Is there a more beloved dog than the Labrador retriever? This four-legged companion loves wholeheartedly, is friendly, and has a sunny disposition. He easily swept up the award of the most popular breed by the American Kennel Club and is adored across the world from the UK to New Zealand. It should be of no surprise that breeders would mix Labrador with other popular dog breeds. Before we get into the best Lab mixes, let’s learn a little bit more about this wonderful dog.
Labrador Retriever Dog Breed
The Labradors originated from Newfoundland, Canada, in the 1800s, where they were kept by fishermen to retrieve game and fishing nets. These medium-sized dogs were excellent swimmers and strong enough to pull small fishing boats through icy waters. Labs made their way to England, where their popularity grew.
- Physical characteristics
The Labrador retrievers have distinct webbed paws that make them great swimmers. The fur is short, straight, and slightly hard. Coat colors include solid black, yellow, or chocolate. The average weight of an adult Labrador retriever is 65-80lb for a male and 55-70lb for a female. Adult males are tall, measuring 21.5-24.5 inches.
Labs have a pleasant temperament. They are devoted, obedient, and friendly with everyone. Usually eager to please, they quite enjoy learning new things. Kids love a dog that swims and plays fetch. Though hardheaded sometimes, they can be trained to be great competitors in obedience and agility shows. Bred as working dogs, Labs are natural when working in rescue services with lifeguards and guiding the blind.
Quite athletic, lively Labs need regular physical and mental exercise to stay happy and healthy. Their grooming needs include weekly coat brushing to remove dirt and dead hair. A healthy Lab has a lifespan of 10-12 years.
The Most Popular Lab Mixes
Crossbreeding of two purebred dogs became popular in the 1980s. These mixed breed dogs were known as designer dogs, and they were cheaper to buy than the pure breeds. Some designer pups are more in demand than others, and some are rare, but they all have documented ancestry that sets them apart from mutts.
1. German Sheprador/Labrashepherd/Labrashep
A cross between a German shepherd and Labrador, the Sheprador is a friendly hybrid that is brave and intelligent. So energetic, full of life, and eager to please, a well-socialized Sheprador is confident and makes a welcome addition to the family home. This medium-sized dog can weigh up to 90lbs and measure 24 inches tall. The double coat can be short and thick with all year round moderate shedding.
This cross of Doberman and Labrador is exceptionally intelligent and loyal. Doberdors are the perfect family dog because of their obedient and protective nature. Excellent at being guard dogs, the Labramans require a lot of physical exercises and play. They are happier with access to large spaces like a secure yard and off-leash dog parks. When fully grown, the Doberdor can weigh up to 100lbs.
The Goldador is a product of crossbreeding a Golden retriever and Labrador. Breeders were looking to cross the sensitivity of the golden retriever with the tolerance of the Labrador. The Goldador is good-natured and easy to train. These dogs adapt naturally to a home with children as they love playing retrieving games, jogging, hiking, and swimming.
What do you get when you mix the loyal nature of a Labrador with the protective nature of a Great Dane? The noble Labradane. These sweet-natured dogs have a heart of gold. They are intelligent, affectionate, and thrive in an active home with space to train and maintain physical exercise. When left alone for prolonged periods, this breed can suffer from separation anxiety.
Amazingly beautiful and dedicated, this mix of Labrador and Rottweiler is a powerful dog that owes its large size to its Rottweiler genes. An adult Rottador can weigh up to 135lbs. This loving lab mix is loyal, protective, and playful. A medium to a large-sized yard is necessary to keep away boredom and expend the high energy levels. Shedding happens all year round from the short coat.
The Bullador is a mix between the English bulldog and labrador. An adult Bullador is medium to large-sized with a short coat. This energetic dog is easygoing and makes an excellent companion for children. Hiking, walking, running, chasing a ball are activities that he will enjoy immensely. Growing to be 20-22 inches tall, an adult Bullador can weigh up to 90lbs.
Mix the feisty Dalmatian with the easy-going Labrador, and you get a Dalmador. This strong companion dog is protective of his human family. Bred from service dogs, the Dalmador needs consistent training to reign in unwanted habits like barking or howling. Active and lively, this dog will enjoy outdoor living, including taking long walks. The short, dense double coat sheds heavily in the spring and fall.
The Bullmassador has the gentleness of the Labrador and the strength of the Bullmastiff. He is a good watchdog and makes a wonderful family pet. Weighing up to 140lbs, this tall dog doesn’t require much exercise and can thrive with a single walk per day. Trainable and efficient, this loyal four-legged friend may suffer from illnesses common for large dog breeds like joint problems.
9. Borador/Border Collie Lab/Border Lab
This breed is a mix of Border collie and Labrador. This dog is super energetic, outgoing, and curious. The weight of an adult Borador varies from 30-80lbs depending on the dominant genes. The double coat is thick and sheds continually. Regular brushing will remove dead hair and keep the coat in good condition.
10. Huskador/Husky Lab/Siberian Retriever
The Huskador is a product of breeding a Siberian husky with a Labrador. Highly intelligent and good-natured, this hybrid enjoys working and is well suited for police work, tracking, drug search, and service work. Fully grown, a Huskador can weigh up to 80lbs, standing 24 inches tall. This breed is not the same as the Labrador husky despite the similarity in the names.
Socialization is the way to a happy, well-adjusted dog, even Lab mixes. All pups behave better when exposed to other animals and people from an early age. All Lab hybrids require regular exercise and stimulation to avoid boredom and unwanted behavior.
Clubs like the American Kennel Club require the standardization of dog breeds. Designer dogs are not official members of most dog clubs and registries because some are half and half of the pure breeds, while others are multi-generation crossbreeds.
It is not easy to predict the characteristics and temperaments of these mixes because a mixed breed takes genes from each parent, and it is uncertain which traits will be dominant. This also applies to lab mixes, which is why they come in various shapes and sizes. Each lab mix is unique, so predicting the appearance and personality is always a gamble.
What is common across the board for the above list of ten best lab mixes is that the lifespan ranges from 12-15 years. The general belief is that lab hybrids are healthier than purebred dogs because of the mixed gene pool. Choose a reputable breeder or visit your local dog shelter to adopt a lab mix, and you will find your new best friend for life.