Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Two of the biggest names in the dog world are the Labrador and Pitbull, so it was an inevitability that they would one day combine forces to create the Labrabull. An increasingly popular cross-breed, this dog can be seen internationally though is most commonly found in the USA.

A substantially-sized dog, the Labrabull tends to be broad and well-muscled with short fur that fits tightly to their skin. With their eager nature and loving heart, this breed is quickly creating a name for itself, though it still has a long way to go before matching the popularity of either of its parents.

About & History

A medium to large sized dog, the Labrabull is a mixture of the two incredibly popular breeds, the Labrador Retriever and the American Pitbull Terrier. With these two-dog breeds featuring in many of the Top Ten Most Popular Dog Breeds lists internationally, it was only a matter of time before they would one day mix to form a hybrid dog. This breed is known as the Labrabull or the Pitador.

As with many new cross-breed dogs, it can be difficult to predict both the appearance and the temperament of the Labrabull. Indeed, even within one litter there can be a high variability. Some retain the sweet-natured goofiness of their Labrador parents, whilst others may be more aloof and protective like their Pitbull ancestors. A breed that requires a lot of socialisation and exercise, many will agree that this is not an ideal option for an inexperienced owner.

While the origins of the Labrabull are hazy to say the least, we know a lot more about their predecessors. The Labrador comes from Newfoundland and they have historically been used to flush and retrieve both birds and waterfowl. Nowadays, they are used in society as seeing-eye dogs and therapy dogs. While the Pitbull was originally bred for bull-baiting and dog-fighting, through the years. it worked its way up through the ranks to become a respected farm dog and family pet. It is likely that the Labrador and Pitbull were bred together over the last few decades, particularly in America where both of these breeds would be commonly seen in rescue homes and dog shelters.


The head and body of the Labrabull are thick, robust and heavy and they are built in good proportion. While their body is muscular, it should remain lean and agile. Appearance is variable, with some breed members being obviously taller and wider than others. Their ears are medium-sized and hang down beside their head, sometimes with a slight prick though never erect. Their almond-shaped eyes may be brown or green while their prominent nose is brown or black. Their tail is long and straight and may have some fur brushing.

The fur of the Labrabull is typically short and straight and can be a variety of colours, including: white, yellow, grey or brown. Many dogs will have white patches and other white markings on their fur. Mature dogs can weigh anything from 20kg to 40kg and males tend to be larger and heavier. Height wise, most dogs will stand between 43cm and 64cm.

Character & Temperament

While predicting the character of any dog can be a tricky task, attempting to do so in a relatively new hybrid breed is almost impossible. You may be able to gather some clues by meeting and observing the puppy’s parents and any siblings from previous litters. As wariness and guarding can be an issue, all pups should be extensively socialised when young to ensure they develop into the sweet and welcoming adult dogs that they have the potential to be. Many report that their Labrabull is particularly good with children, though given their size and potential strength; children should always be supervised when in their company. They are full of life and mischievous so can make perfect playmates for older children.

Often protective and territorial, the Labrabull makes both a good watchdog and a good guard dog, as they tend to be distrustful of new people in the environment. Aggression is possible, particularly if provoked when in their own territory. While most dogs get on well with other pets, care should be taken when interacting with unknown dogs, as there is the potential for dog-to-dog aggression, particularly between two unneutered males. Similarly, your Labrabull should not be trusted with small pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, that may be seen as prey.


Dominance can be a real issue in the Labrabull, particularly for those that may not have received adequate training during their key development stages. Using consistent commands and setting firm ground rules from day one is the key to long-term success and all family member should be on the same page when it comes to how the dog is treated and what they are and are not allowed to do.

When family members tolerate different behaviours (e.g. one person encourages jumping up and another reprimands for it), a dog can become confused and may ignore cues. A breed that generally is eager to please and wants to do right by its owner, the Labrabull can be trained to a high degree in the right hands. They are also quite versatile and can be trained in a broad range of disciplines.


In a newly-formed hybrid breed, it is not surprising that the health data is limited and no studies have been performed to determine the incidence of certain conditions within the population. However, there are some predictions that we can make based on the data we do have from their parents, the Labrador and Pitbull. The following conditions are likely to pose an issue in this breed:


An underactive thyroid in a dog can result in insidious symptoms, including weight gain, poor coat quality, skin infections and lethargy. A general blood test can confirm the diagnosis and treatment consists of life-long medication. The majority of patients respond very positively to treatment.


When a dog experiences seizures for no known reason, they are said to be suffering with epilepsy. As there are many other potential causes for seizures, including liver disease, kidney disease and brain tumours, it is important that a vet runs a series of diagnostic test first, before reaching a diagnosis of epilepsy. Once diagnosed, a dog will need life-long medication and blood tests to monitor their condition.


GDV stands for Gastric Dilatation Volvulus and refers to a condition whereby a dog’s stomach bloats up with fluid and food and twists over on itself, trapping the contents inside and leading to further swelling. Unless the stomach can be repositioned by a vet, this condition is inevitably fatal.


Osteochondritis Dissecans is a disease of the cartilage in the joints of some dogs. Abnormal cartilage may have cracks or pieces missing, resulting in lameness and discomfort. As well as an orthopaedic exam, the vet will order some X-rays or a CT scan to better assess the joints and determine the extent of the lesions present. Mild cases may be treated conservatively, though many dogs will require surgery.

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

Abnormal joint formations in either the hip or elbow can result in progressive lameness that worsens with age and affects mobility. X-rays and CT scans can help to diagnose these conditions and affected dogs should be sterilised and not bred from in order to prevent future generations from being affected.

Allergies & Ear Infections

Itchy skin is one of the most common complaints in the canine world and is linked to itchy ears and uncomfortable anal glands. While there are many causes of itching, allergies are always high on the list. Once other potential causes, such as parasites, have been ruled out, dogs will be managed life-long for their allergies.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A big and active dog, at least one solid hour of exercise is needed a day in a Labrabull‘s world. Ideally, as well as interesting walks and hikes, they should be allowed to experience other forms of exercise, such as swimming and agility training. Living in a large home with a substantial backyard that is fenced-in can help to meet the activity needs of this energetic breed.

Boredom in under-exercised Labrabulls can be a real issue and needs to be avoided at all costs. Boredom tends to manifest as bad behaviour, such as a dog that scratches at the door when left at home or one that incessantly barks if in the garden. To combat boredom, a dog not only needs to have their physical activity requirements met, they also have to be provided with adequate mental stimulation, such as with challenging training tasks, games and puzzles.


Quite a low-maintenance dog, the Labrabull does not require much intervention in the way of grooming and can often get by just fine by itself. His short, dense coat just needs to be brushed once weekly, which will help to spread the natural oils and remove any dander or dirt. Bathing is not required very often and once a month would be more than enough for the average Labrabull.

Ear infections can pose a challenge in this breed, particularly in individuals who like to swim and get the inside of their ears wet. Their drop-down ears leave them susceptible to bacterial and yeast infections of the outer ear (otitis externa). Owners can reduce the likelihood of these occurring by keeping ears as dry as possible and using a doggy ear-cleaner once a week to remove any wax that has built up.

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