The Pitbull Lab Mix is a cross between the loving Labrador Retriever and the loyal Pitbull Terrier. They’re an athletic and energetic dog with a courageous, and affectionate temperament.
They can weigh up to 90 pounds, and sport a short, dense coat that can come in a variety of color combinations.
This enigmatic cross-breed is sometimes known as a Bullador, a Labrabull, or even called a Pitador! Whatever you want to call them, these designer dogs are really taking off.
But before you go out and find your puppy, let’s find out a bit more about this interesting mix.
People Often Ask…
- Are Pitbull Lab Mix dogs aggressive?
- How big do black Lab Pitbull Mixes get?
- What is the life expectancy of a Pitbull Lab Mix?
- What is the temperament of a Lab Pitbull Mix?
What’s In This Guide?
- Pitbull Lab Mix At A Glance
- In-Depth Pitbull Lab Mix Breed Review
- Pitbull Lab Mix Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Pitbull Lab Mix
Pitbull Lab Mix: Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: Labs are the most popular breed in America according to the AKC. Pitbulls are in the top three according to the Animal Foundation.
- Purpose: Pet
- Weight: 60 to 90 pounds
- Temperament: courageous, loyal, and friendly
Pitbull Lab Mix Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Pitbull Lab Mix
- Fun fact about Pitbull Lab Mixes
- Pitbull Lab Mix appearance
- Pitbull Lab Mix temperament
- Training and exercising your Pitbull Lab Mix
- Pitbull Lab Mix health and care
- Do Pitbull Lab Mixes make good family pets
- Rescuing a Pitbull Lab Mix
- Finding and raising a Pitbull Lab Mix puppy
Origin Of The Pitbull Lab Mix
Labradors are one of the most popular dog breeds across the world. They are the number one registered breed in the United States. Designer dog breeds are created by mixing popular breeds to form a new hybrid. Being the most popular breed, there are a number of Labrador designed mix breeds, and the Pitbull Lab Mix is one of them.
To understand a bit more about the Pitbull Lab Mix, let’s take a look at the origins of the two parents breeds.
Labrador Retriever Origins
The ever-popular Labrador never met a stranger—their friendly, outgoing personality welcomes all newcomers.
Labs are one of the most popular breeds both in the US and the UK. Their ancestors originated in Canada and they were bred there in the 18th century to aid fisherman who needed a trusted and reliable helper dog.
On the flip side, this hard-working, rough and tough canine also has a sweet personality. This earned it a place as a family dog back home once the day’s work was done.
Today Labs are best described as loyal, intelligent, friendly and eager-to-please. Labs can co-exist with various age groups as well as with a cross-section of other animals.
They take to training easily and make Labs a popular choice as police dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs.
The Lab’s natural exuberance requires a regular physical outlet and plenty of mental stimulation in order to stay healthy and happy.
The Pitbull originated from crossing Bulldogs with Terriers back in the 1800s. Two common types of Pitbull breeds are the American Pitbull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier.
Pitbulls have long been associated with aggression and fighting, and unfortunately, that was the original motivation behind the Bulldog Terrier mix.
Bulldogs had been used in The United Kingdom (UK) for cruel entertainment such as bull baiting and ratting, where the Bulldog was essentially manipulated into antagonizing or killing bulls and rats for sport.
These blood sports progressed to dog fighting, and the desire grew for a more athletic dog with agility and speed. Thus, the Bulldog was crossed with the Terrier to create a better fighting dog.
However, despite their lurid beginnings, the Pitbull is actually an affectionate breed with a fierce loyalty to their owners.
Once brought over from the UK to America, Pitbulls were commonly used as farm dogs to protect livestock and herd sheep. They were known for their docile temperament with people and children and were not just working dogs but family pets.
Fun Fact: Celebrity Justin Timberlake has a Pitbull Lab Mix named Biel.
What To Expect From A Pitbull Lab Mix
A Bullador is a mix between an American Pitbull Terrier and a Labrador Retriever.
Because they’re a mixed breed, there simply is no way to predict with certainty what a Pitbull Lab Mix temperament will be like! They could inherit characteristics from either parent.
A crossbred dog has too many variables in its genetic background to be able to forecast its individual personality.
With no way of predicting the outcome when two purebreds are mixed, you might say that the offspring is truly a “mixed-bag!”
We know very little about what to expect from the Pitbull Lab Mix in terms of overall temperament, adaptability, etc.
