Most people who adopt a Labrador Retriever know that they haven’t chosen a small dog.
Labradors are small and adorable as puppies but do grow quickly in their first year or so of life.
These energetic companions are smart, friendly, eager to please, and lovable.
They can be a lot to handle, especially for first-time owners. Or even for those who have previously owned smaller breeds.
After adopting your new Lab you will have many questions and soon you will be asking when do Labs stop growing.
The quick answer is around 1-1.5 years old although they will continue to gain weight.
Keep reading to learn what factors contribute to the size of your pup and some important things to remember along the way…
What Does Normal Growth Look Like for a Labrador Retriever?
Normal growth in a Lab may vary from dog to dog but will follow a familiar pattern.
In the first year of life, you can expect rapid growth from your Labrador puppy given the fact their birth weight averages 17 ounces.
It may feel like every time you blink your pup had a growth spurt.
Studies show that Labs usually reach their peak growth rate at around 12-14 weeks.
Usually reaching about half of their adult ideal weight by 18 weeks. If this doesn’t seem drastic enough, most Labs finish skeletal development by 9 months of age.
Labrador Growth Stages
Labradors go through different stages of development, which are easy to identify with a trained eye.
These growth stages – newborn, juvenile, adolescence, and adulthood – all come with marked periods of development.
In the newborn and juvenile stage, the first 6 months of a Lab’s life, your pup will grow fast and complete almost all its skeletal development.
You may notice that your dog looks lanky or slimmer during the latter half of this period.
During adolescence, they will complete skeletal growth. They will then begin to fill out until they reach their full adult weight and height.
As your Labrador Retriever enters adulthood, you will notice a slow in physical growth and weight gain, as well as a calmer demeanor.
When is a Labrador Fully Grown?
Considering all the different growth stages, Labs officially reach their final size around a year to 18 months.
With adult height and weight achieved, owners must take steps to maintain the healthy weight and composition of their dog.
Labs are a highly active breed that require training, plenty of exercise and a balanced diet.
This helps prevent problems with weight gain which can lead to more damaging health conditions as your dog continues to age.
You may also notice a change in the energy level or demeanor of your dog.
As puppies pass adolescence and settle into adulthood around 2 years of age, Labs start to calm. Another sign that your dog has stopped growing.
What Factors Contribute to a Labs Growth?
An average male Lab will stand around 22-23 inches and weigh roughly 65-85 pounds. Female Labradors will grow to 21-22 inches and 55-75 pounds respectively.
Several factors can affect how large a Lab can be. Many of them are related to elements controlled by the owner rather than the dog.
Food and Nutrition
As with any pet, healthy food and nutrition are essential to ensure that your Lab grows properly.
A balanced diet for a Labrador Retriever is a must.
Ensure your pup gets the right amount of fats, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. All these aid in a healthy growth curve of your dog.
It may be tempting to feed a hungry dog, but overfeeding your Lab can cause problems in their early development.
When you give your young Lab too much food, you may encourage excessive growth that can be taxing on their skeletal structure.
When bones grow too fast, it leads to orthopedic issues in the breed further down the line.
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying and neutering can have one of the largest impacts on the optimal growth of your lab.
Dogs spayed or neutered earlier in their development, around 6-9 months, have growth plates that develop for longer and close later than their “unfixed” counterparts.
The extended period of growth is due to the interference of levels of estrogen and testosterone. These levels are linked to a dog’s sexual maturity and therefore physical development.
This can result in a bigger dog, but can also lead to health issues.
Long bone growth and delayed joint development can cause many orthopedic issues in the breed. A main contributor to health problems is hip dysplasia.
Of course, this isn’t to say you should avoid spaying or neutering your Labs.
Just be aware of the timing and delay operations until crucial skeletal development is complete.
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General Health and Genes
The final and most significant factor in determining the size of your fully-grown Labrador is the general health and genetic history of your dog.
If you purchased your puppy from a lineage of larger Labs, you can assume your pup will be slightly larger than an average size adult dog.
The same can be said for Labs will family lines that veer towards smaller percentiles.
Overall, what is most important to consider in the growth of your Labrador Retriever is that they have a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise.
A healthy, well-attended puppy will inevitably lead to a well-developed adult dog.
Wrapping It pUp…
It is imperative to remember – breed standard aside – every Lab will develop differently.
Genetic factors, appetite, and rate of sexual maturity can all affect the final size of your dog.
Unless you are noticing extreme weight loss, gain, or other health issues in your Lab puppy, your dog is likely to grow as it should.
Though issues related to growth and development are generally uncommon in Labradors, always make sure your pup is getting healthy food, exercise, and stimulation as they mature into adulthood.