Baby Labradors are some of the most adorable pooches around. The lab is the most popular dog in the U.S. for good reason, and Labrador puppies are particularly appealing.
Baby Labrador Facts
Baby Labradors are energetic and friendly. They are beginning to explore the world around them, and growing at a fast rate. That tiny pup will become a full sized Labrador before you know it.
What’s a Baby Labrador?
A baby Labrador is a labrador puppy. They are also known as Labrador retrievers, because they were originally bred for retrieving things.
There are two types of Labrador you should know about. English Labradors are also known as show labs. English lab breeders focus closely on the breed standards.
These pooches typically confirm to the breed standard, and are highly desired for confirmation shows. They are a bit calmer and stockier than their American counterparts.
American Labradors, also known as field labradores, are born to work. They should also conform to the breed standard. However, American lab breeders focus on function over form. These pooches are bred to perform hunting and retrieval tasks. They are typically slimmer, more athletic, and more energetic.
What is the Age of a Baby Labrador?
Dogs are typically considered babies, or puppies, until they are one year old. Labs are considered adults between 11 and 18 months. They become sexually mature at 6 to 9 months old, and typically reach their final height by 1. However, it can take another year for them to reach their full size weight.
Baby Labrador Appearance
It’s important to know that your baby Labrador will look different than an adult. This doesn’t just apply to their size and weight. Their coat, eyes, and nose can also look different, depending on how young they are.
Baby Labrador Coat
The AKC recognizes three colors of coat for labradors. These are black, yellow, and chocolate. These colors are determined by two genes.
They can also be silver, champagne, or red. Silver labs are chocolate labs with the dilute gene. Champagne labs are yellow labs with the dilute gene. Red labs are actually yellow labs with a stronger expression of the yellow color gene, which causes them to be red.
Labs have a double coat, with the outer coat being water resistant. Puppies have a puppy coat. A baby labs coat is soft and fluffy. It’s shorter than their adult coat, and often darker as well.
At 4 to 5 months old, they will shed their puppy coat. Their adult coat is longer, a bit coarser, and water resistant.
Baby Labrador Eyes
When puppies are born, they all have blue eyes. You may not notice this, because their eyes are closed for the first few weeks of life. Many puppies will still have blue eyes once you get your first look at them, but it’s also possible for them to change to brown before they open them.
Their eye color can change within the first month of life. Once they are 1 month or older, their eye color is probably set. However, it can change until they are 6 months old.
Yellow and black Labradors should have brown eyes. Chocolate labs can have hazel or brown eyes. Labs with the dilute gene can have light hazel or light green eyes.
Paw Pads and Nose
Your labradores paw pads and nose will be pink when they are born. Around 3 to 4 weeks old, these areas will begin to darken. If they stay pink as the dog matures past early puppyhood, you have a Dudley Labrador. Their paw pads, nose, and mouth will remain pink because they produce less melanin.
Baby Labrador Price
Baby labradors usually cost between $800 to $2,000. English labs from show bloodlines can cost up to $3,000 or more. Unregistered labradors, or those without full registration, may be found for less than $800.
Baby Labrador Rarity
Labradores are actually the most common breed in the U.S. today. However, some are rarer than others. Brown and yellow labs are very common.
Chocolate labs are more rare, but still relatively common due to the large numbers of Labradors in the U.S. Silver, champagne, and red labs are more rare, and can be difficult to find.
Baby Labrador Life expectancy
Baby labradores have a life expectancy of 12 years on average. Their lifespan can range from 10 to 13 years. Rarely, labs can live for 14 years or longer.
Their lifespan is ultimately determined by their genetics. However, proper vet care, a healthy diet, and exercise can maximize their length of life.
Baby Labrador Size and weight
Baby labradores start their lives as tiny puppies, and eventually grow to medium to large sized dogs. English labs are typically a little heavier than American labs, and females are a bit smaller than males.
|1 month||3-5 lbs||2-6 lbs|
|2 months||10-15 lbs||5-10 lbs|
|3 months||20-30 lbs||20-25 lbs|
|4 months||30-40 lbs||25-35 lbs|
|5 months||35-45 lbs||30-40 lbs|
|6 months||40-55 lbs||35-45 lbs|
|9 months||55-70 lbs||45-60 lbs|
|1-2 years||65-80 lbs||55-70 lbs|
At one month old, a male lab will weigh 3 to 5 pounds, and females weigh 2 to 6 pounds.
At one year, they will be near their final size. A full grown female is 55-70 pounds, and is 21 to 24 inches tall. Males will weigh 65-80 pounds, and reaches 22-25 inches in height.
Baby Labrador Health
Labradores are healthy dogs in general, all they are at risk of some health conditions. These include heart diseases, hip dysplasia, and obesity. These diseases don’t usually affect puppies, but there are other health issues that puppies can develop.
