Let’s face it:
Weight is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood topics concerning Labradors.
Not only is it difficult to find a good weight chart, but it’s also nearly impossible to know if your Labrador is the correct weight or not.
So how much should a Labrador actually weigh? On a very rough estimate, an average adult Labrador will weigh between 55-80 lbs. However, a Labrador can weigh over or under this range and still be of perfect weight. In order for a Labrador to be at perfect weight, they must also look physically fit and active both while they’re puppies and adults.
But how do you know if your Labrador can be considered as physically fit?
Labrador weight chart
A weight chart illustrates how much weight is healthy for a Labrador at each stage of their life. The weight chart is compiled from the information received from multiple lab owners. And since each lab is different, the range is quite broad as well. Here’s a chart to help you see whether your Labrador falls in the average healthy weight range or not:
|Labrador Age||Female Avg. Weight||Male Avg. Weight|
|3 months||20-26 lb|
|5 months||35-49 lb|
|7 months||40-55 lb|
| 51-59 lb|
|9 months||48-62 lb|
|11 months||53-66 lb|
|13 months||55-68 lb|
|15 months||55-70 lb|
Proper Weight for a Labrador Retriever – Highly Recommended Video
Read on below to find out exactly how you can calculate your Labrador’s actual weight:
How Much Should A Labrador Weigh?
Labradors fluctuate in weight throughout their growth and even adulthood. However, it’s important that at each of these stages, they maintain an optimal weight according to their age.
So what’s the healthy weight for a Labrador?
Here’s how much an average adult Labrador Retriever weighs:
- Male Labradors weigh between 60 – 80 lbs or 27 – 34 kg
- Female Labradors weigh between 55 – 75 lbs or 25 – 32 kg
However, it’s important to know that these range are influenced by multiple factors, including age, gender, breed, and even activity levels. If your Labrador falls within these ranges, then they’re most likely at a healthy weight.
But if they’re not, don’t worry. Some labs can be over or under the average weight range and still be considered perfectly healthy. They might be taller, more active, or a different breed, all of which can impact the healthy weight mark.
The best way to recognize whether your Labrador has a healthy weight or not is to get them checked by a vet. A vet will follow proper procedures to check your lab’s weight taking all important factors into consideration before deciding whether they’re at a healthy weight or not.
But how do you check whether your Labrador has a healthy weight yourself?
How to weigh a Labrador?
If you’ve tried weighing your dog before, you know how difficult it can be. However, consistently weighing them over specific time periods is crucial to keep them at a healthy weight. So how do you weigh your Labrador at home?
The easiest and most basic way to do so would be to place them on a regular bathroom scale. However, this method is easier said than done. Dogs tend to move around a lot which makes it difficult to accurately note their weight.
If you’ve already tried and failed at this attempt, follow these steps:
- Take a bathroom scale and weigh yourself on it
- Note your weight down on a piece of paper
- Pick up your dog and stand on the scale again
- Do the following calculation: Your weight with dog – your own weight
The difference that you arrive at will be your Labrador’s weight. This is more accurate if you have a digital scale, but an analog one will do as well. For regular weighing on a weekly or daily basis, this method produces good enough results. If you can, buy a scale specifically made for weighing dogs.
It’s always a good idea to weigh your dog on the vet’s scale too if you can’t afford to buy one. Regularly weighing your dog can help determine whether your Labrador is overweight or underweight so you can adjust their diet accordingly.
Now that you’ve successfully obtained a rough estimate of your Labrador’s weight, it’s time to see whether they fall into the average weight range or not.
Optimal Weight For Labradors
Maintaining your Labrador’s healthy weight is of key importance. Not only does it cuts the risk of developing multiple health issues, but it can also increase your dog’s life expectancy by up to 2 years.
However, weight alone is not a reliable measure of a dog’s health. In fact, weight alone can often be very misleading. Why is that so?
Weight vs. Appearance
The body composition of a dog consists of two main components, namely Muscle and Fat. Muscle being less dense has a lower volume than fat.
Let’s take the example of two dogs. Both of them have the exact same physical appearance. One dog has lots of muscle mass while the other has the same volume of fat.
However, the dog with more muscle will weigh more than the dog with more fat. Because considering a fixed amount of volume, muscle weighs more than fat since its denser.
This explains why weight figures can be misleading. Because even though a dog with more muscle might weigh more, they’ll be considered physically healthy and active. While a dog with lots of fat might weigh less but will be considered as obese and unhealthy.
