Do You Love Pitbulls And Labradors Equally? Then You Might Be Considering A Pitbull Lab Mix Puppy.
But What Can You Expect From A Dog From Parents With Such Varied Histories And Temperaments?
And Why Do Some Many People Object To Cross Bred Dogs? Are Their Concerns Fair?
Most Importantly – Is A Pitbull Lab Mix The Right Choice For Your Family.
The Labrador Pitbull mix is commonly referred to as either a Labrabull or a Pitador.
Whatever name you choose to call a Pitbull Lab mix, you may be wondering if this popular cross breed is the right dog for you.
Is the Pitbull and Lab mix a good family pet?
Are there any safety concerns about a dog with some Pitbull ancestry, even if crossed with the famously friendly Lab?
We’ll take a closer look at Labradors, Pitbulls, and the Pitbull Lab mix so you can make an informed decision about whether the Labrabull is the perfect choice for you.
But first, let’s talk controversy!
Why is it that designer dog breeds get such a bad rap?
Designer Dog Breeds
If you’ve been online at all doggy forums or groups in recent years, you will have heard a lot of objections to designer dogs.
First generation crosses are met with shaking heads and sneers at best in some communities.
But why do some people get so upset about them?
And are their feelings justified?
For the most part, we don’t think so.
Although the name ‘designer’ is not a popular one because it brings up images of some kind of special blend, the origins of these dogs really aren’t that different to our pedigree dogs.
All the breeds we know today were once brand new, created from mixing dogs together, and given a name to match.
Health conerns are raised about first generation crosses, but in reality the opposite looks likely to be true.
Dogs in closed gene pools are at genuine risk from extinction in some cases.
Research is onging but hybrid vigor can’t be denied.
Pedigree or Cross?
Purebred dogs are only bred with other members of their closed register. This means that no ‘new blood’ comes into the mix.
This makes inherited diseases more likely, and over time diminishes the health of the entire group.
Although purebred dogs provide a more certain outcome in terms of looks and temperament, they are not definitively healthier.
Especially in the case of some pedigree breeds that have become massively exaggerated to the detriment of their wellbeing.
You can find out all about the Purebred vs Designer Dog discussion here.
But for now let’s get back on track – to the fascinating Pitbull Lab mix!
Pitbull Lab mix origins
When did the Labrador and Pitbull mix first become a common cross breed dog?
Designer mixed breeds have been popular for the past few decades.
The planned breeding of Labradors with other dog breeds is a somewhat recent development in canine history.
Of course, the chance mating of a Labrador and Pitbull could have happened at any time in the past. Before the designer dog trend, many Labrabulls were created by accident!
The goal of planned mix breed dogs, including the Pitador, is to combine the best traits of both parent breeds in the hybrid dog.
Anyone interested in a specific kind of mixed breed dog should always keep in mind that with a cross breed, you could be getting any aspect of either parent breed.
The outcome is always unpredictable.
With the Pitbull and Lab mix, many potential owners are seeking an active, loyal, and protective canine companion.
But is this what they are going to get?
Pitbull Lab mix temperament
The Labrador Retriever is a famously good-natured dog.
Fans of the breed love the Lab’s friendly, outgoing, and affectionate nature.
It’s no surprise that the Lab has been the most popular breed of dog in the U.S. for 26 years in a row.
The Lab’s history as a retriever type dog makes it a very obedient, trainable, and eager to please breed.
The Pitbull is officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as the American Staffordshire Terrier. Its origins can be traced to the original Bulldogs of England.
They were bred for the sport of bull baiting and have also been used as guardian dogs.
The Pitbull is a strong, brave, loyal, and confident dog. A well trained and socialized Pitbull can be a loving but protective family pet.
Some irresponsible breeders and owners have cultivated aggression in Pitbulls used for illegal dog fighting, but any Pittie owner will tell you they are not inherently vicious.
Labrador Pitbull mix personality
A Pitbull Lab mix can have the characteristics of either parent breed, or a mixture of both.
Generally, Pitadors are known for being affectionate, loyal, and protective of their families.
They are also known for being intelligent and energetic.
However, you can’t be sure if your pup will grow up to be Lab and likely to lick burglars to death, or more Pitbull and raise concerns with over-protectiveness around kids.
