should a puppy weigh?
It isn't possible to
give you an answer that would work for your Lab. Every lab is different,
and it depends on what you want with your dog. Do you want a working retriever
or a show dog? Show judges have different ideas of perfection than field
judges. And don't forget, there are different
types of Labradors, and there may be difference in the weight of these
types. Most vets don't know this, so if your male puppy's father's ideal
weight (or your female puppy's mother's ideal weight) is more than average,
try to convince your vet that his "standard" doesn't apply to your puppy.
At birth, a Labrador
puppy from average parents and an average litter (6 puppies) weighs about
1 pound or less. During the first 8 weeks of its life the puppy gains about
2 pounds a week. An 8 week old Labrador puppy weighs between 11 and 17
pounds. From 8 weeks to 26 weeks (6 months) this growth proceeds in about
the same way - an average six month old Labrador weighs between 50 and
60 pounds. Dogs are heavier than bitches. After the age of 26 weeks the
growth slows down. When your Labrador is one year old, the weight will
be 65 to 80 pounds for dogs and 55 to 70 pounds for bitches. Between the
age of one year and three years they gain another 5 to 10 pounds.
The best way to judge
what your Labrador should weigh is to estimate if his weight is appropriate
for him. As a Labrador breeder, I like to see some "bone" in my Labradors,
and since thrifty feeding during the first six months often is at the expense
of the "bone", I like to see some "puppy fat" in my puppies. This puppy
fat disappears at adolescence, it serves as a source of energy and it cushions
and insulates vital organs.
Start just by looking
at your puppy from the side. If you don't see any ribs at all, you slightly
stroke from front to back over his ribcage and feel for the ribs. If you
can feel them with a light touch, your puppy's weight is perfect. If you
need more pressure to feel the ribs, he is overweight and it would be better
to cut back a little on his food.
If your puppy is older
than six months and you want a healthy working dog, you should be able
to see the outline of his last 2 to 3 ribs while he is growing but you
shouldn't see more than 5 or 6 ribs. This would be an acceptable weight
for a working dog, also when he's an adult. If you can see most
of his ribs, you need to feed him more. Sadly enough, the ideal weight
for a show dog is 9 to 18 pounds more than the ideal weight for
a working dog.
Judging your Lab's
weight this way ensures that it is right for him and not just right for
the average member of the breed. It is almost always possible to adjust
the feeding schedule to ensure proper weight in a puppy fed primarily dog
food. It can be harder if he is getting treats, snacks, or has access to
outside food sources like the neighbours.
You can use feeding
formula and schedules, but it's still better to use the sight and feel
method to make sure that your particular puppy is not too fat or too thin.