Labradors are an extremely versatile breed who have a reputation of being large family dogs. Within the breed, there are three different color variations; yellow, black and chocolate. Besides the difference in fur color, these dogs are all exactly the same. So how big do Labradors get?
The average size of a Labrador Retriever is between 55 and 80 pounds, with males usually larger than females. Because labs are the most popular dog breed, there is a considerable variance in size due to the sheer numbers of dogs and breeding lines. The best indicator of a lab’s future size is the size of their parents.
Let’s look at how big Labs tend to grow and the average weight you can expect one to reach.
When Do Labs Stop Growing?
As a Labrador owner, one of the first things you may notice is just how quickly your dog will mature. In terms of growth, most Labradors will reach their maximum height somewhere between 12 and 18 months. After that, they will spend another two or three years “filling out.”
Average Size of a Labrador
According to the American Kennel Club, the average male adult Labrador is around 22.5 and 24.5 inches tall, and can weigh (roughly) anywhere between 65 to 80 pounds.
In comparison, American-bred female adult Labradors are between 21.5 and 23.5 inches tall, on average. They weigh somewhere in the range of 55 to 70 pounds.
English-bred Labs are often mistaken for being shorter and heavier than their American relatives due to their broad body shape and deep chest. However, this is not the case, and English-bred Labs have the same height and weight expectations. The only difference is that American Labs appear to look leaner because of their body shape.
Size Differences Between Yellow, Black and Chocolate Labradors
As mentioned earlier, there are no size or weight differences between the three different color variations of Labs. However, you do need to take care not to overfeed your dog, especially as Labs have pretty big appetites.
Allowing your dog to overeat, or giving them an unhealthy diet, will lead to obesity. As active dogs, it’s important that Labradors get at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday to keep them healthy.
Typically, Labs are not lazy in nature, so signs of obesity are most likely caused by overfeeding. It’s also worth noting that Labradors are a very sociable dog breed, so you shouldn’t leave them alone for hours on end every day.
How to Check Your Labrador’s Weight
If you’re concerned that your Lab may be overweight, there’s a pretty simple test that you can perform. Firstly, take a look to see if there is clear differentiation between their waist, torso and hind.
It’s also worth running your hands along your dog’s back. Make sure you keep your thumbs on the spinal column, and keep your fingers open and spread down. Have a feel around, but try not to apply too much pressure.
Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to see your Labrador’s ribs, but you should be able to feel them without applying any pressure. If you have to press down hard to feel their ribs, then your Labrador may be a little overweight. If so, you may need to increase their exercise whilst simultaneously decreasing the amount of food they feed.
As Labs tend to grow quite big, they also gain considerable strength. However, this shouldn’t be accompanied by excessive fat. If you need more in depth advice about your Lab’s weight, seek help from a veterinarian.
Are Labradors Considered a Large Breed?
Labs are often classified based on their weight. Labs that are on the lower end of the weight spectrum are generally considered medium-sized dogs.
However, Labs who are on the higher end of the weight spectrum are more in line with larger-sized dogs. They are generally referred to as large dogs.
How to Estimate a Labrador’s Size
It can be pretty difficult to estimate a dog’s size. Quite often, you will be presented with a mathematical formula which will look a little something like this:
(Dog’s current weight) / (current age in weeks) x 52 weeks
The problem with this formula is that the results can be very misleading. This is because the growth of Labs, like most dogs, does not happen in a linear fashion. This basically means that your dog is not growing at the same rate each week until they are very fully grown.
One fairly accurate formula for estimating a Labrador’s ultimate size is that, at six months of age, they generally weigh about 2/3 of their final adult weight. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, but can be helpful.
If you want more advice and accuracy when it comes to predicting your Labrador’s size/weight, it’s worth checking with your vet during the first year of vet’s visits. They will give you accurate weight figures which can give you the information you need to calculate a proper estimate.
Can You Tell How Big a Puppy Will Get?
This is pretty similar to trying to estimate a dog’s size, however, the size of your Labrador will partly depend on their genetics.
By observing their parents, you can get a rough estimate of how big your Lab may become. However, puppies from the same litter can considerably vary in size.
Other Factors That Affect Labrador Growth
There are some more factors that can affect your puppy’s growth. For example, a puppy that is not fed sufficiently – they’re underfed, or they’re eating the wrong diet – may fail to grow and develop properly. It’s important you feed your puppy the right type and quantity of food.
Similarly, a puppy that has been seriously ill may fail to grow in a normal way, especially if it is a prolonged or ongoing illness.
Can Paw Size Help You Determine a Lab’s Size?
A common theory is that the size of a puppy’s paw can help predict how big they will be. This process is actually a bit flawed, as we tend to know a puppy will be big based on the fact that they are a large breed. Paws are definitely disproportional in size to the rest of their bodies when they are puppies, but they are not an accurate indicator of future size.
Average Size of a Six-month Old Lab
As we noted earlier, Labradors tend to do the majority of their growth within the first year to year and a half of their life, but they tend to begin to mature quite quickly. Because of this, there are a lot of puppy-aged Labs that aren’t far off their full-size.
If we take into consideration the average growth-rate of a Labrador, at six-months old you can expect a female Lab to weigh somewhere between 40 to 50 pounds, and a male between 45 to 55 pounds.
It’s actually really important to consider the growth of a Labrador for a number of reasons.
For starters, you need to make sure that the space you have in your home is appropriate to handle a dog of this size. You need to consider whether the space will be too small for them, as well as if you can manage having a large dog in your space.
Also, as we noted earlier, Labradors are pretty active dogs, and need daily exercise. Whether you use your yard or take them to a park or field, their exercise requirements don’t change. So you will need to plan accordingly.
You will also need to consider the accessories and equipment you buy. It’s important to remember that Labs grow quickly, so you don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that they’ll outgrow in a month or two.
Items like toys, collars and harnesses are relatively inexpensive. But when it comes to larger items such as crates, and outdoor equipment like fencing, the costs can quickly add up. It’s important you plan properly to save yourself the costs.
What Size Crate Do Labradors Need?
When buying a crate, you need to consider the growth rate of your pup. As Labs grow fast, it’s worth splurging on a bigger crate (preferably with a divider), as you’ll need to replace it soon after anyway.
The dog should be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down in their crate, but no more space is needed than that. Especially with puppies, if it’s too big, they may decide to use one end to eliminate in. A divider helps you make the crate smaller for them until they grow and can use the full crate size.
On average, a larger crate costs around $75.
Space can be a big issue when it comes to owning a Lab. In fact, having the right amount of space is just as important (if not more) as costs. Hopefully, you’ve already taken into consideration how much room a big dog like a Labrador will need.
If you plan to use a crate for your dog (and you should), you need to think about where you will put it in your home. Labradors will need a large crate, so you need to have the appropriate room for it.
Labradors are generally considered medium to large sized breeds, which is often classed on the weight of your dog. The common range is 55 to 80 pounds, and they are usually energetic, not couch potatoes.