Pitbull Lab Mix Appearance
The Pitbull Lab mix is a large, powerful dog that can reach up to two feet in height and weigh anywhere from 50 to 90 pounds when fully grown.
Like their parents, the Pitbull Lab Mix has a short coat that is easy to brush. The fur is smooth and shiny, and not difficult to maintain.
Depending on whether you obtain a Black Lab and Pitbull Mix, a Chocolate Lab Pitbull Mix, or a Yellow Lab Pitbull Mix, you can expect the common coat colors to be a solid tan, black, white, yellow, or brown.
However, the Pitbull Lab Mix can also come with various colors like the Pitbull; a Pitbull Lab Mix brindle is entirely possible!
Oftentimes, a Bullador inherits a wide head with the ears of a Lab.
Pitbull Lab Mix Temperament
The American Pitbull Terrier hails from the English Pitbull Terrier. The latter was bred in the 19th century to be used in physically punishing ways, such as dogfighting.
In America, this tenacious and strong dog was bred with larger canines and was used as a farm dog, who was also called upon to aid in hunting large game.
Today, the American Pitbull Terrier retains an alert and protective nature. He is known for his courage, determination, and loyalty, but also comes with a reputation for being a naturally aggressive breed.
This is not entirely unfounded. Data from studies on bite statistics, clinic records, and experts’ opinions inform much of our understanding of canine aggression. And according to one source on dog bites, in 2016 there were 22 Pitbull dog bite fatalities in the US. Accounting for 71% of all US dog bite related deaths. For the same year, Labradors and their mixes were responsible for 3 deaths.
The Pitbull is a banned breed in some countries including the United Kingdom, In regard to this particular mix breed, one source reports that between 1982 and 2014, 46 Pitbull Lab Mix attacks had been recorded.
In the case of the Bullador, one should be aware of the Pitbull’s possible potential for aggression.
However, a lot of people believe that this loyal dog has been maligned.
Counter-arguments regarding the dangerousness of this breed highlight the fact that until the mid-1900s, the Pitbull was not a feared dog and was actually considered a friendly family pet. This argument identifies the change in attitude as a social construct and media bias rather than any actual increase of aggression in this breed.
The unreliability of victim and witness memory and accuracy of identifying dog breeds correctly has also become an area of interest in the Pitbull debate. Some believe that attacking breed is often misidentified when victims report dog bites.
It is important to note that it is only the American Pitbull Terrier under scrutiny. Temperaments of other Pitbull breeds, like the American Staffordshire Terrier, have never been called into question.
However, we would add a note of caution here. There are plenty of sources now that argue that Pitbulls may be less likely to bite than previously thought. It is possible that they are not much more likely to bite than many other popular breeds. However when weighing this up it is important to bear in mind the possible consequences of a bite, should one happen.
While no dog bite is pleasant, the American Pitbull has been bred with the physical structure needed to bite hard. With big canine teeth and strong jaws. And when a Pitbull bites, it doesn’t bite and let go. It holds on. The damage done by their bite has the potential therefore to be far greater than that of a typical dog bite. This is especially relevant in families with small children.
Pitbull Lab Mix Personality
So, what can you expect from a Pitbull Lab cross in terms of temperament?
You can never be certain which traits your dog will inherit from which parent, so you can’t predict the exact temperament of your Pitbull Lab pup.
They will likely be an energetic and loyal dog that loves attention from their owner. If there is more Pitbull temperament in them, your dog may be more reserved and docile. Thorough socialisation will be essential for this pup. If they inherit more Labrador personality they will probably be very social and exuberant.
Pitbull Lab Mix Socialization
Early socialization is key to fine-tuning your Pitbull Lab Mixes’ affinity for other animals, including humans! With socialization and good breeding practices, you can have a reasonable expectation that they will get along well with children and possibly other dogs, and will make a good family pet.
When it comes to other pets, the Labrador side of your Pitbull Lab Mix has a better chance of getting along with them than the Pitbull does.
As we’ve noted before, there is no way of predicting which side of his family tree your Pitbull Lab Mix will lean more toward. You should take caution with strangers and other dogs until you know how your animal typically reacts in such situations.
Training And Exercising Your Pitbull Lab Mix
Due to the Pitbull Lab Mixes’ Fortunately, like his Labrador progenitor, an intelligent Pitbull Lab Mix will take to training readily.
It is advised to start training young, as early as 8 to 12 weeks old. The longer you wait the more strong-minded your dog may become.
