wejust wished we had of taken jolson with us when Jack went to rainbow ridge as he was distraught when we returned home without him x

  14. My Black female British lab is 14 years old. I attribute her age a lot to the quality of food she eats. Also, I am firm on keeping her thin. Two years ago, I got a Chocolate, English lab and she has turned my Black lab around to run and play more. My Black lab was moving slow 2 years ago, but when the Chocolate came on site, my Black lab gained 5 years on her life at least by playing with the Chocolate. There is a lot of difference in a British and English lab which I did not know. British are breed for fishing and English are breed for hunting. Their body style is different too. Amazing!

  15. I just recently lost my best friend and my rock Stanley, a chocolate lab 2 days ago, at the age of 14 1/2. I knew it would be hard loosing him, but I didn’t realize how hard and the huge impact he made on my life. He was by my side since he was 6 months old. We traveled and put a lot of miles behind us. He was a father to several pups, survived being hit by a car, and heart worm. I thought we would be together forever. I promised him I would be by his side till the very end like he was for me though the difficult times and good, and I was. It was by far the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life to say my final goodbyes. I will miss him dearly.

    • Josh,
      I share your pain, though mine is yet to come. Our lab/border collie cross, Duffy, is 11 years old and grey in muzzle and sometimes cries after a big run. I am a forester and he has been with me in the bush for most of his life. He is sometimes a nearly feral roamer, often gone for hours on end, following his fabulous nose. He eventually returns and lays on the floor twitching and yipping his floppy lips as he re-lives his adventures. i hope he dies a natural death with his chin on my lap. Until then I cherish every moment he is by my side or at my feet. Blessing to your aching heart.

    • I share your feelings, my 15year old golden lab was put to sleep 19th Nov 2017. Her name was Rosy and my very best friend. For some reason she couldn’t eat and the frustration for her was terrible and when she made the most awful bark and yelp the decision had to come, the vet made the same decision and she fell asleep that mroning and was out of pain.
      Living without her is terrible, though she had a lovely life. In time I will get another puppy and it’ll be the sporty type she was and her name will be Rosy2.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Black Lab (11 years, 19 days old) on Sunday, April 29, 2018, due to complications arising out of disseminated histiocytic sarcoma, a very aggressive cancer that primarily affected his lungs. He fought a good fight for 74 days after diagnosis, but could not overcome The Beast. I made the impossible decision to end his suffering, and was with him during his final moments of transition from this to his next life. It was the most difficult experience I have ever had, but I did not want him to be alone when the veterinary staff eased his pain and suffering. In time, I will get another Black Lab. Thankfully, I am comforted somewhat by my remaining Yellow Lab.

  16. Our 6th Labrador is three. Our past 5 Labradors all lived into their teens. The two boys were just shy of 14. The girls around 12. All are English type.

  17. My lab is going on 17 come April 2018 and she’s going strong and fairly great for her age. I love my girl and so glad I’ve had her in my life.

  18. I lost my Golden who was 12 years old on August 23, 2017, he came from the other side of the bed spit up just a little bit, I started petting him and telling him it was alright he laid down and died right there no sign anything was wrong, I miss him so, was lucky enough to fine the breeder where I got him and although she is not doing Golden’s she is doing Golden Labrador’s and I ordered a new puppy to help me heal the terrible hurt in my Hear.

  19. We have had many Labradors over the years and with the kennel of Ruth Beach at Coldwater ON have bred 34 puppies over the past 50 years because we were onto a very healthy strain of dogs. Several have reached 15-16 years and more in the 12 – 14 years age bracket. we lost one Labrador to an overdose of Chocolate which contains a bromine compound acting as a blood thinner so be very careful with chocolate. our Labs get at least 90 minutes of free ranging hikes a day year round and are on a controlled diet of Costco’s Kirkland adult dog food which comes in several food configurations and is recommened by our breeder Ruth Beach after considerable research.Our males average about 75LBs and femails about 65 lbs. They have a through medical yearly, required innoculations as puppies and appropriate shots throughout adult life. Anti Tick infection pills can be important.
    Exercise and proper weight would be the most imporant health sustaining characteristics to prolong your Labs life. We have had Blacks, Yellows Chocolates and now Fox Reds of both UK and USA backgrounds with little difference in longevity. They are absolutely wonderful family friends who live to be happy and love you.

