10 Best Labrador Retriever Rescues for Adoption (2021): Our Top 10 Picks!

Best Labrador Retriever rescue for adoption

Here’s an interesting fact: the Labrador Retriever has been in the number one spot in the American Kennel Club (AKC) popularity ranking since 1991! That’s why it’s no wonder that more and more pet owners are choosing them over novel crosses and hybrids.

If you want to purchase one too, it is quite easy to find a professional Lab breeder in your area. However, if you’re more interested in saving a dog’s life without breaking your bank, then adopting from rescues is a much better option.

In this guide, I’ll give you our top picks for Labrador Retriever rescues. You’ll find this quite useful in your pet search because of the in-depth review of the adoption organizations we love.

RECOMMENDED READING:
Most of the Labrador rescues in this list follow the same adoption process. If you want to ace your application, I suggest that you read our ultimate adoption guide which features key tips and techniques starting from choosing the breed to home introduction.

Top 10 Labrador Retriever Rescues to Find Labradors for Adoption

I came up with this list after thorough research about multiple Labrador rescues in the U.S.

I can no longer count the people I have talked to about their reputability and the core process of adopting a dog from them, so I can’t wait to share them with you. Let’s get started!

1. Labrador Retriever Rescue (LRR) – Virginia

LRR has been rescuing and rehabilitating Labrador Retrievers in the mid-Atlantics since 1993. Specifically, the areas they focus on are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, and Virginia.

When they started, they initially did the typical rescue-rehabilitation-adoption process. But because the Labrador Retrievers in their care spent months in their facility before finding an adopter, they decided to change their system a bit.

Most of the dogs they rehome go to past adoptive parents, LRR friends, and pet owners who they find to be really interested in the breed. This ensures that all of their dogs find new homes in the shortest time possible.

Aside from placing dogs in new homes, they are also an animal welfare advocate, so they have ongoing programs to educate the public about this noble subject. They also dedicated a page called the Reading Room to share more information about the Labrador Retriever.

If you live in the service areas of LRR which I have already mentioned above, you are quite lucky because you have a higher chance of getting a puppy from them.

Labrador Retriever Rescue Information and Details:

2. Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue (GGLRR) – Northern California

Similar to the LRR, GGLRR has been around for quite a long time. They’ve been rehoming Labrador Retrievers from the San Francisco Bay Area since 1986. Essentially, their main goal is to rescue, rehabilitate, and find new families for unwanted Labs.

But aside from these, they also exist to advocate for responsible pet ownership, educate the interested public about how to breed and care for Labradors, provide the dogs in their care with humane treatment, and promote spaying and neutering.

There are two options when adopting a dog from GGLRR. If you have adopted from them before or you are a friend of the organization’s board, you can choose the “Pre-Screened Adopter Program.”

Basically, this option would allow you to get first dibs on pups that you are really interested in because you have already reserved and paid in advance.

Meanwhile, the second option is called “General Adoptions via Web List.” Through this, you will undergo the usual adoption process.

You can call GGLRR regarding the puppies listed on their website, and if they find you capable of owning a dog, they will schedule you to meet the Labrador Retriever you are interested in.

Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue Information and Details:

3. West Coast Labrador Retriever Rescue (WCLRR) – Southern California

WCLRR is a non-profit rescue organization that is run by volunteers. They are currently focusing on Southern California and they claim that all the programs and actions of the organization are connected to one goal: saving dogs.

They encourage interested adopters to read the entire bio of the dog listed on their website before contacting them. They strongly condemn adopting based on looks just like other rescue organizations.

When you visit the list of their dogs for adoption, you’ll be able to know more about the history of their dogs— whether they are rescued or surrendered, if they have existing health issues, their exact temperament, and the reason why their former owner let go of them. You’ll also learn about their exact age or color.

Aside from purebred Labs, they also have Golden Retrievers and Lab mixes in their care, so if you are also interested in adopting these breeds, better give them a call.

West Coast Labrador Retriever Rescue Information and Details:

4. Independent Labrador Retriever Rescue of SoCal (IndiLab) – California

IndiLab does not only focus on saving Labradors but other retrieving breeds as well. Currently, their service areas are Orange County, LA County, and Santa Barbara.

