Last Updated on January 20, 2022 by Griselda M.
Labrador Retrievers are an incredibly popular and common pet. Does this translate to an affordable price, however? Let’s go over how much do Labrador Retrievers cost to buy or adopt. Also – which should you choose, where should you buy or adopt your puppy from, does the color of the dog matter, and more.
How Much Do Labrador Retrievers Cost?
Labs are neither particularly expensive nor exactly cheap dogs. They are easy to find, yes, but the ample supply isn’t the only thing that affects the dog’s price. The main factors that go into the calculation are how difficult is to breed, nurture, look after, house, and train the pup is for the breeder.
Also, let’s not forget that labs aren’t just bred for pets but also as hunting, service, and guide dogs. This puts a significant emphasis on the breeders to raise healthy and well-adjusted puppies.
So, no matter how common these dogs are, their price isn’t or shouldn’t be that low. This is why you’ll usually find purebred lab puppies costing somewhere between $400 and $1,500 or $800 to $1,200 as an average. Given what phenomenal breed labs are, this isn’t actually that high of a cost – many other breeds can cost as much as $2,000+ or even $3,000+.
Labrador dog price in pet stores and puppy mills
When we talk about dog prices, it’s worth noting how much those can vary based on the seller. Pet stores and the puppy mills behind them, for example, are incredibly popular and usually offer very low prices.
However, they are also notorious for breeding their dogs indiscriminately without accounting for hereditary diseases and other genetic problems. They also don’t take nearly good enough care for their pups and routinely violate international rules for humane pet care.
All this is why their prices are significantly lower than the average. And it’s also why we don’t recommend shopping from pet stores and puppy mills.
How much is a lab puppy from a reputable breeder?
Adequate dog breeders are the exact opposite of a puppy mill. They do their best to breed out harmful hereditary conditions and they take the best possible care for their pups. Even training and health certificates are included when a breeder is truly reputable.
This can lead to high prices, of course, often even above the $1,200 average. However, given that you’d be getting a healthy pup, most would say it’s worth it.
Cost of a Labrador puppy in shelters and rescues
We usually expect shelters and rescues to offer dogs for adoption for free. And that is indeed often the case, especially with an adult, senior, and sick dogs or when the shelter is just overflowing. Often you can expect a price tag for shelter dogs too, however. That’s perfectly normal as, even though they are non-profits, shelters do need to cover their operating costs and donations are usually not enough.
What you get for that price tag, however, is a better-taken-care-of dog as well as detailed medical information. This is quite invaluable and well worth the couple or a few hundred bucks price tag.
How Much Do Labrador Retrievers Cost Based On The Color?
The price variation based on color is usually slight but not non-existing. The main problem here, however, is that there are a lot of contradicting reports and price listings when it comes to the different lab colors.
Many experts and breeders claim that black lab pups are pricier than brown and yellow ones. The reasoning is that black labs are usually used as hunting companions rather than just pets so there’s supposedly more effort going into their breeding and raising. And, indeed, there are some significantly higher prices for black labs by breeders specializing in hunting dogs.
On the other hand, many breeders maintain that yellow labs are the most expensive ones because they are often bred as guide and service dogs. This also necessitates more purposeful breeding and raising, hence a higher price.
Chocolate labs are usually the odd ones out. That’s because they are very rarely used as hunting or guide dogs and are usually bred as family pets. The reason behind this “stigma” and “discrimination” is complex and arguably undeserved but the end result is that brown labs are usually more affordable.
The much rarer lab variations such as silver or charcoal are quite pricier than the three standard lab colors, of course. With those, you can often expect a price tag north of $1,500 or even higher.
Does A Lab’s Price Tell You Anything About The Dog’s Health?
Typically, price and health are supposed to be unrelated factors. After all, even puppy mills claim that their pups are perfectly healthy. The price is supposed to be dictated by supply & demand as well as the care and expenses that have gone into the pup.
However, the sad reality is that pet stores and puppy mills take such pure care for the breeding and upbringing of their pups that the lower cost usually comes with quite a few health issues. These will normally include?
- Hip dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
- Central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA)
- Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
Avoiding these and other health problems starts by choosing an adequate dog breeder. Such breeders will give you a health certificate with the pup as well as health certificates for its parents. They should also give you access to the pup’s whole litter and the parents themselves so you can meet them for yourself and assess their health.
This luxury will usually bump up the pup’s price by a few hundred bucks. However, it will also save you thousands and potentially tens of thousands of dollars in health expenses down the line.
How Much Do Purebred Labrador Retrievers Cost And Is The Price Worth It?
A purebred lab from a reputable breeder will typically cost over $1,000. Lower prices are possible but you should be wary of puppy mills. If you adopt you can also expect a significantly lower price which is fine, as long as the dog is fine.
All in all, we’d say that – unless you’re adopting – it’s always worth it to get your dog from an adequate breeder.
Read more about 20 Reasons Not To Get A Labrador Retriever.