What Is The Oldest A Labrador Can Live?

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Key Takeaways

  • The average Labrador retriever lifespan is 10-12 years.
  • Taking care of your Lab and bringing them to the vet can increase your dog’s lifespan.
  • Stay up to date with vaccinations to increase how long your Labrador can live.
  • Always follow the parasite prevention plan recommended by your vet.
  • Make sure your Labrador retriever follows a healthy diet and gets regular exercise.  

We want our beloved Labradors to be around as long as possible. How long can a Lab live, and what can you do to help them have a longer lifespan?

Labrador retrievers usually live from 10 to 12 years. The oldest Labrador known to Guinness World Records was 27 years old, so it is possible your Labrador’s lifespan will be longer than 12 years. There are habits and treatments you can use to help your Lab live as long as possible.

After my Lab mixes died at 10 and 11 years old, I became determined to have my next dogs live longer. With advice from my dog’s veterinarian and research on other vet sites, I have put together this guide to help people like you get as many healthy years as possible from their loving Labrador.

In this article

What Is the Oldest a Labrador Can Live

A Labrador retriever usually lives 10 to 12 years, but there are hereditary diseases, parasites, and other illnesses that can cause them to live less than 10 years. Likewise, if your Lab stays healthy, they can live for over 12 years.

The oldest dog ever recorded happened in 2023 when a dog from Portugal lived to be almost 30 years old. The oldest known Labrador lived almost that long at 27 years old.

My two dogs, both were a black Lab mix, died in the normal age range. They each died from a common Labrador retriever digestive disease - one from Gastric Dilation (GDV) and one from liver disease.

How Does a Labrador Lifespan Compare to Other Dogs

You may be wondering how an average Labrador lifespan compares to other dogs. In general, smaller dogs live longer than bigger dogs. A small dog can live around 15 years, and large dogs usually live around 10 years.

Compared to other bigger dogs like the Standard Poodle and the Border Collie, the Labrador retriever’s lifespan is a little low. Unfortunately, chocolate Labradors usually have a shorter lifespan than a yellow Labrador or a black Labrador. This is because they have more hereditary diseases than the other types of Labs.

Average Lifespans
Average Lifespans

Diseases That Are Common a Labrador Retriever

All dogs are prone to health problems, but let’s look at the diseases that are common in Labs. We will also look at ways that you can help your Labrador retriever avoid these diseases and live a long, healthy life.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus

This disease is also known as GDV or Bloat. Dogs that have a large, barrel chest are more prone to this disease. While this disease doesn’t affect only Labs, it does affect Labs more often. This is where the stomach starts to twist in on itself.

After the twisting starts, the intestines start to be pulled into the chest cavity. Pockets of gas start to cause bloating, and parts of the stomach and intestines lose blood flow.

This disease can result in death in as little as 30 minutes. Signs of GDV are bloating, vomiting blood, retching, bad breath, and pain.

The following are ways you can help prevent Bloat:

  • Feed two or more small meals instead of one large meal
  • Help your dog maintain a healthy weight - not too thin, and not too fat
  • Fearful and anxious Labrador retrievers need to be treated
  • Never feed dry food - moisten dry food with gravy or bouillon (My vet recommends dry food mixed with wet food.

Liver Problems in Labrador Retrievers

There are two liver diseases that are common and can affect how long Labradors live. One is called portosystemic shunt and the other is called chronic liver disease.

Portosystemic Shunt

Also known as PSS, this is a birth defect where the blood flow that should go to the liver goes around it instead. Symptoms of this disease are stunted growth and seizures.

If you have a Labrador retriever puppy, it is important to follow up with all veterinarian visits. PSS can be treated with surgery or medication before it becomes serious.

Chronic Liver Disease

Also known as hepatitis, this disease begins as your Lab goes into middle age. Signs of liver disease are unusual bruising, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Regular vet visits are important for your Labrador retriever. If caught early, this disease can be managed with medication and a special diet.

Bleeding Disorders in a Lab

The Labrador breed is prone to a bleeding disorder called hemophilia. This disease keeps blood from clotting properly. If your Lab has this, they could die from blood loss due to injury or surgery.

Hemophilia can only be treated with medication. It is important your Labrador retriever puppy is tested for this at a young age.

Hemolytic Anemia and Thrombocytopenia

These two diseases are rare, but Labradors are more prone to have them. These can definitely affect the Labrador lifespan.

These two diseases cause your dog’s immune system to malfunction. When that happens, the immune system starts attacking the Labrador’s red blood cells. Signs include white or yellow gums, weakness, tiredness, and anemia.

If your Labrador shows the above signs, bring them to the vet immediately. This disease can be treated with medication.

Bone and Joint Problems in Labs

Like other large dogs, Labrador retrievers are prone to bone and joint issues. These are also known as musculoskeletal diseases and are the reason chocolate Labradors have a lower lifespan than yellow Labs and black Labs.

Your Labrador is prone to hip dysplasia, elbow problems, and arthritis. To help prevent these, make sure your Lab stays at a healthy weight. A Labrador retriever that is overweight is more at risk for these diseases.

If your dog does develop any of these illnesses, your veterinarian can treat them with medication or surgery. This is another reason it is important your Labrador retriever has regular vet visits.

Parasites and Vaccinations in Your Lab

The last thing we will touch on is vaccinations and parasites in your Labrador retriever. Keeping up to date with vaccinations and treating your Lab for parasites is one of the best ways to help your Lab live as long as possible.

Your veterinarian will help you create your Lab’s vaccination and parasite treatment schedule. These are the common ways to treat parasites in your Labrador Retriever.

  • Give heartworm medicine as directed (every month or every three months depending on the brand)
  • Treat your dog for fleas and ticks as directed (every month or every three months depending on the brand)
  • Treat intestinal worms as directed by your Labrador's vet.

Ways to Increase Your Labrador Retriever’s Lifespan

Now that we have seen some of the reasons your Labrador can have a shortened lifespan, let's recap the ways you can help your Lab have a healthy, long life.

  • If you have Labrador puppies, bring them to the vet as soon as possible for a checkup.
  • Always get your Labrador puppies from a reputable breeder.
  • Always attend the regular checkups scheduled by your Lab’s vet.
  • If your Labrador retriever is ill, bring them to the vet as soon as possible.
  • Make sure your Lab maintains a healthy weight - not too skinny and not too fat.
  • Labrador retrievers should have 2-3 small meals a day - not one large meal.
  • Feed your Lab a healthy diet.
  • Make sure your Labrador retriever is on heartworm medicine and wormed as directed.


Mark Brunson

Mark Brunson

Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.

Read more about Mark Brunson