Brindle Lab: 11 Key Things You Need to Know! (2022 Guide)

Labrador Retrievers have been a staple in family homes throughout history. Chances are if you’ve seen a Retriever it was either Golden, Black, or Chocolate. You might not know that there’s another Lab with a unique coat: the Brindle Lab.

Possessing all the great characteristics of the more well-known Labs, the brindle has just as many great things to offer. Brindle coloring is often referred to as “tiger-striped”. This beautiful color pattern can be found in other dog breeds.

If you’re interested in other brindle dogs, check out our Guide to the Best Brindle Dog Breeds!

What is a Brindle Lab?

Brindle Labs are a rare variation of the beloved Labrador Retriever, which is categorized as the #1 Family Dog.

The odds of finding a Lab that’s completely Brindle are slim as the brindle coloring in Labs is usually on certain body parts, like a Chocolate Lab with Brindle paws.

Brindle Lab
Brindle is a coat pattern with dark flecks or stripes over a brown base.

The more common labrador coat colors are:

  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Yellow

The brindle coloring in Labs comes from a rare genetic crossover in the breeding process. Oftentimes, Brindle Labs can be confused for a breed mix when they are, in fact, purebred (if you’re buying from a certified and honest breeder). Purebred or not, by breed standards, the colorful coat is considered a mismark.

For show dog enthusiasts, the Brindle Lab may not be a good fit. Because of their rarity, the American Kennel Club (AKC) doesn’t recognize Brindle as a color type for Labs. For this reasoning, Brindle Labs are disqualified from competing. 

Despite the appeal the Lab attracts in America, the breed originated in Newfoundland. While in its homeland, the breed served as duck retrievers, working with fishermen.

Back in the 1800s, the breed was a hot commodity. After catching the attention of English Nobles, the breed found itself in England, where it continued to flourish.

The England Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1903. By 1917, labrador retrievers were also recognized by the AKC! Labs have remained America’s favorite breed since 1991. 

How Much Does a Brindle Lab Cost?

Usually, purebred labs have a price range of $400 to $1,500, with the average price falling around $800.

The price you pay from a breeder depends on many things, such as:

  • Local supply and demand
  • Lineage
  • Breeder reputation
  • Health

Although brindle coloring is rare in labs, that doesn’t mean the cost will be higher. If anything, the pattern can lower the price since they can’t compete in shows.

Generally, if the price is too high for a Brindle Lab, the breeder may not be trustworthy. 

Owning a Brindle Lab costs more than the initial purchase. You’ll also need to budget for other things.

Cost considerations include:

  • Food and treats
  • Supplies (bowl, collar, leash, etc)
  • Veterinary care
  • Obedience training, if necessary

These expenses will continue long after you bring your new pup home, so you should be sure that you can afford to properly take care of your pet before getting one.

How Do I Buy a Brindle Lab?

Locating a trustworthy breeder is a great route to take when it comes to buying a Brindle Lab. Finding a breeder that can answer necessary questions and provide parental information can guarantee you’re getting a purebred Brindle Lab.

Adoption is another method. Although adopting might not give a lot of information on the dog’s parental history, it can give a Brindle Lab the home it deserves! You’ll also pay the lower adoption fee that the shelter requires instead of a hefty price tag from a breeder.

What to Know Before Getting a Brindle Lab

Labs come with a stellar reputation for fitting in with pre-existing family dynamics, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot more to learn. Adopting any dog means adjusting to the requirements that come with the breed.

You should always make sure that your lifestyle will allow you to keep your pet both happy and healthy. Being able to meet their needs will mean a healthier and more content dog in the long run.


On average, Brindle Labs can be expected to live 10 to 12 years. Luckily, the lifespan is relatively long for this breed, meaning many years of great memories.


Brindle Labs can be described as kind, outgoing and trusting dogs. This breed is friendly with just about anyone they come in contact with. Your Brindle Lab will be most attached to its family, so be prepared to be the primary source for affection.

Because of the special bond, this breed has towards its family, the Brindle Lab can be protective of their home and loved ones. Luckily, this protective aspect doesn’t correlate with aggression, but they do make excellent watch and alert dogs.

Labs are gentle and will look out for their human companions. Whether you need a shoulder to cry on or a tv watching buddy, the Brindle Lab will be happy to lend its company where needed.

How Is a Brindle Lab Trained?

