Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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The recent mixing of the Labrador and the Springer Spaniel has resulted in the delightful Labradinger, a breed that would surely make both of its parents proud. Though records are lacking, it is likely that this breed was first created in the 1980s and its popularity has been slowly increasing over time.

Typically smaller and leaner than the Labrador, the Labradinger has the long-furred, hanging ears of the Springer Spaniel. Colours can vary and dogs can be chocolate, yellow or black. Many breed members will have white patches on their fur.

A needy dog, the Labradinger thrives when there are lots of people around but can become anxious when left alone. Highly intelligent, the Labradinger can be trained to perform a number of tasks and is happiest when given a job to complete.

About & History

The charming cross between the Labrador Retriever and the Springer Spaniel is known as either a Labradinger or a Springador. A recent hybrid mix, this breed is not yet recognised by any kennel clubs and is only recently making a name for itself in the canine world with many yet to hear of it.

While the Labradinger has likely only been in existence for a few decades, with the first records appearing as recently as the 1980s, the dogs from which it is derived have been around for much longer and have both made quite the name for themselves. The Labrador comes from Canada, where it was used as a gundog for hunting on both land and water. The Springer Spaniel dates back to the 1300s and was also used to flush and retrieve game. Both breeds have a great reputation as sweet pets that mix well with children – a trait that has been passed on to the Labradinger.

As well as being social and energetic, the Labradinger enjoys spending times outdoors and is full of curiosity and mischief. They can be quite the handful and do best in an active household with firm owners.


The undeniably handsome Labradinger seems to have inherited the best physical traits of each of its parents, usually having the sleek, silky coat of the Spaniel and the lovely mix of colours of the Labrador. As a mixed breed, there will be a variation from dog to dog, with some more closely resembling Spaniels and others taking more after the Labradors in their lineage.

In general, their beautiful ears are long and floppy, framing the face. Their eyes are alert and inquisitive and are coloured either brown or green. Their body tends to be smaller and leaner than that of the Labrador and is often more athletic too.

The fur of the Labradinger may be yellow, black or chocolate brown and white patches are commonly seen. Their coat is wavy and dense and fur is often longer on the ears, legs, chest and tail. Weighing anything from 22kg to 36kg, adult Labradingers can vary greatly in size and shape. Once fully grown, dogs will measure between 46cm and 61cm at the withers.

Character & Temperament

A working dog by nature, the Labradinger loves to be given a job to do and will eagerly carry out any task that has been asked of it. They have seemingly boundless energy and love to make their masters happy. Reliant on those around them, the Labradinger forms close bonds with its family and can often pine for them when away. This is not a breed that does well when left alone for long periods of time. They like to be involved with whatever you are doing, so don’t expect a dog that will sit in the other room while you’re busy – they’ll be right up next to you with their nose pushed into whatever it is you are trying to get on with!

This boisterous breed can be quite the handful and often requires intensive training. Owing to this, the Labradinger is better suited to a home with older children. Once trained well from a young age, they make wonderful pets who are keen to demonstrate their obedience. As well as sometimes being hyper, this breed can be very vocal, which is something to consider if you love in close proximity to a neighbour. These tendencies can be reduced with good training and daily exercise and mental stimulation.


The intelligence of the Labradinger can be both a blessing and a curse, as while they can pick up new tasks easily and enjoy learning in their training sessions, they can quickly pick up on bad behaviours and are good at manipulating situations to their benefit. This characteristic makes it very important for their training to start from as young as possible and, ideally, the same trainer will work with the dog for life, preventing any confusion or change in training methods.

A headstrong dog that can like to get its own way, a trainer needs to 'trick' the dog into thinking that the desired behaviour is something they have chosen to do. Positive reinforcement is key and any good behaviour should be rewarded immediately. Compared to other breeds, the Labradinger is relatively easy to train as long as they are in the right hands.


As with every hybrid dog and recently established breed, it is almost impossible to make predictions about their health, though we can certainly get some clues form their parents. The following conditions should be monitored for in the Labradinger:


Epilepsy is a disease that causes seizures due to improper electrical activity in the brain. These seizures can occur with varying frequency and severity and each individual is affected to a different extent. There are many causes of seizures other than epilepsy, so any dog that has a fit will need to be thoroughly examined to ensure there is not something else going on, such as low blood sugar or a toxicity.

Once diagnosed, epilepsy is managed with medication. Epileptic dogs will typically have bi-monthly health checks with their vet where they are examined and their blood is drawn to check the levels of their anti-seizure medicine (depending on which medication is used), as well as their liver function, which can be affected by the medication in some cases.

Hip Dysplasia

Unfortunately, hip dysplasia is found in both Labradors and Springer Spaniels, so will inevitably also be present in the Labradinger – albeit, hopefully, with less frequency. Improper hip joints result in an abnormal gait, discomfort, muscle wastage and inevitable arthritis as a pet ages.

Most vets take a multi-modal treatment approach to this disease, meaning that they manage their patients with various therapies, including weight loss programmes, joint supplements, anti-inflammatories and hydrotherapy. For dogs whose quality of life is dramatically affected, they may be considered for a hip replacement operation.

Elbow Dysplasia

Similarly to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia results in elbow joints that do not function as well as they should, causing a dog to become progressively more lame and uncomfortable as they age. The elbow is a complex joint, and diagnosis and treatment of elbow dysplasia can often be complicated.

To get an initial diagnosis, most animals will require advanced imaging of the joint using a CT scanner. Surgery is often recommended to treat this condition, though very mild cases may be managed without surgery.

Ear Infections

Any dog with long, floppy ears is prone to ear infections throughout their life time and the Labradinger is no exception. The ear flap prevents moisture and debris from leaving the ear canal and leads to a reduced airflow and an increased humidity within the ear canal. These factors ensure that yeast and bacteria proliferate, causing an ear infection.

Infections can be managed with ear cleaning and medicated drops but can be difficult to manage and completely eliminate. Owners can help to prevent infections by thoroughly drying the inside of ears after swimming and using a weekly ear cleaner.

Exercise and Activity Levels

With both parents coming from working stock and a tendency towards being hyper, it would be sensible to provide the Labradinger with a substantial amount of exercise each day, aiming for a minimum of 45 minutes. Long walks are enjoyed by this breed, particularly if they get to experience a variety of settings and meet lots of other dogs and owners. They love to see new places and have new experiences and won’t hesitate to jump in to any bodies of water nearby.

Agility, retrieving, scenting and obedience games will all be highly appreciated and will help to keep your Labradinger content and happy. Simply offering them a walk may not be enough and could lead to the development of boredom and nuisance behaviours.

A medium-sized dog, the Labradinger requires a relatively big home and should be provided with a fenced-in garden in which they can play fetch and other games with the family. With hunting in its blood, failing to fence the garden in well could result in an escape attempt if tempting prey is nearby.


Despite the medium-length coat, the Labradinger does not shed much and is not prone to matting. Despite this, it would be prudent to groom them about twice a week, depending on coat length.

Owners should focus on the ears of their Labradinger, which are prone to infections. The outside of the ear should be brushed to remove mats and debris trapped in the fur, while the inside of the canal requires weekly washing with a dog ear cleaner. Cotton wool can then be used to gently remove any wax build-up. This is a routine you will need to get your dog used to from a young age to increase their tolerance of this mildly uncomfortable task.

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