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Do Labrador Retrievers Shed? Yes, and Here’s How Much

Thinking of adopting a Labrador Retriever but aren't sure what to expect when it comes to their thick double coats? Find out how to manage Lab shedding below.

Last Updated: July 3, 2020 | 6 min read

Labrador Retriever needing Groomed

Do Labrador Retrievers shed their coats? Yes, they absolutely do, and their double coats can shed quite a bit. If you are planning on adopting a Labrador Retriever, you’ll want to understand a bit about double coats. Labs do shed, but it’s not unmanageable.

You’ll want to arm yourself with the understanding of the Lab coat, brushing requirements and what products can help you keep shedding to a minimum. There are several things you can do that will help keep hair under control. Regular grooming is recommended in all double-coated breeds. This includes occasional de-shedding and using an anti-shed shampoo in extreme cases.

Labrador Retrievers can make the perfect pet. They are the most popular breed in the United States for a reason. Like most Labs, mixed-breed Labs can inherit the same coat qualities as their Labrador parent. In the article below, we cover all aspects of Labrador shedding so you can keep your home squeaky clean. Let’s jump in!

Labrador Retriever Coat

The Labrador Retriever has a double-coat.  This means that there’s a top layer of fur and an undercoat. The top layer is genetically grown as a protective layer, while the undercoat is designed to keep the Labrador warm. Between the two, it creates a powerful protective barrier around your Labrador. It also means that depending on where you live, your Lab will likely have two major shedding events where they “blow” their top coat.

Labrador Retrievers come in three primary color combinations. These colors are Yellow, Chocolate, and Black. There are also Red Labradors and Silver Labradors, but these are not accepted show colors.

Black, Yellow and Chocolate Lab Shedding

Black Labrador
Coat color has no impact on grooming needs.

One common question we see is if the Lab’s color combination makes any difference when it comes to their shedding frequency. The answer is no. The Labrador is all the same breed of dog, with the same Genetic Makeup. Even the English and American Labradors are the same breed, even though their appearances vary.

Chocolate Labs, Yellow Labs and Black Labs will all shed the same amount. The only difference will be how much fur you can actually “see.” Typically if you have lighter colored floors, dark hair will be easier to see when it’s on the ground. So if you have dark floors in your home, a Chocolate or Black Lab’s shredded hair will be less noticeable. If you have a lighter colored floor, the Yellow Lab is likely a smarter pick.

The same goes for furniture choices. If you have lighter colored furniture, Chocolate and Black Labs will leave parts of them every time they come to say “hello.” If you have darker furniture (which most households do) then prepare to see Yellow Lab hair all over the place if you don’t properly manage their shedding.

Labrador Shedding Frequency

Labs are year-round shedders. But when they “blow” their coat twice per year, you’ll notice that your pup is shedding far more than normal. This is standard with Labs, but also all other double-coated dog breeds.

Seasonal changes play a role in shedding, and the most common times per year you’ll see excessive dog hair are spring and winter. With that being said, Labradors just shed a lot. They shed their coats all year. Don’t expect that you’ll be able to let up and stop grooming your pup in the offseason. If you want to manage your pup’s hair successfully, regular grooming is a must.

When Labs Shed The Most

Black Lab shedding fur
Labs shed the most in the winter and in the spring.

Labrador Retrievers shed the most during the springtime and wintertime. Labs shed in the winter to produce a new layer of fur to protect against winter elements. They shed in the summer to cool off and not carry such a dense second layer. This is known as “blowing” their coats, or molting season. It’s frequently talked about as an annoyance for most Labrador owners.

While Labradors do shed year-round, this is the time of year you’ll need to be the most vigilant with grooming. Labradors shed more than other double-coated breeds because their undercoat is thicker. But they do shed less than Newfoundlands, Malamutes and other dogs with fluffy coats.

Shedding Triggers

Labs are year-round shedding monsters. While they don’t shed as much as say a Caucasian Shepherd, they do shed quite a bit. After owning a Labrador myself for 13 years, I can tell you we cleaned up our fair share of dog hair. There are other reasons your Lab may shed though, so you’ll need to keep that in mind. Some reasons your Labrador may start shedding include fleas, lice, mites or parasites. Skin conditions can also contribute to shedding.

Another major factor to watch out for with shedding in your Labrador is stress. This goes for any dog. We noticed with our Labrador that anytime she went into a stressful situation, her fur would just start dropping. Allergies can also play a part, especially if your Lab is allergic to very common worldly elements, like grass, hay or weeds.

