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 traits and temperament, these dogs continue to be the most popular household dog breed in the United States for decades. They adorn the number 1 position in the list of the American Kennel Society among the top-ranked dogs. Labradors too are the most favored pet dogs in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
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 – 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 from 21.5 to 23.5 inches tall at the withers, while full-grown males should be from 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 or owners have the pedigree papers that can prove both parents are purebred Labradors.
Do Miniature Labradors Really exist?
There is no such Lab breed as “Miniature Labradors” compared to other dog breeds that have their official miniature versions, such as the Miniature Poodle, Miniature Dachshund, Miniature Bull Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, and more.
However, smaller versions of Labradors do exist and are probably produced due to the following reasons.
- The demand for a smaller-sized Labrador,
- A condition called dwarfism.
Are Miniature Labradors Dogs with Dwarfism?
There are instances when genetic condition results in dwarfism or short stature. Dwarfism in Labradors is a known condition and there are some Labs who carry this genetic abnormality.
When two Labs with the dwarf genes mate, they can produce short-legged Labradors. However, these dogs are not real miniature Labradors. Sometimes, the shortness of their legs is even not noticeable.
There are two sets of genes that can lead to dwarfism in Labs – the SD1 and the SD2.
The SD1 or osteochondrodysplasia is the gene that causes a Lab to have malformed and/or bent legs akin to dwarfism. This type of dwarfism in Labrador dogs may also result in various health disorders. 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.
On the other hand, the SD2 genetic defect inhibits the growth of long bones and results in dwarfism in dogs. Such 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 mate two smaller-sized 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 is most likely to suffer from an array of health issues.
Health Problems in Dwarf Labradors
Dwarfism, regardless of the type, can cause more health problems in a dog. Sometimes, dwarf Labradors may have abnormally formed skulls. This causes them to experience breathing problems. It may also cause complications when whelping.
Another concern about dwarf Labradors is their likelihood of developing intervertebral disc disease. This problem primarily occurs in middle-aged chondrodystrophic breeds, including Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, and Bulldogs. But it can occur in non-chondrodystrophic breeds, such as the Labrador Retriever when they turn 8 to 10 years old. A dwarf Labrador Retriever has an increased chance of developing the disease due to his disproportionate 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 carrying genes with the potential to cause dwarfism.
Breeders will often have their dam and sire screened for various potential health disorders – including dwarfism – before proceeding to breed. However, the only prescreening 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 Lab. There is only one Labrador breed, and there are health reasons why some of these labs born as dwarfs. The owners of most dwarf Labradors may not be aware of this problem in their dogs until they turn 2 years old and stop 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.