Some of the most commonly asked questions on this website are about puppy growth. If you are wondering how much your pup should weigh, how much bigger your puppy will get, or when he will stop growing, you’ve come to the right place.
- How much should my puppy weigh
- Why is my Labrador puppy so small
- How can I tell if my pup is too fat or thin
- How big will my Labrador get
- When will my puppy stop growing bigger
- How can I make my puppy grow taller?
- Does it matter if my pup is plump?
- Is this the right weight for my puppy
- When will my puppy be a grown up?
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.
1 How much should my Labrador puppy weigh?
This is the number one question asked by new puppy parents. And it is a difficult one to answer accurately.
Many ‘average’ Labrador puppies will weigh just over two pounds for each week of age.
So at three months or so, such a puppy might weigh in at around 25lbs, and a six month old puppy might weigh around 50lbs.
2 Why is my puppy so small?
It is possible that your puppy will weigh less than these average examples. Labrador puppy weight and size can vary widely depending on a number of different factors.
Working type Labradors
Dogs bred for hunting and field trials tend to be faster and lighter in build because they are expected to do be agile and quick when working in the field. So if your puppy is from working stock, don’t be too concerned if his weight is a little below average.
Size is also partly genetic. In other words, if your puppy had small parents he might well be on the small size for his age, throughout his life.
Again, this is only a general guide. Puppies from the same litter can vary quite considerably in size.
Puppies that don’t get enough to eat
This is more common in countries where puppies are likely to be fed on home made or unusual diets.
This does not mean that more food is better – the important thing is to get the type and quantity of food right for your puppy, and that means reading up on how to feed your puppy so that you know exactly what to do.
Puppies that have been ill
A puppy that has been seriously ill may sometime fail to grow in a normal way.
Especially if the illness has been prolonged. He may catch up later, or
If you are worried about your puppy’s growth rate or his state of health generally don’t hesitate to contact your vet for advice
Weight guides and charts
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 a weight guide like our rule of thumb above is of limited use and can’t accurately tell you exactly what your puppy should weigh today, or any other day.
It may however give you an indication if your puppy is seriously under or overweight.
Remember, it is normal to worry a little if your puppy seems on the small side, but it is rare for puppies to have any kind of growth disorder, or for their families to starve them by mistake!.
3 How can I tell if my puppy is too fat or too thin?
The very best guide to whether a puppy is the right weight for him, is how he looks and feels.
Physically examining and observing your puppy, will help you decide if your puppy is doing ok in this respect.
Just like older Labradors, puppies should not be too fat, and most experts nowadays like to see a waist on even quite young puppies.
Run your hands gently down your puppy’s sides and you should be able to just feel his rib cage. If you can see his ribs, or feel them very easily just beneath his skin, your puppy is too thin. If in doubt, check with your vet.
4 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.
Give me a number!
But you want me to give you some numbers, so here again are some averages. Remember, your dog is probably not an average dog!
Many adult female Labradors reach a weight of 55-75lbs and stand 21-22 inches high at the shoulder.
Many adult male Labradors reach a weight of 65-85lbs and stand 22-23 inches at the shoulder
But these are very broad guidelines, and within each type, especially working type, is a big range of different sizes.
5. 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.
6. 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
7. 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.
8. 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 mentioned above that an average labrador might weigh around 50lbs at six months old, but there is a huge variations around this figure, and of course the average dog really doesn’t exist, he is just a mathematical concept!
If your dog is well under the average weight for his age, it is always worth chatting to your vet about it, but the chances are he is just going to be a small dog. And the truth is, no-one can tell you exactly what your six month old pup should weigh, or indeed your Labrador of any 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!
9. When will my puppy be an adult?
When is a puppy no longer a puppy? When will my puppy be a fully grown up dog?
It’s an interesting question
We’ve looked at physical growth, but maturity or being an adult is not just about growing bigger. There are three aspects to changing from puppy to dog
- Physical maturity
- Sexual maturity
- Mental maturity
People are often surprised to discover that puppies become sexually mature before they are full grown.
Sexual maturity in puppies
Most Labradors are physically capable of breeding while still puppies, though of course they should not be allowed to do so.
Many female labradors come into season for the first time between at between six and nine months old. Though some will be over a year old. And most male Labradors are ready and willing to mate well before their first birthday!
Mental maturity in puppies
Not only is your Labrador physically still a puppy when he or she reaches sexual maturity, he is also very much a puppy mentally and emotionally.
In fact, many experts do not consider a Labrador to be fully grown up and mature until he is around two years old
The Kennel Club divide their breed show classes for young dogs under two years old into
- minor puppy 6-9 months
- puppy 9-12 months
- junior 6-18 months
- yearling 12-24 months
In practice, there is no exact age at which you can definitely say your puppy is a grown up, and some puppies mature mentally and physically quicker than others. As a broad guide, you will often hear people use 18 months as the divide between puppy and adult dog.
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 do check with your vet if you think he is unwell or not growing as he should.
If you’d like all of our Labrador information together in one place, don’t miss my new book, due to be released on 1st October 2015.
The Labrador Handbook looks at all aspects of your Labradors life, through daily care and training at each stage of their life.
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This Labrador puppy growth FAQ was originally published in 2011 and has been extensively revised, expanded and updated