Although they want to help out pet owners who can no longer take care of their dogs, they are pretty strict when it comes to rescuing dogs with temperament issues.

If the Labrador has exhibited aggressive behavior towards other dogs, animals, and humans before, they do not bring them to their facility.

This also helps them manage the dogs in their care because all the vet fees, transport, and shelter redemption fees only come from the amount they receive when someone adopts them.

If you decide to adopt from them, you should be aware of some of their policies:

  • Once you decide to sign their Term of Adoption (TOA) contract, you should be prepared for any challenges that you may face while caring for the dog you plan to bring home.
  • They do not take back aggressive dogs because they do not knowingly place them in your care. They also do not provide euthanasia.
  • They will not let you adopt if you have an 8-year-old child or below.

Independent Labrador Retriever Rescue of SoCal Information and Details:

5. Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue (SCLRR) – Southern California

SCLRR is a 100% volunteer-run non-profit organization that rescues Labrador Retrievers in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Ventura County. All their dogs are mostly adults, so if you expect one that is under a year old, you’ll be disappointed.

They also do not offer therapy dogs, emotional support dogs, service dogs, and comfort dogs. All their Labs can only serve as companion pets and they ask for a little adoption fee during the process.

The adoption fee that they collect goes to the dog’s transport from the shelter to their rescue facility, temporary boarding, microchipping, spaying/neutering, and vet expenses.

Occasionally, the dogs may undergo expensive procedures that may incur a significant amount. Thus, the adoption fee also increases.

Currently, there are four types of dogs that they are handling:

  • Foster dogs
  • Owner listed dogs
  • Courtesy listed dogs
  • Shelter listings

Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue Information and Details:

6. Labs4Rescue – Connecticut

The primary goal of Labs4Rescue is to save displaced Labradors and their mixes. They are primarily run by volunteers, and they do not earn anything from the adoption fee they collect because it goes straight to financing the needs of their dogs.

After rescuing, the dogs undergo necessary vet screening and treatment. They are also vaccinated, neutered/spayed, and some of them are given heartworm prevention medication. If the vet found out that they have prevailing health conditions, they are also treated for such.

Labs4Rescue would not knowingly place an aggressive dog in your care since they make sure to only rescue dogs who have a balanced temperament. This is ultimately reassuring especially for those who have kids at home.

Apart from rescuing and rehoming, Labs4Rescue also works to promote responsible pet ownership. They offer different materials such as brochures and articles to educate Labrador fanciers. Similarly, they also stage events regarding this topic.

Labs4Rescue Information and Details:

  • Website: Labs4Rescue
  • Address: Labs4rescue, Inc., P.O. Box 955, Killingworth, CT, 06419

7. American Lab Rescue (ALR) – Connecticut

ALR is another Lab rescue run by volunteers devoted to the breed and seeking new homes for unwanted dogs.

They aren’t a big organization and most of their staff have full-time jobs, but they are able to connect a good number of Labrador Retrievers and their mixes to responsible pet owners.

Since ALR is a non-profit organization, they also collect an adoption fee to finance the dogs in their facility. This fee is non-negotiable and regardless of the pup’s condition.

Usually, this covers the dog’s pull fees, boarding and transport, deworming, spaying/neutering, heartworm tests, and flea prevention medication.

If you aren’t that up for adoption, you can also choose to sponsor a dog that can cover its expenses and vet bills. You can just visit the dog from time to time in their facility to see if they are thriving well.

American Lab Rescue Information and Details:

8. Brookline Lab Rescue (BLR) – Pennsylvania

In 1997, there was only one BLR volunteer who was dedicated to saving Labradors in multiple locations in the United States. Right now, they already have 100 volunteers and can find foster parents for about a hundred dogs yearly.

Initially, BLR volunteers work closely with different local shelters and evaluate the dogs that can become a Brookline rescue. They also allow owner surrenders, so their dogs really come from different backgrounds.

