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Can we expect to see some fat Labs at Westminster again this year?

I love watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

I don’t know if you watched the competition last year, but when the winning Labrador retriever literally waddled across the floor, all I could think was, “My God, that Lab is fat!”

My own black Lab mix Ace was fit and lean as can be. He’s no purebred, but I thought maybe all Labs appear fat to me since I’m used to looking at Ace.

Nope. It wasn’t just me.

A lot of other dog lovers were also surprised to see such a “flabby Labby” win Best of Breed in 2014.

My friends at Slim Doggy wrote an excellent post last winter asking, when did overweight Labradors became the new normal?

It’s a great post that sparked a lot of controversy because some people strongly believe a dog is healthy as long as it meets the “breed standard.”

So you can see for yourself, here’s the Lab that won Best of Breed at Westminster last year, a female:

Fat Labs at Westminster winning Lab

And here’s the dog that won Best of Opposite Sex:

Westminster best of opposite sex winner Labradors

Do they look a little chubby to you?

I’m no breed expert, but I know a fat dog when I see one.

From SlimDoggy:

Pet obesity is a REAL problem in this country and denying it or excusing it by saying that an overweight dog meets the standard is just perpetuating the myth that Labs are supposed to look like that. They aren’t. They didn’t in the past and there is no sound or sane reason that they should now …

SlimDoggy also posted a followup post today, and the good news is that the Labrador Retriever Club (the national parent club of the Labrador) wrote a letter to the AKC judges asking them to pay attention to the standards of Labs as far as size and proportions.

The letter pointed out that Labs shall be shown “in working condition, well muscled and without excess fat.”

This doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing leaner Labs on TV this year, but hopefully we’re headed in the right direction.

Will you be paying attention to Westminster this year?

Photos originally from


Tuesday 9th of May 2023

English and American Labradors have different body types. An English Lab’s physique tends to be shorter and wider, while an American Lab is usually slimmer and more muscular. American Labs are usually very energetic and have a high need for play and exercise. English Labs are also energetic but tend to have a calmer demeanor. An American Lab’s typically independent personality can make them more challenging to train than an English Lab. Breeders have favored different characteristics since the 1940s: English Labs were bred for dog shows, while American Labs have been bred for work and agility.

Labrador average weight doesn’t always take into account that English and American Labs are very different. English Labs bred from show lines are likely to be at the upper end of the scale. You can expect English Lab weight to be around 60 – 70 lbs for a female and 70 – 80 lbs for a male.

Your lab looks like an American lab and the ones at Westminster appear to be english (the cuter and more popular ones )

Heather Lynn

Sunday 18th of February 2024

@Jackie, EXACTLY! This post screams “tell me you own an American (build) lab without telling me”.

Those devoted to the breed compete at Westminster… I assure you they’re fed correctly and exercised correctly.

I prefer the beautiful stocky build and better calmer temperament of a well bred English lab.

I laugh at the people who call them fat. I just shake my head at their obvious ignorance.


Sunday 19th of March 2023

you are retarder moron who believes to know better than people devoting their lives to the breed. You do not have a lab and know shit about their proper weight.


Monday 26th of December 2022

On Christmas Day, 2022, we watched a rebroadcast of the July 2022 Westminster Dog Show. With my service dog being a Lab, I was very interested in seeing what "the perfect Labrador" looked like. I was so disappointed to see those chubby pups. Ed weights 71 pounds and I consider him 5 overweight.

I like what the LRC said about in working condition. I think they should continue to strive in that direction. AKC is supposed to represent breed standards. 15+ pounds of excess weight is not commensurate to that standard.


Sunday 11th of January 2015

Like a few of the commenters mentioned, I hate to see dog breeds that have health issues that are related to breeding conformation, but I still like watching the show and will definitely be interested in seeing the labs this year.

Rachel @ My Two Pitties

Thursday 8th of January 2015

I used to like to check out the dog shows on tv to see the different breeds (though their lifestyle gives me the creeps) but after watching some documentaries on inbreeding, medical issues, breed standards becoming less & less healthy, I just can't anymore. Makes me too sad. The worst was the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel whose heads are becoming too small for their brains. The breeders were made aware of the gene that is causing it & refuse to stop breeding the dogs that have it. I saw it years ago & I'm still traumatized!