Labrador retrievers are meant to be strong, active, and very friendly dogs. A part of keeping your lab healthy is to assess its weight. You need to keep your dog in the optimal weight range to avoid certain health and mobility issues. There are many factors that affect the weight of a labrador.
Even though there is an average weight range, there are still many outliers that we have seen over the years. If you’re wondering how much a labrador weighs, what affects the weight and what you can do about it, then you’re in the right place.
Average Labrador Weight
A labrador weight chart will outline the growth of your lab. Every growth chart can vary, so we advise readers to take each of them with a grain of salt. As long as your lab is healthy, it’s okay if he doesn’t weigh as much as his brother.
In general, a labrador adult female should weigh around 55 to 70 pounds, while males are a bit larger at 65 to 80 pounds. On average, a male labrador will have around 10 pounds on the female when they are fully grown. There are various types of labradors, from the colors to the region and the overall size and weight. The primary influencers of a labrador’s weight are genes, lifestyle, and diet, which we will explore in a bit.
What about Puppies?
Adults are easier to gauge because a fully mature lab will have stopped growing, which eliminates a lot of x-factors. It’s difficult to tell just how large a labrador puppy will be, which is why giving a concrete answer about how much a labrador puppy should weigh. As always, we can give you a rough estimate.
The Ideal Labrador Retriever Weight
How much should a labrador weigh ideally? The conclusion cannot be sought by simply weighing your dog. You need to look at his bone structure and body condition to figure it out. If you’re not too sure about how to judge the weight of a labrador, we’re here to help. It’s recommended to make sure your labrador puppy is growing on pace, which means putting on a certain amount of weight per month.
As we have mentioned, your labrador puppy’s frame, lifestyle (though healthy puppies are always active), and diet will impact his weight. Labradors are considered large breed dogs, and most of their growing period happens in the first six months, and it’s quite rapid. Larger breed dogs reach their full size a lot slower than small breeds, but it’s important to remember that weight is not completely dependent on size.
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You can expect your labrador puppy to put on around 2 pounds a week during the first half a year. Again, we caution you not to follow this guideline exactly and don’t worry if you’re labrador is a few pounds over or under. If your dog is happy, active and eating right, he is most likely healthy even if he seems a bit small or has an overabundance of puppy pudge. You can expect an adult male and female lab to be around 40 to 50 pounds at six months old.
If you’re wondering just how to judge the health of your labrador puppy when there are so many variables, then we can help with a body condition score chart.
The Body Condition Score Chart
The body condition score chart is referred to by dog owners, vets and experts alike to gauge the health and physical appearance of a labrador. It can be done on your own as well, and be used on puppies and full-grown adult male and female labs.
There are 9 levels with the lowest one being 1. Each level is followed by a clear description of what a dog in that category will look like. Ideally, 5 is the goal you should strive for.
- Severely Underweight – Bones, especially the ribs are visible at a distance and there is no distinguishable body fat or muscle. From the side, you will witness a very obvious tummy tuck.
- Very Thin – There may still not be any visible fat at this stage and the bones are still visible. However, there will be a little bit of muscle.
- Thin – A thin dog will still have visible ribs and some parts of his frame with slightly more fat and muscle mass. The tummy tuck will still be clearly visible.
- Underweight – An underweight dog will exhibit some fat and muscle with less visible ribs and bones but they can still be easily felt.
- Ideal – A dog at an ideal weight will have fat covering the ribs but they can still be felt without much pressure, a tummy tuck, and the waist is well defined from every angle.
- Overweight – There will be more fat at this stage. You will still see an abdominal tuck, but it will be much less obvious. The waist will not be clearly visible from a bird’s eye view.
- Heavy – How do you know if your dog is heavy? If you can’t feel his ribs under the fat without using a lot of pressure, you can see noticeable fat and if the tummy tuck is barely visible, then he is considered heavy.
- Obese – An obese dog will not have visible ribs and have very clear fat deposits all over with no definition.
- Severely Obese – Lastly, if your dog is severely obese, you will see very obvious fat deposits all over with no waist and perhaps even a protruding belly.
We’re very glad there hasn’t been a need for a category 10, because we can just imagine what a poor labrador or another dog breed will feel at that stage. You can see that there is quite a fine line between ideal and underweight or overweight, so it’s okay if your dog ends up anywhere among those 3. Very active dogs may seem underweight and there are certain breeds that are very healthy in the overweight category.
You don’t have to stress about keeping your dog exactly at category 5. Remember that your dog’s weight will also fluctuate throughout his life, and that is very normal. There are also unforeseeable health issues that can make a difference.
What Affects the Weight of My Labrador?