That’s why it’s important to take a dog’s appearance into account when deciding whether they’re healthy or not. So how do you test your lab’s physical appearance?
Testing Physical Appearance
While testing physical appearance might seem like a difficult job, it isn’t that tough and can be done on your own.
To determine whether your Labrador is under or overweight, we’ll use a system known as Body Condition Scoring or BCS. This rating system is used by lots of vets to test the physical appearance of your dog and determine their current weight status.
The BCS consists of a table that provides rankings from level 1 to 9. Each level represents a different bodily appearance, level 1 being severely underweight, level 5 representing optimal weight, and level 9 being severely overweight.
To test your dog’s body condition and level of fitness, you are provided with a visual guide and some guidelines you can follow to determine which level your dog stands at. Here’s a quick description of all the 9 levels of the BCS:
- Severely Underweight: Ribs and tail bones visible from far, extreme abdominal tuck, no fat or muscle mass
- Very Thin: No visible fat cover, Ribs and vertebrae easily visible, little to no muscle mass
- Thin: Visible ribs and pelvic bones, little to no fat cover, sharp abdominal tuck
- Underweight: Little fat cover, ribs easily felt, noticeable waist, clear abdominal tuck
- Ideal Weight: Ribs can be felt with slight fat cover, visible abdominal tuck behind ribs, good proportion of ribs and waist from above
- Overweight: Slight excess of fat cover, waist not prominent from above, slight abdominal tuck.
- Heavy: Ribs difficult to feel under fat cover, noticeable fat deposits, little to no abdominal tuck present.
- Obese: No visible ribs under heavy fat cover, no waist, no abdominal tuck.
- Severely Obese: Huge fat deposits on neck, spine and tail, hanging fat from abdomen, broad and undiscernible waist.
Note: You must conduct this test as honestly as possible. This will ensure that you get the most accurate results which is crucial to your Labrador’s health and well-being.
To get a full BCS chart, you can click here. Matching your dog’s appearance with the full chart will help you more accurately determine at which level your Labrador stands at.
If your Labrador stands around levels 4 to 6, there isn’t much to worry about. You can quickly get them at ideal weight by bringing a few simple changes to their diet.
However, if your dog was below level 4 or above level 6, it might be time to reconsider your lab’s diet and talk to your vet and discuss the next course of action with them.
Optimal Weight For Labrador Puppies
Since puppies have a lot of growing to do, it’s important to maintain their weight at a healthy level. However, many dog owners get confused during this stage as the weight of the puppy is rapidly changing.
One way to know if your puppy is at optimal weight would be to check the Labrador weight chart. But just like we mentioned before, relying on just weight isn’t very sensible. You have to consistently test your puppy’s body condition to check if they’re at an optimal weight.
Luckily, the major fluctuations are over by the time a Labrador celebrates its first birthday. But until that time, here’s how the weight of lab puppies’ changes:
Growth during the first 6 months
The first 6 months of a Labrador’s life is the time when their weight rapidly increases. During this period, a Labrador will gain 2 pounds for each week of their life on average. So by those calculations, a 5 weeks old puppy will weigh around 10 lbs and a 13-week puppy will weigh 26 pounds on average.
But one thing you should keep in mind is that these are very rough estimates. In fact, a puppy could weigh several pounds over or under this estimate and still be considered healthy.
So, if you really want to know if your puppy is at an optimal weight, you should take a body condition scoring test each time you weigh them. Ideally, a healthy lab puppy should have a slight waistline and be active and energetic.
By the time, your puppy is 6 months old, their weight should be somewhere around 50 pounds. But apart from that, they should also have a body condition score of 4 to 5. At this weight, you should be able to easily feel their ribs with minimal pressure.
Growth after first 6 months
After the initial 6 months have passed, a Labrador puppy will start increasing in weight very rapidly. This is because they have almost reached their final height and they’re bones have stopped growing. From then onwards, they’ll very gradually increase their weight for the next 4 to 6 months which is when they reach physical maturity.
If your Labrador isn’t falling into the average weight range even after a year, don’t worry since they’re not done growing until they are 2 years old. Some breed might not even reach the expected weight if they to a leaner breed or petite parents.
Factors Affecting Average Weight In Labradors
Each Labrador is different in their own way, whether it’s by age, size, gender, breed, activeness, or color. With all these differences, it’s only natural that every Labrador has a different optimal weight level as well.
