Small Labrador: What’s Possible, What’s Normal, And What’s Healthy?

The Small Labradors are Labradors with a comparatively smaller height and weight. They are popularly called Miniature Labs for their mini size. The small size of the Miniature Labradors makes them great for modern-day living.

But, do you really think Small or miniature Labradors are real? Or, are they approved by any of the Kennel clubs? No, Miniature Labradors are not officially recognized. But why?

Small Labradors don’t actually exist. People are often marketing dwarf dogs, runts, and crossbreeds as Small Labradors. The demand for small dogs is quite high nowadays, and hence, for Small Labradors as well. However, among the two officially recognized Labrador types, English Labradors are usually found to be smaller than the American Labradors.

So, do you think Mini Labradors you see on the hoardings of dog breeders are real?

Here we are presenting everything you need to know about Small Labradors.

Are Labradors Present in Different Sizes?

The breeds of dogs such as Poodles and Schnauzers come in almost three different and well-defined sizes. Is the same trend found in Labradors?

No, the Labradors don’t come in different sizes. They come in only one officially recognized size.

However, there are two different types of Labradors. They are:

English Labradors

The English Labradors are the Labs bred for the show bench. They are a bit shorter and stockier than the American Labradors. With their short legs, they have a blocky appearance.

And, therefore, the English Labradors are shorter and smaller than the American Labradors.

American Labradors

The American Labradors are the Labradors bred for working purposes. And thus, they have an athletic appearance with a slimmer and taller body.

With a taller and slimmer body, the American labs would weigh a little less in weight when compared with the English Labradors.

So, there are only two types of Labradors. And therefore, the Small Labradors are not real or officially recognized.

However, if you are looking for a smaller yet healthy Labrador, the English Labradors are the right choice.

So, what about the Small or Miniature variant of Labradors?

Let us understand more about the Small Labradors by discussing a few more related topics.

Are Mini Labradors Real?

The demand for miniature dogs is very high nowadays. It is because the mini versions are pretty much easier to maintain and demands less exercise and food. The miniatures go well with urban living as well.

Therefore, to meet people’s needs, breeders have started to produce mini versions of the large breeds.

So, Small Labradors are one such kind. The Small Labradors artificially bred are actually not very healthy. We will discuss the health concerns of Miniature Labs in the latter part of the article.

Small Labradors can be naturally occurring too. Just as dwarf individuals are present among the human population, there can be dwarfs among Labradors as well.

How Breeders Make Miniature Labradors?

Yes, as said earlier, breeders have started developing Miniature Labradors to meet the increasing demands for smaller-sized or toy dogs.

Three methods are commonly used by breeders to develop Miniature Labradors. They are:

Out-crossing with smaller breeds

When you cross two types of breeds of dogs, you get a middle size of both the parents. You can thus, create a Miniature Labrador by out-crossing Labrador with breeds such as Poodles.

The advantage of outcrossing is that you can select the healthiest of parents possible to produce progeny. The selective selection of parents will allow you to reduce the health risks up to an extent.

The Labradors are popularly outcrossed with breeds such as Poodles and Terriers, to create Small Labradors.

However, puppies created by outcrossing are not purebred and can have a mixed temperament.

Introducing the gene for dwarfism

Some breeders introduce the gene for dwarfism in puppies to create a Small Labradors.

However, dogs carrying dwarf genes are prone to many health issues.

Selectively breeding from runts

Every Labrador litter might have a small one, and the smallest puppy in each litter is popularly called runts.

Selective breeding from runts over several generations can produce a pure line of Small Labradors. But, even such Small Labradors lack good health status.

Genetics Behind Dwarf Labradors And Their Health

Dwarf Labradors are natural variants of Small Labradors.

The AKC recognized standard height of male Labradors is between 22 to 25 inches. And the females can have a height anywhere between 21 to 24 inches.

The adult dogs with height lesser than the standard heights are termed as Dwarf Labradors.

Dwarfism is actually a genetic condition. It can occur due to the inheritance of any of the two genes; SD1 and SD2.

The Dwarf Labradors with inherited SD1 gene will have a shorter height along with a bent in their legs.

However, the Dwarf Labradors with SD2 gene do not have any bent on their legs but have shorter legs that decrease their height.

The Small Labradors in the dwarf condition are prone to several health problems including, breathing difficulties, Retinal dysplasia, and pituitary gland dysfunction.

The Dwarf variants have a disproportionate body that asks for a lifelong of extra-care. They would suffer spinal problems and difficulty in movements.

The symptoms of dwarfism include:

  • Short legs.
  • Bowed knees.
  • Swollen joints.
  • Large head.
  • Turned out feet.

The disproportionate body makes childbirth of Labradors difficult, and most of them require a C-section for the same.

So, before buying a Labrador we advise you to take the test for the SD2 gene. It would be better not to buy a Labrador with the SD2 gene because they would require much attention and care. They are also prone to several diseases, as said earlier.

Should You Buy A Small Labrador?

Small Labradors and miniature variants of dogs are, of course, a trend and fashion now. But, they are not a good choice if you are looking for healthy and easy to maintain dogs.

However, if you really need a Small Labrador, you can go for a relatively smaller English Labrador from a trustable breeder.

But, make sure the dog is tested for dwarfism. Because no healthy dog stays small. And, dwarfs are very prone to many health issues.


You have a lot of choices better than Labradors if you are looking for a mini-sized dog. Small Labradors are not a good choice of a mini variant as they are often accompanied by many health risks.

Leave a Comment