The Labrador Retriever is one of the most loved and popular dogs around the world. I am sure that at least a few times in your life, you have interacted with a person who owned a Labrador. This dog is always on lists of favorite family dogs.
Okay, we are all very familiar with the characteristics of this irresistible dog. But, what about the miniature Labrador? Does this dog even exist or is this just a marketing ploy by breeders?
In recent years, miniature dogs have become increasingly popular. Walking around the city, it seems like we meet teacup dog breeds everywhere!
Well, this doesn’t surprise us since the miniature versions are even cuter editions of these already stunning dogs. Considering the excellent characteristics of the Labrador, we are not surprised by the fact that many people would like to own a Lab in a smaller version.
How did these dogs even appear? Are they recognized by kennel clubs? Do they have any hereditary diseases?
Keep reading and you’ll get all the answers!
Is There A Miniature Labrador?
Photo from: @henryhenrichsen
Well, yes. There is a mini version of the Labrador Retriever. This dog is slightly smaller than the standard Lab.
However, this dog is not officially recognized. There are some teacup dogs and miniature dogs that are recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club), but the mini Lab is not among them.
So, how did breeders even come up with the idea of a miniature version of the Lab?
Like with any other miniature version of one dog, there are a couple of ways miniature Labradors can be bred. Let’s look at them.
1. Mini Lab As A Product Of Crossbreeding
In today’s age of modern technology and the Internet, there is a high probability that you will find a miniature Labrador breeder very quickly with a few clicks.
However, we advise you to do your research right from the start to see if it really is a purebred Labrador.
Unfortunately, many of these small dogs are created today as a result of crossbreeding.
So, breeders crossbreed Labradors with some other smaller dog breed, resulting in a dog that looks like a Labrador, but in a smaller package.
Today, there are various Labrador mixes, and we think that many of them are wonderful dogs, but these dogs should not be sold under the name of mini Labrador.
Crossbreeding is quite a complex process that should only be undertaken by experienced and educated breeders.
Unfortunately, many breeders today put quick money first, while not paying enough attention to the health records of the dogs they intend to crossbreed.
Vet exams and health records are even more important in the case of combining two different dog breeds, each of which has its own needs, its own history, and the health conditions to which it is prone.
2. Dwarfism In Labradors
Just like with humans, dwarfism can also be found in dogs.
This condition is an endocrine disease, which is characterized by a lack of growth hormone. In dogs like these, besides the growth hormone, there also might be a lack of some other hormones.
This is a congenital disease, which means that a puppy will inherit it if both of its parents have it. So, if you breed two Labradors that have the dwarfism gene, you will be getting puppies that will have the same gene.
In dwarf Labradors, there are the SD1 Gene and the SD2 Gene that are the reason for this medical condition to appear, and thanks to which there are miniature Labrador Retrievers today.
The first gene stands for Osteochondro dysplasia to appear in Labradors. This state makes a dog have bent legs, deformed paws, and enlarged joints.
The second gene stands for a genetic mutation called skeletal dysplasia. This medical condition appears when the dog’s pituitary gland produces an abnormal amount of the growth hormone.
Dogs with this diagnosis have a body of normal size, but their shorter legs make them different from the standard Labrador.
Also, their legs might be slightly curved.
As the dog grows, together with shorter legs, there can be some other signs of dwarfism noticed, such as bacterial infections of the dog’s respiratory system and its skin, its teeth showing later than they are supposed to, and hypothyroidism.
Its head also might be larger than average, while its nose might be shorter.
Dogs with this condition don’t necessarily live just a couple of years, but unfortunately, their lifespan is usually not estimated to be more than 10 years.
3. Breeding Runts
Simply put, breeding runts refers to taking the smallest dog from a litter and breeding it with another equally small dog.
This sometimes involves inbreeding of two dogs from the same litter, where it only matters that both dogs are smaller than the others.
It is not recommended that brother and sister dogs have puppies together. Although in some cases they can produce completely healthy offspring, in many cases, serious diseases are recorded in such dogs.
Breeding runts is not considered ethical. These dogs often have more serious health problems. Also, it is important to mention that breeding two small dogs does not necessarily mean that all their puppies will be equally small.
So, when in search of mini Lab puppies, make sure to check that the breeder you are dealing with is completely ethical and trustworthy.
What Is The Difference Between A Labrador And A Miniature Lab?
Photo from: @aslan_the_yellow_lab
How is this small Labrador different from the Labrador we have known and loved for so many years?
Their basic difference is, obviously, their size. This is why we call them the miniature Labrador. For many of these dogs, this will actually be the only difference.
Also, their legs are shorter than those of the standard-sized Lab.
In some cases, many people will not even notice that they actually own a mini Lab.
But, with the amount of demand and advertising for these miniature versions of dogs today, it’s hard to ignore their appearance. For this reason, we wanted to investigate the origin and characteristics of miniature Labradors.
If you like everything about the Labrador Retriever, but its size makes you doubt the decision of adding this dog as your new family member, well, maybe a mini Lab would be a marvelous solution.