But how do these factors impact the weight of a Labrador? Let’s find out:
The two common breeds of Labrador retrievers are the English Labs and the American Labs. Although both are almost similar in appearance, they’re bred very differently. English labs usually tend to show breeds, so they naturally have a stocky appearance and can weigh around 60-70 lbs for females and 70-80 lbs for males.
Meanwhile, American Labradors are working dogs and are field bred. They tend to have a naturally leaner body that increases their agility and speed. Because of this, American labs tend to weigh on the lower end of the spectrum but are still considered as healthy.
Although color doesn’t seem like a particularly important factor, it could give you a hint about your Labrador’s lineage. Colors that originate from England include chocolate and white. Labradors of both these colors are likely to be show-bred rather than field-bred dogs and so will usually have a higher than average weight.
On the other hand, fox red labs usually belong to the American category and tend to be leaner. Yellow and black Labradors, which are the two most basic colors of this breed, can be either field bred or show-bred. So, if you want to confirm your pup’s lineage, you’d be better off contacting your breeder.
Obesity In Labradors
Canine obesity is a quite common and rather troublesome matter in Labradors. In fact, Labradors are amongst the breeds with the highest obesity rate. But why is that so?
Causes of obesity in Labradors
According to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, the seemingly never-ending appetite of Labradors might be a result of a change in their POMC gene. Since this gene is responsible for signaling the dog when they’ve eaten enough, any change might cause them to eat continuously and ask for more food and treats, even if they’re full.
Since labs are always so greedy, most owners overfeed them either due to sympathy or confusion as to whether their dog is full or not.
But if you’ve been maintaining a strict diet for your dog, a rapid gain in weight could be caused by health issues such as hyperthyroidism and insulinoma. If you notice a sudden gain in weight, it would be best to consult your vet to diagnose any underlying health issues.
But despite of what caused the weight gain, obesity can create a plethora of health issues for your Labrador.
Health issues caused by obesity
Some people tend to find chubby and obese dogs cute. But what you don’t know is that your dog is the one suffering from the inside due to your lack of care.
Obesity in dogs can lead to a ton of medical health problems. Not only do these significantly reduce your pet’s quality of life, but they also cost you thousands of dollars in medical procedures and veterinary bills. Here are a few examples of issues that can be caused by obesity in dogs:
- Joint and Bone Health Issues: All the extra pounds that your lab is putting on is exerting unnecessary pressure on their skeleton. Lots of body fat can not only make it difficult for your dog to move around or play, but it can also worsen existing bone and joint issues like arthritis and hip dysplasia. Not only are these complications painful, they get worse with age and can significantly reduce your lab’s quality of life.
- Respiratory and heart diseases: All the excess fat can negatively impact your dog’s heart and respiratory health. This makes it difficult for them to breathe, make them lazy, and reduce prevent them from getting good physical exercise.
- Cancer: Yes, obesity can also increase the chances of developing a tumor. This tumor could become cancerous and significantly reduce their life expectancy in worst-case scenarios.
- Lower life expectancy: As per a study conducted by Purina PetCare, the life expectancy of obese and overweight Labradors can be decreased by up to 2 years!
Now that you’re familiar with the health risks associated with obesity in Labradors, it’s time to learn how to fight these issues and maintain a healthy weight for your dog.
How to help your Labrador lose weight?
Keeping your lab’s health in check and taking necessary measures is one of the best things you can do as a dog owner. Although it may take some time and patience before you can see results, you must be persistent throughout the process for their betterment.
Here are a few steps you can take right now to start your lab’s weight loss journey:
1. Cut any extra treats or food from their diet
Since the main cause of obesity in labs is overfeeding, the very first step you must take is to cut down any excess food or treats you’re giving them. Most dog owners are guilty of giving in to the puppy eyes their dog makes and overfeeding them with treats and food scrapes.
But because some labs can’t differentiate from when they’re hungry or full, it’s your responsibility to keep them on their recommended diet. Don’t feed them leftover scraps from your meals and don’t give them an excessive amount of treats, no matter how much they beg.
2. Give them more exercise
Like humans, Labradors can also lose some extra pounds through physical activity. If your dog is currently getting little to no exercise, you need to start taking them to walks or the park. Giving your dog regular exercise can improve their cardiovascular health and build muscle and bone strength.
