Bringing home your new Labrador Retriever puppy is very exciting. You get to watch them learn new things, experience things for the first time and grow into a happy and healthy adult dog. However, what if your dog is not growing as fast or as big as you had expected. If this is the case for you and your lab, you have likely asked yourself: why is my labrador so small?
Your Labrador is small due to poor nutrition, stunted growth, dwarfism, or a mix between breeds. It is normal for a labrador retriever to be on the smaller side. Any weight under around 55 pounds or height under 21 inches is considered abnormal for a purebred Labrador.
In this article, we will be explaining why some Labradors are smaller than average. We will also be answering some commonly asked questions about a labradors size. We will be describing when you should visit a vet about a Labrador Retrievers small size as well.
6 Reasons Your Labrador Is So Small
There are six main reasons why a labrador is smaller than average. Some of these causes are nothing to worry about and are just caused by the dog’s genes. Meanwhile, others require a vet’s attention to be resolved. Here are the six main reasons why your Labrador is so small.
Your Lab Is Just On The Smaller Side
Labradors are typically considered medium to large-sized dogs, so if your dog is on the smaller end of the scale, this is likely completely normal. This is especially true if your dog’s healthy weight is about 55 pounds.
Although this weight is considered healthy for some labs, it will likely look much smaller than an 80lb lab, which is considered normal. Females are typically smaller than males.
Your Dog Is An English Lab
English labs tend to look smaller than American labs. This is due to their slightly shorter limbs and stockier body shape. However, both versions have about the same weight range.
Your Dog Is A Mixed Breed
If your lab is a lot smaller than the average lab, they are likely a mixed breed. This is especially true if they have a different coat type or different markings than most labradors.
Your Lab Has Dwarfism
Dwarfism is a genetic condition that labs have been known to carry, and this genetic condition does make the dog smaller than average. The most striking sign of this condition is the lab’s unusually short legs.
Although a labrador with dwarfism typically lives happy and relatively healthy lives, it is important to get these dogs checked by a vet regularly. This is because this condition can cause health issues and problems with the legs.
Your Lab Is Malnourished
Dogs with an inferior diet as puppies are less likely to grow to their full genetic potential. Therefore, if you know that your lab has been malnourished, especially as a puppy, then this is likely the cause for their small size.
Your Labrador Is Sick
Similar to malnourishment, some diseases and parasitic infections can cause stunted growth in young dogs. This is either due to the parasites sucking all of the nourishment out of the dog’s food during ingestion or by the food not being digested enough due to diarrhea or vomiting.
Can Labradors Be Small
Yes, some labradors can appear small next to other larger labradors or other large dogs. The weight range for labs is 55 to 80 pounds, which is pretty large. As a result, a 55-pound lab will likely look small in comparison to an 80-pound lab.
How Long Do Labradors Stay Small
Labs are just about 20 pounds and 15 inches tall at three months old on average. However, this small size doesn’t last for long.
Most labrador puppies are about 45 pounds and 20 inches tall at six months old, which is almost full grown. A labrador is usually considered full-grown between 11 and 18 months of age.
How Long Do Labradors Take To Grow
Labradors usually take about a year to grow to their full size. However, some Labrador Retrievers can take a year and a half to reach this size.
At What Age Do Labradors Stop Growing
Labradors should stop growing anywhere between a year to a year and a half old. If your lab seems to have stopped growing long before this, then it is recommended that you see a vet to rule out any health problems causing your dog’s smaller size.
Why Is My Labrador Not Growing
If your lab has stopped growing before he has reached a year old, he may have a health condition stunting his growth. This could be a result of genetics or an external problem such as a poor diet.
Can A Dog’s Growth Be Stunted
Yes, a dog’s growth can be stunted. There are about three main ways a dog’s growth can be stunted. They are malnutrition, a parasitic infection, and due to a portosystemic or liver shunt.
Malnutrition is the result of a poor diet. Giving a dog an appropriate diet and any necessary supplements will improve the effects of malnutrition. However, sometimes stunted growth is a lasting effect.
A parasitic infection takes nutrients either from the blood or from the dog’s food while it is being ingested. The lack of essential vitamins and minerals often leads to stunted growth in puppies and young dogs if the infection is left untreated for an extended time.
If you suspect that your dog might have any parasitic infection, you must visit a vet as soon as possible. Parasites can cause some other serious health complications and can even result in death if left untreated.
A portosystemic or liver shunt is the result of an abnormal formation of the portal vein or liver. A genetic condition usually causes this, but it could also be due to an advanced form of liver disease. Symptoms of this condition include:
● Stunted growth
● Muscles being underdeveloped
● Head pressing
Your dog may have none or all of these symptoms with a portosystemic or liver shunt. Visiting a vet about this condition could help you to manage these symptoms.
How Can I Increase My Labradors Growth
You can not increase a dog’s growth after they have reached their full size. This includes a healthy height and weight, if their growth was stunted, or if they have dwarfism.
However, you can prevent stunted growth by feeding your puppy a healthy diet and ensuring that they don’t have a parasitic infection.
Miniature and toy breeds are growing in popularity these days. However, there are no official miniature or toy versions of the Labrador retriever. Any breeders promising toy, miniature, or teacup labs are likely unethical and are selling puppies that will develop health problems in the future.
However, some labrador mixes are of a smaller size and are more likely to remain in good health for most of their lives.
They are also much more likely to have been bred by a reputable breeder. Some small popular lab mixed breeds include but are not limited to lab terrier mixes, the lab corgi mix, and the lab dachshund mix.
No matter if you are looking for a purebred Labrador retriever or a lab mix, it is crucial to either do your research about breeders close to you or adopt from an animal shelter or rescue.
This will not only ensure good health and temperament from your dog, but it also provides the most ethical option by preventing a purchase from a puppy mill or backyard breeder.
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