How much should my Labrador weigh?

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People often ask “How much should my Labrador weigh?”

Most days on the Labrador site we receive a comment or email from someone who tells us exactly how old their dog is, and wants to know how many pounds, or kilos, he should weigh.

However,  Labradors come in a wide variety of sizes.

In this article we will take a look at the right size for a fit and healthy dog, and how to spot when he’s piling on the pounds.

Some of our chunkier, show bred Labs can be a good twenty pounds or more heavier than their field bred cousins, without necessarily being overweight.

A naturally big (not fat) Labrador may have a larger overall ‘frame’ with bigger bones.  But they should still look ‘slim’.

The Labrador in the photo below is obese and needs to lose weight urgently.

Muscle is heavier than fat

It is worth bearing in mind,  that a very fit dog will have more muscle and may weigh more than a fat, unfit dog of similar dimensions.

For these reasons, it simply is not possible to give a ‘rule of thumb’ on adult Labrador weights.

Unless a dog is grossly obese, or desperately thin, the scales may not be an accurate reflection of the dog’s state of health.

So how do I know if my dog is too fat?

The way to effectively judge whether your dog is too fat, is by feel and appearance.fatlab2Your dog should have a ‘waist’.

You should not be able to see ribs,  but if you press firmly along his sides you should just be able to feel your fingers bumping along them.

You can read about this in more detail in our article on Fat Labradors  where you can also find a picture of a Labrador at a healthy weight.

What about puppies?

To an extent, this information applies to puppies as well as adults.   People often worry a lot about their puppy’s weight.

But in most cases it really is not necessary to weigh your puppy every day, or even every week!

Any more than you would weigh your three year old child on a daily or even weekly basis.

There are however, some exceptions.

Very thin puppies

Occasionally we have people post up about puppies that are desperately underweight and clearly failing to thrive.

Most of these comments come from people that have purchased puppies that are not ready to leave their mothers, and should not have been sold by the breeder.

Some of these puppies are as young as three weeks old.

If you have inadvertently been sucked into this horrible trade in underage puppies,  please check out our article: Too Young to Leave Mum,  and do contact a vet for help with feeding your puppy, as a matter of urgency.

If you are concerned that your puppy might be seriously underweight, again, your vet is the first port of call.

As a very rough guide,  many Labrador puppies will weigh around a kilo for every week of their lives.  So you would expect a ten week puppy to weigh something in the region of ten kilos or around twenty-two pounds.

A twenty percent variation around this would be fairly normal.  If your puppy falls outside this variation he may still be perfectly healthy,  but if you are inexperienced,  a check with the vet is a good way to put your mind at rest.

Check out this article on Puppy Growth for more information:  Puppy Growth FAQ

So do I never need to weigh my dog?

If you are trying to put weight on a very thin puppy,  you may want to check your progress with regular weigh-ins for a while.

You may also need to weigh your dog if he needs medical treatment.

Determining the appropriate dose of some drugs requires that we know the exact weight of the patient.

How to weigh a dog

If you need to weigh a dog in order to ‘dose’ him, and he is small enough to hold in your arms, just weigh yourself on the bathroom scales without him, then weigh yourself again whilst holding the dog, and subtract the first weight from the second.

This is accurate enough for most purposes.

Larger dogs will need to be weighed on purpose built scales, most vet surgeries have one in the waiting room.

Really tiny dogs can be weighed accurately on a good sized set of  kitchen scales,  or by using fishing scales to weigh a puppy placed carefully  in a shoulder bag (don’t forget to weigh the bag first and subtract its weight from your total)

Appearances first

For once, this is a situation where appearances really do count.  Try to get into the habit of looking at your dog objectively and of avoiding comparing with other dogs, many of whom will be overweight.

You may find that some other dog owners will tell you your nice slim Labrador is actually too thin.   This happens a lot, largely  because people are simply getting used to so many dogs being fat,  including some of those receiving the highest accolades in our show rings.

Again, if you are worried, check with your vet,  but the chances are, your dog is healthy and their dog is overweight

If you enjoy Pippa’s puppy articles, you will love her new book: The Happy Puppy Handbook – a definitive guide to early puppy care and training.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Pippa, another very good article, for interestingly my lab, let us say he on the large size. We having a job to weigh him, vet and Petsupermarket, a little small for him; He is 42:43 kgs. Not fat, but have too watch get thin. He has lots of lovely grounds to play in, and as Estate manager he goes round with me.

    • Capital letters is shouting, there is no need to shout :) Volume for volume muscle weighs more than fat, so fat takes up a lot more space than muscle.

    • To this guy who say muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat……. Yes a pound is a pound but if a dog looks big and is all muscle and standing next to a dog that is all fat….. The muscular dog will weigh more… Don’t be too literal and a douche…..

    • A pound of fat takes up more space than a pound of muscle. Think of it this way: a fit dog will take less space on your sofa than a fat dog of the same weight. Now stop barking and take your dog out for a run!

  2. I’d just like to say that 10kg gram of muscles weigh exactly like 10kg of fats. The difference is the dog is better off carrying muscles than fat. That big paragraph there about how muscles weigh less than fat is grossly wrong and misleading.