Managing Your Lab’s Shedding

Shedding Labrador Getting Groomed
You’ll want to use different tools to keep shedding to a minimum.

There are a few things you can do to manage your Labrador’s shedding. Amongst the most common remedies are regular brushing, bathing, and using a de-shedder a few times per year. Diet can also play a role. Allergens in food can contribute to skin conditions, so this is something to keep an eye out for.

If your pup is allergic to wheat or gluten, there’s a chance a skin condition may break out. Once that happens, the skin condition is likely to contribute to some type of more-than-normal shedding, at least in my personal experience. If you do notice a change in normal shedding, it’s recommended you check with your veterinarian before starting any type of self-diagnosed treatment.

Brushing

Weekly brushing is recommended for Labrador Retrievers. Preferably at least twice per week. Getting your Lab comfortable with brushing sessions will greatly decrease the amount of dog hair laying about your house. We recommend you brush your dog outside at least once every three days. Getting a good dog brush is important, and there are specific models designed specifically to help reduce shedding in your pup.

Shampoos

Labradors can have sensitive skin. We recommend looking at an oatmeal shampoo for your Lab. You don’t want to bathe your Labrador excessively. Usually once per month is good, so you don’t deprive your Lab of the natural oils that occur in their coats. If you find that a standard oatmeal shampoo isn’t effective in reducing the frequency of shedding, look to an Anti-shed formula to help. If your Lab has sensitive skin, there are also shampoos that help calm skin conditions that may be contributing to increased shedding.

Diet

A well-balanced diet is a must for any Labrador Retriever. You’ll want to make sure that they are eating a Kibble formulated for Labradors that’s rich in Omega Fatty acids. Omega fatty acids will help facilitate both skin and coat health. It will help keep their coats shiny and smooth, as well as potentially helping to alleviate skin conditions that your dog might have.

It’s also recommended that you mix in some natural ingredients with your dog’s food from time to time. Vegetables like Zucchini and cooked sweet potatoes can help contribute vitamins and minerals that will help keep your pup’s coat healthy.

Supplements

Supplements can also be a good way to help decrease shedding in Labradors. If your pup is already eating a dog food that isn’t rich in Omegas, it can be wise to add a fish oil supplement to their diet that will help. You can usually find fish oil supplements in both liquid and pill form.

There are also different chewable supplements that can help your Lab’s coat. We are big fans of chewable supplements because they can improve coat health, as well as being used to train. Most coat and skin health formulas contain Omega Fatty acids, which will help your Lab’s coat stay healthy and reduce shedding.

Deshedding Products

Deshedding tools are recommended for helping you manage shedding. This is especially important during the two times per year that your Labrador will “blow” their coats. Using a deshedding brush is different than just standard brushing. These tools are about the same cost as a brush, so it’s a budget-friendly way to keep annoying dog hair off your furniture and floors.

Deshedding brushes will comb the top of your Lab’s coat to remove excess fur, while also digging into the second layer for any of that softer hair waiting to drop. Because deshedding brushes can be more abrasive, we do not recommend that you utilize de-shedding brushes more than a few times per year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do Labs shed so much?
A: Labs shed so much because they are double-coated dogs. Double-coated dogs shed more than single-coated dogs. As mentioned earlier, this is due to being genetically prepared to live in all climates.

Q: Why do Labs shed in the winter?
A: Labs shed year-round. It’s typically the worst right before the winter, and right before the springtime.

Q: When do Labs shed the most?
A: Labs shed the most during their molting season when they blow their coats twice. But Labradors do shed year-round, so be prepared for a consistent grooming regimen.

Q: When do Labs shed their puppy coat?
A: Labs shed their puppy coats between 4 and 5 months of age. You will start to see their longer coats come in during this time as they start approaching adulthood.

Q: Do Labs shed in the spring, summer or fall?
A: Labs shed year-round. But it’s worst in the Winter and in the spring as mentioned before.

Final Thoughts

So do Labrador Retrievers shed? That answer is a resounding YES. But most dogs shed to some extent, so it really just comes down to managing the hair. Maintaining a clean home when you own a Labrador isn’t difficult. You just need to groom your Lab regularly and feed your Labrador the proper nutrition. It definitely won’t hurt you to pick a Labrador with a coat color that matches your floors or furniture!

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