Baby labradores usually inherit intestinal parasites from their mother. They are very common, so puppies should be wormed to prevent them from causing harm.
Signs of intestinal parasites include stomach upset and weight loss. Severe infestations can cause lethargy and coughing as well.
Puppies, like human babies, are at a higher risk of serious illness from diseases. The good news is that many of these can be prevented with vaccination.
Vaccinating your lab puppy against distemper, kennel cough, rabies, and leptoprosis can help keep them healthy throughout puppyhood.
Vomitting and Diarrhea
Labrador puppies are curious, and will often explore the world with their mouths. This can lead to them eating things they shouldn’t, or picking up bacteria or viruses that cause stomach upset.
In either case, vomiting or diarrhea can occur. The symptoms usually stop within 24 to 48 hours. If your puppy has repeated bouts of vomiting or diarrhea, or you see blood in their stool, give your vet a call.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA, can affect any breed. However, labradores are at a much higher risk of the condition than most breeds.
It’s a genetic condition that’s passed from parents to puppies. It causes the eyes to go blind, usually at 2 to 3 years of age.
Hip dysplasia can affect baby labs as young as 4 months old, but symptoms typically occur between 9 months to 1 year old.
It occurs when the hip joint doesn’t form correctly. This allows the joint to slip out of place easily. Puppies with hip dysplasia will experience pain and limited mobility.
The condition is determined by genetics, but lifestyle factors also play a role. Exercise and a healthy weight can keep your lab from developing hip dysplasia, or reduce the severity.
Baby Labrador Behavior/Characteristics
Baby Labradors are generally highly energetic and affectionate. Some will have a ton of puppy energy, and will seem to play all day long. These are the pups that get into everything, and teach you not to leave your favorite shoes within their reach.
On the other hand, some baby labs are calmer from the beginning. They still have puppy characteristics, which include enthusiasm, energy, and curiosity.
English lab puppies tend to be calmer than American labs, but this can vary from puppy to puppy.
How to care for a Baby Labrador
Caring for a baby Labrador is challenging but rewarding. Like all puppies, they require a lot of time and effort, including a healthy diet and training.
Baby Labrador Diet
Your baby Labrador will need a balanced diet. Begin by feeding them a puppy food, preferably one designed for medium to large or high energy dogs.
You’ll need to continue this diet until they are at least 1 year old. Then you can switch them to an adult food.
Puppies should be fed 3 to 4 times a day for the first 3 months. At 3 months, they should be fed 3 times a day. At 6 months, you can begin feeding them twice a day.
Baby Labrador Training and Socialization
Baby labradores are eager to please, which makes training them easy. They are also very social pooches. The socialization process should begin as they are settled in to their new home.
You’ll need to socialize them with family members, and any pets in the home first. Be sure that interactions are positive. When introducing them to other animals in the home, begin slowly.
The most important aspect of early training is potty training. Baby labs need to potty often. They can typically hold their pee for their age in months plus one, up to 8 hours when they reach 7 to 8 months in age.
So, a 3 month old pup can hold their pee for 3 to 4 hours. Successful potty training requires a potty schedule. Take them out every 2 hours at first. As they get the hang of things, you can begin taking them out every 3 to 4 hours.
Once they reach 6 months of age, take them out in the morning, after meals, before bed, and once or twice throughout the day.
Labradores are a working breed, so they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. At 8 to 9 weeks old, your pup will need plenty of rest.
You can allow them to go outside supervised, and provide short play sessions between naps.
By 12 weeks old, they are beginning to mature. They have more endurance, and are able to play fun games. These can include hide and seek, scavenger hunts, tug of war, and fetch. These types of games provide both physical and mental exercise.
Simply throwing a ball and allowing them to run after it, or hiding treats under the couch cushion or a towel are simple games you can play with them at this age.
Older puppies will need more exercise. Adult labs need 45 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day, with most requiring between 1 to 1/2 hours.
From 6 months to 1 year old, you can expect them to need at least 1 hour of exercise each day.
How do you buy a Baby Labrador?
When you buy a baby labradore, you’ll need to find a reputable breeder. You may also consider whether you want an English or American Labrador, and what color you prefer.
Breeder registries are a great way to find a baby lab. The AKC breeder registry only features puppies who are AKC registered. This indicates that the breeder uses proper breeding practices.
You can also find a baby lab through an internet search. However, you’ll need to research the breeder to be sure they are ethical.
If a breeder registers their pups, they are probably ethical. If they don’t, you’ll need to ask questions. How do they determine breeding pairs? How do they ensure their dogs and puppies are healthy? Do they do genetic health testing?
You can also expect the breeder to ask you a few questions. Ethical breeders want to be sure their dogs are going to good homes. Expect them to ask about your previous dog experience, the living conditions your pup will enjoy, and your purpose for getting a puppy.