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Why Do Labradors Have So Much Extra Skin

Most Labrador Retriever dogs are known for extra skin that is located around the neck, face, and around the chest area.  Even though these dogs are large, many of them have skin that hangs down around their bodies.

Why do Labradors have so much extra skin?  Labrador retrievers have extra skin because they are considered a working dog breed, and the extra skin helps to enhance the skills that working dogs need.  Dogs that hunt and track are often seen to have loose and sagging skin, and this is thought to give them more skills.

Labrador Retriever dogs are known as working dogs because they are very skilled at hunting and tracking.  These dogs have the extra skin around their neck, chins, and chests, and the skin is used to help to keep the prey’s scent close to the dog so that it can locate its prey easier and quicker. 

This extra skin helps to keep the scent in and allows the Labrador to be able to figure out where and why the scent is there. 

Labrador Retrievers’s just like other hunting, and tracking breeds oftentimes keep their heads low to the ground to sniff out their prey.  When they do this, the skin from their neck and their face falls forward, blocking the scent close to their nose. 

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How Do I Care for My Labrador’s Sagging Skin?

Even though the extra skin around your Labrador’s face and neck are very cute to look at, it can also cause problems for your pet. 

If your Labrador has extra folds, it is important that you make sure to clean these folds at least twice a week to get out all of the dirt and grime that your pet might have picked up throughout the week.

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In order to do this, you can use pet wipes or a wet washcloth and lift and clean the sagging skin.  Make sure to remove anything that is crusted or dirty. 

If you have any type of ointment that is safe for your Labrador, go ahead and apply it to the folds so that your Labrador can be fresh and protected from moisture or dirt.

Will My Labrador Retriever Grow into Their Extra Skin?

Depending on what kind of dog you have will depend on how big your dog will be.  Even though you might have a bigger dog, such as a Labrador, the breed depends on how much loose skin your pet will have. 

If you expect your Labrador to grow into all of their skin, the chances are that it will not happen, and your dog will always have loose skin around its face, neck, and chest area, no matter how much she or he grows.

What is the Sagging Skin Under My Labrador’s Neck?

The sagging skin that is found under the Labrador Retriever’s neck actually has a name.  The sagging skin is called the Dewlap. 

Can the Sagging Skin Under My Labrador Retriever’s Neck Mean Something is Wrong?

Most of the time, when you have a Labrador, you will notice that he or she has a lot of sagging skin around and under the neck.  Most of the time, this is genetics, and certain breeds will have more skin sagging than other breeds. 

The problem is that some dogs develop issues, and if your dog has had an injury and you feel something in their sagging skin, the chances are that they have something going on with their health.

If you feel under your Labrador’s neck and you feel any type of lymph node or swelling, it is important to make sure that you take your dog into the vet to have them checked out. 

Some swelling and cysts can develop in dogs that have a dewlap because when they slobber, their slobber puddles in their jaw, and it can cause there to be salivary cysts. 

Why Do People Say Labrador Retrievers are “Working Dogs?”

The Labrador Retriever is a dog that has instincts of those types of dogs that are considered working dogs.  The word “retriever” automatically gives away some of their instincts and helps to determine what kind of dog your Labrador might be.

A retriever is a group of dogs that are known for being trappers and hunters for years and years, and they are considered to be a distinct breed. 

Even though many people have owned Labrador Retrievers just for companionship, many other people have raised Labrador Retrievers to be working dogs. 

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These working labs are great at seeking out birds, squirrels, and other animals and helping their owner to be able to spot and hunt certain animals.

Are Labrador Retrievers the Same Working Dogs as in the Past?

Today, most Labrador Retrievers are brought into the home for companionship and for household pets, but many Labradors are still hunting dogs. 

Their roles will vary from place to place and home to home, but they still have the instinct to hunt, rather they do or not.

Are All Labrador Retrievers, workers or not, the Same?

Some Labrador Retrievers are different than other ones.  Some labs are born and raised as show dogs, and they have a personality that is different than those dogs that are raised to be working dogs. 

Even though they might be different, most Labrador Retrievers still have the same type of personalities such as:

  • Friendly
  • Sociable
  • Protecting
  • Easygoing
  • Enthusiastic
  • Athletic

There is a difference between a show dog and a working dog.  The show dogs tend to:

  • Be less afraid of people.
  • Less aggressive.
  • Very fit.
  • Able to perform.
  • Highly trainable.

The working dog has these characteristics:

  • Fit
  • More aggressive.
  • Agitated when ignored.
  • Excitable.
  • Less liking of strangers.

Even though these dogs are different, they still have the same needs, such as exercise, love, grooming, and personal care.

What Kind of Labrador Retriever Should I Get?

Labrador retrievers can be very amazing family dogs, and they can make amazing pets. 

In the past, there were dogs that were bred for hunting and those that were bred for being show dogs, but rarely were they bread for becoming a household pet. 

There are basically two types of Labrador Retrievers; English and American.  The English type of Labrador Retriever is mostly known as being a show dog, while the American type is considered to be the pet type of Labrador Retriever. 

Even though their name has nothing to do with where they live, it really only has to do with the role that these Labradors play.

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Before you decide what kind of pet you are going to take home, it is important to know the difference between the two types. 

Most of the time, show Labrador’s are bigger and have a smaller head than the American Retriever has. 

American Labrador

The American Labrador is considered the working Labrador, and these types of labs are easier to train and can learn to do tricks or to follow directions from their owner. 

These Labs are considered to be sensitive and kind and have a loving temperament.

American Labs also are able to hunt and like to chase other animals such as rabbits or birds.  

Most of this can be tamed if you give your Labrador a lot of attention and give them the exercise that they need. 

English Labrador

The English Labradors are the show dogs, and they seem to be shorter and not as fit as the American Lab. 

This type of dog seems to be calmer, and they do not seem to have as much energy as the American Lab does.

While English Labs are puppies and in their adolescent stage, they will be playful, but as they get older, they seem to be less playful. 

English Labs also are harder to train than American Labradors because they are calmer and tend to do their own thing.

Which is Best for Me?

If you are looking for a dog that is great with hunting or you want a dog that is good at tricks, the chances are that you would be better off with an American Labrador. 

These dogs are great when they go to the park, they love to play, and they have amazing personalities. 

If you are looking for a dog that is not very interested in hunting or if you are looking for a bigger dog or a dog that is calmer, then the English Labrador might be best for you.


Labrador retrievers are known for having extra sagging skin around the neck, the mouth, and the chest.  These extra skin flaps are thought to help the dog to be able to hunt better and to be able to keep the scent of their prey. 

Even though the extra skin can be cute, it is important to make sure that you keep your Labrador Retriever clean and healthy where the extra skin lays on their body. 

Make sure to keep the folds and all of the skin around the sagging skin clean and oiled to make sure your Lab is healthy.