Since 1991, the Labrador Retriever has held the top spot as the most popular dog breed for 31 years straight, increasing both its market demand and cost.
If you are interested as well in owning this very mild-mannered, intelligent, and versatile breed, know that the Labrador Retriever price needs a bit of financial preparation.
This article will help you with everything you need to know about the Labrador Retriever cost. This includes the initial and annual expenses of maintaining one, places to find reputable breeders, and some money-saving tips.
How Much Does a Labrador Retriever Puppy Cost?
In general, pet-quality Labrador Retriever puppies from reputable breeders cost anywhere around $600 to $2,000, while show-type Labrador puppies from the best bloodlines may cost upwards of $2,500.
In terms of colors, a black Lab is the most common and is relatively cheaper compared to the other standard colors. Meanwhile, a chocolate Labrador is the rarest due to its recessive genes and comes at a higher price.
The highest-priced color, however, is the yellow Lab, as it was preferred before by aristocratic hunters and has since then been associated with wealth and status. However, all of these are still influenced by the Labrador’s bloodlines.
Also, expect that Labrador Retriever puppies coming from highly reputable breeders may not come cheap. However, you can be assured that you get the highest quality Labradors that conform to the breed’s standards.
Further, some reputable breeders may also provide puppy training classes before rehoming the dog upon the request of the new owner. This may add another $1,000 to $1,500 to the average price of the Labrador puppy.
How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Labrador From a Shelter?
Adoption is another way to acquire a Labrador Retriever that is also looking for a permanent home. You can explore this option for only $200 to $600 from a legitimate animal shelter or rescue organization.
The adoption cost is primarily influenced by the dog’s age, so expect an older dog to have a lower adoption cost compared to puppies. Other factors affecting its cost are gender, pedigree, and current health conditions.
First-Time Expenses of Owning a Labrador Retriever
As you bring home your new Labrador Retriever puppy, you need to ensure that it will be comfortable as it settles into its new environment. With this, you need to consider the initial costs of owning this large dog.
If this is your first dog, you need to take note that some of these items should be purchased prior to bringing your dog home. These include those related to its daily upkeep and comfort, like food, bowls, beds, and grooming essentials.
The list below should give you an idea of all the initial expenses of owning a Labrador Retriever puppy:
- Food and Treats: Labrador puppies need high-quality food so that they will get the proper nutrients for their growth and development needs. Further, treats are also critical for their behavioral training. Since Labradors eat a lot, prepare $80 to $150 for their food.
- Bowls: Ceramic or stainless steel bowls that are easy to clean encourage Labrador Retrievers to eat properly during their prescribed meal times. Ensure that the diameter and depth of the bowls are right for your dog. This item can hold you back by $10 to $40.
- Toys: Labrador Retrievers need a lot of mental stimulation for them to achieve their best potential for whatever function they are bred for – as family pets, show dogs, or service dogs. Tug, catch, and chew toys are effective training tools and would cost around $30 to $100.
- Beds: Beds are not just important for the dog’s comfort while they sleep; beds also provide them with their own space for them to feel safe and secure. A large bed that can be used by a Labrador Retriever puppy until it grows to its full size can range between $50 and $300.
- Collars and Leashes: A leash and collar provide you peace of mind as a dog owner. These items will not only prevent your dog from dashing away as you walk it outside but are also effective training tools. Budget around $15 to $50 for a good quality set.
- Crates and Carriers: A crate will serve as a room for your Lab puppy and will help it feel secure in its new environment. Meanwhile, a carrier is essential for transporting your dogs comfortably when you need to bring them somewhere. Prepare around $60 to $500 for a large-sized crate and carrier that has enough space for your dog to move around.
- Grooming Essentials: Even though Labrador Retrievers are low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, they still need regular brushing, which becomes more frequent during the heaviest shedding seasons. Brushes, shampoos, combs, clippers, and other grooming essentials may cost around $50 to $250.
- Initial Vet Visits: Though the Labrador Retriever is a healthy breed, regular vet visits are a must. For about $100 to $500, you will prevent the higher costs of emergency vet bills by identifying and treating illnesses earlier before they get worse.
- Initial Vaccine Shots: Strictly following the vaccination schedule of Labrador puppies will give them enough protection against critical diseases for dogs, such as parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, and kennel cough. A complete set may hold you back by $50 to $300.
- Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications: Medicated shampoos, spot and oral treatments, and sprays are effective tools to prevent parasite infections in dogs. Set aside $40 to $300 to keep your Lab puppies free from worms, ticks, fleas, mites, and all other parasites.
- Neutering or Spaying: A Labrador dog owner without plans to breed their family pet must consider neutering or spaying. These procedures may cost $50 to $500 but can prevent many possible health problems in intact dogs.