  20. I lost my best buddy Ridge Sunday night he was 13…it has been the hardest I’ve ever had to go thru…3 days prior to making that most unfair awful decision…he was just not well he would walk a few steps and lose the ability to walk…I took him to the animal hospital and x-rays found he had cancer in his lungs …I miss him terribly I’ve dealt with the loss of loved ones in my life but nothing like losing him he was more than a dog he was my best friend and will forever be missed !!!

    • My Black lab x retriever Oscar has just turned 12 and showing signs of arthritis and pain from a partially torn crucial ligament, he has served my family for 12 wonderful years and I am absolutely scared of when that day comes for him. I agree with you, they are more than just a dog, they are a loving loyal companion. My condolences to you, RIP Ridge ????

  21. I currently have two black labs they are the most gorgeous they are almost 10 and almost 7 the older one constantly has problems with her ears she has had lots of treatment for them and nothing can be found wrong with them, I clean them out regularly but every so often she cries quite a lot when she shakes her head any ideas what else I can do, she had surgery for two serious abscess cut out nearly two years ago and the vet did say he thought she would probably only live for another couple of years which will be so heartbreaking when she goes and worry for my younger one as they go everywhere together.

    • I have a yellow lab that has some ear problems, whenever it is windy outside her ears will get hot and pink inside and start closing up. The Vet has given us some drops that I put in whenever I see the problem flare up. They seem to do the trick. She hurt her “knee” on a rear leg a couple years ago by stepping into a mole hole in the yard, then re-injured it this past year…she is too old to go through the surgery, and seems to get around okay, so she is on another pill for arthritis. She is now 12 yrs old. My last Labrador lived for 15 yrs and 8 months. It was really painful when he passed away. I know this one is going to hurt pretty bad also. Labradors are such wonderful dogs.

  22. My 14 yr 5month old black lab Charlie is barking consistently, we are taking it in turns to sleep
    Downstairs with him. We cannot understand why this barking has started (about a year ago now), he has cataracts, is deaf and often slips over as his back legs give way. He is eating well and still wagging his tail, has a seizure every few months and lumps and bumps here and there. Does anyone have any advice about how to curb the barking? Charlie, up until 18months ago slept upstairs on the
    Landing, but now cannot get upstairs. The barking is causing us much stress as we live him so much and just want him to be happy but are unsure if he is, how do we know?.

    • Maybe get him a companion that can sleep with him besides you all. Sounds like he is just feeling lonely and insecure. My dog barks when she is outside too long at night…she has always been afraid of being outside in the dark since she was a puppy…but as she has gotten older she has become more secure..she is 12 now, but if left out too long will start barking at nothing that we can see. I hope you are able to make him feel more secure and less lonely. Getting old is hard for everyone, isn’t it?!

  23. I am crying so hard reading all others sorrows over the loss of their beloved lab family members. We had to put our 13 year 10 month old Black lab baby girl down this past Sunday. Broke my heart but it was the best decision for her. She never complained but she was in so much pain. She was pure breed, but inbreed and she was a skeletal mess at birth. Missing a limb, bow legged-a true mess, I had to have her. The vets told me she would be lame by 6 years but she lived on with love and I admit human food snacks throughout her life. She was always overweight as she could not exercise like a normal lab, survived losing an eye to cancer, a hernia operation (jumping off the deck for a squirrel in her younger years which did not end well), and even survived eating rat poison. She was a survivor and I will miss her forever. Don’t think my heart can take having another lab baby after her. Thank you all for sharing your stories!!!! Labs are so special!!!!!

