Labrador Retrievers are beautiful dogs. They are smart, loving, and trainable. But have you heard of the Miniature Labrador? Yes, a mini Labrador! It’s a dog that has all the great traits of Labs, but in a smaller package.
Now, you’re probably wondering what kind of special breed is that now? How can a big Lab all of a sudden be mini? And that’s a valid question. It is a bit confusing.
But, in this article, we’ll answer all of your Lab related questions.
A Mini Labrador is just a Labrador Retriever but in a smaller package. This dog will only reach a size of 15 to 17 inches in height and be only around 40 pounds heavy. In comparison, the standard Lab is between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder and is between 65 and 85 pounds heavy.
But, that’s the only difference between them. Both have the same friendly character and are family-oriented.
Now, I’d love to tell you how great it is that breeders made a smaller version of this dog, but I can’t. You see Miniature Labradors aren’t a breed of dog in their own right. They exist because breeders have bred them so small, obviously using questionable breeding methods. There is nothing ethical about these dogs because due to the way they were bred, these dogs can develop many health problems. They can even get very sick later in life.
There are many breeds that do come in different sizes, for example, Poodles, which can be Standard, Miniature, and Toy. But those varieties are recognized by kennel clubs like the American Kennel Club, while the Miniature Labrador, or also called Baby Labrador isn’t.
How they are bred
We won’t talk about the Mini Labrador’s nature, because they are just like any other Labrador retriever. Smart, kind, friendly, affectionate and make great family pets.
There are many more important questions we have to answer now, the first being how these dogs are bred.
There’s also a lot of controversy about how small-scale breeding affects the health of dogs and what problems they will have to endure in their development later on.
There are only three possible ways for breeders to get a smaller version of a breed, and that’s what we’re going to explain now.
1. Breeding dwarf dogs
Dwarfism does not only exist in humans, but also in dogs. It actually results from a genetic flaw that causes bone growth to slow down significantly. So, little bone growth = smaller dog.
The Miniature Labrador is usually bred by crossing two Labs that have this exact genetic disorder. If both parents are smaller by nature and pass this on in their genes to the child generation, in the end, the puppies won’t reach their full size either. They’ll always stay small.
Now, I know that breeding and genetics is a complicated topic, but that’s my simplified version. In the end, that’s exactly what happens and how it happens. For me, this is very unethical. Breeders breed dogs with a genetic defect, to get puppies that have a genetic defect too. And all of that because of money?
Imagine if we did that with people, there would be a huge social outcry. Rightly! Nobody would dismiss that with a “but they are so cute”.
3. Crossing Labs with a smaller breed
There is a second method that breeders use to breed a miniature Labrador. And that is crossbreeding with smaller breeds of dogs. A Labrador is crossed with a smaller but similar breed of dog.
In the end, a smaller dog does come out as a result, but it is not a purebred Lab. If they sold the puppies as purebred Mini Labs that would be a lie. So, not many breeders will do that.
While we’re already talking about Lab mixes, check out our other articles on them:
- Great Dane Lab Mix: Breed Guide
- Chihuahua Lab Mix: The adorable Labrahuahua
- Doberman Lab Mix: The smart Doberdor
- Catahoula Lab Mix: The unusual Labahoula
- Lab Hound Mix: The very lovable hybrid
- Corgi Lab Mix: What You Have To Know
3. Breeding runts
There is a third method in breeding smaller dogs, but this one takes a lot of time and it can cost a lot of money. So, some breeders will breed the runts of the litter. Runts are the smallest puppies in a litter.
Many unethical breeders will purposely breed their runt with another runt in hopes of producing whole litters of smaller than average dogs. But, I’ll be honest, this practice is not recommended. There is so much that can go wrong, and the puppie’s health is at risk too. The whole resulting litter can have many health problems.
Health issues of Miniature Labradors
Labradors are generally a very healthy breed when they are young. Of course, when they get older they can suffer from health problems like:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Osteochondritis Dissecans – soft joints
- Eye Disease
- Epilepsy – seizures
- Allergies – environmental allergies
But, the Mini Labrador is a completely different story! These poor dogs can have so many health issues.
- Bent legs and knees – the legs of a Mini Lab are malformed. This can cause a lot of pain, especially during physical activity due to the uneven stress placed on their legs.
- Joint swelling – caused by an increase in fluid within the joint space. It happens because there isn’t even pressure on all joints. This condition can be treated through regular medication but in some cases, the dog will need surgery.
- Difficulty breathing – there is a possibility of abnormal growth of the skull, including the muzzle, which can create breathing problems