Generally, Labs are enthusiastic when it comes to learning new skills. This favorable trait can make training easy! That being said, there are a few things to take note of when it comes to training a Brindle Lab. 

  • Obedience training is an important program that should be implemented shortly after bringing your new pal home. Learning obedience skills is an important step for the breed as it introduces the dog to useful commands.
  • Since the Lab is a fairly large dog, learning not to pull on the leash is an important skill to master. Not only will this skill make walking your dog easier, but it can also prevent any possible accidents from occuring.
  • Socialization is important to implement with most dog breeds. Timidness is common in pups, and introducing them to new people and pets can help them age out of the anxiety and approach strangers with friendliness. Socialization is important for family homes and homes with more than one pet.

Because Labs love their owners’ approval, positive reinforcement is an effective way to help them learn. Seeing your enthusiasm for their efforts can encourage them to learn more and improve. Rewards can include giving a treat, cheering them on, giving some love, or playing a game.

How Much Exercise Do They Need?

While the Lab is a pup, they won’t need to follow an exercise routine. After 3 months, you can implement the 5-minute rule into your pup’s daily routine.

The 5-minute rule is a common system used with puppies. For every month of age, you incorporate 5 minutes of exercise twice a day. For example, if your puppy is 5 months old, they would exercise for 25 minutes, twice a day. The 5-minute rule should be used until the dog is fully grown.

The amount of exercise an adult Brindle Lab needs is dependent on its demeanor. It’s recommended that a Lab exercises for at least an hour per day. Of course, exceptions can be made for extremely energetic or more relaxed Labs.

Are They Good For Beginners?

Labradors are regarded as being a great choice for first-time dog owners! If the thought of training a pup seems daunting, the Brindle Lab will be more than happy to prove you wrong. Because of their enthusiasm, training is more of a treat than it is a hassle, which can make the initial steps of owning a dog easier for first-timers.

This breed’s temperament includes many desirable traits. We all want a pet who’ll admire us as much as we do them, and when it comes to the Brindle Lab, this dog will be sure to remind you how much they love you!

First-time dog owners with families can have any concerns put at ease when adopting a Brindle Lab, as they’re highly praised for being excellent family dogs and gentle with children.

How Much Grooming Does My Brindle Lab Need?

Because Brindle Labs come with a beautiful double-coat, there are a few special grooming requirements to keep it in good condition.

The double coat has 2 layers of fur. The topcoat is waterproof and wiry which opposes the fine soft hairs that make up the undercoat. The undercoat cools the dog during the hot summer season as well as provides insulation once winter rolls around.

Labradors shed a lot. This is largely due to their double-coat.

Your Lab’s shedding will follow this pattern:

  • Twice a year, usually in the spring and fall, Labs have a shedding season when the Lab ‘blows the coat’. During this process, the undercoat falls out in accordance with temperature and seasonal changes.
  • During shedding season, it’s important to brush your Brindle Lab. Not tending to the shed fur can lead to irritation.
  • Outside of the molting season, it’s recommended that brushing occurs 2 to 3 times a week. If the Brindle Lab is brushed regularly, their coat will be healthy and shiny. Brushing also lessens the amount of fur that may need to be picked up from furniture later.

While this may seem like a lot, this is the only intensive upkeep that Labs need. Plus, their shedding is still much more controlled than long-haired dogs.

A good deshedding tool can make all the difference for your Lab. Check out our FURminator for Dogs review!

How Often Does a Brindle Lab Need Bathing?

Surprisingly, Labrador Retrievers don’t need frequent bathing. Unless your Brindle Lab likes to get into messy situations, baths should only be given once a month or every few months, or when needed.

Labs have natural oils that protect from dirt and hydrate their skin. Washing too often could dry out this breed’s skin, so when it comes to Brindle Labs and bathing, the task is moderately low maintenance.

What Care Is Required For a Brindle Lab?

Other than grooming, there are different things to know about taking care of any dog properly. Following these recommendations will help keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy.

Not taking care of your dog risks medical problems, which means costly visits to the vet.

Ear Care

One of the Lab’s signature features is its floppy ears. While floppiness is adorable, it does require that you keep an eye on their ear care to make sure they stay healthy.