In order to help maintain the labrador weight in the optimal range, dog owners must first understand what factors can influence the weight of their dog. Going by the labrador weight chart or growth chart is not enough. Let’s take a look at what affects the weight of labrador puppies and adults.
The first and perhaps largest influencer is genetics. This isn’t so much an argument of nature versus nurture, because there isn’t much you can do about what your labrador’s genes dictate in terms of size. But genes are fickle and unpredictable at times, which is why there are still exceptions to this rule.
In general, if your labrador has parents on the heavier end of the scale, then your lab should inherit this trait. Similarly, if both the parents of your lab puppy are smaller, then in turn, your labrador puppy will be on the smaller side.
Labrador owners will know that there are two classifications of labradors – the English labs and the American labs. Does breed affect the weight? Yes, it does to some extent. Judging by how most of them are raised and the genetics they pass down, English labs are the heavier and stockier breed. In fact, they exceed our average weight estimate by 5 pounds give or take, which makes the females around 60 to 70 pounds and the males at 70 to 80.
Then we have the American labs that are field bred. This results in faster, leaner, and more agile dogs. American labs are smaller, thinner, and lankier than their English counterparts.
Labrador lovers will know that this breed comes in various colors. You have yellow, chocolate, white and black labradors. The color of your labrador doesn’t seem to impact his weight as much as his genetics and origin.
Lifestyle and diet, which we will cover in a bit, are the largest factors that can influence what the genes dictate. For example, even if your labrador is meant to be on the larger side but spends all your working hours in a crate that’s just large enough, he probably won’t grow to be as large as a lab that has free rein of the house.
Labradors that get a ton of exercise at the park, attend puppy classes, and have more physical activity will also be larger than English labs and American labs that don’t leave the house much.
Your labrador’s diet doesn’t only affect his weight, but also his health as well. If you want a pooch with a longer life expectancy and a better chance at maintaining a healthy weight, then you need to watch his food.
You can consult with your trusted vet to figure out the ideal diet plan because professionals will have a clearer overview of your dog’s health. Every dog is different. There are some labradors that do not process grains very well, and other ones that need some gastric support with probiotics. Before you alter your dog’s diet with supplements you think he needs, check with the vet first.
In general, we suggest looking for dog food that has clearly listed animal sources of protein as the first 5 ingredients at least. Opt for selections that do not have preservatives, artificial additives, and harmful ingredients. A nutrient-dense diet will also ensure a healthier dog that keeps at the ideal weight.
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Health Effects of Labrador Weight
Having a pudgy dog is very cute, yes, but you may be sacrificing the health of your dog for a more adorable appearance. What are some health problems that can impact your overweight labrador?
A Shorter Life Expectancy
You will be limiting your dog’s lifespan if he is overweight. Being overweight is an issue in itself because it can lead to a plethora of health issues – not only one but many. If you want your dogs to be in your life for as long as possible, then you need to pay attention to their activity levels regardless of gender to make sure they live healthy lives.
A big problem that shortens lives in humans and dogs is cancer. How does obesity cause cancer? It doesn’t directly cause a type of cancer but it does aid the growth of malignant tumors. These tumors are what can develop into cancer, which is a fatal killer for many dogs.
Bone and Joint issues
Bone and joint issues in large dog breeds are very prevalent, as we are sure most lab owners know. While you may not be able to completely prevent this in some labradors, you can help to decrease the effects. How can you decrease the effects? Try supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and even fish oil. Your healthy and active labrador already runs the risk of developing bone and joint issues, so can you imagine the difference in an obese lab?
All the extra weight on your pup will put even more strain on your lab’s joints will either accelerate the issue or cause an early onset. These issues may not shorten your labrador’s life, but they will definitely decrease his quality of life. As the situation gets worse, your labrador will have mobility issues and potentially a lot of pain.
Heart Disease and Respiratory Problems
Reduce physical exercise due to weight gain can be detrimental to heart health. Your dog’s heart will also need to work extra hard when pumping blood around his body, which will greatly increase the chances of heart disease. Then comes respiratory issues that accompany an overweight labrador because movement will wear him out much easier, which makes it harder to breathe.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from any of the aforementioned problems or something you cannot diagnose yourself, please don’t hesitate to check with your vet.
Why Is My Labrador Overweight?
To tackle the problem, it’s necessary to identify the cause. Knowing why your lab is overweight or putting on weight can help you choose the best course of action.
Too Much Food
The first and most obvious reason is too much food. We tend to show love to our dogs by feeding them yummy treats and food. It’s so hard to ignore those adorable puppy dog eyes as you eat your delicious human food while your pup looks longingly at you. Don’t give in! Once you start encouraging the habit of begging at the dinner table, you will have a much harder time breaking it.