Proper training and socialization are key to cultivating a good temperament in any dog, but especially in a large and active one like the Pitbull Lab mix.
Should potential owners be concerned about any possible dangers in a dog with some Pitbull ancestry?
Let’s take a closer look at the facts.
Labrador Pitbull mix socialization
Socialization is important for any guarding breed pup, but especially so for a Pitbull mix.
Regardless of the Lab genetics, as you don’t know how they’ll play out.
If you want to reduce the chances of your Pitbull Lab mix becoming aggressive to your guests or people he meets on walks, then you need a diligent socialization plan.
Take your puppy out everyday from 8 weeks old, carrying him or her when not yet vaccinated.
Meet and greet as many people as you can.
Have visitors, particularly kids, to your home every single day from 8 weeks to 14 weeks old, then ideally once a week from that point onwards.
Help them to know that visitors are not something to be wary of, and just add to the fun of every day life.
So why is this important in Pitbull mixes over and above other breeds?
One thing that is good is that it’s not that they are massively more aggressive, unlike some people believe.
What it is down to is their bite style and the fatalities it brings.
According to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 4 million dog bites occur in the U.S. annually.
Nearly 800,000 dog bite victims need some form of medical care, and around 300,000 require hospital emergency department treatment.
Children have a much higher chance of getting bitten by dogs than adults.
Studies have shown that while Pitbulls are listed among the breeds that bite, and that have strong bite force, other breeds rank higher in both bite frequency and strength.
There are two key factors in preventing dog bite injuries with any breed of dog, including the Pitbull Lab mix.
Are Pitbulls really dangerous?
Since children are the most likely dog bite victims, all children should be taught how to behave around and interact with dogs.
Children should know how to read a dog’s body language and understand when a dog should be left alone, such as while eating.
Responsible dog ownership is also important.
This means proper training and socialization of your dog from an early age.
Experts note that Pitbull-type dogs are not disproportionately dangerous compared to other breeds.
Most aggression and biting problems with the breed come from poor socialization.
Where the danger comes in is that if a Pit or Pit mix does bite, they will do more damage than another breed due to hanging on. Their bite mortality rates are high compared with other dogs.
One study found that owners of stigmatized “vicious” breeds were more likely to exhibit problematic behaviors than owners of other kinds of dogs.
Poor socialization and cultivation of aggression are more of a factor than breed itself.
Before acquiring a Pitbull Lab mix, it’s also important to check the regulations about owning Pitbull-type dogs in your area. The breed is banned in some jurisdictions.
Pitbull Lab training
What is the best type of training for a large, active, and strongly built dog like the Labrador Pitbull mix?
Positive reinforcement training is the best approach for all dogs, including the Pitador.
Positive reinforcement involves reward and praise for good behavior, but never punishment for bad behavior.
The use of a punishment-based training method, as well as harsh devices like prong or choke collars, can cause more behavioral problems than it solves.
You should also avoid dominance-based training methods, such as disciplining a dog by forcing it onto its back.
These approaches have fallen out of favor with good professional trainers and should be avoided.
Novice dog owners should seek out professional training assistance for their Pitadors.
Enroll your puppy in “puppy kindergarten” training classes from an early age.
Ongoing training will reinforce good behavior over your dog’s lifetime.
Pitbull Labrador appearance
Being a cross breed, the Pitbull Lab mix can have the physical characteristics of either the Am Staff or Labrador breeds, or any combination of both.
How big do Pitbull Lab puppies get when fully grown?
The American Staffordshire Terrier breed standard says that males should be 18-19 inches tall at the shoulders, and females 17-18 inches.
No official weight range is given, but Pitties are generally between 62 and 88 pounds.
The breed standard for the Lab places male height at 22.5-24.5 inches and female height at 21.5-23.5 inches.
Males weigh between 65-80 pounds and females between 55-70 pounds.
The height and weight of a Labrabull can vary quite a bit, there are no hard and fast rules for size.
Height can range from around 17 to 24 inches at the shoulder, and weight tends to be between 45 and 80 pounds.
Your Pitbull Lab mix could fall at either end of this spectrum.
Pitbull Lab mix coat
The Labrabull tends to have a short and shiny coat. While the Pitbull’s coat is close and glossy, the Lab has a dense double coat.
