People are becoming more and more interested in crossbreed dogs. They can often be much healthier, inheriting the best parts of both parent breeds. So let's take a look at one of the most popular mixed breeds: the Labrador cross
A quick history of the Labrador
The Labrador was first bred as a working dog. Historically, Labrador worked as fishermen helpers. They hauled nets, fetched ropes, and even caught fish themselves. Todays Labradors have it a little easier and are more known for being friendly and sociable family dogs. But some still retain that old work ethic. Labradors make excellent guide dogs, assistance dogs, and even therapy dogs. Given their gentle personalities and natural intelligence, it's unsurprising that breeders and owners started cross-breeding the labrador.
Common types of labrador crossbreeds
There are dozens and dozens of different labrador crossbreeds, and each one has their own distinct personality and looks. But here's a list of some of the more common mixes:
- Labrador + Cocker Spaniel = Spanador
- Labrador + Staffordshire Terrier mix = Labrastaf
- Labrador + Basset Hound = Bassador
- Labrador + Beagle = Labbe
- Labrador + Bernese Mountain Dog = Labernese
- Labrador + Border Collie = Borador
- Labrador + Boston Terrier = Boston Lab
- Labrador + Boxer = Boxador
- Labrador + Bullmastiff = Bullmasador
Labrador crossbreed personality
Labradors are sociable, loyal, and very affectionate. In the majority of cases, these positive characteristics will be passed onto the crossbreed. However, as with any kind of breed, early socialisation and training are crucial to the development of a happy dog.
With any crossbreed, it's also a good idea to see if you can meet the parents of the pup you're thinking of adopting. This might not always be possible, but spending just a few minutes with the mother can give a good indication of a puppy's personality. In other words, if mum looks happy and friendly, then the chances of adopting a puppy with the same traits vastly improves.
How big are labrador crossbreeds?
Much will depend on the size of the second dog in the crossbred. Generally speaking, pure breed Labradors grow to about 24 inches, and a full grown male can weigh up to 80 pounds. But throw another dog into the mix and anything could happen! You will even see massive variation in each of the individual labrador crossbreeds. For example, mixing a labrador with a short-legged dog, such as a basset hound, can create a crossbred with either very long legs or very shorts legs. You'll with even see these kinds of difference within the same litter of labrador crossbreed puppies.
If the size of the dog is very important to you, you might prefer a purebred instead. Alternatively, you could adopt an older labrador crossbreed. They usually stop growing after 18 months or so.
What are the best types of labrador crossbreeds?
Like many things in life, this is a matter of opinion and suitability. A better question would be: what's the best type of Labrador crossbreed for me? Prospective owners looking for an active, outdoor breed, are likely to prefer something like the Labrador/border collie mix or the Labrador/pointer crossbreed. These combinations of two different types of working dogs will require lots of rigorous exercise and outdoor space. If you live a less outdoor lifestyle, or are limited by space, then you could look at low-maintenance crossbreeds like the Cavador (a labrador/King Charles spaniel mix) or the corgidor (that’s what you get if you add a labrador and a corgi together.)
Labradors crosses are a very versatile breed - just make sure you to take the time to find one that suits your lifestyle.
Common health problems
Pure breed labradors tend to suffer from muscular/skeletal issues like patellar luxation (otherwise know as a dislocated kneecap). Other problems include hip dysplasia, which is a genetic deformity of the hip joint.
Any Labrador cross is at risk of inheriting these issues, as well as those commonly found in the other parent breed.
Given the wide range of crossbreds, a Labrador mix could live anywhere between 8 to 14 years.
How will I know what kind of labrador cross I’m adopting?
You might not, especially if you adopt an older rescue dog. Labrador mix breeds can look very different from their parents. So, if the parentage remains unknown, you've got little to go on except guesswork.
The other option is a doggy DNA test. These can be quite expensive, but they can trace your dog's ancestry as far back as three to four generations.
The labrador crossbreed is a real individual, and the only way to really get to know them is by owning one. Each Labrador cross will come with its own challenges and needs, but, given the right attention and care, they’ll make a loyal and loving lifelong companion.