  • It’s important to check and clean them regularly. Use a safe cleaning solution that’s made specifically for a dog’s ears.
  • Never insert a solid instrument, Q-Tip, or cotton balls in the dog’s ear canal. Shoving any object inside your dog’s ear can lead to damage.
  • When it comes to checking your Brindle Lab’s ears, the more often the better. Giving a quick inspection of the ears can bring awareness to any possible infections or warning signs. 
  • If there are signs of infection, you should take your dog to the vet before attempting to clean their ears.

Following these steps will help keep your pet’s ears healthy enough to hear you open that bag of chips all the way across the house. Who can resist those pleading puppy eyes?

Paw Care

Dog paws do require some maintenance, though it isn’t intensive. Trimming their nails should be done regularly. If the Lab’s nails grow too long, it can affect their paw pads, and walking normally can become difficult. In more severe cases, unkempt nails can lead to skeletal damage.

It’s usually common for trimming to occur every 2 months. It’s important to pay regular attention to your Brindle Lab’s nail growth, as they could need trimming more frequently. As a general rule, if you hear clicking, it’s probably an indicator to trim the nails.

Teeth Maintenance

Just like humans, dogs need their teeth brushed regularly. It’s recommended to brush the Lab’s teeth once a day or provide them with dental chews.

Poor dental hygiene can lead to an array of problems. If the gum tissue becomes damaged, tooth support can be weakened. This can lead to losing teeth in the future.

Alternatively, chewing on bones, toys, and other hard chews work to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth! If your Brindle Lab regularly engages with its toys, brushing less often could be tolerable.

Read our guide of the 6 Best Vet-Recommended Dog Chews for more information on dog tooth health!

Are Brindle Labs Good With Children?

They weren’t named America’s Favorite Family Dog for nothing!

There are many reasons to consider a lab if you have kids in the house:

  • Brindle Labs have low aggression levels and are known for their laid-back and chill attitude. 
  • Playtime is something both the dog and children can have fun partaking in.
  • For young children, this gentle breed will be tender and patient with all the pets and occasional pokes it may receive. 
  • When it comes to older kids, this breed can be the perfect companion. Playing outside, going for walks, or snuggling indoors are all tasks this dog will love to accompany any family member with.

Labs are exactly the type of dog that will love growing up with your children and vice versa. 

The Best Diet For a Brindle Lab

Although Brindle Labs can be energetic, the breed is prone to gaining weight. Because of this, the best diet should be high quality and full of protein. Labs require a specific amount of core nutrients in order to stay healthy.

This can get tricky when narrowing down how much to feed your Lab, but there are a few options that make this task easier.

When it comes to feeding your Brindle Lab, sometimes breed-specific brands are better. Buying a food brand that’s tailored to the Labrador breed ensures your dog is getting the proper nutrition it needs. Oftentimes, breed-specific food comes with a feeding guide so your dog is getting the right portions! 

If you decide to feed your Brindle Lab some human food, the safest bet is to stick with lean meats and fish.

Acceptable meats include:

  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Duck
  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Turkey

If you offer any of these tasty foods to your lab, he or she certainly won’t complain!

What Nutrients Are Required In The Brindle Lab’s Diet?

Here’s where things get complicated. If you’re venturing away from breed-specific foods there are a few percentages that should be incorporated into your dog’s diet. Paying attention to the ingredient list on dog food bags can help narrow down how much to feed your dog.

In general, dogs need a few nutrients to survive.

These nutrients include: 

  • Proteins (from which they get amino acids)
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

With those in mind, there are 2 components that have percentage values to pay close attention to.

Protein is the most important part of the Brindle Lab’s diet. While the pup is growing they should receive a minimum of 22% protein. Once the Lab is a fully grown adult, they should have at least 18% protein. Protein is measured on the actual protein meat or dog food has (water percentages eliminated).

Fat fuels the Brindle Lab’s energy. This is why it’s the second most important part of their diet. For pups, fat content should be 8%, while fully grown Labs should receive 5%.

What Should Be Avoided When Feeding a Brindle Lab?

Alcohol is highly toxic to Labradors. Although it may seem like a no-brainer, alcohol can be hiding in a few places. Some desserts, unbaked bread dough containing yeast, mouthwashes, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, and perfume all contain alcohol and should therefore be out of the Labs’ reach.

