Why Is My Labrador So Small?

Are you worried about your adult Labrador being smaller than other Labradors? Find out why your Labrador is so small here.

Labrador Retrievers are classified as a large breed of dog but it’s not impossible to see a small Labrador out and about. A Labrador can be small because of several reasons. Your Labrador is small because it’s born from selective breeding, has an unbalanced diet, or it has dwarfism. 

Reading on, you’ll find out why your Labrador is smaller in size than an average Labrador. This article will go in-depth to explain the reasons why some Labradors turn out to be small. It will also highlight which reasons are normal and which reasons you should worry about. Finally, it will go over how to manage a small Labrador and what you can do to help it achieve a healthy lifestyle for its size.

Signs That You Have A Small Labrador

There are a few signs that point to your Labrador being small. You might be surprised to know that you can’t always tell when a Labrador is smaller than average. Most people who have small Labradors don’t even realize that their pup is different from most Labradors.

The most obvious sign that a Labrador is small is if it weighs less than 50 lbs and is shorter than 20 inches in height. You can find this out by regularly weighing your Labrador and measuring its height. Labradors normally reach 50 to 60 lbs by the time it turns 6 months old. If your Labrador is growing at a slower rate, it has a high chance of being a small Labrador.

A sign that your Labrador is small is if it stops growing before it turns a year old. Average Labradors will continue to grow up to 18 months old before finally hitting their maximum size. Small Labradors normally stop growing as early as 6 to 8 months.

Why Is My Labrador Small?

Now it’s time to find out just exactly why your Labrador is so small. Before getting into the reasons that can cause your dog’s miniature size, it’s important to know that you can’t definitively diagnose your Labrador without the help of its breeder and your veterinarian. It’s best to get a perspective from the person who knows about your dog’s genes and a licensed professional.

Selective Breeding

With the new rise in popularity of designer breeds, more and more pet owners and breeders are starting to realize that they want smaller versions of large dogs. People want to enjoy the lovable personalities and adorable looks of big dogs without worrying about the cost and challenges that come with taking care of a large breed.

This movement is the reason why breeders are starting to use selective breeding to produce small Labradors. Selective breeding is a process wherein dog breeders manipulate a dog’s genetics to make sure they have specific traits. In this case, they produce small Labradors by breeding Labrador runts with each other or cross-breeding Labradors with small breeds.

If you suspect that your Labrador is a product of selective breeding, you should get in touch with its breeder and ask for your dog’s medical history. You might be surprised to find out that your Labrador isn’t 100% purebred. 

If you find out that your Labrador is in fact a purebred dog, you can ask to see its parents and find out how big they are. Small Labradors can be small because their parents are small too. In that case, it’s likely that your pup’s parents were runts of their litter which can lead to health problems for your dog in the future.

Diet Problems

Another reason why your Labrador is small might be its diet. Labradors need to eat more food than you might think. People who raise large breed dogs tend to underfeed their pets because they don’t realize that having a larger body means that your dog needs more food to have energy.

Most pet owners also believe that a dog can get by on low-quality dry food. Labradors have specific nutritional needs to help their bodies grow in a consistent and healthy way. They need vitamins and minerals that aren’t present in average dog food.

It’s best to feed your Labrador with high-quality dog food that’s specially formulated for its breed. From 2 to 8 months of age, your Labrador should eat three meals a day that adds up to 1 1/4 cups of dog food. Once it reaches adulthood, your dog should eat two meals a day that adds up to 2.5 cups of dog food.


Dwarfism is a genetic condition that affects the bone growth of a dog. Dogs with dwarfism have shorter legs and can even have disfigured limbs and develop skeletal disorders. You can tell if your Labrador has dwarfism if its legs don’t grow longer even as it ages.

Some dogs are bred to have the dwarfism gene on purpose because some irresponsible breeders believe that it makes them look cuter. Other dogs are simply born with this gene purely by chance. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to have your dog diagnosed by a veterinarian.

Even if your Labrador has dwarfism, it can still lead a healthy life. Labradors with dwarfism simply need extra care and attention for their bones because they are more prone to arthritis and spinal issues than average Labradors. It’s best to have your dog’s bones checked at least twice a year to keep it safe and healthy.

Are Small Labradors Normal?

Small Labradors can be normal as long as they are given the care they need to live a healthy life. Being different from an average Labrador doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is unhappy or suffering. Even Small Labradors can turn out to be perfectly normal dogs.

Remember that your Small Labrador will need special care to live like a normal dog. It will need high-quality food, regular check-ups, and dedicated time for exercise. Unlike other Labradors, small Labradors need more than the bare minimum that most dogs get.

Taking Care of a Small Labrador

The key to taking care of a Small Labrador is an early diagnosis. You will need to know as early as possible what the cause is for your Labrador’s small size. It’s best to take a preventive measure and check on your Labrador’s health even if there are no signs that it’s growing up to be a Small Labrador.

Once you’re sure that you have a Small Labrador, you should start making changes to meet its nutritional needs. You can start with replacing your dog’s meals with a diet that provides more care for your dog’s weight and bones.

You can also make environmental changes such as placing ramps at home that can help reduce the stress on your Small Labrador’s joints. Make sure that your Labrador has access to a comfortable resting place that it can use to relax and relieve and pain in its bones.

Can I Make My Labrador Bigger?

You can make your Labrador bigger if the reason why it’s small has no relation to its genes. If your Labrador is born with the genes of a Small Labrador, there isn’t much you can do to make a difference. The best you can do is make sure that your dog is healthy.

On the other hand, if your Labrador’s small size is due to its diet, you can definitely make your Labrador bigger. Once you can change your Labrador’s diet to a high-nutrition and high-calorie one, it can easily catch up to other Labradors and become a big and lovable dog!

Aside from giving your dog a healthier diet, you should also make sure that it gets enough exercise. Without an exercise routine to match its diet, your Labrador will simply gain weight and won’t get any bigger. Labradors are extremely prone to obesity so you will need to manage your pet’s weight with play activities every day.

Final Thoughts

You might not know why your Labrador is small because it can be caused by many possible reasons. It could be because of its parents’ genes, dwarfism, or an unhealthy diet. You can always manage your Labrador’s health no matter what the reason is for its size.

To find out why your Labrador is small, you need to be observant and attentive. Even if your Labrador seems like it’s within a healthy size and weight, you should still confirm this with a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can help you take better care of your Labrador and rule out the potential causes of its small size.

There’s no need to worry too much if you have a Small Labrador. Your dog can and will grow up to be a perfectly healthy dog as long as you take the proper measures to take care of it and give it the love it deserves. A special dog like yours will need a special person like you.