With consistent and positive reinforcement training methods, they can be a terrific and well-mannered companion.
It should be noted that punishment based training is not recommended as a modern training method and it has the potential to mask potential problems.
For more tips on training your Pitbull Lab Mix you can take a look at these articles:
A Pitbull Lab Mix will require a lot of exercise due to its size and both parent breeds being active dogs. Therefore access to things like a yard for self-exercise, fetch with the owner, and space and time to run around is important.
Pitbull Lab Mix Health And Care
What potential health issues will a Pitbull Lab Mix inherit? You can never be sure which health issues your dog may inherit, so it is important to understand the conditions common to each breed, as well as the signs and symptoms of these conditions.
Let’s take a look at the health issues common to each parent breed:
The Labrador has a few more common hereditary health issues than the Pitbull. They both share a high prevalence of hip dysplasia, as most large breeds are prone to this.
Skin allergies and ear infections are minor health concerns common to Labradors. Some of the more serious health issues of the Labrador include:
Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Labradors have a high prevalence of hip and elbow dysplasia. These conditions are caused by structural problems within the joint that lead to pain and affect mobility.
Elbow dysplasia can occur when a piece of the bone or cartilage in the elbow joint breaks off and floats around within the joint capsule. This generally results in osteoarthritis and can affect dogs as young as 4 to 6 months old.
Treatment may include anti-inflammatory, weight management, specific exercise requirements, surgery, and physical therapy, however, the condition cannot be corrected,
Gastric Dilation (Bloat)
This condition occurs when the stomach expands, up to triple in size, with gas and food. It then rotates so that the stomach contents are trapped and the blood supply is cut off.
Not only is this painful and it is also life-threatening. A dog will die within hours without medical intervention.
Signs of bloat can include pacing or the inability to lie down, a distended stomach, an inability to vomit, foamy saliva, and panting. If you notice any of these, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Labs are also genetically predisposed to an eye disease known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This disease is degenerative and it leads to total blindness.
It tends to show up from 3 to 9 years of age and results in blindness within 1 to 2 years. However, PRA is not a painful condition, so it can be difficult to detect early on.
Night vision is affected first and causes night blindness.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for this disease.
Labs are a breed more prone to cataracts, which occurs when the lens of the eye clouds over. This results in vision impairment or blindness.
This is a genetic condition in Labradors.
Cataracts are often being removed with surgery. Signs of cataracts include a cloudy film over the eyes and if your dog stars to bump into things or walk into furniture.
Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)
EIC is a condition where, after 5 to 15 minutes of intensive exercise, the dog experiences extreme weakness in their hind legs. They can collapse and be unable to move.
Usually, the dog recovers after about 10 to 20 minutes of rest. This condition can take up to 5 years to present itself and can present in dogs that appear healthy and fit.
Dogs with this issue can exercise at a mild-moderate intensity without symptoms.
This is a recessive genetic disorder that is only passed on when both parents are carriers, as determined by research. However, about 30% of Retrievers are carriers.
Responsible breeders should be testing for this genetic mutation in the parent dogs.
Most of these conditions can be screened through DNA testing. Recommended testing includes:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)
- Hereditary Cataracts (HC)
- Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis (HNKP)
- Centronuclear Myopathy (CN)
- Hip & Elbow Evaluations
The Pitbull doesn’t have a long list of hereditary health issues and is generally a healthy dog. Like any breed, they have some minor health issues to be aware of, like skin problems and allergies.
As a short-haired breed, they are more susceptible to skin issues and allergens.
Pitbulls are at a higher risk of demodectic mange, especially as puppies.
This skin condition comes from parasitic mites living on the dog’s hair and generally only become a problem for dogs with immature immune systems, like puppies.
Treatment can range from topical ointments to special shampoos and oral medication.
It is also common for Pitbulls to have seasonal environmental allergies. Signs include excessive licking, bald spots, or bumps on the skin. Check with your veterinarian for the best treatment options.
There are a few more serious health issues that Pitbulls are prone to and that potential owners should be aware of:
This condition occurs when the thyroid gland’s hormone production is insufficient.
The thyroid regulates a number of bodily processes and symptoms can include weight gain, lethargy, skin issues, coarse hair texture, irregular heartbeat, and trouble staying warm
You can diagnose hypothyroidism with blood work and treated it with daily medication.
