How much would a Labrador Retriever cost you? Is this popular dog breed a good fit for your home and budget? If these questions are running in your mind right now, you’re lucky to find this article!
Almost everyone is familiar with the Labrador Retriever’s friendly face or has seen this service dog walking with its owner at one point. But do you really know just how much it would cost to raise and keep this pooch?
There are a lot of things to consider before owning a Lab. If you’re interested in this breed and want to know if it’s a good match for your budget, stick around until the end of this guide!
The Average Cost of a Labrador Puppy
A Labrador puppy costs $800 to $1,500 from a reputable breeder but can cost as much as $2,500 depending on their bloodline. Coat color can also impact how much they cost, with the yellow Labrador being the most expensive and the black Lab the least.
Unless you are eyeing a show line puppy, Labrador Retrievers are a relatively inexpensive dog breed. Their price tag falls within most peoples’ budgets, thus making them an attractive option to those looking for a great family pet.
Consistently ranked by the American Kennel Club as the most popular dog breed in the United States, their cost is another nod in the right direction. With a lot of good things going for them, you just can’t go wrong with this woofer!
Despite being an affordable breed, other aspects of its care should also be considered before you decide to bring home a puppy. Remember that taking care of a dog is a lifelong responsibility and not only a one-time expense.
Factors Affecting the Cost of a Labrador Retriever Puppy
Various factors could weigh in on Labrador Retriever prices. Since these dogs are bred and raised differently by one breeder from another, expect that some are likely to be more expensive than others.
Listed below are the common factors that affect the price of a Labrador Retriever puppy:
- Bloodline: Like most dog breeds, a Labrador’s lineage is a major factor that affects its price. Though this has no bearing on their overall ability to be loving companions, purebred puppies coming from a show championship bloodline are bound to be more expensive than a pet quality Lab puppy.
- Breeders’ Reputation: Different breeders have different prices so expect to shell out more if you buy from a reputable Labrador breeder with years of solid experience. Though costly, this is the better and more responsible option than getting a dog from a backyard breeder or puppy mills.
- Registration Papers: The only way to be certain you’re buying a purebred Lab puppy is if it’s registered to kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club or the Labrador Retriever Club. Expect the Labrador Retriever price to increase if you want your puppy to come with this certification.
- Appearance: Labrador Retrievers come in various colors such as red, yellow, black, chocolate, and Dudley, with the yellow Lab usually fetching a higher price than the chocolate or black Lab. They are also classified as the English or the American Labrador, with the latter being the more affordable pooch. English Labs are mainly used as show dogs, whereas American Labradors are for fieldwork; thus, their price difference.
- Age: Like other dogs, age will have some bearing on the Labrador Retriever’s price. Younger dogs will be more expensive, but the upside is that you’ll get to enjoy them in their puppy stage. On the other hand, an older dog will have a calmer disposition and a cheaper price tag but might also come with behavioral issues that would require some fixing.
Mostly, Labrador Retriever puppies trained to be service dogs are significantly more expensive than other types of Labs. A service dog undergoes extensive training, thus some hefty additional costs to its upbringing.
Other factors such as gender and the breeders’ location could also add to the overall Labrador Retriever cost. That said, be sure to ask the breeder detailed questions on what is included in the bill to prevent unexpected charges.
How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Labrador From a Rescue?
Labrador Retrievers usually cost around $300 to $500 to adopt from shelters and rescue organizations. Since they are a popular and fairly common breed, you will surely find some which are up for adoption.
A dog’s age is almost always a factor that influences its price, so if the cost above is still more than your budget, you could consider choosing an older Lab instead. This will shave off a few hundred dollars from the adoption fee.
That said, adoption fees would usually cover the basics such as vaccinations, neutering/spaying, deworming, and vet checkups prior to a dog’s release to its forever home.
However, Labradors do not usually stay long in shelters as they tend to get whisked away by a new family in no time! Their gentle, friendly, and highly intelligent nature is like a beacon to anyone looking for a furry friend.