Their adoption process is composed of 10 steps and they are the following:

  • Step 1: Check out their coverage area on their website.
  • Step 2: File an online application or mail one to them.
  • Step 3: They will schedule a home visit to assess your readiness to own a dog.
  • Step 4: They will ask for a veterinarian reference.
  • Step 5: You will be advised if your application is accepted.
  • Step 6: If approved, you will be asked to select a Lab from their facility.
  • Step 7: You will be introduced to the dog.
  • Step 8: You will sign a pre-adoptive agreement and pay the adoption fee.
  • Step 9: You will sign the adoption agreement.
  • Step 10: Once you brought home your pup, they will encourage you to keep in touch.

Brookline Lab Rescue Information and Details:

9. Midwest Labrador Retriever Rescue (MLRR) – Illinois

MLRR focuses on rescuing Labrador Retrievers in the Chicago Metropolitan area. They’ve been rescuing dogs since 1999 so they are already quite experienced in rehabilitating and rehoming.

Once the dogs have been saved, they are placed in foster homes so they can be evaluated by MLRR’s volunteers. During this period, their temperament is observed and the level of training that they needed is assessed.

To adopt a dog from them, you have to read their adoption policies and submit an application for you to be scheduled for a home visit. If you get approved, you will then be contacted to find your “match.”

Their adoption fees vary from puppies, adult and senior Labradors. It’s best to coordinate with them regarding these fees to avoid confusion during the process.

Midwest Labrador Retriever Rescue Information and Details:

10. Fetchin’ Retrievers Rescue (FRR) – California

FRR rescues all types of retrievers including the Labradors. They save every single type of them whether they are young, old, and unwanted. They then work to rehabilitate them before setting them up for adoption.

As of now, they only operate in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties. They provide education among pet owners as well in order to establish responsible pet ownership in them.

If you are considering adopting from FRR, you have to apply from their website and get a schedule for a home visit. Once your application is approved, you will be given time to meet your dog match.

An adoption contract will then be drafted for you to sign, so you can bring your dog home.

Fetchin’ Retrievers Rescue Information and Details:

Another thing that can help you significantly with your dog hunt is reading our ultimate dog adoption guide. This, alongside the Labrador rescue options from our directory, will increase your chances of bringing home the dog you desire.

RECOMMENDED:
The Ultimate Guide to Dog Adoption: Process, What to Ask and Tips to Get Approved

Other Sources for Labrador Retriever Rescues or Shelters for Adoption

Smiling couple palming Labrador dog at Labrador rescue and shelter

If you still haven’t found the Lab for you after scouring the website of the top 10 rescues I listed above, you can check out these websites:

  • Adopt-a-Pet – This organization is formerly known as 1-800-Save-A-Pet.com. They have helped over 21,000 shelters, SPCA’s, rescue groups, humane societies, and pet adoption agencies all over the U.S. For you to use this website in finding a Lab, you first have to register.
  • Petfinder – This is an online database of pets who need a new home. 11,000 adoption organizations and animal shelters from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada also use this as a directory, so you’ll surely find the Labrador Retriever for you.
  • Petango – This is a pet match website that allows you to find a dog that fits the personality you expect. They have already matched 9,610,838 pets to new owners since 2009.
  • The Shelter Pet Project – This is a collaboration between The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, and The Ad Council. All you have to do is visit their website, type your location’s zip code, and the animal you want to adopt for you to be provided with a list.

RECOMMENDED:
Male vs. Female Labrador Retriever: Which Is Better For You?

Why Do People Put Labrador Retrievers up for Adoption or in a Rescue?

As sad as it may sound, many Labrador Retrievers are surrendered to shelters and rescues or posted on adoption websites because of the following reasons:

  • Their owner is moving to another area where they won’t be able to tend to their Lab.
  • The cost of their maintenance is no longer affordable.
  • The owner’s apartment landlord does not allow a pet in the complex.
  • There are already too many pets in their household.
  • The owner has his personal problems to attend to.
  • The owner’s lifestyle prevents him from taking care of his Lab.
  • The dog has many illnesses.
  • The dog bites.

