Labrador Retrievers: Beautiful, Top Dogs with Big Arthritis Risk

January 24, 2023

Labrador Retrievers hold the title of the most popular dog breed in the US. Labradors are fantastic dogs as they have a great temperament, are beautiful and easy to train and care for. But there is so much more that makes these dogs special. January holds "National Labrador Day" as an unofficial day to celebrate those who love their Labradors. Here's our love letter to the best dog breed in the U.S. for well over 30 years and counting: the Labrador Retriever! Read on to learn all about Labradors, why they are special and why they are at high risk for arthritis in dogs. 

 "I do not love Labrador Retrievers," said no one ever. Why? Because Labrador Retrievers are loved by nearly every dog lover out there. It's no wonder they are the #1 most popular dog breed in the nation! Since 1991, the American Kennel Club (AKC), the experts on all dog breeds, has named the Labrador Retriever as the top dog in the nation, out of over nearly 200 different dog breeds. Here’s why we think they are the top dog:

Labradors are Beautiful Dogs

Simply put, the Labrador Retriever is the most beautifully built sporting dog. They have a dense weather-resistant coat and their friendly eyes and floppy ears give them earnest expressions to fall in love with. They exude confidence and loyalty with their distinguished looks. Plus, they have a variety to their beauty: coloring in yellow, black and chocolate. A new development is that these popular breeds are extending into variations of colors. While Labrador Retrievers come in these three colors as part of the breed standards, you can bet that the diluted versions of these gorgeous colors which are considered champagne, silver and charcoal, are just as beautiful. 

3 colors Labrador

It is easy to fall in love with Labs. Need proof? Labrador Retriever puppies (enough said):

Labrador Puppies in Pink

Labradors are Athletic Dogs

They are top dogs for good reason:  Labradors are the perfect dogs for just about anyone, ranging from hunters who need endurance, to families with children and those who need assistance. They are athletic, so active people are drawn to Labradors as partners in whatever activity they might like from running, swimming and park activities.Athletic Labradors

Also, Labrador Retrievers are very fast dogs. While they are not the fastest, (greyhounds are the fastest breed dog), they have been clocked at going from 0 to 12 mph in only 3 seconds! While humans can't outrun most dogs, this is certainly true for the Labrador Retriever. This makes them one of the best hunting dogs out there. In fact, if you know a hunter, most likely their dog of choice is a Labrador Retriever. Their speed is one reason, but also their delicate mouth, which we get into later in this post.

Labradors are Great Family Dogs

Labrador Retrievers are great family dogs. Some call them "switch dogs" because you can turn the switch of a Labrador on or off. Want to go to the park? The Labrador is ready and goes to ON switch. Want to stay home and watch a movie? The Labrador is ready to lay by your side and goes to the OFF switch. 

Chocolate Labrador

Labradors are fun, friendly and love outside activities. Obviously the Labradors retrieve, so they are always up for throwing a disk or ball in the park, then bringing it back. The further the throw, the more enjoyable for your dog! Labradors are also very welcoming of people and other pets. If a Labrador Retriever shies away from a person, there must be something wrong with that person. If you want a dog who is faithful, who will give unconditional love, and be by your side, this is absolutely the Labrador Retriever. 

Labradors are intelligent, helpful dogs

The Labrador is often the dog of choice for a wide variety of therapy dogs. It is in the instinct of a Lab to be helpful and they enjoy having jobs to do. They are willing and highly trainable to become excellent guide dogs. Labradors are known for having a "soft mouth" in that they can handle things delicately. This includes birds and prey, so not to damage them during hunting excursions, but also things necessary to be a good guide dog. Labrador Retrievers as service dogs are known for helping their people with many skills, including taking a debit card and putting it in an ATM, and withdrawing the money. 

Service Dog Labrador

Labradors are Less work than other dogs

Labradors are easy to care for. They do not usually require going to the dog groomer, simply bathe them often and they are taken care of. Labs also do not bark as much as other dogs. Because they are people pleasers, they are easy to train. They also love other animals, so homes with other dogs or cats can easily introduce the Labrador into their home. 

Labrador Retriever Stats

According to the AKC, the main stats of a Labrador Retriever are:

  • Height: 22.5 - 24.5 inches (male); 21.5 - 23.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 65-80 pounds (male); 55-70 pounds (female)
  • Life expectancy: 11-13 years
  • AKC member of the Sporting Group

5 Labrador Facts You Didn't Know

Life Magazine's Labrador Cover, 1938

  1. Labrador Retrievers originated from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and have roots as traditional waterdogs. The current Labrador as it is, has roots in England as the earlier breeds were taken from Canada to parts of England in the early 18th century.
  2. Labrador Retrievers have strong tails. Based on their overall design to be waterdogs in the cold waters of northern Canada and England, their powerful, thick tails are a unique quality of the breed. By today's standards, if you have one at home, you know these strong tails can clear a coffee table's contents in a matter of seconds. Today's Labrador is still an excellent hunting companion dog and duck and waterfowl are the top game these hunting dogs retrieve. 
  3. Labrador Retrievers were the first dog breed to be featured on the cover of a magazine. On December 12, 1938, LIFE Magazine dedicated the cover of their coveted magazine to the breed. 
  4. There are two classes of Labradors: English and American. English Labradors are more stocky, and shorter. While American Labradors are taller and thinner.
  5. It took 22 different Labrador Retrievers at different stages of life to make the film Marley & Me, which was filmed in 2007 and starred Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson.