Initial Cost of Labrador Retriever Ownership
Aside from the initial puppy price itself, you also have to take into account other costs, such as the initial needs of your new canine companion, before taking it home.
In this part of the guide, we will go into the details of what supplies you should prepare for your Labrador Retriever puppy and break down each of the costs for you.
Below is a list of the initial expenses when owning a Labrador Retriever:
- Food and Treats: A few bags of high-quality food are essential when bringing your new Labrador puppy home. A word of caution, though, Labradors eat a lot and are prone to obesity! So better measure those portions and be mindful when giving out treats. Spend around $80 to $120 to stock up on an adequate supply.
- Food and Water Bowls: Invest in sturdy and good-quality feeding bowls for your puppy. It is mostly recommended to buy stainless steel bowls as they last longer and are easier to clean than plastic ones. This will cost you around $10 to $35.
- Bed: A soft and comfortable doggy bed not only gives your Lab puppy a good night’s sleep but also helps prevent health issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia. A good-sized bed for your furry friend will be around $40 to $200.
- Crate: Crate training is essential for Labrador Retriever puppies to have a safe spot to call their own and prevent them from destructive behaviors such as chewing. You can usually buy this for $50 to $500, depending on the size and quality.
- Leashes and Collars: Be ready to have these in hand when picking up your Labrador puppy. A leash and collar are things that you will surely use on an almost daily basis, so better invest in a good set. A quality leash and collar will have an average price of $15 to $50.
- Toys: Labs are an active and playful breed that gets along well with young kids and other animals. As such, toys are a good outlet for all their restless energy and prevent them from getting bored and chewing on the furniture. Spend around $30 to $50 on chew toys for your dog.
- Grooming Essentials: The Labs’ double coats must be brushed daily to lessen the amount of fur they leave around the house. These dogs shed a lot, so regular grooming is needed to keep their fur shiny and healthy. Buying some grooming essentials such as brushes and nail clippers will cost you about $40 to $80.
- Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications: Lab puppies bought from breeders or adopted from shelters are usually dewormed and have received tick and flea medications. However, once you take your dog home, you should prepare a budget of $50 to $200 for the subsequent doses.
- Initial Vet Visits: Though the Labrador Retriever is a generally healthy breed, it is still predisposed to certain diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. As such, vet visits should not be taken for granted, even when your puppy is in tiptop condition. Set aside approximately $100 to $300 for initial trips to the vet.
- Initial Vaccine Shots: Vaccine shots are often given in a puppy’s first year. If your Lab has not yet completed its jabs, then make sure to follow the given schedule and finish all rounds of vaccinations. You will spend an average of $75 to $200 on this.
- Neutering or Spaying: If you have no intention of breeding your Labrador dog, then you should have it neutered or spayed. This also prevents various behavioral and health problems from developing. Be prepared to pay about $50 to $500 for neutering/spaying.
- Dog License: Getting your dog licensed is an excellent way to ensure that it is registered and has a formal record. This will also help in quickly identifying and returning your dog in case it gets lost and picked up by the pound. Shell out $10 to $20 for a license.
- Microchip: Labs are spirited and energetic pooches who love to go for a walk or run. That said, it is very important to have your puppy microchipped in case your pup wanders and gets lost so that you can be identified as the owner. Microchips usually have an average cost of $40 to $60.
- Miscellaneous Supplies: In addition to the above items, your puppy will also need other supplies such as vitamins, poop scoopers, and poop bags, to name a few. Prepare around $15 to $30 for these essentials.
Here is a table with all the initial costs of owning a Labrador puppy:
|Type of Expense
|Food and Treats
|$80 – $120
|Food and Water Bowls
|$10 – $35
|$40 – $200
|$50 – $500
|Leashes and Collars
|$15 – $50
|$30 – $50
|$40 – $180
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications
|$50 – $200
|Initial Vet Visits
|$100 – $300
|Initial Vaccine Shots
|$75 – $200
|Neutering or Spaying
|$50 – $500
|$10 – $20
|$40 – $60
|$15 – $30
|Total Initial Cost
|$605 – $2,445
From the table, you can see that owning a Lab puppy costs approximately $605 to $2,445. This expense is on top of the Labrador price itself and results in quite a considerable sum.
