We all want to know that our Labrador puppies are healthy and thriving.
And steady growth is one of a number of indicators of puppy health.
In this article we look at the most frequently asked questions on growth, and hopefully provide you with some helpful answers
1 How much should my Labrador puppy weigh?
These include the genetic information passed down to him by his parents, and the environment he has been exposed to so far
You can find more information and a very rough puppy weight guide in this article: How much should my Labrador weigh
Because it is so difficult to know exactly what size your puppy will potentially be as an adult, no-one can accurately predict what he should weigh now.
So the weight guide can’t tell you exactly what your puppy should weigh today, or any other day, but it may give you an indication if your puppy is seriously under or overweight.
The very best guide is how he looks and feels, and the article above will help you decide if your puppy is doing ok in this respect
2 How big will my Labrador get
Assuming that your puppy had healthy (not overweight) parents, their own weights will have some bearing on your puppy’s expected weight and height as an adult, and therefore on how much he weighs at different point on his journey towards adulthood.
Labradors from show lines are often heavier in build and bone, than Labradors from working lines, which tend to be more ‘racy’ in appearance. You may find you need a bigger dog crate for example, for your bench bred dog, than your friend does for his field bred one. But these are very broad guidelines, and within each type, especially working type, is a huge range of different sizes.
So no-one can predict your dog’s final size based on his parentage. It may give you a rough idea, but there are always surprises in any group of dogs.
Your dog’s environment will also influence his growth rate and possibly his final weight as an adult. Puppies that are overfed may grow faster than they should (and this can be harmful in terms of health).
Just like human infants, puppies that are chronically undernourished or that suffer serious illness in puppyhood, may never reach their full potential in terms of size.
3. When will my Labrador puppy stop growing?
Much of your puppy’s growth will be completed before he reaches his first birthday, and most Labradors are fully grown by about eighteen months old.
In fact, he will be quite close to his final adult height at around nine months of age, and a lot of his growth after this point will be ‘filling out’ rather than getting taller.
An important consideration is that the completion of ‘upward growth’ is the point at which your dog’s bones stop growing.
This is the time at which most experts feel it is safe for the dog to begin more strenuous activity, such as long runs and activities involving jumping, without damaging his joints.
4. How can I make my Labrador puppy grow taller?
We are asked this question surprisingly often. Especially from our overseas visitors. There is a conception that the taller the dog grows, the better!
This is definitely not the case.
Your puppy should grow at the rate his genetic potential determined and no more. Excessive growth may bring its own problems, so don’t be tempted to increase his puppy food rations in order to make him bigger.
Neutering at an early age can affect the final height your dog reaches, because sex hormones influence the time at which bone growth slows down and without them bones may grow for longer. But there are disadvantages to this lengthening of the bone growth period and wanting a taller dog is not a good reason to neuter him.
The best way to ensure that your puppy reaches his full potential height as a adult dog, is to make sure he is fed an appropriate and nourishing diet. And is protected from accidents and illness where possible.
- You can find more about feeding your puppy here: How to feed your Labrador puppy
- And about healthcare here: Your Labrador puppy’s health
- And about neutering here: Neutering your Labrador
5. Does it matter if my puppy is a bit plump?
We all used think that puppy fat was a good thing. When I was a child fat puppies were the norm and perhaps this extra layer of fat was helpful in sustaining the puppy during illness before vaccinations were widely available for dogs.
Nowadays, the thinking is that puppies should be slim. With a defined waist, just like an older dog.
Overfeeding puppies doesn’t just make them roly-poly plump, it can speed up growth, and that may be a bad thing when it comes to joint health and other aspects of being a ‘well’ dog.
So yes, it does matter if your puppy is overly plump. Reduce his daily rations a little until you start to see a waist appearing. Ask your vet for advice if you are worried.
6. My dog weighs 35lbs at six months old. Is that OK?
This is the most common variation on the ‘how much should my puppy weigh’ question. People post up their puppy’s weight and age, and want someone to tell them this is ok
I cannot stress too strongly, that it simply is not possible to tell you how much your puppy should weigh at any given age.
To illustrate how much very healthy puppies may vary, check out this thread in the forum How much does your puppy weigh
Here you will find lots of people have added their puppy’s weight at a given age. The range and diversity of weights in Labradors is enormous.
Why not join in and add your dog? The more dogs we have on the thread, the more interesting it becomes!
Try not to worry about your puppy’s growth, or to weigh him too frequently unless you have cause for concern, or your vet has recommended it.
Enjoy your puppy for what he is, large Labrador or small. And check with your vet if you think he is unwell or not growing as he should.
More help and information
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This Labrador puppy growth FAQ was originally published in 2011 and has been extensively revised, expanded and updated