However, exercise isn’t enough to help your Labrador lose weight. You’ll also need to stop feeding them treats and food scrapes. Otherwise, you’re just helping them regain the weight they’re losing through exercise.
3. Change their diet
A change in diet is probably the most important step to helping your Labrador maintain an optimal weight. But before reducing your lab’s intake, you need to consult your vet. A vet will take into account your dog’s overall health and physical activity, and then decide how much food will help them lose weight while still receiving the essential nutrition.
But if you want to reduce their intake yourself, cut out only a third to a fourth of their total daily intake quantity for 3-4 days. During this time, try to keep their treats to a minimum and give them the normal daily exercise. After this duration, check to see if your dog has lost any weight or is looking physically slimmer. You can use the BCS chart for this.
If your Labrador successfully lost a few pounds and feels just as active as before, you can continue the same diet for another 3 to 4 days and see the results. However, if you see any weakness or no change in weight, you’d be better of consulting your vet.
Being too much underweight is just as dangerous for Labradors as being obese is. Not only can it drastically reduce their quality of life, but in some situations, it might be caused by an underlying health problem that needs an immediate overlook.
Here are some of the common reasons why a Labrador might be underweight:
Reasons why Labradors are underweight
1. Low food consumption
To maintain a healthy weight, a Labrador needs to consume as many calories as it burns in a day. But if you have a highly active dog and they aren’t getting enough nutrition, they’re likely to lose weight with time. Another error some dog owners make is purchasing the wrong dog food. It can either be of poor quality or not suitable for their size and breed, which could lead to a loss in weight.
2. Intestinal worms or parasites
Intestinal worms and parasites can cause havoc on a dog’s digestive system and overall health. Because they feed on whatever your dog eats, they can starve your dog of nutrients and dramatically reduce their weight. These worms and parasites can also cause a host of other problems like skin, coat, and digestive issues.
3. Sickness or illness
If your lab gets sick, it could affect their appetite and will likely reduce their consumption. This can cause them to lose both muscle mass and fat. But since illness usually fix themselves within a few weeks, your dog will likely regain their appetite. If the loss of appetite continues, it could signal a bigger problem such as a tumor that needs to get checked as soon as possible.
Helping your Labrador gain weight
Luckily, helping a Labrador gain weight is easier than getting them to lose it. By simply bringing a few simple changes to their diet, you can easily get them to put on some extra pounds in a few weeks. Here are a few ways to do so:
1. Increase their dietary intake
The first and very obvious way to help your lab put on weight is to increase their intake. Since most people are feeding their dogs kibbles and packaged dog food, you can add an extra half to cup to an extra cup of kibbles to their total daily intake and divide this over their total meals.
If you feed them raw food, you could increase the quantity of carbs since they contain more calories, along with some proteins to help them pack on muscle. Some great ingredients for homemade dog food include sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Not only do they help increase the carbohydrate content of your dog food, but the pumpkin also helps soothe their stomach and promotes digestive health.
2. Feed them more treats
Apart from their increasing their regular diet, you can also feed them more treats. You could feed them more of their regular treats, but we would recommend making some of your own. Peanut butter is a great ingredient that you can add to your homemade treats that will help your lab quickly put on weight.
How big can Labradors get?
A fully grown Labrador will usually measure around 21.5 to 24.5 inches in height at the withers on average. However, a Labrador can also be shorter or taller than that and be perfectly healthy.
When do Labrador puppies fully mature?
A Labrador puppy will become physically and sexually mature by the age of nine months to a year. However, some puppies might even grow after the one year mark until they are two years old.
How much will my Labrador weigh as an adult?
A good estimate of a lab pup can be made from their lineage and the health of their parents. This will give you a good estimate as to where your pup’s weight will be on the average weight spectrum.
Is it okay for Labrador puppies to be obese?
Like adults, lab pups shouldn’t be obese either. This can cause abnormal growth, especially in their bones, causing skeletal abnormalities in their adulthood.
Does neutering affect a puppy’s growth?
As per current research, neutering puppies hasn’t shown any significant spurts or restraints in the growth of puppies. Therefore, it’s your choice as to when to get them spayed or neutered.
Weight is one of the most important indicators of Labradors overall health. However, a dog is not able to control their weight like us humans do. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the owner to help their dog maintain an optimal weight. Because at the end, not only does it helps them live a happier and more active life, but your lab will also stick around for longer.