When you feed your lab snacks, account for the extra calories and adjust his daily food intake as necessary. If your dog does love to eat, there is another way to balance this with exercise, which brings us to the next category.
Without sufficient exercise, any animal or human is prone to weight gain. A lab puppy is more likely to sport a pot belly even though he is active because he still possesses some of the puppy pudge. As your lab grows, he should fill out nicely and the pudge should distribute itself evenly.
Make sure your lab gets enough exercise. This dog breed requires around an hour a day of exercise. decreasing his exercise time and letting him have cheat days with food will lead to an overweight lab.
Age can also correlate with weight gain because older dogs are generally less active and have lower energy levels. You must make sure to keep your senior dog moving. Not only will daily walks keep him at a healthy weight, but they will also maintain your lab’s heart health and respiratory health.
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Whenever a dog gets sick, weight fluctuations can be common. Your dog could feel very ill and not want to eat at all, or chronic conditions such as hypothyroidism can cause weight gain. To make sure your dog is gaining weight due to his illness, have your vet confirm your suspicions. You don’t want the weight gain to be caused by something else and not realizing it until the situation is more severe.
Cold weather can cause dogs to eat more. Because they need more “thermal protection”, your dog will consume more food to have enough energy to keep them warm through the winter months. Don’t worry if there is a slight weight gain during the colder months. If you are concerned that your lab is eating too much, then check with your vet. Don’t worry too much about what the weight charts indicate because pet weight is something that fluctuates easily due to certain conditions.
Why Is My Labrador Underweight?
On average, an underweight dog is less prevalent compared to overweight dogs if we are looking at healthy dogs from loving households. It’s no secret that abused dogs from rescues and shelters are often underweight and need professional help to get back to a healthy weight and for emotional recovery. What are some of the reasons why a lab in a happy home can be underweight?
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One of the biggest reasons why a labrador, or any other dog breed is underweight is because they have a picky palate. This could be due to loving dog owners spoiling their beloved labrador pups with yummy treats and human food. As long as you avoid harmful ingredients and food that can be toxic to dogs, a little treat once in a while is no big issue. Feeding your labrador too much of a good thing can cause them to lose interest in his regular bland kibble, and who can blame him?
Picky eaters may not like their food or get sick of the food as well. While it’s a good thing to change up the recipe every once in a while, do not let your dog control you and dictate what food you get. In general, dogs will not starve themselves into a harmful state, so they will eat their food eventually.
Not Enough Nutrition
If you don’t get the portion right for a very active dog, then you may notice your labrador will start to look gaunt and thin. If you are feeding the recommended amount on the dog food bag but notice that your dog always seems to be hungry, it could be because he is more active than other dogs of his size. It’s okay to increase the portion size by 1/4 of a cup or so.
Purchasing the wrong kind of dog food may also cause your labrador adult or puppy to lose weight. Why? Because the dog food can be of poor quality. Dog food comes in different tiers. From the expensive Orijen to a no-name supermarket brand, you can’t expect the same ingredients in both. Make sure you are giving your fur baby good nutrient-dense food.
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It Could be Worms
Don’t be alarmed, this is actually more common than you think. Your dog can pick up worms or parasites from other dogs and things they pick up on a walk. It’s very difficult to watch your dog every second of every day, which is why worm and parasite prevention are so important. Having these creatures living inside your canine will take a toll on your dog. These critters survive by feeding on the nutrients in whatever your dog consumes, which takes some away from your dog.
If you are feeding your pooch an adequate amount but notice his average weight is gradually decreasing, it may be time for a vet visit. Once you get rid of the worm or parasite, make sure to take preventative measures in the future.
Illness or Side Effects of Medication
Another reason why your dog is underweight or losing weight can be due to sickness. We certainly hope this isn’t the cause, but don’t worry, because your lab can usually bounce back from illnesses. The medicine they are prescribed or simply because they aren’t feeling their very best could lead to weight loss. Once your dog has recovered, he should bounce back to normal. If he doesn’t then pay your vet a visit just to be safe.
Even the weather has an impact on your dog’s weight. Have you ever experienced a loss of appetite when the weather outside is scorching hot? Hot weather can make us feel lethargic and lazy, and it has the same effects on your dog. You may notice your dog has a gradual or sharp decrease in his appetite when it’s super hot out, but don’t be alarmed. As long as he is still eating, there is nothing to be overly concerned about.
How to Get Your Labrador to the Optimal Weight
Now that you know how much your labrador weighs, you can take steps to help him get to category 5 on the body condition score chart.
First thing’s first, cut out any unnecessary treats or food that you believe are the causes for your dog’s weight gain. Always feed nutritious and nutrient-dense food over supplementing the calories with treats. There are also healthy 0 cal snacks you can look into that can help your dog lose weight. Celery is a great example of such a snack. Celery is high in fiber and takes more energy to digest than it does to eat it.