Labs are high shedders and your pup could well inherit this quality.
What about coat color and markings?
There are 3 recognized coat colors for the Labrador Retriever: solid black, chocolate, and yellow.
The Am Staff has a much greater range of colors and markings.
There are 18 recognized coat colors and 9 recognized markings.
Pitties can be solid or brindle, and have masks, patches, spots, and points.
Mix and match!
The multiple Pitbull coat variations means that your Lab Pitbull mix can have many possible colors and markings.
Frequently seen Pitador colors include black, brown, white, tan, yellow, and brindle.
While some are solid, many will have markings, like white chest and feet or a blaze on the head.
Potential Pitador owners often seek out specific mixes and coat types, such as the black Lab Pitbull mix, the chocolate Lab Pitbull mix, or the yellow Lab Pitbull mix.
Also popular is the brindle Pitbull Lab mix.
Any of these combinations are possible, and your dog can have a wide variety of coat colors, both solid and patterned.
Pitbull Lab mix grooming
The Pitbull has a short, low-maintenance coat that requires little more than an occasional grooming with a soft bristled brush to bring out the natural sheen.
Labradors, because they have a double coat, require more grooming.
While the top coat is short, Labs have an undercoat that grows dense in the winter and sheds in the summer.
Frequent grooming with a slicker brush is needed, especially during shedding season.
A Pitbull Lab mix coat could have the characteristics of either parent breed, or a combination of both.
Generally, the hair will be short and somewhat dense.
Experts recommend a once-weekly grooming with a bristle brush. If your dog’s coat is more Lab-like, grooming with a slicker brush a few times per week may be needed.
Labs tend to get bathed more frequently than Pitbulls.
A Lab Pitbull mix should only need an occasional bath when it gets dirty.
Other grooming tasks include nail trimming, ear cleaning, and tooth brushing.
Pitbull Lab mix shedding
All dogs shed, but some breeds shed more than others. While Pitbulls are minimal shedders, Labradors do shed a good amount.
Besides normal year-round shedding, in warm weather a Lab “blows its coat” which means that the dog will lose the undercoat in a short period of time.
Your Pitbull Lab mix will probably shed a medium amount, but might inherit that explosive Labrador coat.
Labrador Retriever Pitbull mix health
What is the overall health of the Pitbull Lab mix?
Both breeds can have some inherited health issues, such as hip dysplasia, a common orthopedic disorder.
Let’s look at some common Labrador and Pitbull health problems, and what you can expect to see in a Pitbull Lab cross.
One recent large-scale study of purebred dogs found that the Lab does have a higher number of health issues than many other less popular breeds.
Labs are prone to certain eye, heart, and gastrointestinal problems, in addition to the more well-known orthopedic problems like hip and elbow dysplasia.
Veterinarians report that American Staffordshire Terriers are prone to certain genetic health conditions as well.
They include luxating patella, hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies, and certain thyroid and heart problems.
Pitbull Lab Mix health
Because both parent breeds are predisposed to certain genetic health issues, your Pitbull Lab mix can inherit the health problems of one or both parents.
Potential owners should choose reputable Pitador breeders with care, and make sure that the parents of any puppy they purchase is health tested for the common genetic diseases of each breed.
Orthopedic problems are a special concern in the Pitbull Lab mix, so it is especially important to find out if your breeder has test results that have been certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
Pitbull x Labrador life expectancy
What is the average lifespan of a Pitbull Lab mix?
The life expectancy for a Pitbull can range from 10-15 years, but the 12-14-year range is cited by experts as the most common lifespan.
The Labrador Retriever lifespan has median lifespan of 12.5 years.
The Pitbull Lab mix lifespan can range from 10-14 years.
It’s important to remember that every dog is an individual and many factors contribute to a dog’s lifespan.
Choosing a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder is important.
In good news, mix breed dogs tend to live longer, too!
Proper care and nutrition of your Labrabull can extend your dog’s lifespan as well.
Taking your dog to the veterinarian on a regular basis, keeping it at a healthy weight, and maintaining good dental hygiene are just a few ways to keep your Pitbull Lab Mix happy and healthy.
Pitbull Lab mix puppy
What could be cuter than adorable Labrador Pitbull mix puppies?
