When Do Labs Stop Growing?
Looking at your handsome Labrador pup, you probably want to prolong its puppy cuteness for as long as possible. However, at some point, that fuzzy little bundle of energy will become an adult dog so you may be wondering: when do Labs stop growing?
Today, our aim is to figure that out together. But, aside from the general age at which a Lab might stop growing, there are also other factors to consider.
When it comes to our canine companions, there’s nothing we love more than spoiling them. Between all of the edible rewards we keep showering our dogs with, we might have to ask ourselves: are we doing more harm than good?
Well, usually, spoiling a pup involves giving them plenty of snuggles, exercise, and food. Between these things, your dog should be able to regulate its own calorie intake just fine if it’s healthy.
Still, some owners focus exclusively on their pups’ diets, sometimes to the detriment of the dogs. So other than age and diet, several other things factor into a Labrador’s growth, including:
Let’s break all of these down individually.
When Do Labs Stop Growing Naturally?
When your Lab pup came into this world, it likely did so with about 4–10 other puppies.
A healthy adult female weighs about 55–70 pounds on average. So when she gives birth to a litter of Labs, the pups weigh only about 12–15 ounces each.
In the first two months of their lives, the little guys can grow to be between 5 and 25 pounds. By the 6-month mark, the dogs’ weight might double, so they may weigh 50 or 60 pounds!
Typically, Labs reach their full height, which is 22–25 inches, within the first year of their lives. However, your dog is actually likely to grow to full height by 9 months.
Still, they may continue to fill out and gain weight until about the 18-month mark or even their second birthday. During this time, it’s incredibly important to take care not to overexert the dog – which we’ll talk about in a moment.
Naturally, the weight of adult Labradors will vary according to gender. Males usually achieve a greater size than females.
In fact, there are many other factors that can make a dog bigger than its brothers and sisters. Before we get into those, let’s see which factors could keep a litter within the same weight category.
The Role of Genetics and Health in Labs’ Growth
One of the most important determining factors in this equation is the Labrador’s genes.
Your puppy may even be the runt of the litter and still end up a big dog! Conversely, your pup could be the plumpest one of the lot and end up a slim hunting Lab.
Rather than trying to determine the adult size of a pup based on its weight at birth, it might be smarter to take a look at its parents. However, once you have an estimate there’s still the matter of how well you take care of the dog once it’s yours.
As you’re probably aware, bigger dog breeds tend to have more joint problems. More specifically, hip dysplasia is a big concern when it comes to young active Labs.
While these conditions typically occur only when the dog is older, they may also manifest as the dog is developing. That’s why watching your pups’ activity levels is absolutely crucial during the early stage of development.
Usually, being the owner of an active and happy puppy is one of the greatest joys anyone can experience. However, while the pup’s body is developing, all of that jumping and running may leave them vulnerable to injuries.In addition to physical injuries, illness can also affect a dog’s size. If your dog has been sick, it may not have much of an appetite, which may cause it to lose weight.
The Effects of Neutering
So, you see, answering the question we started with – when do Labs stop growing – is a bit trickier than simply giving you a number. However, there is one last health factor that may influence a Lab’s growth: whether it’s been neutered or not.
Neutering alters the hormone levels in a Lab’s body. So if you get your pup neutered while it’s still relatively young, it may take longer to reach its full height and weight.
This may, in turn, result in the dog being bigger than it would have been without neutering. However, there’s really no way to tell how big the dog would have grown aside from comparing it to its siblings.
What Kind of Diet Influences Labradors’ Growth?
Dogs, like humans, can get plump if they’re eating more calories than they’re spending. Still, if you aren’t overfeeding your dog every time it turns its puppy eyes on you, it’ll be fine.
As long as the dog is getting plenty of exercise, within the healthy limits, obviously, there’s no reason to worry.
In recent years, though, there have been growing concerns over hormones in pet food. These can certainly affect your dog’s body – in fact, altered thyroid levels may cause your dog’s weight to fluctuate.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there have been indications of some meat-based pet food having heightened thyroid hormones. You can easily deal with this threat by steering clear of the specific products the FDA has implicated.On the other hand, you might also make your own dog food. A simple mix of boiled rice and meat, with no added spices, is a delicious and healthy treat for all dogs.
Can a Dog’s Profession Impact Its Growth?
Labrador Retrievers were originally bred for hunting and field trials. If your Lab pup is from a working family, they may be slightly smaller in stature.
Even though the general opinion among dog owners is that Labs should be big, there are some advantages to owning a working dog. Namely, a working dog is much more susceptible to instruction.
If Labradors as a whole are typically easy to train, working Labs are even more so. So we certainly don’t fault them their slighter size – they need to be able to rush in after a rabbit.
When Do Labs Stop Growing: Answered
So when do Labs stop growing? Well, the final size of a Labrador is influenced by many factors, including:
While you could try to control some of these facts, some are decidedly out of your reach. So focus on what you can change: the type of food your dog eats and its neutering status.
As you can see, “when do Labs stop growing?” is actually a more complicated question than you might think. Hopefully, though, this article has made the answer more clear.