How Fast Can A Labrador Retriever Run?

How fast can labrador retrievers run

Labrador Retrievers are a continually active and playful breed of dog. They seem to have endless energy and, for the most part, are very physically fit dogs. Because of their breeding background, they have a natural joy for running. 

How Fast Are Labrador Retrievers?

Labrador Retrievers can run up to 35 mph at its top speed. They were originally bred as hunting dogs, so they can maintain their top speed for long periods of time. In comparison, the fastest human ever can run 28 mph at top speed.

If you own a Labrador Retriever, be sure to allow them plenty of time for exercise. They love to run and be active and it helps improve their health. Jogging, running, or just playing outside with your Labrador is a great way to avoid the many health risks that are common with the breed.

Why are Labrador Retrievers Fast Runners?

How fast can labrador retrievers run

There are a few reasons why Labrador Retrievers like to run:

  1. They were bred to run. 
  2. They are physically strong.
  3. They love running.

Below we will look at the way these three areas effect a Labrador Retrievers speed. Just remember, each dog is different. Pay close attention to the non verbal communication that your dog is giving you when running and exercising.

Breeding Matters

Labrador Retrievers are a breed that was bred to run. Originally, they were used as working dogs that would retrieve waterfowl after being shot down by a hunter. They were accustomed to running over rough terrain in their country of origin, Scotland. This has made them very agile and able to keep up their speed even over the toughest of obstacles on the ground.

Over the years, Labradors have kept their ability to be dexterous while running. While on walks and playing outside with my Labrador, I have noticed him jumping and winding around obstructions effortlessly. For example, when throwing a tennis ball for him, he ran as fast as he could and came to a complete stop to fetch the ball before going headfirst into a tree. 

Their Physical Build

Labrador Retrievers are an extraordinarily strong breed of dog. They especially have strong leg muscles. Because of their strong muscle build, it makes it easier for them to run. They need regular exercise to keep them physically fit and build the muscles even stronger.

Check out our article How Much Exercise Does A Labrador Retriever Need? for ideas to provide your Labrador with great exercise activities.

They Love to Run

Labrador Retrievers love to run. There is almost nothing they would rather do, except maybe eat treats. Because of their love for running, they will go anytime under just about any conditions.

All I have to say is the word “go” and my Labrador is running and jumping toward the cupboard where we keep his leash. He gets so excited that it often becomes hard to put on the leash. He usually pounces and pulls the leash on our way out the door because of his overwhelming excitement. 

Anytime that you can provide running time for your Labrador is going to make them happy and calm. It is a time for them to get their energy out as to not become anxious or bored.

Labrador Retriever’s Speed Compared to Other Animals

The chart below shows the Labrador Retriever’s top speed compared to other animals to help understand just how fast they run. As you can see, Labradors run about the same speed as a rabbit. You can see why they make such great hunting dogs.

AnimalTop Speed
Cheetah75 mph
Horse55 mph
Lion50 mph
Labrador Retriever35 mph
Rabbit35 mph
House Cat30 mph
Human28 mph
Squirrel20 mph
Raccoon 15 mph

How Long Can A Labrador Retriever Run?

How long can a Labrador Retriever Run

Labrador Retrievers are a very athletic dog, so they can run quite a long way. Because they enjoy running, they are excited to run anytime they can. 

A Labrador will usually run 4 to 5 miles in a session very easily with not much training. With a little training, a Labrador can run up to 10 miles in one session. With more training, a Labrador can get to the point where they are running a marathon (26 miles). 

To know the kind of running your Labrador Retriever is ready for depends on a few factors. These factors are age, training habits, and physique. 


A Labrador Retriever puppy will only be able to run short distances. If they run for a long period time, joint disorders such as hip dysplasia can begin to develop. Your Labrador Retriever will be ready to run to its fullest when they reach about 12-18 months. This is when their muscles and bones have matured to withstand the pressure and stress of running.

Training Habits

You can start training your Labrador Retriever to run as a puppy, but remember to take it nice and slow until they become at least a year old. As your Labrador becomes older, keep a consistent schedule of exercise to build up their stamina if your goal is longer distances. 


Labrador Retrievers naturally have strong leg muscles for running if they stay fit. If your Labrador Retriever has been doing the proper training needed for running, then their muscles will be ready to run longer periods of time. If they have not been training, do not expect them to run long distances. Just because they are an athletic breed does not mean they do not need training to run.

Regular exercise is a good way to keep your Labrador Retriever healthy. It is a good way to prevent joint disorders such as hip dysplasia. If you notice any problems with your Labrador Retriever’s joints, a consultation with a veterinarian may be needed. 


Labrador Retrievers love to run, and they do it well. Providing them with regular exercise will keep their muscles strong and help them become physically fit for a healthy lifestyle. Even though their bodies were made to be highly active, be sure to know your dog’s limits and expectations as each dog is different. 

Labrador’s are susceptible to health issues in their hips and joints. It is a good idea to include supplements into their diet to help with prevention. Be sure to view our article on the Best Supplements for Labrador Retrievers to find one that will work best for your dog.

Always consult your veterinarian with any questions regarding their specific physical capabilities or with any health concerns.

Dr. Anne Traas

Anne Traas, DVM, MS, DACT is a veterinarian and the President of Labrador Retriever Society. She is a specialist in canine reproduction. In her day job, she is a leader in a small biotech where she and a team of vets and scientists are working to develop new medications for pets.

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