Vets share health concerns over the UK’s most popular dog breed – Labrador Retrievers

The UK’s most popular dog breed, the Labrador Retriever, is at “significant risk” of developing at least 12 health conditions, a new study warns.

Scientists at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) looked at health data on the Labrador Retriever compared to several other dog breeds, including Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Shih-tzus, and Cocker Spaniels.

They found that the popular Labrador Retriever, known for its love of human society, was at higher risk of 12 out of 35 problems compared to the other breeds.

Arthritis is the greatest risk for the Labrador Retriever, but it is also threatened by kennel cough, stiffness, obesity and ear infections, the experts found.

Labrador retrievers have a significantly increased risk of arthritis, obesity, and ear infections, but a lower risk of heart murmurs, flea infestations, and dental disease, among others


The Labrador Retriever is known to be friendly and makes a great family companion.

They are good at dealing with neighbor dogs and people alike.

The breed is also an avid athlete who requires plenty of exercise, such as swimming and fetching, to stay physically and mentally fit.

Read more: American Kennel Club

The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular breed of dog in the UK for many years, but until now there has been limited reliable evidence of its general health compared to other dogs, according to the RVC.

To learn more, the researchers compared the health status of a random sample of 1,462 Labrador Retrievers to 20,786 non-Labrador Retrievers.

The most common breeds in the non-Labrador Retriever group were 1,304 Staffordshire Bull Terriers, 1,168 Jack Russell Terriers, 793 Shih-tzus and 771 Cocker Spaniels, and 5,981 crossbreeds.

They compiled a list of the 35 most common conditions in both groups of dogs, including arthritis, ear infections, and obesity.

“Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed of dog in the UK, so they are seen a lot by veterinarians in the field,” said Camilla Pegram, RVC epidemiologist and study author.

“As a result, disorders are often perceived as more common in Labrador Retrievers than in other dog breeds, although this may actually be due to their relative popularity.

“To keep this in mind, we compared the risk in Labrador Retrievers with the risk in all other dogs for a number of common conditions to reliably identify conditions for which they are predisposed or protected.”

The Labrador Retriever (pictured) has been the most popular breed of dog in the UK for many years, but until now there has been little reliable evidence of its general health compared to other dogs

The Labrador Retriever (pictured) has been the most popular breed of dog in the UK for many years, but until now there has been little reliable evidence of its general health compared to other dogs

The results show that compared to other breeds, Labrador Retrievers have an overall higher risk of 12 out of 35 (or 34.3 percent) and a lower risk of seven out of 35 (20 percent) diseases.

For the remaining 16 (45.7 percent) diseases, the researchers found no difference in risk.

Arthritis, lipomas, kennel cough, lacerations, and stiffness were identified as the top five health threats to Labrador Retrievers.

In terms of the least threat to the breed, at the bottom of the pile was a patellar dislocation (a dislocated kneecap) followed by heart murmurs and flea infestations.


Have Labrador Retrievers clearly increased Risk of:

– Arthritis (2.8x risk compared to other races)

– Lipoma (fat mass) (2.5x)

– kennel cough (2.3x)

– laceration (2.2x)

– stiffness (2.1x)

– papilloma (or oral warts) (1.7x)

– Wet dermatitis (1.7x)

– obesity (1.6x)

– lameness (1.6x)

– Postoperative wound (1.6x)

– ear infection (1.5x)

– diarrhea (1.4x)

Have Labrador Retrievers reduced Risk of:

– Patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap) (0.2x)

– heart murmur (0.2x)

– flea infestation (0.2x)

– Preserved milk tooth (0.3x)

– Dental diseases (0.4x)

– aggression (0.4x)

– Anal sac impaction (0.7x)

The study, which was published in Scientific Reports, provides guidance to owners on what health issues to look out for in order to get veterinary advice as soon as possible.

“This data enables us to continue to monitor and improve the health of the breed, and to provide the many responsible breeders with the tools they need to do the same,” said Bill Lambert, Executive Health, Wealth and Breeder Services at the Kennel Club

“It is estimated that there are well over a million Labradors in the UK and while it is important to remember that this study is only a small percentage of those dogs that have seen a veterinarian, it remains a valuable addition too our breed-specific Kennel Club. ” Research base that will protect the health of Labrador now and in the future. ‘

Previous research by the RVC has shown that the Labrador Retriever is the sixth highest-risk breed of obesity out of 18 breeds.

Pictured is an overweight pug that, according to previous research by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), is the dog breed most at risk of obesity.

Pictured is an overweight pug which, according to previous research by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), is the dog breed most at risk of obesity.

The three races most commonly at risk of obesity were the Pug, followed by the Beagle and the Golden Retriever.

Owners of these breeds need to be “extra vigilant” to protect their dogs from becoming overweight, RVC said at the time, by avoiding excessive treats and giving them plenty of exercise.

The Labrador Retriever will benefit from exercises such as swimming and “marathon games” to help them stay physically and mentally fit, according to the American Kennel Club.

Fat people are more than TWICE as likely to have obese dogs because of feeding their pooches with meat treats

A 2019 study found that obese people were more than twice as likely to have obese dogs.

The Danish study authors’ team said this is at least partly because they feed their pets fattening treats.

In their study, the authors claim that this gives credibility to the saying “like the owner, like the dog”.

“The prevalence of heavy or obese dogs is more than twice as high in overweight or obese owners (35 percent) than in owners who are slim or of normal weight (14 percent),” said the researchers from the University of Copenhagen.

Of the 268 dogs examined, 20 percent were found to be overweight.

Ordinary weight owners tend to use treats for exercise purposes, while obese owners prefer to offer treats much more frequently.

The study’s lead author, Charlotte Bjornvad, said, “For example, when a person relaxes on the couch and shares the last bite of a sandwich or cookie with their dog.”

The University of Copenhagen study also showed that neutering tripled the risk of being heavy or obese.

“Castration appears to decrease the ability to regulate appetite in males, and at the same time it could also decrease the incentive to exercise, leading to an increased risk of obesity,” said Professor Bjornvad.

A separate study published earlier this year found that domestic dogs obese from too many treats could cut their lives by more than two years, one study found.

Researchers tracked more than 50,000 dogs of the 12 most popular breeds over two decades to see how their weight affected their health.

They found that every breed, from the Shih Tzu to the Golden Retriever, had shorter lives.

Read more: Obese Dogs Live TWO YEARS Less Than Healthy Dogs

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