A mini labrador? What kind of special breed is it that makes our beloved Lab appear in miniature form? If you've heard about the smallest Labrador Retriever lately and are wondering what this craze is about, this article will surely help you.
So let's first deal with the question of what the smallest Labrador Retriever actually is…
What is a Mini Labrador?
A Miniature Labrador is a special breed of Labrador that only reaches a size of 40 to 45 cm. The Miniature Labrador does not differ from a normal Labrador except for the size. Its friendly nature and family-friendly character are the same.
Miniature Labrador Retrievers aren't actually a breed of dog in their own right.
They exist because resourceful breeders bred them so small. Incidentally, with questionable methods and a number of possible problems that the dogs and their owners can face later.
Unlike other dog species, there are actually no Labradors in miniature format. Especially not as a recognized breed, as is the case with schnauzers, poodles or dachshunds, where there are actually recognized “teacups” or “mini” breeds.
Mini Labrador Retriever Size
A Mini Labrador Retriever usually does not grow taller than 40 cm to 45 cm. With this size they reach a maximum weight of up to 20 kg.
So they are not quite as small as one would imagine. A dog with a size of 45cm also needs space, a means of transport in the car and is by no means a sofa buddy like the very small dogs.
Just for comparison:
A fully grown male Labrador has an average weight of 32 to 36kg. With a height of between 55cm and 63cm tall.
Miniature Labrador Experiences
There are no real long-term experiences with miniature Labrador Retrievers. The breeding of this Labrador Mix is simply too new for that.
However, there are very controversial discussions about how artificial small-scale breeding affects the health of dogs and what problems they will have to endure in their development later on.
To understand this a little better, one has to look at how miniature Labradors are bred in the first place.
How are miniature Labrador Retrievers bred?
Now comes the part of the article that I'm going to make a lot of enemies with.
Namely with the breeders who currently breed and offer Miniature Labradors.
The reason for this is relatively simple: As a visitor to my blog and dog lover, I can only explain to you what the reality is when breeding miniature Labradors.
I can neither speak nicely nor approve it.
1. Breeders use the small stature of the parent animals
Short stature occurs not only in humans, but also in dogs. It actually results from a genetic flaw that causes bone growth to slow down significantly.
End of the story: Too little bone growth = short legged Labrador Retriever.
I'll explain it in a very simplified way and one or the other breeder will probably scold me. *wink*
Miniature Labradors are bred by crossing two Labrador Retrievers that have this exact genetic disorder. If both parents have a natural short stature and pass this on in their genes to the next generation, in the end a puppy is born that never reaches the full size, but remains a short legged Labrador Retriever.
A miniature Labrador.
You can tell me what you want now. But if you think of it from this point of view, it's actually a relatively perverse matter. I can't think of any other term for it.
Breeders use a genetic defect to breed a puppy that has the same genetic defect.
If you were to do that with people, there would be a huge social outcry. And rightly so!
Nobody would dismiss that with a “but they are so cute”.
2. Crossbreeds with small breeds of dogs
There is a second variant that breeders use to be able to breed the smallest Labrador Retriever at the end of the day.
And that is mating with smaller breeds of dogs. A Labrador Retriever is crossed with a smaller but similar breed of dog.
In the end a smaller dog is born, but it is not purebred. To offer this dog as a pure-bred “Miniature Labrador” would almost be a deception. Because he is not purebred.
In addition, this type of breeding can lead to diseases and long-term consequences that do not make your four-legged friend's life more pleasant.
Health Risks for the Smallest Labrador Retriever
By now we've talked a lot about the potential health hazards of Miniature Labs, but I haven't pointed out any possible consequences directly to you.
Labradors are inherently a breed of dog that presents relatively few health problems.
Mini Labradors are very special breeds that bring a few risks.
1. Curved Legs and Knees
Especially when the Mini is bred with the first cultivation variant, which I explained to you above, such a curvature can often occur. In places it is almost a bit desired because the Labrador then looks a bit smaller. In the end, he is not as physically resilient as a normal Labrador and will likely get problems and pain with this curvature sooner or later.
2. Swollen Joints
The next aspect that occurs especially with short stature. The size of the bone apparatus is not designed to withstand the daily stresses of such a dog. The result is often swollen joints and pain in these joints.
3. Breathing Difficulties
A small Labrador often has a larger head. Looks super cute to us humans, but has an impact on the dog's breathing. Due to the often enlarged head and the enlarged snout, your dog cannot breathe as he should. This not only affects your health, but also quite simply your dog's quality of life.
Can you get a Mini Labrador from the shelter?
Of course, I don't have the dog population of every animal shelter in my head, but I believe that you will not find a miniature Lab anywhere.
The Minis are very special breeds that are very popular with the few breeders. So in demand that now relatively high prices are being paid for these Labrador mix dogs.
So if you've lost your heart to the smallest Labrador Retriever, you'll have to dig a little deeper into your pocket. The animal shelters cannot help you there.
But I'd love you if you gave another dog from the animal shelter or animal welfare a chance. There are numerous dogs sitting there waiting for a nicer home.
And that's probably the one or the other poor dog soul that looks extremely similar to a miniature Labrador Retriever.