Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard
You can see many different prices when looking for a new pup, so it’s worth knowing how much does a black lab cost in pet stores and breeders. With Labrador retrievers being the most popular dog breed in the world, you can find lab puppies literally anywhere. However, they can also come with very different price tags – from free strays in dog shelters to purebred pups with 4-digit price tags.
These differences spark a lot of debate as to what is “the right” price and how much you should pay for a lab puppy. And, with black labs being especially unique and popular, their price can see even more fluctuations.
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How Much Does A Black Lab Cost On Average?
The average price for a black lab is usually cited as $800 to $1,200. This seems mostly true if you look at all the pet stores, puppy mills, and dog breeders out there. However, just looking at this price range doesn’t really tell the whole story.
How much a puppy is going to cost doesn’t depend (just) on whether it’s purebred or not but on who you’re buying from, how diligent they’ve been inbreeding their pups, and so on.
Rescues and Shelters
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for black labs to be found in dog rescues and shelters. These dogs may be extremely popular but they also have a few care needs that many owners are not prepared for and they end up giving up their dogs.
Depending on the shelter or rescue, and depending on the condition of the dog, you can find black labs either for a couple of hundred dollars or even for free. We can’t really read much into this price, however – whether the shelter will give the dog for free or will ask for a minor payment will largely depend on the shelter’s circumstances and needs.
Naturally, whenever you’re getting a dog from a shelter you’d do well to ask for a thorough vet check-up and a health certificate.
Pet Stores and Puppy Mills
This is usually our least recommended place for getting pups and other pets. Pet stores can be very tempting but they also:
- Get their pups from puppy mills which don’t tend to breed dogs responsibly and with their health in mind
- They keep their pets in small and solitary cages for whole days which is tantamount to torture for a young animal
- Pet stores will still charge quite hefty sums for their mistreated and pets despite the lack of health certification
All in all, buying a dog from a pet store usually means getting an unhealthy pup for a large sum of money while supporting an unethical industry.
Getting black labs from professional breeders is usually the most expensive but also the best way to go about it. Reputable breeders spend a lot of time and effort making sure that they breed out genetic deficiencies and problematic predispositions.
Getting a black lab from a reputable breeder usually means a price tag of around $1,700 to $2,500. This is basically twice the average price of pet stores and puppy mills but the guaranteed health is usually worth it.
Other Factors That Can Affect The Black Lab Puppies Price
The main factor that determines how much does a black lab cost aside from its health and who’s selling it is whether it’s purebred. Here we’re talking exclusively about purebred black labs, however, as anything else is a crossbreed and we’ve examined those in separate articles.
Another thing that can affect how much does a lab cost is the presence of certain rare characteristics. Black labs have a very consistent coat color so that rarely chances with the exception of one rare variant – the charcoal Labrador. Like the champagne variation of yellow labs and the chocolate variation of brown labs, charcoal labs owe their color to a specific regressive “D” gene in black labs.
As charcoal Labradors are rarer than black labs, their price tends to be higher too. It’s possible to find a charcoal lab in the low one-thousands but it’s almost always at least $1,000+. As with other rare breeds, it’s always important to ask for a health certificate. This will make sure the pup is properly bred and comes out of a healthy stock.
How Much Does A Black Lab Cost Compared To Other Labradors?
The average price of all three main lab variants – yellow, black, and brown – is usually the same in pet stores and puppy mills and falls between $800 and $1,200. When it comes to reputable breeders, however, black labs tend to be a bit more expensive.
Of the three variations, they are usually preferred by hunters for gundogs. Yellow labs are the classic guide dog choice and brown labs are preferred for pets. So, black labs tend to be judged by a different standard.
Still, the difference isn’t that significant most of the time.
How Much Does A Black Labrador Cost Inform The Pup’s Health?
As with most things in life, quality costs extra. That’s why black labs are more expensive when bought from reputable breeders than from pet stores and puppy mills. What you’re buying with the extra few hundred dollars is a guarantee that the black lab puppy isn’t the product of inbreeding or of parents with certain genetic defects.
That’s why you should always ask for a health certificate of the pup you’re getting. What’s more, you should also demand to see the health certificate of the pup’s parents. Meeting the parents and their litter in person is also strongly recommended. This can help you avoid any of the following issues in your pup:
- Patellar luxation
- Hip dysplasia
- Central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA)
- Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
So, How Much Are Black Labs, and Is The Price Worth It?
Whether you go for a $0-$200 black lab from a shelter, an $800-$1,200 dog from a pet store, or a $1,700-$2,500 black lab from a reputable breeder, the price will be worth it as long as the dog is healthy. Working with good and professional breeders can almost guarantee that while the other options include a significant dose of chance.
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