  24. Hello, I had a black labrador called Callum, purebred. Absolutely beautiful dog in every way. He followed me everywhere especially as he got older. He had arthritis in his spine, but still kept going. I helped him alot and slowed down and understood him. Woke up one morning to find him unable to walk and he seemed very dizzy. Took him to the vets, he’d had a stroke and a fit. The vet was so surprised to see him recover within an hour. He was walking around really well, so he was then put on medication. He was doing really well for about a year after, had a few little episodes now and then. We took him on a journey in the car as I hated leaving him…he was my baby! The journey must’ve made his spine worse. I cared for him for a week…sleeping downstairs with him, turning him every hour, giving him water, eventually syringing water and even food, which I blended. But I couldn’t let it go on like this. He still wagged his tail slightly and wondered where I was if I wasn’t in sight until the end. Took him to the vets, we were then told to go to an animal hospital, only twenty minutes away. He had blood tests again and examined, I was told he was too old to operate on, that he wouldn’t be able to walk again. My friend had come along with me, but I had to phone my husband and kids to let them know. We waited for them to arrive, but my son couldn’t bare it and decided not to come along. It was awful…it was as if he then said ok it’s time. He was looking around really bright at the staff one minute and then he wasn’t interested in anyone. In the needle went and he was gone. He was sixteen and a half years old, I’d rescued him when he was five, from a local to me at the time, who wanted a good home for him. He had that alright, lots of kisses and cuddles and loads of love. He went to heaven 31st March 2017, I miss him loads, it’s really broken me. His ashes are by my bedside with his teddy and blanket, which I hold every now and then. I also had a paw print in cast of his actual paw before he was cremated. I think of him everyday and recently got really upset…it still hurts! My brother also passed away six weeks before Callum, so it’s not been a good start to this year. I told Callum I loved him as much as possible as I kissed and cuddled him…now I have tears in my eyes as I’m writing this. Love you Callum ????❤

  25. September 22, 2017, Lost my chocolate lab Bosco. He stopped eating and would not get up anymore.
    We were attached at the hip. He was always by my side and I don’t sit still for a minute. He was 15 years old.
    Took him to the vet. Asked for blood test. Test showed anemia from possible internal bleeding and dehydration. He was 90lbs that day. Normally he was 80-85. He was the most expensive dog I have ever had and worth every penny!

    • Yes our 10 year old chocolate lab has epilepsy . She started having fits around 2 years old and is now on pexion, and is well controlled.

      • What heart worm med do you have your labs on, I had to switch my three labs to interceptor at about two years of age due to heart guard causing epilepsy. Four months after no more fits. They are now 12 years old, never experienced epilepsy again.

  26. Our lovely black Labrador “Willis” died on the 1st August 2017 at the grand age of 19 years. Having been a drug sniffer dog in the local prison until the age of 8 when we re homed him he had a free and active life at our side. Suffering a heart problem in 2015 was given a few weeks to live by the vet but soldiered on for another two years still alert and still quite active. We walked every day even though the journey became less and less. We lost a real fighter, a testament to the his breed and their most wonderful bravery and stamina. Much loved and oh so much missed. Wait for me Will, I will be along soon.

  27. My wife had a black lab, when we got married. Her name was Midnight, and she survived sclerosis of the liver and made it to twenty! We then got another black lab, her name was Shadow, but she only lived to fifteen and a half.

  28. I had 2 labradors that lived to be 13 and 15. I now have 3 labs (one if each colour) the oldest is a chocolate and she is almost 14. My yellow lab has just turned 9 years old and my black lab will soon be 6. As for me I am now 72, struggle a bit to give them enough exercise but I do walk approx. 2 – 3 hours on most days.

  29. We lost our beloved Bella in December at 14 years, 8 months. She was a purebred black lab but had terrible arthritis the last five years. We did everything for her (including laser acupuncture, which was amazing) and she gave everything to us in return. Ultimately, a massive tumor developed on her spleen and we made the hardest decision of our lives. She was brave, loving and stoic to the end. We miss her joyful spirit every day!

  30. My dog China was a beautiful black lab, that would have been 12 Nov 14. She passed away suddenly last night. She was fine one minute and acting weird and not wanting to eat, just 2 hours later. She passed 3 hours later. We took her to a 24 hr vet for her to be cremated and the vets said, she must of had an underlying heart condition that was not diagnosed. I miss her sweet face and my other two dogs miss her too. Now she can play and keep my late husband company in heaven, now he doesn’t have to miss her any more.