If you’re interested in getting a Lab Pitbull puppy from a breeder or animal shelter, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Avoid impulse buys. Make sure everyone in the household agrees about getting a new puppy.
Do your research and be prepared to spend money on initial expenses like spay/neuter, vaccines, and microchipping.
Choose a healthy puppy. The eyes, nose, and rear end of a puppy should be clean and free of any discharge.
Look for a perky and friendly puppy that’s at a healthy weight.
Avoid puppies that are lethargic or overly shy and fearful.
Observe how the puppy interacts with its mother, littermates, and the people who are caring for it.
And above all, pick a reputable breeder.
Pitbull Lab cross breeders
Because designer dogs like the Labrabull are becoming increasingly popular with dog lovers, it’s important to be extra careful when choosing a breeder.
Choose a reputable local breeder who welcomes visits from potential clients to their home.
Your puppy’s home environment should be clean and safe.
Many popular cross breed dogs are advertised online.
Ads for inexpensive Lab and Pitbull mix puppies should be viewed with caution.
These puppies could come from large-scale, for-profit breeding operations known as puppy mills.
Labrabull puppies from trustworthy breeders can cost between $400-$1000, depending on the breeder’s reputation and geographic location.
A puppy that costs much less likely comes from a puppy mill.
You could end up spending much more than the cost of the puppy in initial veterinary bills.
Your breeder should health test for all issues which impact both the Labrador and the Pitbull.
There are genetic tests available for many inherited conditions.
X-ray screenings can determine if the puppy’s parents have hip dysplasia.
Results of the screenings should be certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
It is also very important to meet the Pitbull parent, even if that is not the mother and you need to travel to see him.
You want to know that he is happy to meet strangers and shows no signs of aggression, avoiding potential heartache later on.
Pitbull cross Labrador rescue
Is it possible to get a Pitbull Lab mix from an animal shelter or rescue group?
Many mixed breed dogs are available for adoption. How do you find one?
Check with local breed-specific rescue groups that specialize in both Labradors and Pitbulls.
Quite a few Labrador and Pitbull mixes end up with these organizations.
Even if they do not currently have a Pitbull Lab mix, you can let them know you’re interested, and they will keep you in mind if they are contacted about taking in a Pitbull Lab mix.
Many shelters do their best to accurately identify mixed breed dogs that enter their facilities.
If you want to verify the breeds in your shelter dog, genetic tests are available.
Is a Pitbull Lab mix right for me?
The Pitbull Lab mix can make a great family pet and devoted canine companion.
If you like an active and friendly, medium to large size dog, the Pitbull Lab mix may be a contender.
Keep in mind that many dog experts do not recommend this cross breed for first time dog owners.
Lab Pitbull mixes do best with experienced dog owners who are familiar with good training and socialization practices.
They are also not best suited to homes with children, not because they aren’t great with their families, but because of the risk to visiting kiddie friends.
A well socialized Pitador should be friendly, affectionate and fun.
But you will need to work hard to find well tempered parents from breeders who health test.
Your Lab Pitbull mix will not thrive in a household where it is left alone for most of the day. They are active dogs and need lots of opportunities to run and play.
Active people who enjoy playing with their dogs, taking them to the dog park or on hikes, and involving them in stimulating activities like flyball or agility are the ideal owners for the Pitbull Lab mix!
Commit yourself to finding the right breeder, and doing a great job of socialization and positive reinforcement training, and your Pitbull lab mix could grow up to be a great pet.
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- “Nonfatal Dog Bite-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments — United States, 2001.” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Bini et al. 2011. Mortality, mauling and maiming by vicious dogs. Annals of Surgery.
- “Dog Bite Risk and Prevention: The Role of Breed.” American Veterinary Medical Association, 2014.
- Ragatz, L., Fremouw, W., Thomas, T., et al. “Vicious Dogs: The Antisocial Behaviors and Psychological Characteristics of Owners.” Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2009.
- Wiles, B.M., Llewellyn-Zaidi, A.M., Evans, K.M., et al. “Large-Scale Survey to Estimate the Prevalence of Disorders for 192 Kennel Club Registered Breeds.” Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, 2017.
- “American Staffordshire Terrier.” Aubrey Animal Medical Center.