A lot of puppy parents ask us about puppy growth and weight. When do dogs stop growing? How big will my puppy get? And how much should my puppy weigh?
These are the top three questions people ask about their dog’s growth, and we answer those here today, along with our other puppy growth FAQs.
You can use the green menu to find a quick answer to your puppy growth questions, or jump to our detailed puppy stages page for an in-depth guide to puppy development
Whether or not your puppy reaches his full potential in terms of size and when he does so, also depends on a variety of factors that can influence growth.
Some of which you can control, and some of which you can’t. We’ll be looking at those factors too.
First let’s consider how long it will take your puppy to reach his full size.
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?
When do puppies stop growing so quickly, and when do dogs stop growing for good?
Well, in broad terms, dogs stop growing sometime between one and two years.
But it varies between breeds.
Larger dogs are often slower to mature than little dogs, and carry on growing for longer.
With giant breeds, sometimes much longer. Up to three years.
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, and a lot of his growth after this point will be ‘filling out’ rather than getting taller.
The most rapid period of growth will take place in the first month or so after you bring him home.
So when will my puppy stop growing?
We can’t give you an ‘exact’ date, but most Labradors are fully grown by about eighteen months old.
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.
The point in time at which your puppy’s bones stop growing may vary depending on whether or not your dog is neutered. That’s because sex hormones are involved in the cessation of growth, and when you take them away, growth carries on for longer than it would naturally.
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.
How much should my Labrador puppy weigh?
There are problems with judging whether or not a puppy is thriving by his weight alone. That’s because of the variation that exists between different types of Labrador, different litters, and even different individuals within a single litter
Many ‘average’ Labrador puppies will weigh just over two pounds for each week of age.
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 chart below gives you an idea of the range of what is normal at each age
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 add your puppy to our data here: forum puppy weight thread
Puppies that don’t grow
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. Some of which are normal and harmless.
Working type Labradors
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 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.
Some puppies don’t grow because their growth has been interrupted by inappropriate care or adverse environmental factors
Puppies that don’t get enough to eat
Puppies that are not fed sufficiently or that are fed the wrong types of food may fail to grow properly.
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.
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 sometime 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.
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.
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!.
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 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.
Weighing your puppy
If your puppy has been ill and is very thin, (or if he has become rather overweight), you might want to weigh 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.
But, in most cases you won’t 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 puppy is too thin. If in doubt, check with your vet.
How big do Labs get and how big will MY dog get?
How big your Labrador will get depends partly on his parents.
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, English Labs, 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
These Labrador height and weight numbers are very broad guidelines, and within each type, especially working type, is a big range of different sizes.
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.
As we have seen, neutering can increase the height of a dog if carried out before that dog reaches sexual maturity
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. And while he may be taller, a male dog that has been neutered at an early age will have a less masculine appearance than his entire brothers
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
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. 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.
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!
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.
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.
More information on puppies
An extensive, informative and fun book, The Happy Puppy covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.
This book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.
The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.
Our Labrador puppy growth FAQ has been extensively revised, expanded and updated for 2017