Adorable and Pocket Sized: All About the Miniature Labrador
A tiny replica of the world’s most popular dog breed, the miniature Labrador should stand on its own four feet for a change. This dog is unique, valuable and down right adorable to any dog owner. Learn how they came about and what makes them special in their own right.
Miniature labs come in the same fur colors as regular Labradors do – yellow (or golden), black or chocolate brown. They look just like a larger lab, with stocky chests and broad hips. Mini labs are extremely friendly, loyal, obedient and active. If you have children, they will be just as happy with a miniature Labrador that has the same attractive qualities of their larger cousins.
Some sources state that in dog shows the mini labs have their own recognized breed. They are judged in show competitions – any Labrador taller than 20 inches is not considered a mini lab and cannot compete with the others. Normally mini labs stand between 16 and 19 inches tall (to the shoulder) and weigh about fifty pounds. They have the same open, friendly face as regular Labradors.
While researching miniature labs you may become confused. Some sources site that there are no true mini labs, only Labradors bred together with poodles to make a miniature size. These would be correctly called mini Labradoodles. It is said that when a breeder crossbreeds a lab with a smaller dog such as a cocker spaniel or poodle, the resulting puppy cannot be sure to inherit the desired characteristics – small size, but all of the Labrador features. Often that breed will have to go through many different “trials” to come up with the combination that works in the desired way.
Some people cite this as unethical and unnecessary, claiming that it more often than not results in unhealthy dogs with poor quality of life. Be sure that you know the breeder you are shopping at – that you can be certain you are getting exactly what you pay for.
Other sources site that miniature labs are a result of dwarfism. They state that breeders choose the runts of the litters, mating them together to hopefully produce more runts and a smaller family of dogs. This seems less of a risk than the poodle/lab mix previously discussed, but carries its own dangers. Dwarfism in dogs can be a result of pituitary problems and can also be the reason behind eye sight and other defects. Often dwarfism is caused by inbreeding, so continuing to do so to produce more miniatures is a slippery slope. Again, be sure of your breeder. Ask to see the parents and family of the miniature Labrador. Visit them and take note of any defects. Even if you have no intention of showing the dog, it’s important to be assured of their genealogy Organizations such as the Labrador Retrievers Club do not officially recognize mini labs. They often will not sanction the breeding and sale of such dogs and claim that the American Kennel Club feels the same way. So does the AKC actually have a category for the showing of miniature labs?
Browse through their website to find plenty of information on the Labrador retriever, but no mention of a mini lab. They do have miniature schnauzers, pinscher and bull terrier, but there is not even a category for mini poodles tucked into large purses, never mind mini labs.
It would seem that while they are indeed out there for sale, AKC is not yet ready to identify them as an official breed. Be sure you know and visit your breeder frequently, have realistic expectations about what you will get and above all, enjoy your dog. Miniature in size, they are sure to be huge in heart and owner loyalty.