If you are already an experienced dog owner and do not need the other supplies on this list, you can save yourself a few hundred dollars. But if not, you have to make space in your budget for these essentials.
To learn more about these initial costs of owning a Labrador, check out this video:
Annual Cost of Owning a Labrador Retriever
Apart from the initial cost of owning a Labrador Retriever puppy, you should also be prepared for the ongoing expenses when caring for this lovable breed.
Labs will typically live up to 10 to 14 years, meaning you have to be committed to being your dog’s family, friend, and provider for that time as well.
Here’s a rundown of the annual costs of owning a Labrador Retriever:
|Type of Expense
|Food and Treats
|$480 – $1,200
|$25 – $150
|Bed and Crate
|$120 – $500
|Leashes and Collars
|$25 – $50
|$150 – $500
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications
|$150 – $250
|Routine Veterinary Care
|$200 – $400
|$500 – $1,500
|$80 – $250
|$30 – $50
|$1,760 – $4,850
|Average Monthly Cost
|$147 – $404
The cost might seem staggering initially, but it’s not out of the ordinary, especially for large dog breeds.
Since the Labrador could grow to a hefty size, its yearly upkeep still falls within the expected price range of other big dogs.
Always take your puppy to regular vet checkups, even if it looks like the very picture of health. Expect the vet bills to run at around $200 to $400 per year.
Pet insurance is another recurring expense that would cost you an average of $500 to $1,500. This is one of the best investments you’ll make for your pet that can save you a lot of money in the future.
Other Potential Expenses
After spending on the necessities for your Labrador, you might now be thinking about spoiling your puppy a little.
Though these things are not high on the priority list, consider them nice-to-haves once the budget allows. Besides, we all want the best for our four-legged friends, and that alone is reason enough for most of us!
Here is a breakdown of other potential expenses when owning a Labrador Retriever:
- Puppy Training Classes: The Labrador Retriever is an intelligent pooch that doesn’t usually require professional training. However, if you’re a first-time dog owner, it won’t hurt to have some help in getting your puppy potty trained or to learn some basic commands. Expect to spend around $30 to $50 per class.
- Boarding Kennels: This service is a lifesaver for owners who have to travel for days or weeks at a time and cannot bring their dog along with them. Boarding kennels can take care of your Lab for you while you’re away and will cost you about $20 to $30.
- Pet Sitting: If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to a boarding kennel, you can try hiring a pet sitter instead. For an extra fee, you might even find a sitter who is also willing to be a dog walker for your pooch while you’re on that trip. A pet sitter will usually cost around $10 to $20.
- Professional Grooming: As we said earlier, Labrador Retrievers shed a lot, so an afternoon at the groomer will help keep your pooch looking clean and tidy. Expect to pay an average price of $40 to $60 for this.
- Emergency Fund: It might sound ominous, but it’s never a bad idea to set aside an amount in case of any illness or injury. Prepare an emergency fund of around $1,000 and $5,000 for your dog’s health needs.
You can put off spending on these things until the budget allows. However, give some serious thought to investing in an emergency fund, as this would take a big worry off your mind in case of any unexpected trips to the vet.
Places to Find Labrador Puppies for Sale and Adoption
If you’re ready to join the bandwagon and want to have a Labrador Retriever puppy of your own, then the next step is to look for a reputable breeder that can provide you with a happy and healthy puppy.
Though it is tempting to buy a dog from pet stores or backyard breeders because of their low puppy prices, getting Lab puppies from a reputable source is still a more responsible and ethical choice.
Here is a list of responsible breeders where you can find Labrador puppies for sale:
- Rhumbline Retrievers – This New York-based kennel has been breeding quality Labrador Retriever puppies since 1996, and a good number of their dogs have participated in agility, obedience, and hunting tests at the national level. Due to their commitment to only breed dogs of the highest quality, they have limited puppies for sale at a time; thus, expect a long waitlist.
