Your puppy will be growing very fast when you first bring them home. But that growth rate slows down quite quickly. So when do dogs stop growing for good? And how will you know when your puppy has reached their adult size?
The answer depends on a number of factors, including your dog’s breed, the size of their parents, their diet and their health. In this guide we’ll show you how to figure out what your dog’s final size will probably be, and when they might reach it! Let’s take a closer look.
Puppy Growth FAQs
If you have a specific question about puppy growth you can use the links below to skip straight to the answer!
- When do dogs stop growing?
- At what age does a Labrador puppy stop growing?
- How quickly do Labradors grow?
- How much do Labs grow after 6 months?
- Will my dog still grow after being neutered?
- How big do Labs get fully grown?
- Can you tell how big a puppy will get?
- Why is my puppy not growing?
- How much should a Labrador puppy weigh?
- How can I tell if my pup is too fat or thin?
- Does it matter if my pup is plump?
- What age does a puppy turn into a dog?
You can also skip ahead to our Labrador puppy growth chart, populated with data from our very own forum members.
When do dogs stop growing?
It’s fairly obvious that if your Labrador is four years old, he is not going to get any taller (though of course he could get fatter). But what about a two year old Lab, or a one year old? Well, in broad terms, dogs stop growing sometime between one and two years old. But it varies between breeds.
Most dogs are fully grown by their first birthday. In general small breeds reach their adult height several months before large breeds do. Yet dog size varies greatly among individuals, even within the same breed.
Larger dogs are often slower to mature than little dogs, and carry on growing for longer. Small dogs are sometimes fully grown by the time they are 9 months old. Whereas giant breeds can take up to three years to reach full size.
Adult size, temperament, and coat type are all likely to affect energy requirements, and affect the rate a puppy grows. In fact even breeds which end up similar in size can grow at very different rates. So there’s little point comparing your Lab puppy’s growth with, say, your next door neighbor’s German Shepherd Dog puppy.
At what age does a Labrador puppy stop growing?
There is very little scientific research – but a lot of anecdotal evidence – about when Lab puppies stop growing. The most important thing to remember is that each puppy is unique, and it’s rarely cause for concern if yours doesn’t meet ‘average’ expectations.
In 2004, a UK study following 37 Lab puppies through to adulthood revealed that all of them had reached their adult weight by their first birthday. But more recently, a much larger lifestyle study of over 4,300 UK Labradors found that their weight continued to increase between one and four years old.
General wisdom from breeders, vets, and experiences Labrador owners is that Labs stop growing during their second year. But much of your Lab puppy’s growth will be completed before he reaches his first birthday. In fact, he will be quite close to his final adult Labrador height at around nine months of age. A lot of his growth after this point will be ‘filling out’ rather than getting taller.
How quickly do Labradors grow?
All Labrador puppies follow the same breed specific pattern of growth spurts and slower growth, even though the actual numbers on the scale will vary from individual to individual. The most rapid period of growth will take place in the first month or so after you bring him home.
In 2007, a study of 150 Labrador puppies in Norway found that weight gain is most rapid at 89 days old in females, and 95 days old in males. So around the 12-14 week mark. And Labradors usually reach half of their adult weight by the time they are 18 or 19 weeks old.
Labrador puppy growth chart
We have a fascinating and long running thread on our forum, where members enter the weights of their puppies at different ages. The Labrador growth chart below shows the data we have collected.
Each dot represents a snapshot in time of an individual puppy. You can find his or her age in weeks along the bottom of the chart and his weight in pounds up the left hand side.
You can see how all the dots taken together follow a pattern, but there is still a considerable range of puppy weights at each age. Why not add your puppy to our data as well?
How much do Labs grow after 6 months?
Another trend you can see in our Labrador puppy growth chart is that Lab puppies gain weight much less rapidly after their 6 month birthday. Once your Lab has hit this milestone you can expect them to gain a little height, and probably continue to fill out for up to a year or so. But on the whole, a Lab who’s petite at 6 months is likely to be petite all her life.
And you needn’t worry that a boy who already weighs 50lbs at 6 months is going to end up the size of a Great Dane!
Another important milestone to look out for after 6 months is the completion of ‘upward growth’. In other words, the point when you Lab stops getting any taller. This is the point at which your dog’s bones stop growing, and most experts feel it is safe for them to begin long runs and activities involving jumping without damaging their joints.
Don’t assume that your dog will stop growing upwards when they reach the height on the Labrador breed standard though. It is estimated that in the UK the average height at the shoulders of a male Lab is 2-3cm taller than the breed standard.
Will my dog still grow after being neutered?
Whether or not dogs should be routinely spayed or neutered is a subject which divides opinion. Labrador owners deciding whether and when to neuter usually end up with a lot of questions, few of which have straightforward answers.
Many veterinary care providers and shelters advocate neutering at a young age, or even make it a requirement of the adoption contract. This has several pros and cons, but does neutering a puppy before they’re fully grown affect their growth?
This 2017 study found that neutering before 37 weeks old is linked to very slightly more rapid growth, and neutering after 37 weeks leads to very slightly slower growth. But the difference was very small, and the researchers emphasized that it doesn’t require special planning.
How big do Labs get fully grown?
As we all know, very few dogs fit the mathematical average – they are much more likely to occupy a range of normal sizes. But most of us like a more precise answer than that before we commit to sharing our home with a puppy. So, how big do Labs get? Labradors are remarkably variable in height and weight.
The biggest male Labs can be almost twice the size of the smallest female ones. And it’s risky to rely on statistics, when they could be so misleading.
Labrador average sizes
But you want me to give you some numbers, so here are some averages.
