Why do Labradors Like to Cuddle?

Labrador retriever dogs are loved and owned by so many people around the world. One f the many things that people like about them is their cuddle. They are so friendly in nature. When the mood is good, they would love to sleep in your lab too. When they cuddle during sleep or otherwise, their owners would go aww.

Why do Labradors like to cuddle? The plain and simple reason is that Labrador is friendly in nature. They want to get attraction and want to be loved. They love to have a strong bonding with their owners. It’s just not about yourself, they would love to cuddle with other family members.

Cats are cuddle but when it comes to Labs, they are one of the lovable cuddlers in the dog breeds.

Why Do Labs Cuddle?

Lab retrievers are popular not only in the USA but also in the UK and Canada. They have been favorite dogs for multiple decades now. It’s their friendly nature which makes them go so well with people. Even when it comes to strangers, Labs would like to mix up so easily.  

Because of this nature of going easy with people, they would cuddle up every now and then. The special moments with the kids and family members make them cuddle. Its these small moments when their feelings get aroused and hence, they cuddle.

The more time a Labrador puppy or dog spends in your home, the more frequently he will feel the warm affection from everyone in your home. Hence, he will cuddle frequently.

Various Types of Cuddling?

There are multiple ways in which Labs would cuddle up.

Single Paw Cuddle

It is a funny way of cuddling which Labs have shown us. He would put his one paw in the air and bring it close to you. Then he would just put it anywhere he likes on you. That way they feel comfortable. It is his way of feeling you and making sure that there is some connection between the two of you.

How a baby reacts when he is in need of safety? He will just keep touching his parents again and again even when going to sleep. The same help with Labs. They cuddle with single paw so as to make sure they have the company.

It is their way of assuring themselves that there is no need to worry as I have the company of my parents. They fully trust you so even a gentle touch with a single paw means a lot to them.

The following scenario is also very commonly seen:

Suppose you are sitting and reading a book or just lying on the bed. The Lab will come slowly near you and start cuddling. How sweet is that? All dogs need is little love and affection and in return, they give us so much.

The full-blown cuddle

This happens when they are sleep. Labrador or any other dog breed love to sleep with their owners and babies. The best and cutest way in which they would sleep is with a cuddle using both of their paws.

The Lab owners themselves feel so good when their dog comes next to them while they are sleeping. The dog would even try to cover up the owners with some bed sheets as if he is the one who has to care about the owner.

When babies are sleeping, a Lab retriever would go next to him and sleep there. It is his way of saying, don’t worry I am here to protect you.

These gestures by Labrador dogs are most loved and so frequently seen on YouTube:

Do all Labs like to cuddle?

Every dog is different and behaves differently to the same situation. That is how nature is, mother nature has made all of us unique in our own way.

So, expecting the same behavior from all Labs in the same situation would be a mistake. You can not generalize their response and behavior.

It is true that Labrador retrievers like to cuddle but it is not 100% predictable when they will cuddle. After all, they also have their own brains.

It is quite common to see Lab dogs and puppies cuddle which a true statement. You can only give them care and protection, in return they will do the best they can for you.

I always say that Labrador is the mist friendly dog breed I have come across. Whenever they feel comfortable, they would cuddle. If they feel a sense of danger, fear, stress or anxiety then they are not going to cuddle.

Trust is the foundation on which every relation grows, and when the Lab trusts you then you will see him cuddling a lot frequently with you.

If you take moderate care of him and play with him, then also you are going to see a lot of cuddles. They just need a little bit to give back a lot.

These Are the Times When Labrador Doesn’t Cuddle

Everybody needs some space for their personal things. A dog is not your slave but a friend. If you give him respect, the bonding between you and him is going to be awesome.

1. Feeding Time: While anyone is eating, they don’t want to be disturbed with things that don’t relate to the food. Dogs love their food and don’t want to compromise with a good meal that they are enjoying.

If you go up to a dog who is having his meal and disturb him, he is going to get frustrated and may get aggressive too.

It is better to give him personal space while he is eating the food.

2. Injury: It is not a good time to ask your Lab for a cuddle when the dog is injured due to his own fault or any accident. He is already going to be in pain and you playing or touching him will make him irritated. In this time, it’s better to care for his injury, apply him medicine, take him to vet, massage with your hand on his head and body.

The above two are obvious scenarios, there are other times when he may not like to cuddle. As a dog owner, you will understand his mood with time. The bonding between the two of you will teach how to know what is going on with the other.

Asking Lab to cuddle when he is in stress or occupied with something is a big no.

Hugging vs Cuddling

As per the research done on dogs by Dr. Shaun Wroolie at VCA, dogs don’t like to be hugged. They want to cuddle. Cuddle is their means of showing love. As humans, we are used to hugging using our arms.

So, the matter of fact is that you can avoid hugging your dog. To them, hugging doesn’t mean natural behavior. You would have never seen two dogs hugging each other but cuddling is so common.

Since we hug our near and dear ones, we also tend to do the same with dogs which is ok to do but dogs don’t understand much about it. They do understand massaging on their bodies and head with our hands.

As per Shaun Wroolie,

“Dogs have different kind of wiring in their brains. Their behavior is also different from us. What we think as a gesture of love may not be understood to them. This applies to hugs. We greet our guests and family with hugs but to them it does not mean a lot.

Dogs don’t dislike hugs but they are not able to make out feelings from it. You would have seen a dog standing up on his two rear legs in excitement, that is one of their way of greetings their owner.”

Dogs don’t dislike hugs but they are not able to make out feelings from it. You would have seen a dog standing up on his two rear legs in excitement, that is one of their way of greetings their owner.”

Understanding the needs and feelings of your dog comes with time and experience. In the initial months that you bring a Labrador puppy home, it’s a steep learning curve for you too.

Take the time out with your dog. Play with him, feed him, admire him, groom him and you will start to understand his language and needs automatically. Taking your Lab to a dog park is a great idea.

labradors hugging
For dogs, hugging means someone is cuddling with them

Conclusion: Labs Like Cuddling a Lot

If you leave your Labrador alone and free, he will automatically feel the need to cuddle with you. Just wait for them to start the contact.

Yes, Labrador likes to cuddle a lot but only when they feel so. You shouldn’t force a dog to cuddle.

They do not understand hugging as humans do. All kinds of dog breeds like to cuddle or stand up to their owners. It’s just that Labrador Retrievers are more friendly and social in nature so they tend to cuddle more than other dog breeds.

Also, every dog is different in his own way. We cannot generalize one statement for every dog. Some Labs would cuddle more than others. The important point here is to let them be themselves and don’t force a behavior except for training sessions where you teach them a behavior.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=DeA94WFpgh8C&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Labradors+Like+to+Cuddle&ots=0_eoyuNukk&sig=K_4OZRi2o3MwGtPfRUCFYjPbkN8
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ylvgMs4qct8C&oi=fnd&pg=PT19&dq=Labradors+Like+to+Cuddle&ots=iFnACIfT3d&sig=Ag8hENeYUUyCM7LJhr_2sJ5rKLk

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