- Microchipping: The microchip is a very small electronic device containing all the relevant information about your dog. For $40 to $60, this is implanted under the skin of your Labrador’s back and will significantly help in its retrieval if it gets lost.
- Dog License: A dog license is required by most states within the country. A registration fee of $10 to $20 will get you this unique identification number to help animal control and shelters retrieve your dog if it goes missing.
- Other Essentials: Living with a dog should not necessarily translate to a messy environment, especially if it is potty trained. Hence, investing in cleaning materials, like carpet sanitizers, odor neutralizers, poop scoopers and bags, and training pads, is necessary to keep your surroundings sanitized and healthy. Prepare about $30 to $80 for these materials.
The table below summarizes the first-time expenses as you take home a new Labrador puppy:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Food and Treats||$80 – $150|
|Bowls||$15 – $40|
|Toys||$30 – $100|
|Beds||$50 – $300|
|Collars and Leashes||$15 – $50|
|Crates and Carriers||$60 – $500|
|Grooming Essentials||$50 – $250|
|Initial Vet Visits||$100 – $500|
|Initial Vaccine Shots||$50 – $300|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$40 – $300|
|Neutering or Spaying||$50 – $500|
|Microchipping||$40 – $60|
|Dog License||$10 – $20|
|Other Essentials||$30 – $80|
|Total Initial Cost||$620 – $3,150|
While you have an idea of these ranges, it is always smart to research first and check the different prices offered by pet stores and veterinarians so you get the best deal out of your hard-earned money.
Annual Cost of Owning a Labrador Retriever
As your Labrador puppy grows older, the next thing you need to plan for is the yearly cost of keeping your dog physically and mentally healthy.
Below is a summary of the annual costs of owning a Labrador Retriever:
|Type of Expense||Yearly Estimate|
|Food and Treats||$900 – $1,500|
|Routine Veterinary Care||$200 – $600|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$150 – $500|
|Vaccinations||$100 – $250|
|Grooming Essentials||$200 – $600|
|Leashes and Collars||$50 – $100|
|Beds and Crates||$300 – $800|
|Toys||$100 – $300|
|Pet Insurance||$800 – $1,500|
|Other Essentials||$50 – $100|
|Yearly Total||$2,850 – $6,250|
|Average Monthly Cost||$237 – $520|
Although the yearly total of taking care of your Lab dog may appear a bit high, it becomes more manageable if you break it down into monthly expenses.
Further, the lifetime cost of owning a Labrador Retriever, from its puppy moments all the way to its senior years, is small compared to the fulfillment and happiness that this dog breed can bring your family.
Other Potential Expenses to Consider
You may have done well by setting aside a budget for the initial puppy price, the first-time expenses, and the annual upkeep costs, but have you considered allocating for emergencies or unforeseen events?
This can create a dent in your finances if these occurrences are not considered accordingly. Hence, to keep these expenses under control, it is good to familiarize ourselves first with these situations.
Hence, here is a list of other possible expenses you need to be aware of when raising Labrador Retrievers:
- Emergency Medical Expenses: It is always a smart idea to set aside about $1,000 to $5,000 for medical emergencies for your Lab puppy, regardless if it has pet insurance or not. It is hard to predict what possible illnesses or accidents your dog might get into and if it might be covered by the conditions in your insurance.
- Dog Walking: Dog walking is an activity that may be passed on to a professional dog walker in instances where dog owners might be unable to do this task themselves. This service costs about $15 to $40 for a 30-minute walking session.
- Pet Boarding: If you have a planned business or vacation trip and you need to be out for a certain number of days, leaving your Labrador puppy in a doggy daycare can be the solution. For $20 to $50 per day, boarding kennels will be responsible for all your dog’s needs.
- Pet Fees/Deposits/Rent: Living in a rented space exposes the tenant to a lot of different fees for its pet. A pet fee is the admission fee for your dog to live in your apartment, while a pet deposit acts as the landlord’s security for any damages that may be caused by your pet. These costs around $100 to $500. On the other hand, pet rent can range between $10 and $100 and is a monthly fee for your dog to stay in your area.
- Grooming Services: If you are not used to grooming your dog or are too busy to do it yourself, you may need to allocate $40 to $60 for a full professional grooming session. This may include bathing, trimming, nail cutting, and ear cleaning.
This list is just a sample of situations that will get you to spend outside of the regular expenses. However, as you continue raising your Labrador puppy, you may discover more of these that you must include in your budget.
Best Places to Find Labrador Puppies for Sale and Adoption
With the popularity of this dog breed, it is easy to find a reputable Labrador Retriever breeder where you can get healthy, well-behaved, and functional Labrador puppies.
Further, as you search for the best dog, make sure you deal only with a legitimate dog breeder. Avoid contacting puppy mills that breed dogs using unethical practices at all costs.
