Do Teacup Labradors or Miniature Labradors Really Exist?

If you really love Labs but prefer a smaller dog, you are probably wondering if there are Miniature Labradors or Teacup Labradors available in the market.

Among dogs, the Labrador Retriever arguably has the best personality. They are loving, gentle, versatile, sweet, and goofy at the same time. With their amazing personalities and temperament, it’s no wonder they remain as the United States’ most popular dog breed for decades. Not only are they number 1 in the US, but in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia as well.

You are very much into Labradors except for one thing, they may be too big for you or your house. And you are thinking of ways to combine two things like: Labradors and small size. You then search for Miniature Labradors or Teacup Labradors and found that they are really being sold. Then you wonder, are miniature Labradors really Labradors?


Are Miniature Labradors Recognized By the AKC?

According to the America Kennel Club’s breed standard, full-grown female Labradors should be 21.5 to 23.5 inches tall at the withers, while full-grown males should be 22.5 to 24.5 inches in height at the withers. That means any Labrador who does not fit the standard will not be allowed in the show ring. However,  smaller Labradors can still be registered with the AKC given that the breeders/owners have the pedigree papers that can prove that both parents are purebred Labradors.


Are Miniature Labradors Real?

First things first, there is no such breed as “Miniature Labradors” compared to other dog breeds that have their official miniature breed versions such as the Miniature Poodle, Miniature Dachshund, Miniature Bull Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer and more.

But smaller versions of Labradors do exist and are probably produced due to the following:

  • The demand for a smaller-sized Labrador,
  • A condition called dwarfism.


Miniature Labradors or Labradors with Dwarfism?

There is a condition called dwarfism. Dwarfism in Labradors is a known condition and there some Labs who carry this gene.

When two Labs with the dwarf genes mate, they can produce short-legged Labradors, but not real mini Labradors. Sometimes the shortness of their legs is even unnoticeable.

There are two sets of genes that can result to dwarfism in Labs: the SD1 and the SD2.

The SD1 or osteochondrodysplasia is the gene that causes a Lab with dwarfism to havemalformed and/or bent legs.This type of dwarfism is associated with some health problems in Labradors. The malformation in the bone causes further problems in the knee and hip joints, and even pain. Do note that Labs – as a breed – are prone to developing Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia so this can pose more problems.

On the other hand, the SD2 or skeletal dysplasia causes the dwarf Lab to have shorter legs than other Labs. The SD2 is the most common type of dwarfism in Labs.

Sometimes, a dwarf Lab may have pituitary dwarfism, which happens due to problems with the growth hormones the pituitary gland produces.


Breeding Miniature Labradors Due to the Demand

It is appalling that some breeders take advantage of the demand for little versions of Labradors and market them as Miniature Labradors. These breeders will mate two smaller-sized Labradors or dwarf Labradors to produce what they call mini Labs. Some breeders may also breed a Labrador with a smaller breed of dog and market it as Mini Lab to make a quick buck.

Breeding two dwarf Labs to produce miniature Labradors for profit is absolutely cruel as the offspring will most likely suffer from an array of health issues.

Read: Black and Tan Labradors: Are Black and Tan Labradors Purebred Labradors?

Health Problems in Dwarf Labradors

Dwarfism, regardless of the type, can cause more health problems to the affected dog. Sometimes, dwarf Labradors may also have abnormally-formed skulls. Not only will this cause them to have breathing problems, it may also cause complications when whelping.

Another concern about dwarf Labrador’s is their likeliness to develop IVDD or Intervertebral Disc Disease.  This diseaseprimarily occurs in middle-aged chondrodystrophic breeds like Dachshunds, Basset Hounds and Bulldogs. But it can occur in non-chondrodystrophic breeds like the Labrador Retriever when they turn8 to 10 years old. A dwarf Labrador Retriever has an increased chance of developing disease due to the disproportion of the body: long torso and short legs.

While dwarf Labradors may be prone to some health conditions, they can still live happily like normal Labradors.


Breeding Labradors with Dwarfism

There are responsible Labrador breeders who aim for the development of the breed. That is why they do not to breed two Labradors who both carry the gene for dwarfism.

Breeders will often have their dam and sire screened for various health tests – including dwarfism – before proceeding to breed. However, the only test available for dwarfism is for the SD2.


Should You Get a Miniature Labrador?

It is not advisable to get a miniature Labrador for the sake of having a small Labrador. There is only one Labrador breed, and there are health reasons why they are kept that way. The owners of most dwarf Labradors we know today didn’t know their Labs have dwarfism until they turn 2 years-old and stopped growing.

If you really want a small Labrador, some breeders will have slightly smaller Labradors in their litter, but they are very rare. Another option is to adopt a Labrador mix, who is a cross with a smaller dog breed.


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