The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the United States for many years. We love this kind, gentle, and loving dog…but like any purebred dog, the Lab does have some inherited health issues that all owners should know about.
A recent study of Labs in the UK took a look at the most common health and well-being issues of this popular dog. What are the key findings?
61.6% of all Labs in the study had at least one known health disorder. Here are the most common:
- Otitis externa (ear canal inflammation and infection)
- Obesity (particularly among neutered males)
- Degenerative joint disease (hip and elbow dysplasia)
Interestingly, some of the conditions were found to be more closely associated with coat color than others. For example, chocolate colored Labs were more likely to have both otitis externa and a skin condition called pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots).
The average lifespan of all Labs is around 12 years, but chocolate Labs had shorter lifespans. The two most common causes of death in Labs are musculoskeletal disorders and cancer.
The researchers suspect that the link between chocolate color and illness/mortality might be due to an increased number of genetic diseases contained in a more limited gene pool.
If you’re interested in a Labrador Retriever as your next pet, be sure to work only with a reputable breeder (or rescue organization) who health tests their dogs for inherited health problems.
For more information on health testing, check out the website of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.