    • Good morning. The same thing happened to my Lexi. She was 11.5. She was fine all
      Day around 6 she did not want her snack starting walking all over the house grounting and died an hour later just like that. My heart is torn Apart. I feel for u

  31. My Fritz made it to 13, before cancer took him just this past week and my heart is still broken, however, reading the comments of other owners of this breed shows how easy it is to love the Lab , Fritz was such a joy to have, and I miss him, such a joy …

  32. Our chocolate lab turned 17 years old last week. Although she is deaf and wobbly on her back legs she still loves her food and loves all people. She is a joy.

  33. All of these beautiful stories have given me hope that I might have quite a bit more time left with my 2 girls. Butter (yellow) & Pepper (black) are pure bred Lab sisters born Dec 17th, 2003. Their dad was a chocolate & mom was black. I’ve had them since they were 8 weeks old. Before the girls, I had a black Lab named Velvet that I rescued from the SPCA when she was about 4 months old. She lived to be 13 before I had to put her down as she had a huge inoperable cyst on her hind end & it made her quality of life almost unbearable. After mourning the loss of Velvet for a couple of days, I decided that I would get 2 dogs, which I had never done before but it made so much sense that having 2 would be better so they can keep each other company. Bringing Butter & Pepper home was the best thing that I’ve ever done. They’ve been the best companions that I’ve ever had. My dogs have grown up with the kids & the grandkids too. All the kids are grown & on their own so it’s been just me & the girls the past few years. They almost fell down the stairs in the house a few times trying to get up to my bedroom so I decided it was time to downsize, sell the house & find some place with no stairs. I’ve been trying to prepare myself over the past couple of years for what life will be like without them but I am making every effort to make their lives as easy as possible for the rest of their time with me. Watching them age gracefully together has been so beautiful. Thank God that I operate my business from home so that I can care for them. I moved into a roomy 1st floor apartment this year & the girls love it. They have to go to potty at least 4 or 5 times a day. Living in an apartment has been quite an adjustment since I have to put the girls on a leash to go outside. But it’s been good because they get a nice little walk several times a day. Our walks have shortened to just a very slow almost snail’s pace for no more than about 10 minutes at a time, but we still go out 4 or 5 times a day. Pepper’s legs are getting weaker & over the past month I’ve seen that she is having a hard time squatting & holding herself up to where she falls back & her legs come out from under her to a sitting position on top of her poo. With her legs extended in front of her she is stuck so I have to lift her hind end to help her up to standing position again….even after just a couple of minutes into a walk, it’s so sad to watch her walk in a wobble & she’s panting. Butter is starting to wobble a little but as well – her face is aging so much & her eyes look so tired, she gets this crust around her eyes which make her look even older. Both girls look at me sometimes like they are trying to ask me what is happening to them. They sleep a lot & when they get up I have to quick get the leash & take them outside even if it’s 3 or 4 in the morning. Butter has not had any accidents yet & she is still holding it pretty good. Pepper tries so hard but it is apparent that she can’t hold it as long anymore. She does good holding if I can get her right outside when she comes in the room to let me know. Both girls still have good appetites & are nice & trim. Lately I can feel Pepper’s bones more & more even though she still eats on a regular basis. They aren’t showing any signs of pain that I can see which is good. For these sister to still be together after 14 years is truly amazing. Maybe next year I will be back on this page letting you all know that we are celebrating their 15th birthday. Every day that they are still here with me is a real blessing from heaven. Thanks for reading 🙂

  34. My yellow boy died last October aged 14 years, 7 months.
    I knew he was slowing down but when he stopped eating and drinking for two days…well, as any Lab owner knows…that’s a problem. As the vet was administering the injection that would release him into peace but take my best friend away forever, my dear dog lifted his head and licked the vet’s hand over and over. His life was full of love, right till the end. He was also a therapy dog for many years and brought joy to hundreds of people in that time. I will miss him forever.

  35. We had a chocolate lab that made it to 7 years before catching everyone by surprise with liver problems; we had her since she was a puppy. She was a purebred, pedigreed dog. We have a yellow lab (no idea if this one is mixed breed or not – we picked him up from a shelter when he was 1 year old) that is currently 9.5 years and in great health with beautiful weight.