Hip Dysplasia is a structural problem in the hip joint, in which the joint doesn’t fit together correctly. This causes grinding and excessive wear and tear in the joint, resulting in a progressive deterioration.
Signs of this condition may include looseness of the joint or lameness, decreased range of motion, stiffness, pain, and trouble climbing stairs, running, and jumping.
This is a genetic condition, however, obesity, growth rate, and types of exercise can play a role in the deterioration of the joint.
Keeping your dog’s weight in check, and keeping to an appropriate feeding and exercise schedule for growing puppies can help mitigate the situation.
Good breeders should be screening for this condition and be able to provide proof that the parent breeds have healthy hip joints.
These are the recommended testing for Pitbulls:
- Hip Evaluation
Pitbull Lab Mix Health
Based on his parentage, the Pitbull Lab cross is at risk to inherit joint problems. Larger dogs generally have greater issues with hip and elbow dysplasia, and both parent breeds are prone to hip dysplasia.
In addition, gastric bloat and hypothyroidism may be potential issues for your pup.
You should inquire with your breeder. about heart, eye, skin, and ear issues.
Purchasing your Pitbull Lab Mix from a reputable breeder decreases the chances of owning a dog with unexpected, surprising health problems.
Pitbull Lab Mix Life Expectancy
The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is 10 to 12 years and the Pitbull’s life expectancy ranges from 10 to 15 years.
It is a reasonable expectation that the Pitbull Lab cross has a similar life expectancy to that of the parent breeds.
Pitbull Lab Mix Shedding
Pitbull Lab Mix owners report that their pets tend to shed on the low to average end of the spectrum. However, a Lab Pitbull Mix could well take after their Labrador parent in the molting department and be more of a heavy shedding dog.
Pitbull Lab Mix Grooming
Mention minimal grooming needs of Labs. Does the non-Lab parent need more coat care? What are the likely needs of the mix?
A Pitbull Lab Mixes has a silky, short, and dense coat that benefits from daily brushing to keep it shiny. The Labrador undercoat is not common in this particular mix breed.
You can keep your fur baby’s neat and clean through regular attention to their nails and ears.
Use a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste to keep his pearly whites clean. And at the same time check for any signs of infection.
Overall, Pitbull Lab Mix parents report that their pet’s grooming needs range from low to moderate. So, it’s safe to say that a Pitbull Lab Mix falls squarely in the average range in regard to grooming.
Do Pitbull Lab Mixes Make Good Family Pets?
Labradors are one of the most popular family dogs. They have a friendly and affectionate nature.
On the other hand, Pitbulls have had mixed reviews in this department. You probably associate Pitbulls with dog fighting and aggression. Historically, though, they are known for being loyal family dogs that are good with children.
This mixed-breed would make a good family pet if bred and socialized properly like any other dog. If you decide to get a Pitbull Mix, be sure to observe the temperament of the Pitbull parent and socialize your pup early to help increase the chances of a friendly, gentle companion.
Here are some other mix breeds that will interest you as you consider a Pitbull Lab Mix.
For a more comprehensive list of popular Lab mixes and Pitbull Mixes check out these articles:
- Labrador Retriever Mix – Which One IS Right For You?
- Pitbull Mixes – Everything You Need To Know About These Hybrids
Rescuing a Pitbull Lab Mix
All too often designer dogs end up relinquished by owners who were ultimately unable to care for their needs.
You can find many rescue groups and resources online and listed below to rescue a Pitbull Lab Mix.
Not all mixed breeds have their own specific rescue. However, breed rescues for the purebred parents often take in related mixes as well.
Remember, these organizations likely will not have detailed information about your pup’s history or parent breed health information.
Pitbull Lab Mix Breed Rescues
- Bobby’s Pit Rescue
- It’s The Pits Dog Rescue
- The Love Pit Rescue
- Mayday Pitbull Rescue
- Save A Lab Rescue
- Villalobos Rescue Center
- All Bullies Rescue
- Bullies In Need
- Labrador Retriever Rescue Southern England
- Labradors In Need
- Labrador Retriever Rescue Scotland
Finding a Pitbull Lab Mix Puppy
With the increasing popularity of mixed-breed puppies, it is important to find a responsible breeder that follows the recommended guidelines for all health testing. Make sure they provide a clean and loving environment for their dogs.
Working with a good breeder is the best way to increase your chances of a healthy and happy Pitbull Lab Mix Puppy.