To get you started, here are some of the best and safest sources of Labrador Retriever puppies:
- AKC Marketplace – Being the country’s premiere organization that regulates the standards for all its recognized dog breeds, expect the AKC Marketplace to feature only breeders that conform to the breed standards. You can filter your search if you are specifically looking for a black, yellow, or chocolate Lab.
- The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. (LRC) – The LRC is the parent club of the AKC for the Labrador Retriever. This is a guarantee that you are dealing with breeders who have the goal of preserving and improving the breed’s standards. They mostly promote puppies from a championship bloodline and are certified free from genetic illnesses.
- Good Dog – Good Dog implements high standards for breeders who wish to advertise on their site. This assures you that Labrador puppies from them are bred out of ethical breeding practices. Further, their site contains all the necessary details about both the dog and the breeder, which helps the buyer reach an informed decision.
Another option for securing a Labrador is through adoption.
Having volunteered for different rescue organizations and animal shelters, I have seen many abandoned Labradors being surrendered due to financial hardship or change in life circumstances. I have also seen how serious these centers are in the treatment and rehabilitation of these dogs.
We coordinate closely with veterinarians, trainers, and handlers to ensure that these dogs are given the proper physical and mental stimulation before they are rehomed to their new and permanent homes.
Here are some rescue organizations from where you can adopt a Labrador puppy:
- Labrador Retriever Rescue (LRR) – Created in 1993, LRR is an all-volunteer group based in Washington, D.C., but operates in the entire mid-Atlantic region. They do not hold any public adoption events with the thought that matching dogs to new homes should not be a hasty one and will need time for a thorough evaluation. LRR has already successfully placed Labs for a wide variety of functions.
- West Coast Labrador Retriever Rescue (WCLRR) – WCLRR is committed to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming Labradors and all other dog breeds of the retriever family. This all-volunteer rescue operates mainly in the Southern California area.
- Labs4Rescue – Rehoming about 15,000 Labradors since 2002 and earning the Seal of Excellence from America’s Best Charities, Labs4Rescue has indeed earned its credibility in the rescue of displaced Labrador Retrievers and their mixes.
The adoption fee for a Lab puppy costs much less than buying one from a reputable breeder. However, take note that the ongoing expenses for the maintenance of the dog remain the same.
Money-Saving Tips for Labrador Retriever Owners
As you juggle the day-to-day budget for taking care of your Labrador Retriever, you can also implement some strategies to minimize your expenses without sacrificing the overall well-being of your dog.
Here are some ways to save money for Labrador Retriever owners:
- Buy dog food in bulk. Dog food is the biggest maintenance expense for any dog owner. Hence, you may want to purchase dog food in bulk or in large packages, which are usually priced lower. Some pet stores also give additional dog food when you purchase a certain amount.
- Invest in high-quality items. Buying items made of top-grade materials can prevent the additional costs of having to repurchase cheap items that can be easily destroyed by your Labrador puppy.
- Train your Labrador at home. The average price of Labrador puppies that are trained before being rehomed is much higher. However, these dogs do not require professional training. It is then more practical to do your own training at home, like basic obedience, leash, and crate training. Online resources on training Labrador Retrievers are available to help you with this.
- Groom your Labrador at home. Even with its double coat, it is easier to groom a Labrador Retriever compared to other dogs. Aside from brushing its coat, watching videos online can help you get used to clipping your dog’s nails, cleaning its ears, and brushing its teeth.
These are just a few examples, and there are definitely other methods of cutting other costs involved in raising Labrador Retriever puppies that you may discover.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Labradors So Expensive?
The average cost of Labrador puppies is relatively higher compared to other common dog breeds due to its market demand, driven by its undisputed popularity in the United States.
The Labrador is also very versatile and can be used as a working, hunting, family, show, rescue, or service dog.
Along with its gorgeous looks and friendly nature, even with other animals and young kids, a reputable breeder can charge a high amount for it.
Is Labrador High Maintenance?
There are differing opinions on the topic of the maintenance costs of a Labrador Retriever.
In terms of the average cost of its upkeep, it is indeed high-maintenance, considering the feeding, environment, and health care required for large dogs.
However, when it comes to handling and grooming, they can be regarded as low-maintenance in terms of the effort required to keep these dogs well-behaved and well-groomed.
Are White Labs Expensive?
A white Lab is a very pale version of the yellow Labrador, giving it an appearance that is very close to white. It is very rare and fetches a high demand. Therefore, white Labs are quite expensive, costing around $1,000 to $3,000.
Before getting this amazing dog, potential owners should consider their puppy prices, first-time and yearly maintenance costs, as well as other potential costs.
Once ready, always be diligent in selecting the best breeder that can give you not just a healthy Labrador puppy but one that fits your purpose for owning one.
Further, always be financially practical in raising your dog. This way, you can enjoy living with your Labrador frugally without sacrificing its quality of life.
What do you think about Labrador’s price and its upkeep costs? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!