  36. Our pure bred black lab “Lady” is 16 and 3 months and still going strong. She has arthritis and cataracts but nothing pain medication can’t help. Her nose works VERY well. She still walks around the block. She was an incredibly active dog and then at 12 she slowed down. I’m enjoying her company every day. I’m so very lucky.

  37. My last chocolate lab Sam made it just past his 15 birthday sadly I’ll health forced us to have him put down a fantastic gun dog and family dog my best mate .Our current old boy a chocolate lab is coming up to his 15 th birthday and still going strong pussed on by the new additions max and Monty both chocolate labs and two years old and given a new homes with us in the countryside best decision we ever made so much pleasure and a massive part of our family and both coming from different backgrounds but now the best of friends all 3 of them

  38. Zeke 11yr old black lab went to heaven 8-1-17 vestibular dx and ALS, he was full of energy, beautiful dark velvet coat of hair, very faithful, loved by my family and strangers were not welcome with top wt of 90 lbs lost 15 lbs creeping up to his disease and not appear fat in any fashion. He totally dependent on me for 5 weeks where was immoble, maintained a some what dignity in his life, he was carried out stood up to use restroom q3hrs till bedtime. he will be truly missed and remembered forever.

  39. My canine soul mate, a black Lab named Trigger, made it to 15, when he developed vestibular disease. Putting him down was both the hardest and easiest decision I ever made. He’s been gone since June 2010 and just writing this is making me cry.

  40. Our English yellow lab, Beau, is 14 1/2 years old and still doing well, though his age is finally starting to show. We recently found out that he might have the start of very early CRF but, other than potentially some mild arthritis in his knees and some loss of hearing, he’s doing quite well for his age; he’s still playful, hungry, smiley, and attention seeking. 🙂 I hope he’ll still be with us for at least another year.

    Beau in his prime:
    http://i.imgur.com/y9mj1qd.jpg

  41. My beautiful dog, Bear, passed away three weeks ago. He was 14- 15 yrs. old. He wasn’t a pure bred lab – a combination of lab, alaskan malamute and rottie. He had the temperament of a lab. Until the end of his life he retained his beautiful black coat. If one didn’t know, he looked no older than 8-9 years old. He was diagnosed with cancer and died within three weeks. The vet came to my home and put him to sleep surrounded by friends and family. He went peacefully. His ashes have found a resting place on the mantle over the fireplace. He was loved by all that knew him.

  42. My dog named coda is currently 14 and she is a black lab she’s still healthy and relaxed and she’s good with children.

  43. We had a beautiful yellow girl named Shyla . We had to put her down last year . She lived to be 14 years and 2 months old . She was an amazing girl . Miss her deeply ❤️❤️

  44. I had to make the difficult decision last August to put my beautiful girl Nugget to sleep at the age of 15yrs.plus 3 month.She just couldn’t eat,nothing appealed and I tried what ever,she was getting so weak I couldn’t let it go although she was still so loving.I have her daughter Mitsey who is 11 now.she has slowed down a lot since her mother is gone,some arthritis but still happy and always looking for treats.

  45. My Black Lab Gunner Gauge is 11 plus years old born April fools 2006, and he is still going strong.
    He was trained in Austin Texas and has lived in Louisiana all his life. Both parents were champions.
    He is still like a puppy, although he has a grey goatee and his coat is turning chocolate. He is still the protector of the family.

  46. We lost our beloved friend Jaeger yesterday. She was a black lab. 12.7 years old. Full of lumps and bumps, was only on thyroid medication. She was the sweetest girl and I am just full of guilt because she died at home after coming home from a short walk. We always kept her at a good weight, 65-69 pounds and thought that she would live forever! As I write this, tears are flowing after reading all of your stories. We are in shock and so sad, and I only feel good because I was with her when she died.
    Labs are the best dogs……so loyal…….so gentle…..you can trust them totally. Would never get another breed of dog ever……….Labs are the best friends….ever.

  47. Snickers was 14 years and 2 months
    In good health but stopped eating or drinking; had i.v.s for 3 days.
    The vet said Snickers took the hard decision from me when she passed away in sleep. Miss her

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