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When is a Labrador fully grown?

A Labrador is fully grown between the age of 6 and 12 months but can continue filling out until they are about 2 years old, although typically younger. No doubt they could keep enlarging if not fed the right amount – remember labs have a reputation for eating anything edible or not (ask any owners and they’ll have some stories to tell).

Read on to view the chart of age vs weight to find out what weight you Labrador will be at what point.

Labradors rank highly on the list of ideal family dogs. When is a Labrador fully grown? There seems to be a variety of answers depending on where you look and whether you mean to full height or full weight. I’ve scoured numerous articles and visited a number of sites to see what the average answer might be.

Labrador Colors

Until 1892 all records showed Labradors were black – occasionally some had white markings. A bit like the Ford Model T, you could have any color, as long as it was black. Then in that year, two brown puppies were born on the Buccleuch estate: the chocolate (initially known as liver) Labrador had arrived. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that this color became popular.

Have you ever wondered why you don’t get more unusual colors for dogs, like green, yellow or orange? That would be cool, right? Or how about silver? Anyway, I must stop digressing.

In 1899 the first yellow Labrador was recorded.  His name was Ben of Hyde and he belonged to a Major Radcliffe.  From then, the popularity of the yellow Labrador grew but black remained (and still is) the preference of the shooting crowd.

Types of Labrador today

These days there are two types of Labradors: the English Labrador and the American Labrador. The English Labrador comes from English bred stock. Its general appearance is different than the American bred Labrador. The English bred Labs are heavier, thicker and stockier whilst American bred Labradors are taller and lankier. Both types come in yellow, black and chocolate.

So, when is a Labrador fully grown and mature?

When is a Labrador no longer classed as a puppy?  When is a Labrador fully grown? These are interesting questions.

Most people think about fully grown as being the biggest size a Labrador will reach. But changing from being classed as a puppy to being an adult is not just about reaching the largest size. You have to consider sexual and mental maturity too. Evolving from puppy to dog involves all three of these characteristics. To get a better perspective of how big your dog will be at what age, take a look at the below chart.

Chart (Weight vs Age)

To get an easier feel for how large your Labrador will become at a certain age, we’ve compiled the below chart using data from known dog ages at various points in their lives. Note that this is an average and your dog may be smaller or larger than this at any given point, but it does give you an idea.

When is a Labrador fully grown?

You can see from this some interesting numbers. There is a sharp growth in your Lab’s weight between two months and four months, where they can put on around 25 lbs! We can also see that your Labrador may finish growing at around the 28-week point, from where they will generally maintain their size throughout the rest of their lives. However, there are many many exceptions to this. Like us, both the size and weight can vary dramatically as you can see in the below section.

Physical growth

When they are fully grown, male Labradors can be anything from 22 to 24 inches tall (56 to 61cm). Females generally reach between 21 and 23 inches (53 to 58cm). This is shoulder height, not head height.

You can expect a fully grown male to weight between 60 and 75 pounds (27 and 34 kg) and a female to reach  55 to 70 pounds (25 to 32 kg). It has been known for some males can grow to 100 pounds (45 kg) or even more.

The figures above are all average and there can always be exceptions to the rule. There is nothing you can do to affect the height a Labrador will reach. However, you can ensure one doesn’t become overweight.

Sexual maturity

Most Labradors have the physical ability to breed whilst they are still puppies. This doesn’t mean they should be allowed to do so. In fact, you should wait until they are over a year old.

Many female Labradors come into season for the first time between the age of 6 and 9 months. Some are over a year old. Most male Labradors are ready to mate well before their first birthday. Be aware of this fact and consider neutering or spaying in ‘mixed households’.

Mental Maturity

Many experts don’t consider a Labrador to be fully grown up and mature until it is about two years old.

Some people might tell you Labradors never grow up. They are always puppies at heart.

These are recognized Kennel Club categories, to give you an idea:

  • minor puppy  6-9 months
  • puppy 9-12 months
  • junior 6-18 months
  • yearling 12-24 months

Basically, there is no exact age at which you can say that your puppy is grown up. Every puppy is different and some puppies mature mentally and physically faster than others. Generally, people say the divide between puppy and adult dog occurs at 18 months.

The History of Labradors

Today’s Labrador’s (also known as Labrador Retrievers) are descendants of dogs which originated in Newfoundland, Canada. These dogs were known as the St. John’s water dog, a breed that came from ad-hoc breeding by early settlers in the 16th century.

Early Labradors were named water dog because of the role they played in the fishing communities of Newfoundland.  They were as at home in the water as they were on land and were trained to retrieve nets, lines, and ropes. They even dived underwater to retrieve fish that had escaped from their hooks. The St John’s dogs worked cooperatively alongside their human companions and were much valued by them.

The St John’s dog had a thick, oily waterproof coat and thick tail. Its ears were smaller and more forward-facing than that of today’s floppy-eared Labrador. It was oblivious to cold and would swim in exceptionally icy conditions – a characteristic still prominent in Labradors today.

The Newfoundlanders found the shorter coat more practical and so many long-coated dogs were exported to England.

To the left is an early painting of a St John’s dog by Edwin Landseer. The looks as much like a border collie as it does a Labrador.  It has a longish coat and plenty of white fur among the black.

 Nell – a St John’s Dog

The dog in the photo to the right is Nell and was taken in 1867. She belonged to the Earl of Home and is an example of an early St John’s dogs imported to England from Newfoundland in the 19th century.  You can see how similar she is to the modern Labrador. As well as white markings on the feet and face, St John’s dogs typically had a white chest patch which is still seen occasionally in Labradors today. By the turn of the 20th century, the smooth coat had been established as a breed characteristic and the Labrador Retriever was emerging.

The first Labrador Retrievers

The 2nd Earl of Malmesbury imported some St John’s dogs in the early 19th century and began breeding them as shooting companions. A few years later the 5th Duke of Buccleuch established began breeding from imported St John’s dogs in Scotland. I appreciate you may think I’m making up these facts, I guess I could be, I meant who would really know? But I’m not!

I just happen to not only love dogs but love history also. Not so much in school though oddly, why was I not as passionate about this stuff when I actually needed to be rather than now, when no-one really cares!

A chance meeting of the sons of these two men whilst out shooting led to Labrador Retriever breeding in the UK. According to records, in the 1880’s the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury gave two male retrievers to the 6th Duke of Buccleuch, who mated them to bitches that had descended from those imported by his father.

The resultant puppies were the ancestors of the Labrador of today and in 1903 the Kennel Club in England declared the Labrador Retriever a recognized breed.

To sum up

So in answer to the question ‘when is a Labrador fully grow?’, it would seem the general opinion is they reach the full height at 2 years of age. They love to eat (and not always what you and I would class as edible items) so it can be easy for them to grow and grow width-wise.

If you have a Labrador be sensible with its diet and exercise regime to ensure it maintains a healthy weight. It doesn’t really matter when your Labrador will reach full size, this is not something you can control, but being healthy means your Labrador will be a loyal companion for many, many years!

Finally, if you’re wondering what I consider to be the ‘best’ dog – then do check out my article, you may agree!

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