But, should you really be taking a risk and buying a mini Labrador Retriever dog?
Mini Lab: Basic Traits
Photo from: @oksana_gigi
So, let’s take a look at some of the main characteristics of mini Labs.
This way, we can get an insight into the temperament, appearance, and health of this smaller Lab.
Based on this, we can make a conclusion about how much the mini Lab actually differs from the standard Lab. Or, how similar these two dogs are.
For many dog lovers, the Labrador breed is the number one breed among them all.
The mini Lab is a bit smaller than the standard Labrador. However, their personalities are quite similar. The mini version is equally kind, friendly, and loving as the standard version of this dog.
These miniature dogs are also in love with their human family, and the thing they like the most is spending time with them. So, with a mini Lab, you will have your own shadow following you around wherever you go!
This dog gets along well with children and other pets.
Also, this dog is quite energetic and needs different activities, both physical and mental, to stay happy.
How Does The Mini Lab Look?
This dog is literally a Labrador Retriever in a smaller package. The one thing that differentiates them from standard Labs are their short legs.
They also have floppy ears, big eyes, and a broad head.
What Is The Weight Of A Miniature Lab?
There is a slight difference when it comes to the weight and height of male and female Labradors.
According to the Labrador growth chart, males usually weigh from 65 to 80 pounds, while the average weight of females goes from 55 to 70 pounds.
The average weight of a Labrador Retriever goes from 55 to 80 pounds.
Miniature Labs are quite lighter, and they weigh from 35 to 50 pounds.
The difference in weight can be noticed as early as around two to three months of age – at this age, a standard Labrador will reach a weight of 20 to 25 pounds, while a mini Lab will probably weigh 16 to 22 pounds.
What Is The Height Of A Miniature Lab?
According to some opinions, a Labrador is a large dog. Some other people see this dog as a medium-sized dog.
The average height of a standard male Lab goes from 22 to 24 inches tall. Females are usually 21 to 23 inches tall.
Many miniature dogs are usually a lot smaller than the same dogs of the standard size.
However, there is not a big difference in the height of a full-sized Labrador and the mini version of this dog. Miniature Labradors are only two or three inches shorter than the normal sized dogs.
So, the average size of mini Labs goes from 19 to 22 inches. Some of these dogs might be even shorter… around 17 inches.
Photo from: @thejoniexpress
Some of the standard Labrador colors are black, chocolate, and yellow. We can also find mini black Labs, mini chocolate Labs, and mini yellow Labs.
Labrador Retrievers shed quite a lot, so they are not the best option for people with allergies. This is also the case with the mini Labrador.
Its double coat is dense and short, and you can expect to find its hairs all over the place.
What Are Common Health Issues With The Mini Lab?
A miniature Labrador will have short legs. Also, we have learned that this dog might have many additional health issues. What are those medical conditions? What is the overall quality of life for this dog?
Some of the most common health problems with these dogs are the following:
• Hip dysplasia
• Respiratory problems
Many people will automatically give up on a certain dog breed as soon as they read about the health issues associated with that breed. It is true that miniature Labrador Retrievers can suffer from certain health conditions.
It is also true that with these dogs, you will probably visit the vet much more often than with some other type of dog.
However, it is also true that we cannot predict everything in life. Many of these dogs turn out to be completely healthy and live to a very old age.
Some other dogs, which are believed to be quite healthy, can also suffer from an unforeseen illness.
Therefore, we cannot always correctly assume all life circumstances.
However, we definitely consider it necessary to inform all potential future dog owners about all the advantages and disadvantages of owning a mini Labrador.
Health problems are, of course, an integral, if not the most important, part of this information.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Mini Labrador Retriever?
The lifespan of a standard Labrador Retriever is estimated to be from 10 to 12 years.
Unfortunately, the lifespan of the mini version of this loved dog is a lot shorter. Some of these dogs do not live longer than five or six years.
This is why it is always necessary to check the health records of the parent dogs of the puppy you intend to buy.
Many genetic disorders cause miniature puppies to live shorter.
However, some of the miniature Labradors (if their health is not too damaged by the dwarfism gene) can live as long as standard Labs. So, having one of these mini dogs does not necessarily mean you will only enjoy their company for a short time.
Mini Labrador Care Requirements
Photo from: @onyxtheminilab
Every dog requires a certain amount of care. Many people will even look for a low maintenance dog, which means they are, in some manner, quite easy to take care of.
In today’s time, when we all live in a hurry and often do not find time for additional obligations, this information is not surprising.
This is also the reason why so many people today are looking for a smaller dog, which will suit living in a smaller apartment or house.
What is the situation in this regard with the miniature Lab? Does he need a lot of grooming and exercise? What are his nutritional needs? Let’s find out!
What about a miniature Lab’s exercise needs?
This dog needs a lot of playtime, exercise, and time spent outdoors. Here, it is necessary to be careful not to overdo the exercise since these dogs’ bones are fragile and they can easily get hurt.
30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis should be enough for the mini Labrador Retriever. Just like the standard Lab, this dog also enjoys having work to do, together with spending time on fun adventures with his human family.