If not enough exercise is behind your dog’s weight issues, then get him out of the house and moving! Don’t increase the exercise from 0-100 instantly. Let’s say your pooch goes out for a short 10-min walk a day. Add 5 min to that time and keep going until you reach an hour. Labs are large breeds, so they will require 40 to 60 min of exercise a day depending on how vigorous it is.
Playtime in the house can be added to the daily exercise time. Let’s say it was an unusually hot day and you didn’t want to keep your dog outside for that long, you can supplement the daily exercise with a game of fetch in the house.
If the problem is health-related, then your vet is in a better position to advise you on the best course of action. Once your dog has recovered, he should slowly bounce back to his old self. If the issue is the weather, then unfortunately there is nothing you can do to speed up time. But you can invest in an air conditioner or at least a powerful fan to maintain the interior temperatures.
Underweight dogs will need the opposite of what you offer overweight labs. Give your dog more food, but only make sure to give them nutrient-dense kibble, wet food, or any diet your dog is on. Try not to help them gain weight by adding more treats and human food. However, you won’t have to hold back when you reward your lab for a job well done. There are plenty of healthy snacks like we mentioned earlier, and peanut butter, carrots, and blueberries are some more great examples.
Again, if the issue is weather or health-related, you must address the illness in your labrador puppies or adults to ease your dog back into a healthy weight. If you have concerns on how to do it the right way, book an appointment with your vet who will understand your dog’s health history.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a fully-grown Labrador weigh?
A fully-grown labrador should weigh between 50 to 80 pounds depending on the breed and size. For example, there are English labs and American labs. English labs tend to be larger and stockier, which means they are heavier as well. They are on the larger end of the spectrum with male and female labs weighing between 60 to 80 pounds. Then there are the American labs that are generally leaner and more agile, so their females and males are around 50 to 70 pounds.
How do I know if my Labrador is overweight?
Every dog is different, but there are physical exams you can conduct on your labrador puppies and adults at home. The body condition score weight chart is one used by vets and professionals worldwide and is what you can refer to when you gauge your lab’s weight. There are 9 levels or tiers, and 5 is the optimal stage. Don’t worry if your dog occasionally fluctuates by one tier either way, but when the difference goes beyond that, you need to assess your lab’s lifestyle and dietary habits.
Which color Labrador is most intelligent?
How smart your lab is isn’t dependent on his color, but rather his genetics. If we were to generalize, we would say yellow labs are excellent choices for therapy and service dogs. They are very empathetic, kind, and friendly. That’s not to say labs of other colors are not, it’s just a generalization. You will notice most service and therapy labs are the yellow-coated type.
The chocolate and black labs excel outdoors and are excellent hunting partners. Again, that’s not to say that yellow labs aren’t good hunting or exploration companions. Labs can be very intelligent and very hard-working dogs, and since they are easy to train and good-natured, labs as a breed are intelligent.
How big will my Labrador get?
The size of your labrador is similar to the weight, in the fact that there is no way to predict exactly how big your lab will get. Some breeders claim to be able to tell by paw size or how long their legs are at a certain age, but the best way to tell is by looking at the parents. But even then it may not always be a correct indicator. Chances are if your lab came from English lab parents that are on the larger and heavier end of the spectrum, then you can expect a larger labrador.
The same goes for labs that have smaller American labrador parents. Most likely, your dog will be smaller than the lab that came from the larger breed type.
How can I get my Labrador to lose weight?
Feeding less, cutting treats, and exercising more are the three most basic ways to help your labrador to lose weight. However, it’s not that simple. You must first determine the cause of your dog’s weight gain. For example, even if you exercise your dog more without cutting down on treats, you may not notice a difference in his weight. The first step is to identify the problem and then take steps to mitigate it.
If you are having a hard time figuring out what the problem is, then we suggest booking an appointment with your vet for them to review your individual case.
It’s very important as a dog parent to try and keep your lab as healthy as possible. Over and underweight dogs can suffer from a slew of health problems. It’s also worth it to note that it could be the other way around where the health issues are causing the weight changes. Try to keep your dog within the healthy weight limit on the body condition chart or whichever number your vet suggests.
Labradors are dogs that respond very well to positive reinforcement. They are easy to train and love to please their owners, which means they often do things right. So always have plenty of their favorite treats handy, but don’t overdo it!
Did You Know?
One of the most or perhaps the most popular dog breed in the USA actually originated in Canada. Yes, the labrador retriever originated from Newfoundland, Canada in the 1500s. This dog has lived up to the definition of man’s best friend for centuries.