- 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.
Can you tell how big a puppy will get?
We can’t predict your puppy’s exact adult weight, just like we can’t guarantee exactly when they will stop growing. These Labrador height and weight numbers are very broad guidelines, and they may give you a rough idea of how big a pup will grow.
How big your Labrador will get depends partly on his parents. Assuming that your puppy had healthy (not overweight) parents, their own weights will give you an idea of how big your Lab is likely to grow.
Furthermore, Labradors from show lines (English Labs) are often heavier in build and bone, than Labradors from working lines (American Labs), which tend to be more ‘racy’ in appearance. But there are always surprises in any group or family of dogs!
Why is my puppy not growing?
It is possible that your puppy will weigh less than the average examples. Labrador puppy weight and size can vary widely depending on a number of different factors, many of which are normal and harmless.
Labrador puppies from working stock are often less heavy than those bred for the show ring or pet homes.
Dogs bred for hunting and field trials tend to be faster and lighter in build because they are expected to 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. To find out more about the differences between show and working bred Labradors, check out this article.
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. Even puppies from the same litter can vary quite considerably in size.
Puppies that don’t get enough to eat
Young puppies that are not fed sufficiently or that are fed the wrong types of food may fail to grow properly. This is more common when puppies are fed homemade or unusual diets.
And it does not mean that more food is better. The important thing is to get the type and quantity of food right for your puppy. It’s well worth reading up on how to feed a puppy so that you know exactly what to do.
Puppies that have been ill
A puppy that has been seriously ill may fail to grow in a normal way. Especially if the illness has been prolonged. He may catch up later, given the right care and diet. Or he may be permanently small for his breed.
Neglected or mistreated puppies
Finally, some puppies don’t grow because their growth has been interrupted by inappropriate care or adverse environmental factors. Stressed puppies can lose their appetite, which will affect their growth.
How much should my Labrador puppy weigh?
Many ‘average’ Labrador puppies weigh just over two pounds for each week of age. So at around three months such a puppy might weigh 25lbs, and at six months they’ll reach 50lbs. But this kind of rule of thumb is of limited use, and there are problems with judging whether or not a puppy is thriving by his weight alone. Because it is so difficult to know exactly what size your puppy will be as an adult, no-one can really say what he should weigh today, or any other day. It may however give you an indication if your puppy is seriously under or overweight.
It is rare for puppies to have any kind of growth disorder. Or for their families to starve them by mistake! But it is also normal to worry a little if your puppy seems on the small side. If you can’t see your puppy’s ribs and he is bouncy and full of fun, the chances are he is just a small puppy. Let’s have a closer look.
Is 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 they are doing ok in this respect. Just like older Labradors, puppies should not be too heavy. Most experts nowadays like to see a waist on even quite young puppies.
Does it matter if my puppy is a bit plump?
We all used to think that puppy fat was a good thing. When I was a child fat puppies were the norm. 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 causes their bones to grow too rapidly as well. And this may result in painful skeletal abnormalities in later life. You can find out how to spot a fat Lab and how to reduce your Labradors weight in this article. And don’t forget to ask your vet for advice if you are worried.
Weighing your puppy
If your puppy has been ill and is very thin, (or if he has become rather overweight), you might consider weighing him in order to monitor his progress. You can buy veterinary scales, like the ones you see in your veterinarian’s office, but they are quite expensive. And in most cases you don’t really need to weigh your puppy at all.
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 Labrador puppy is too thin. But if you can’t feel them at all, he might be a little overweight. If in doubt, check with your vet.
My dog weighs 35lbs at six months old. Is that OK?
This is the most common variation we receive on ‘how much should my puppy weigh?’ People share their puppy’s weight and age, and want someone to tell them it is ok. I mentioned above that an average Labrador might weigh around 50lbs at six months old. But there is huge variation around this figure.
To illustrate how much very healthy puppies may vary, there are 6 month old Labs on our forum weighing 30lbs, and others weighing 60lbs!
What age does a puppy turn into a dog?
When is a puppy no longer a puppy? And when will your 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
- and mental maturity.
Sexual maturity in puppies
People are often surprised to discover that puppies become sexually mature before they are full grown. 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 they are around two years old.
In practice, there is no exact age at which you can definitely say your puppy is a grown up. 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 Labrador puppy and adult dog.
When do dogs stop growing – a summary
Most Labradors will have completed much of their growth by their first birthday and will stop growing completely before their second. Weights vary greatly among individuals of this breed and puppy weight unless very extreme, is not a great guide to health.
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. Just remember to check with your vet if you think he is unwell or not growing as he should.
Is your Labrador puppy still growing?
Do you think the runt of the litter is going to surprise you by reaching the upper end of the scale? Were your predictions at X months completely confounded? Share your anecdotes in the comments box down below!
If you’re interested in learning more about your dog, take a look at our article on dog whiskers!
References and resources
- Salt et al, Growth standard charts for monitoring bodyweight in dogs of different sizes, Plos One, 2017.
- Hawthorne et al, Body-Weight Changes during Growth in Puppies of Different Breeds, The Journal of Nutrition, 2004.
- Larsen, Feeding Large Breed Puppies, 2010.
- Brenten et al, Energy intake, growth rate and body composition of young Labrador Retrievers and Miniature Schnauzers fed different dietary levels of vitamin A, British Journal of Nutrition, 2014.
- Trangerud et al, A longitudinal study on growth and growth variables in dogs of four large breeds raised in domestic environments, Journal of Animal Science, 2007.
- Pugh et al, Dogslife: A cohort study of Labrador Retrievers in the UK, Preventative Veterinary Medicine, 2015.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website