  3. My new pup was weighed at the vet last Saturday (8 weeks) at 6.3 kilos. He remarked that she was on the large side, and there`s no doubt she looks like a little fatty, although you can feel her ribs. She is definately show bred, probably won`t be overly tall, and the breeder likes her dogs to have `a hint of a waist`. I am feeding her very slightly less (rounding down) than it says on the bag, but am still worried I might have an overweight dog on my hands.

  4. I found this article interesting as this subject recently came up when we took our chocolate lab Ruby to the vet with cruciate ligament injury.
    She has a large frame, was getting in the region of 2 hours of exercise daily running in fields, is raw fed and extremely muscular. She felt as she should do, has a waist, but according to the vet scales weighed 39 kg. She is fed for the weight would like her to be, in fact I have now gradually cut that back. The vet said she was overweight, made no allowance that it was muscle mass rather than fat.
    I realise with an injury such as hers (we are going for conservative treatment of rest with limited exercise for the next few months, rather than invasive surgery), that the heavier a dog is the more strain can be put on the stifle joint.
    As she is obviously not getting the exercise that she was, then cutting back on her meals gradually was the obvious thing to do. In 8 weeks she has lost 1 1/4″ round her waist.
    The vet needless to say, tried to sell me expensive dried diet food, even though Ruby is otherwise more healthy than most other labs I see, with muscle, gleaming white teeth (she’s nearly 6), and a coat you could use as a mirror!

  5. I find this interesting. It depends on the lab, truly. My lab weighs over 100 lbs., or 47kg and you can see his bones. He is not in the least bit unhealthy, but very strong and muscular.

  6. Hi there, my black Labrador puppy was born on the 12 of Nov, so he’s 3 and a half months old now. He weighs 16.5Kg (over 36 pounds!). He comes from a Field line and the Vet said he is extremely big. Since then, I’ve been searching to see if I find Field Labradors the same age as big as mine… I know that it might sounds silly, but I’m a bit concerned about it. I even thought the breeder might have lied about his date of birth, for some reason. But the birth was registered with The Kennel Club and I don’t see a reason for them to lie about it. I got him when he was 8 weeks old, then he had his first vaccine and the second one at 12 weeks. I feed him based on his weight and ‘age’ (I’d be very upset to know that I’m feeding him the wrong amount of food, in case he is older). Every time I’m walking him in the park and someone asks me his age, they are always surprised and some people don’t believe he is just 3 and a half months. He is not fat at all, I can feel his ribs. Does anyone else heard about a 3 months old Field Lab as heavy as mine??

  7. Hi Paula, don’t panic about his weight at this stage, it does sound heavy but when I took my lab puppy (girl) to training classes there was another one the same age as mine (a boy) and he was twice the size of mine, very chunky. I know they say adult male labs weight is 25-30kg, and the feeding guide is what it says, just a guide. I’ve fluctuated with feed amounts all the time , it depends how much exercise and chasing around she does. But I certainly haven’t skimped on food,because they grow so quickly and need the high protein that puppy food gives them up to a year old.
    One good thing I’ve done is weigh out her daily amount of food leaving out about 25-30grams to allow for treats for training, so they are included in her daily allowance. I then divide her food into two meals a day and use a slow feed bowl, cause she a guzzler.
    I cut up the treats as much as I can to make them go further. One thing I don’t do, is feed extra tit-bits of food that we eat, she gets her kong with kong stuffing in small amounts.
    Do you know how big his parents are?that’s a good indicator of what he’s going to be like.

  8. I have a labrador of 2 months & it weighs 3.3 kg. she is extremely playfull. Does her weight matches with her age? I feel like it doesn’t because I have seen their growth chart and it says they should weigh about 8 kg at 2 months of age . she takes her meals well and I give her 4 meals a day including milk. please tell me what I should do.I’m really concerned about her.

    • First, you should remove the milk. Water and kibble only is fine. Second, She is small, feed her right and love her and let her grow without worrying.

  9. Fern will be weighed tomorrow at the vet prior to her puppy class. She is 14 weeks, and went 10.2kg at 12 weeks. Polly (3 in May), was like a body on stilts at 4 months, and weighs under 27kg now. Btw she stands 22″. Although I can feel Fern`s ribs, she still looks like a litle bundle of fat. When should I expect her to loose the puppy fat, or should I be taking things in hand now? She is fed on Eukanuba puppy food, and has just over 15 mins. of exercise a day.

  10. I have 3 labs aged between 1 and 11 years. All are slim and fit, but vary in weight between 29 and 40 kilos. Vets’ weight charts can be very misleading as they don’t take account the variability in dogs’ frames. My biggest boy is huge, at least 3 inches taller than tbe smallest, yet I have been told by a vet that they should be roughly the same weight. The best advice I ever had regarding weight was that you should be able to feel all the dog’s ribs easily, but they shouldn’t be looking at you..

    • My girl is now 5 and comes in at 36kg and just yesterday the Vet said she is overweight and should be around 30kg. That’s why I’m trawling and reading to see if there is any concerns us out there.

    • Hi Paddy,
      Pippa states in the article “As a very rough guide, many Labrador puppies will weigh around a kilo for every week of their lives.” This means you would expect a pup of 8 weeks to be somewhere vaguelly in the region of 8 kilos. 3 kilos does sound rather light for an 8 week old puppy.
      If you are concerned about your puppy’s weight then please take him to your vet who will be able to give you some advice regarding his specific dietary needs.
      All the best,
      Lucy

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