  • Avocados are toxic to Labradors. Ingesting this fruit can lead to diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. In the most severe cases, death can occur.
  • Walnuts should also be avoided. The unknown toxin these nuts contain can cause restlessness, panting, vomiting, fever, and lack of coordination in your Brindle Lab. Walnut poisoning has also resulted in tremors, liver failure, seizures, and in the worst cases, death.
  • Some Labs might be lactose intolerant. When you first feed your Lab safe cheese, make sure it’s a small amount so you can gauge whether or not the dog is lactose intolerant. Blue cheese is unsafe for dogs.
  • Cherries, grapes, and raisins should all be avoided. Ingesting even the tiniest amount of grapes or raisins can result in rapid kidney failure. The stem, pit, and leaves of cherries contain cyanide. Death can occur in severe cases if either of these are eaten.
  • Caffeine is hazardous and can be in places that aren’t obvious. 
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, as well as caffeine dogs, can’t metabolize. Wherever caffeine may be found (Coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.) it’s important to keep it away from your Lab.

These are a few of the many foods that are toxic to Brindle Labs. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re questioning whether or not to give your Lab human food, you should do research before feeding it to them.

Health Problems

The scariest part of being a dog owner is the realization there may be a few health concerns to look out for. Fortunately, the list of health problems for Brindle Labs isn’t too long, but taking the time to learn about the severity and treatments can enlighten the owner to any possibilities.

To stay ahead of problems, eye, knee, hip, and elbow tests should be a part of usual medical check-ups. These regular inspections are useful as the breed is prone to different eye and joint problems.

Health concerns to be aware of include: 

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cataracts
  • Hot spots
  • Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy (CPRA)
  • Retinal and hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
  • Distichiasis
  • Entropion

Patellar Luxation is especially common in Labs. This condition occurs when the kneecap shifts sideways. It can also be thought of as a dislocated kneecap.

Symptoms of this condition include an occasional limp, bow-legged stance, a popping noise when the knee bends, and a hunched lower back. Medication can be provided and rest may be instructed.

Entropion, otherwise known as an inverted eyelid, occurs when the eyelid grows inward. The condition causes the eyelash to rub against the cornea. Symptoms include eye discharge, eye redness, excessively watery eyes, and keeping the eyes closed. Surgery is required to treat this condition. 

This list may look alarming, but it’s important to remember that Labs are overall healthy dogs. 

What We Like About Brindle Labs

All in all, the Brindle Lab has many great things to offer, but what sets it apart?

  • Labs have been consistently rated as the #1 choice for families.
  • Getting a Brindle Lab means you get all the characteristics of the beloved Labrador Retriever, just in a unique package. 
  • This breed will easily fit into the routines, lifestyle, and family dynamic.
  • Because of this breed’s curiosity and excitement, training can be an easy task.
  • Grooming and bathing requirements only consist of regular brushing (more in shedding season) and occasional bathing, making this dog good for owners with busy schedules!

It’s no small wonder that Labs are one of the most popular dogs in America!

Potential Drawbacks of Having a Brindle Lab

Although the Brindle Lab has many favorable traits, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider. 

  • Competing as a show dog isn’t a possibility for the Brindle Lab.
  • The breed is prone to a few health concerns, which can be stressful for owners and possibly bring on hefty medical bills down the line.
  • Labs can be somewhat destructive as puppies with behaviors such as chewing. Training will most likely be needed in this area.

As far as negatives go, the list for labs is pretty short.

Brindle Lab Statistics At a Glance

Overall, the Brindle Lab has a lot of statistics and interesting facts in line with the breed. Checking over the requirements and behavior of this breed can make the decision clearer on whether or not the Brindle Lab is a good addition to your family.

Lifespan 10 to 12 years
Height 22.5 to 24.5 inches (male) 21.5 to 23.5 inches (female)
Weight 65 to 85 pounds (male) 55 to 60 pounds (female)
Grooming Requirements Regular brushing, bathing as needed. Shedding Season requires brushing every other day.
Activity Level Somewhat active, requiring at least an hour of exercise per day.
Suitable For Families, beginning dog owners, experienced dog owners, multiple pet homes.
Health Concerns Hypothyroidism, Cataracts, Hot Spots, CPRA, Retinal Dysplasia, Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, OCD, Distichiasis and Entropion
Temperament Trusting, Outgoing, Kind, Loving, Friendly

As long as you aren’t an avid dog competitor, the Brindle Lab can be an amazing choice for anyone looking for a sweet and caring dog. This breed will stick by its owner’s side and happily meet any of the people or pets it encounters.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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