Last Updated on August 26, 2021
Labradors are energetic, loving companion dogs that are extremely smart and versatile. But are Labrador Retrievers hypoallergenic? If you have allergies or asthma, it’s worth doing some research before choosing the right dog for you.
Unfortunately, Labs are not hypoallergenic. They are heavy shedders that have a thick coat that does make them great for water and outdoor activities, but not so great for allergies.
Are Labrador Retrievers Hypoallergenic?
In short, no, Labradors are in no way hypoallergenic. Not only are they heavy shedders of fur, but they also release a huge amount of dander.
As sad as it may be, a Labrador is not a good choice, if you’re allergic to dogs. Before we get into the ins and outs of the Labrador Retriever and the Labrador coat, let’s talk about what the word hypoallergenic really means.
What Hypoallergenic Truly Is:
Don’t shoot the messenger, but there’s honestly no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog breed. Even hairless breeds can trigger allergies.
Hypoallergenic simply means “less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.” It’s not 100% guaranteed that you will never sneeze around a hypoallergenic dog breed. Instead, it’s likely a dog that had a wiry coat, doesn’t shed much, or has curls so tight, it locks allergens right in the coat.
Some hypoallergenic dog breeds include:
- Bichon Frise
- Maltese Terriers
A Bit About Labrador Retrievers
As mentioned, Labradors are a highly favored breed by families because of their loving nature and fondness for children. They are commonly used as service dogs as well because they are extremely intelligent and highly trainable dogs that are very eager to please and determined when they’re on the job.
But, these dogs weren’t always known as service dogs. Let’s look at where the Labrador Retriever comes from and what they were originally bred for.
These heavy shedding dogs are made for the outdoors, the Canadian outdoors to be exact. The breed originated in Newfoundland and Labrador, hence their name. Originally, they were used by fishers, and hunters as working dogs for hunting and, well, retrieving.
You see, much like the Golden Retriever, the Labrador Retriever also has a “soft mouth”, which means that they carry things much more softly than dogs like a Doberman or even a Terrier.
You’ll also notice that the back of their mouths has thicker gums, which act as padding when they’re carrying ducks, rabbits, and many other small game animals back to their owners.
Eventually, they caught the eye of many wealthy British folks, which led to a whole other breed variant stemming from England. The English version is a lot slimmer than the stocky North American Version. This is when the Labrador became so popular as a companion animal, as well as a working dog.
How Much Do Labradors Shed?
Labradors Retrievers are infamously heavy shedders. They will lose a small amount of hair steadily throughout the year, but it picks up each season when the temperatures change.
Labradors will drop heavy amounts of fur during this time, which is sometimes called molting. To learn more about how they shed, we need to take a look at how a Lab’s coat works.
The Labrador Coat
The Labrador Retriever has a waterproof coat that sheds throughout the year. Because the breed comes from the East Coast of Canada, they grow a winter coat that is built to withstand almost subarctic temperatures in the winter.
During the summer, a new coat grows to suit a Lab better for hotter temperatures.
Again, the Labrador coat is waterproof for plunging in after waterfowl. They also have webbed feet perfect for swimming and other water activities. If you have a lab puppy, you will learn very soon that these dogs love the water.
There are three different colors of both English and American Labrador Retrievers:
- Golden, which actually comes in a lighter and darker variant.
All three colors of the Labrador Retriever have the same coat length and density. This coat needs to be regularly brushed and maintained to keep your dog looking his best.
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Grooming Requirements For Labradors
As mentioned, Labs are heavy shedders. The Labrador coat sheds hair regularly throughout the year, so you’re going to want to establish a good grooming regimen that includes daily brushing to remove your dog’s coat of loose hair and dander.
You will also have to bathe your lab monthly to keep their skin clean and healthy.
Of course, you can bathe them more often. For example, you will have to regularly hose your dog down if he goes for a daily romp in the mud. But make sure not to use too much soap, as Labs are prone to dry skin and dandruff.
Plus, they have to retain a certain amount of oil for their coat to stay waterproof. If your lab does have sensitive skin or other issues, try using a clarifying or moisturizing shampoo to keep your lab free of flakes and skin problems.
The last, and most important part of grooming the Labrador coat is de-shedding. During the spring and the fall, you will have to use a shedding rake or brush to help your dog drop the loose fur, in order to grow his new coat.
Conclusion – Are Labrador Retrievers Hypoallergenic?
If you’re looking to add a new fur baby to your home, a Labrador Retriever is a great choice. Their very outgoing family dogs and even more talented working dogs.
However, if you have allergies to dog hair or dander, a Labrador may not be the best choice. They are heavy shedders and, in this case, you might want to check out the Best and Worst Breeds for Allergies and Asthma.
However, if you don’t have allergies, or you’re willing to take allergy pills or live with a chronic runny nose, you’ll be getting one of the smartest and most loving dogs. They may be heavy shedders, but they are easily trained, and also love to make their paw-rents happy!