Top Health Problems of Labrador Retrievers

Yellow Labrador

Still adorable and loveable, there are over 50 Labrador mixed breeds that attempt to take the best characteristics of each breed. This also means some of the health risks of each breed need to be considered.

All dog breeds have health problems, Labrador Retrievers are no different. These are not drawbacks to having a Lab, just things to keep in mind as you help them stay in tip-top shape.

  1. Osteoarthritis, or arthritis. Because of the joint problems they have, Labrador arthritis is a concern since they are on the ‘Very High Risk’ section of the arthritis risk chart because of their size and weight. Check out all the risk factors, and the other dogs that join the Labrador on the chart.
  2. Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia. These conditions are inherited and prevalent in growth issues where joints and sockets are not aligning. Most accredited Labrador puppy breeders will perform tests at early stages to check for this disease. Depending on the severity, most large-breed dogs can live happy, active lives with hip and/or elbow dysplasia by adding a joint supplement and continuing with exercise. However, some dogs may have such severe cases, surgery might be necessary.
  3. Because Labrador Retrievers love to eat just about anything, this impacts their health when their waistline expands. Be sure to check your food of choice recommendation charts and follow it appropriately. Avoid giving your Labrador people food some are dangerous, while others are simply too oily and fatty for dogs. Keeping your Lab active outside will also help keep your dog’s weight in check. 
  4. Ear Infections. The long ears of the Labrador Retriever hang down loosely and can trap wax and moisture, especially during summer months when they may be out swimming more. Ear infection signs include excessive head shaking, redness in the ear canal and pawing at the ears. Be sure to clean your dog's ears after every swim and dry the inside with a towel. 


Prevention is always better than a Cure

It’s always best to prevent problems, rather than fix them afterward. Labs can start to slow down sooner than expected due to joint pain or arthritis. Help relieve these signs safely and naturally by adding a joint supplement to their diet.

Here’s how to stay on top of these health-related problems in Labrador Retrievers.  

  1. Prevent signs of arthritis before they start! Joint supplements can promote joint health and cartilage development which keep dogs active and youthful, for longer.  Learn what to look for in joint supplements for your dog.
  2. If your Labrador is over age 5, consider starting them on a joint supplement as cartilage improvement can be seen in most labs with a daily dose. 
  3.  Of course, make sure your dog is still active to help their joints work better. This includes regular walking and playing with your dog. A great opportunity to go to the dog park!
  4. Keep the weight down for good health of your Labrador Retriever. The heavier the dog, the more pressure on their joints. Every bit of exercise and proper feeding amounts will help them as they age.

 Get this FREE e-book: Arthritis in Dogs

Glyde Mobility Chews

Parnell Living Science is the expert on osteoarthritis (OA) of arthritis in dogs. Glyde™ Mobility Chews has a unique formula with key anti-inflammatory ingredients to combat the signs of aging. Glyde uses natural, gluten-free ingredients to promote healthy joints to let your dog do everything he or she loves to do!  Glyde is the only dog joint supplement that contains proven levels of three key components that work to relieve the painful signs of arthritis.

Glyde's proven formula has all-natural ingredients and high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, plus Green Lipped Mussel (GLM). The proven levels of these key ingredients are what makes the formula unique:

Your Labrador deserves Glyde Mobility Chews, the best joint supplement for dogs to protect their joints and keep them active!

Walden the Labrador's Story

Fiona and Walden


We love when we hear from our customers. We have lots of great news from them. Here’s Fiona and Walden’s story. They had a great experience with Glyde.

“I thought you may be interested in a very quick positive impact Glyde had on my dog, Walden. Only 5 years old, I bought it recently, to help his mobility as there was obvious arthritis in his shoulder. As in previous experience of use: it helped enormously.

It worked so well that I stopped giving it to Walden, thinking he was simply better. After awhile, I noticed the limping and slow movements returned. So I started again and found within a couple days of using it at the loading dose, it virtually eliminated the shoulder pain.

It is truly a fantastic product!”

- Fiona, Walden's dog mom

Labrador Retrievers are great dogs for many reasons. Be sure to keep them happy, healthy and active as they age for a long life full of opportunities for the entire family! As we celebrate our Labrador Retrievers, give yours lots of love and affection! 

Keep Your Labrador Joint Healthy with Glyde