- Stone Haven Labradors – Based in North Central Florida, this AKC-registered breeder has been raising Labrador Retriever puppies for over 42 years and is one of the five master breeders in the United States as per the Quality Breeders Association. All their puppies are tested for genetic disorders such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia.
- Horne’s Labradors – This AKC registered Lab breeder based just outside of Jacksonville, Florida has solid years of experience in producing Labrador Retriever puppies that meet the breed standard. They raise show-quality Labs and have championship bloodline puppies as well.
For a more comprehensive list of reputable Labrador Retriever breeders, take a peek at our 10 best Labrador breeders article.
If you would rather adopt a Lab puppy than buy one, then check these Lab rescues below:
- Lu’s Labs – Founded in 2005, this non-profit rescue organization based in Berlin, Maryland, is run by volunteers and has been rescuing purebred Labs and Lab mixes from high-kill shelters. All their dogs are fostered and given medical care before being turned over to their new family.
- Safe Harbor Lab Rescue (SHLR) – SHLR has been rescuing and rehoming abandoned, abused, and stray Labs since 2002. Based in Colorado and licensed by the Pet Animal Care Facilities, they foster and provide medical care to Labs until they can get adopted.
- American Lab Rescue – This organization makes use of foster homes to rehabilitate and care for their rescued dogs. Their $499 adoption fee covers vaccination shots, spaying/neutering, pull fees, and vet bills. For your adoption application to be approved, they will require a fenced-in yard and will also do a home visit to your place before releasing a dog.
If you still want more options, head over to the AKC’s website for a list of registered breeders. Alternatively, you can also check out our top 10 picks of Labrador Retriever Rescues and our dog adoption guide.
The Labrador Retriever is popular for its great temperament and personality. Unfortunately, most people fail to expect its high energy level as well, which is why some Labs find themselves in animal shelters.
That said, doing your research about the Labrador Retriever before buying or adopting a puppy is necessary to make sure that the Lab is the best dog for you.
Money-Saving Tips for Labrador Retriever Owners
We all want to give our dog the best life possible, and if we can do that without breaking the bank, then even better!
The trick is finding the right balance on which expenses to let go of and which ones to keep. Eventually, with experience, you’ll get a good grasp on what to adjust in your budget without compromising the care you give to your pet.
To help you achieve this, here are some money-saving tips for Labrador Retriever owners:
- DIY dog food and treats. Not only is this a more practical option, but this is also healthier for your dog. Since you’re the one deciding what goes into their food, you can take your pick of veggies and meat to add to their diet.
- Practice your grooming skills. Your Labrador Retriever needs to be regularly groomed unless you want the fur to end up all over your house or hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor. Watch a good tutorial and practice your skills on your pooch. Before you know it, you’ll be just as good as your local groomer!
- Invest in high-quality supplies. You may want to scrimp on supplies such as food and water bowls, but investing in high-quality and durable essentials will save you more money in the long run.
- Be your dog’s trainer. Training Labrador Retrievers is a fairly easy task, even for novice dog owners. A lot of great tutorials can be found on the internet, and being the intelligent dogs that they are, they will learn all their tricks in no time!
- Don’t skip vet visits. It’s tempting to skip going to the vet, especially if your Labrador seems to be in perfect condition. Like pet insurance, regular vet visits will save you from procedures and medications that could cost thousands of dollars later.
Taking care of a dog is a huge financial responsibility, but it doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. By following these tips and spending wisely, your budget will surely be enough to fit all of your dogs’ needs.
Considering all things, the Labrador Retriever price is not overly expensive. Pet quality pups are affordable and budget-friendly to most people who are looking for an intelligent and well-tempered canine companion.
However, like most dogs, their lifetime cost would still require you to spend considerable money. As such, think long and hard about the commitment and financial implications of taking in a dog.
These canines make great family pets, even for those looking for their first dog. So, if your budget is enough to shoulder the price and long-term costs of the Labrador Retriever, then it might just be the pooch for you!
Do you think you’re ready to welcome the wonderful Labrador into your home? Tell us in the comment box below!