How much should my puppy weigh?
How much your puppy should weigh will depend on a number of factors
The genes he has inherited from his parents will go some way towards determining his final weight.
But this will also be influenced by his environment. Including the time he spent ‘in utero’.
In addition, it is impossible to predict which of his parents your puppy will take after in terms of size. Brothers and sisters, even from the same litter, may vary widely. In short, no-one can tell you exactly how much your puppy should weigh at any given age or stage.
What matters is what your puppy looks and feels like. Your hands and eyes are the best guide to whether or not your puppy is getting enough, or more commonly too much, to eat.
When do Labrador puppies stop growing?
There is no exact answer to this question and there are a number of factors to take into account, but as a general rule, the substantial majority of your labrador’s growth will be complete within the first eighteen months.
After the end of the first year, much of the upward growth will be complete and your Labrador will have almost reached his full height. During the first half of his second year he will begin to fill out and look more mature. He may put on quite a bit more weight but this should be muscle and bone, not fat.
How is growth rate affected
The growth rate of our Labradors is influenced by a number of factors. You can to a certain extent (but should not) speed up a dog’s growth rate by overfeeding. This kind of rapid growth is harmful and can lead to poor development of the hip joints.
Neutering can also influence growth rates as sex hormones are involved in the growth process. Neutering before puberty may delay the closure of growth plates resulting in a taller dog.
How big will my Labrador get?
The final size reached by your Labrador will depend on a combination of his genes (ie how tall his parents were, and environmental factors such as nutrition, whether or not he is neutered, and his general health. Puppies which suffer serious illness for example, or that are chronically underfed may not grow to their full potential.
Does it matter if my Labrador grows too fast?
The short answer is yes. Overly rapid growth is a bad thing. If your Labrador is growing too fast, even if he is not fat, you need to have a chat with your vet and review your feeding schedule. Slower growth is associated with better development of joints.
For more information about Labrador Puppies, do check out our large Puppy Section. You will find pages on puppy training, health, behaviour and much more.
This article was written by Pippa Mattinson. Pippa’s recall training book will be available from July 2012: Total Recall A complete recall training programme for dogs and puppies.
The Labrador Site is brought to you by Pippa Mattinson. Pippa's latest book Total Recall is a complete recall training programme for puppies and adult dogs