This dog should not get bored since it might show destructive behavior, such as chewing and digging. So, together with physical exercise, this dog should be provided with mental stimulation.
Keeping him busy will make his intention of mischievous behaviors go away.
We mentioned that mini Labs shed quite a lot, so it is recommended to brush them at least two times a week. More often would be even better. This is also a good way to make the stinky dog odor go away.
It is advisable to bathe the standard Labrador once every four to six weeks. There is a similar recommendation with the miniature version of this dog.
Of course, if there is a need – if you notice an unpleasant stench in your dog, or his fur is full of dirt from his interesting adventures outside – you can freely bathe him more often than the recommended amount.
Also, you should pay attention not to bathe the dog too often so you don’t get rid of his natural protective oils.
Furthermore, these dogs’ ears and teeth should be cleaned regularly. Together with this, it is necessary to check his nails to see if it is time for trimming.
If you will be needing help with this, read our article on how to sedate your dog for nail clipping!
Although this dog is slightly smaller than the standard Labrador, this does not mean that its nutritional needs are less demanding. This dog needs 1½ kibbles of quality dog food per day.
For Labradors, it is good to choose food that contains less fat and is rich in protein.
For more tips, read our article on foods that are good and recommended for Labradors. All of the above can also be applied to miniature Labrador Retrievers.
It is important to mention that knowing how to dose your dog’s meals is crucial. Many dogs are always hungry and will be in the mood for food every time they see you eating something.
Some dog breeds are prone to obesity, and the Labrador is among them.
Therefore, do not leave food available to your dog during the whole day, and do not exaggerate the amount of his meals. And, if you are interested in finding out more on this dog’s nutrition, read our Labrador feeding chart.
This dog is an intelligent dog that is a pleasure to train. All you need is to know how to be creative in order to keep this puppy’s attention!
It would be a good idea to use positive reinforcement and praise this dog every time he successfully masters a command.
Also, this dog’s favorite treats will help you significantly. Avoid punishment methods as these dogs will not respond well to them. With a little effort and a lot of practice, you will soon have a socialized and obedient little Labrador!
Miniature Labrador Retriever Puppies For Sale
Photo from: @thejoniexpress
Let’s be honest – if the mini Lab is not officially recognized, are there any miniature Labrador breeders at all?
Miniature Labrador puppies you will find for sale are most likely dwarf Labs or are a crossbreed of one Labrador parent with some other, smaller dog breed.
So, what can you do? First things first – you can ask for the proof that the Labrador you are about to buy does not have the dwarfism gene. Every reliable breeder will show you its vet records right away.
To find out more about the Labrador’s size and what the background of the breeding of Labradors of a smaller size is, we suggest you research information on the official websites of trustworthy and reputable breeders.
You can check some of our lists of Labrador breeders in the following states:
How Much Do Mini Labs Cost?
The price for a standard Labrador Retriever depends on different factors, such as the breeder’s reputation, the dog’s pedigree, and the dog’s bloodline. In some places, you can find a Lab for $500, while some of them might cost up to $1,500.
What about mini Labrador Retrievers? You can find these dogs at a similar price range as standard Labs.
We remind you once again that you should be extra careful when negotiating the purchase of a dog that is labeled as a miniature Labrador Retriever.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Miniature Lab?
Photo from: @mar_ley_2020
Let’s first take a look at some of the cons of owning this Labrador of smaller size.
First of all, miniature Labradors are not recognized. There are no official breed standards for this dog breed. So, if you would like to go to a dog show with this puppy, you will not be able to do so.
Also, these dogs unfortunately might suffer from different health problems. So, you will probably have to take this dog for vet checkups more often, and you are likely to spend more money on its health in comparison to some other dogs.
Furthermore, you can’t easily find reliable mini Lab breeders. It is necessary to check the background of the person who claims to be producing purebred miniature Labs.
One of the pros of a smaller dog is the fact that you can keep him in an apartment or in a smaller house. Many potential dog owners will even say that the size of a dog is one of the determining factors in their search for the perfect breed of dog.
This dog has all the wonderful traits of a Labrador Retriever dog – he is energetic, loving, gentle, and friendly.
The mini Labrador is also a wonderful option for families with children.
So, what is the final verdict on the miniature Labrador?
There are various controversies related to the breeding of such dogs. As we found out, these dogs are not officially recognized.
Also, various health conditions are associated with them. In addition, the ways in which individual breeders produce such miniature versions of dogs are quite questionable.
We can hardly believe that someone would try to deliberately produce a smaller dog at the expense of his health. Why? Due to the fact that smaller dogs are more and more popular and the demand for them is growing day by day.
On the other hand, mini Labradors are just as loving, friendly, and devoted to their family as standard Labradors.
We do not support unethical dog breeding, and we believe that every breeder should put the health and well-being of every dog in the litter first. However, we believe that every dog deserves love and a safe home.
A miniature Labrador may need more care and potentially require more frequent trips to the vet.
If you are ready for a little more effort and commitment, we believe that this slightly smaller version of the popular Labrador will provide all the love and companionship that you and your family are looking for!