Pet stores and puppy mills have a reputation for producing unhealthy puppies, sometimes with more challenging temperaments.
Unethical breeding practices and poor treatment of the parent breeds, especially with the Pitbull parent, may not produce the desirable traits you are hoping for in your new Pitbull Lab Mix Puppy.
You can find out how to avoid puppy mills and how to buy a healthy puppy in the extensive puppy search guide on our sister site. You can also find out how to buy a healthy puppy in Pippa’s book Choosing The Perfect Puppy.
Mix Name Breeders
It goes without saying, but you should only deal with an ethical, reputable breeder that can ensure your Labrabull was crossbred from parents free of medical issues. A breeder must provide you with the health clearances of your dog’s parents.
A good breeder is happy to provide evidence of clean health checks and to answer all of your questions about the Pitbull Lab Mix. Plus, your breeder should be asking you questions to make sure you are equipped to handle this large, energetic breed.
If you buy from a breeder, ask about the temperaments of your Pitbull Lab Mixes’ parents. You can also ask to see the bloodlines of both of the parents for any clues.
And If possible, ask to see the parent so that you can observe their temperament for yourself. Any sign of aggression in the parents is a red flag.
Unfortunately, unethical breeding practices go hand in hand with the increase in demand for designer dog breeds. Do your research and ensure you are choosing a responsible breeder that can provide you with a healthy and happy pup.
Pitbull Lab Mix Products And Accessories
You need to provide exercise for this active breed. And you have to mentally stimulate them as well. This helps to prevent destructive behaviors as well.
Check out our articles on toys to keep your dog active and occupied:
- Best Dog Toys For Large Breeds
- Puppy Toys
- Best Moving Toys For Pups That Love To Play And Fetch
- Interactive Dog Toys
Is A Pitbull Lab Mix Right For Me?
With the responsibilities of a large breed and the controversial views on the Pitbull, there is a lot to consider before deciding to bring a Bullador home.
- A few hereditary health problems to watch out for
- The temperament of the Pitbull Mix could range from friendly and affectionate to aggressive
- Traditionally, Pitbull Mixes don’t get on well with other animals
- This breed requires a lot of time and space for exercise
- Low-moderate maintenance grooming
- Generally healthy parent breeds
- Playful, loyal, and friendly temperament
- Considered an easy-to-train dog
To sum up, you should carefully consider all the relevant information before making a final decision to add a Bullador to your life, especially the unpredictable nature of a cross breed.
Your Pitbull Lab Mix
Do you have a Pitbull Lab Mix?
We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
References And Resources
- Adams, V. J. et. al. “ Evidence of longer life; a cohort of 39 labrador retrievers.” Veterinary Record.
- American Kennel Club (AKC)
- Animal Dermatology Specialists of Vancouver. 2019. “Common Pitbull Allergies from Our Vancouver Specialist.”
- Animal Medical Center of Southern California. 2019.“Exercise Induced Collapse Syndrome in Labrador Retrievers.”
- Beynen, A. 2019. “Diet and canine gastric dilatation.” Dier-en-Arts.
- Biomed Central. 2018. “Labrador retrievers at risk of various health problems.”
- Guerra, R. et. al. 2018. “Cataracts in Labrador Retriever and Jack Russell Terrier From the United Kingdom: A Two-Year Retrospective Study.” Topics in Companion Animal Medicine.
- Love-A-Bull. Accessed 2019. “The History of Pit Bulls.”
- Love-A-Bull. Accessed 2019. “Statistics, Pit Bull Bites & Community Safety.”
- McGreevy, P. D. et. al. 2018. “Labrador retrievers under primary veterinary care in the UK: demography, mortality and disorders, Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.” Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.
- O’Neill et al. 2013. “Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England.” The Veterinary Journal.
- United Kennel Club (UKC). 2019. “American Pit Bull Terrier.”
- Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). 2012. “Labrador Retriever: Elbow Dysplasia (Fragmented Medial Coronoid Process).”
- Vetstreet. Accessed 2019. “American Pit Bull Terrier .”
- Ward, E. et. al. 2018. “Demodectic Mange in Dogs.” VCA.
- Bini et al. 2011. Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs. Annals of Surgery.
- Pinto et al. 2008. Craniocerebral injuries from dog bites. Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria
- ‘Dog Bite Risk and Prevention: The Role of Breed.’ AVMA. May 2014.
- Gough, A. Thomas, A. O’Neill, D. 2018. “Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats.” Wiley Blackwell.