I know the last two reasons sound alarming for someone interested to adopt but to clarify, most rescues will not purposefully give you dogs with these issues.

They make sure that the dogs undergo necessary treatment and behavior modification.

How Much Should It Cost to Adopt a Labrador Retriever?

As compared to buying a Labrador Retriever puppy from a professional breeder which costs $800 to $2,000, dogs from rescues only require you to spend an average of $50 to $500 adoption fee. This is extremely reasonable because this covers a lot of your dog’s expenses.

If you want to learn where your money goes, refer to the table below:

Type of ExpenseAverage Cost
Vet Checkups$50 to $100
Rabies Vaccination$15 to $25
Distemper Vaccination$60
Spaying/Neutering$150 to $300
Heartworm Test$15 to $35
Flea/Tick Treatment$50 to $200
Deworming$20 to $50
Microchip$50
Collar and ID Tag$5 to $10
Total Adoption Fee$415 to $830

As shown on the table above, the normal costs of your Lab’s maintenance while they are in the rescue facility are most of the time more expensive than what is asked of you for the adoption fee.

The organization can waive some of the fees especially if the dog is old or doesn’t undergo some of the things I’ve mentioned because their former owner already provided them with it.

Is It Difficult to Adopt a Labrador Retriever From a Rescue?

Woman playing with rescue Labrador in the snow

There are a lot of Labrador Retrievers that can be found in various rescues, but the question is, will your adoption application get approved?

The answer would generally depend on two main factors: your readiness to be a pet owner and the adoption process of the organization you chose.

Some Lab rescue organizations are stricter in implementing their policies since they really prioritize the welfare of their dogs. They would do home visits, conduct interviews, and ask for references to ensure that you are a suitable adopter.

If they find something about your home or environment that is not adhering to their requirements, your application may be rejected.

Similarly, if you aren’t really ready for pet-owning, it will manifest. Your lifestyle is one of the many deal breakers because rescue organizations want their adopters to devote more time to their pets.

Apart from these two factors, most Lab rescues also look at the situation of your housemates. If they have allergies, chances are, your adoption application won’t be successful. As much as these groups want to rehome their dogs, they would not want to risk the health of humans in the process.

5 Tips for Getting Approved By a Rescue to Adopt a Labrador Retriever

Acing a dog adoption application and passing multiple screenings is not an easy feat. Many people feel like they’ve won some sort of lottery because most rescues are strict in implementing the rules of their organization.

For you to successfully bring home a lab, you need to take note of the following tips.

  • Be an expert in Labrador Retrievers. You can do this by researching everything about the breed and talking to some owners. This will give you more idea about their temperament and overall disposition.
  • Provide your detailed information. When asked for your information, be very transparent. This will make the evaluator feel that you are interested in owning the dog.
  • Build a fence. After submitting your application, you will be scheduled for a home visit. It would be great if the assessor or evaluator will see that your yard is fenced so that the dog wouldn’t be able to escape.
  • Ask the rescue staff a lot of questions. Asking the rescue staff a lot of questions about the breed will also count as an effort in your scoresheet. Possible questions are about how long the dog is in the facility, its temperament and health issues, or whether it is spayed or neutered?
  • Visit the Labrador in the rescue facility. Visiting the dog in the facility where it is being fostered will not only give you a chance to observe them but will also show the staff that you can make time for the dog. Plus points for you!

Note that these tips will work on a case to case basis. Of course, every rescue organization is different. Make sure that you have read their policies so you won’t have any difficulty adopting a Lab.

Final Thoughts: Which Labrador Retriever Rescue Is Right for You?

Adopting a Labrador Retriever from a rescue organization is not only a noble act but also a very practical one. Dogs from rescues are cheaper than the puppies purchased from breeders so you’ll be able to allot money for your dog’s care and maintenance.

In terms of choosing a rescue, it would definitely be trial and error. Of course, there will be times that your application will get denied, but you should still keep on finding the perfect rescue organization and the best dog for you.

While you’re waiting for the right Lab to serve as your companion, use your time to research about them and learn some training techniques so they can transition from the facility to your home without the extra hassle.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

Recent Posts