When Do Dogs Stop Growing?
by Bethel Farms on Nov 28, 2022
Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world, with over 38 percent of Americans having one to call their own. There is nothing quite like adopting a puppy into your family.
Almost everyone knows puppies for their charming furry cuteness and enthusiasm. Puppies are also known for seeming to grow at warp speed.
Knowing when your dog will reach their full size is useful information to have. It can help you plan the dietary, exercise, and supplies requirements that your pup will need as they grow.
If you are wondering when do dogs stop growing, you've come to the right place. We cover everything you need to know about your dog's growth so you can best support your pup.
The Lifespan of a Dog
When you adopt a puppy, you may wonder how long its life will be. Although many factors impact their lifespan, your dog's breed will give you a good idea of how long they will live.
The average lifespan of a dog is around 10-13 years. This number can vary based on the size and breed of the dog.
Several other factors affect the lifespan of a dog. Genetics, diet, environment, health care, and exercise all help a dog live longer or can cut a dog's life short.
For example, a dog that is well-cared for and lives in a clean, safe environment is more likely to have a longer life. A dog this is neglected or lives in a dangerous area, likely won't live as long.
Diet is also an important element in the lifespan of a dog. Dogs that eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet are more likely to live longer than those that eat a poor diet. Exercising your dog regularly can also benefit its health and extend its lifespan.
How Puppies Grow
Watching your new puppy grow is one of the joys of being a pet owner. However, there is a lot is going on behind the scenes when it comes to puppy development.
When most puppies are born, they have soft bones and straight legs. You can attribute a puppy's appearance to the growth plates in its bones. The growth plate is a layer of cartilage within the bones that helps the puppy grow and develop.
As the puppy grows, the growth plates start to get hard, and the bones take on their adult shape. This process starts when a puppy is four months old and continues until the puppy is about a year old.
During this time of rapid growth, you may notice that your puppy's legs look crooked. The bones eventually straighten out as they continue to grow.
Once the growth plates have hardened and the bones have reached their full adult size, the puppy is fully grown. However, this doesn't mean they are done growing yet. They may fill out a bit and add more muscle mass until they're about 18 months old.
When Do Dogs Stop Growing by Breed
There are a lot of components that determine how big your puppy will eventually grow. A puppy's breed is the most important factor in determining a puppy's adult size.
A small dog is any adult dog that is under 22 pounds. These dogs usually reach adult size by eight months of age.
For example, a chihuahua weighs an average of five ounces at birth. It usually ends up weighing about five pounds when fully grown.
Many small breed dogs are also known as toy breeds. Below are some examples of small-breed dogs:
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Toy Poodles
- Miniature Pinchers
Dogs in this category weigh between 23 and 50 pounds. Like small dogs, medium breeds reach adult weight by about a year old.
Here are some examples of medium-breed pups:
- Shetland Sheepdogs
If your dog is between 51 and 100 pounds, you can consider them a large breed. Many families have dogs in the large breed category. These pups take up to 16 months to get to their full size.
You'll find the following dogs in the large breed category:
- German Shepherds
- Siberian Huskies
- Labrador Retrievers
A dog that is over 100 pounds is a giant breed. These dogs have a lot of body to grow into and take the longest to reach their full size. Most giant breeds need a year and a half before reaching their adult size.
For example, a Great Dane puppy is born weighing about a pound. By adulthood, this gentle giant breed weighs over 100 pounds.
A larger adult-size dog will grow longer than a small adult-size dog. Larger dog breeds don't hit their adult size until about a year and a half.
The following are all examples of giant breeds:
- Great Danes
Dog Breeds and Genetics
Like people, genetics also play a role in a puppy's size. Some puppies are born small, while others are born larger. There's not much you can do about genetics, but you can ensure that your puppy is getting the right nutrition to reach its full potential size.
Mixed Dog Breed Growth
If you've rescued a puppy, you may not know what breed you're really getting. Sometimes you do know who a puppy's parents are. If you do, take the average weight of the mom and dad to get an estimate of how much your pup will weigh.
Many people don't have the luxury of knowing the lineage of their dogs. In this case, you'll have to do some investigative work.
A vet should be the first person you talk to. They can point out different doggy traits that can give you a clue as to what breed they are. Once you know their breed, you'll have a better idea of their overall size.
Doggy DNA Test and Adult Size Prediction
Another tool you can use is a doggy DNA test kit. A dog DNA test can be a useful tool for predicting a dog's adult size.
The DNA kit will tell you what breed or breeds your dog is. Once you have this information, it will be much easier to predict your dog's adult size. There are many different dog DNA tests on the market, but they all work in very much the same way.
You can find a dog DNA test online or in some pet stores. You'll use the kit to take a DNA sample of your dog. This sample is usually as simple as taking a saliva swab on the inside of their cheek with an included swap.
Once you have your sample, you will send it to the company that makes your dog's DNA test kit. They will use the sample to run a series of tests.
Once they have finished the tests, they will send you a report with the results. This report will give you details about what breed or breeds of dogs your dog is part of.
Dog DNA tests are a fun way to learn more about your dog's ancestry. They can also be helpful as knowing the breed can give you a heads-up on future health issues to look for.
If you are thinking about getting a dog DNA test, be sure to do your research to find a reputable company to use. Also, remember that no DNA test will be 100% accurate.
What Hinders the Puppy Growth Process
Although the breed has a lot to do with your puppy's growth, it isn't the only factor. What your dog eats, the timing of their spay or neuter, and illness can all determine their adult size.
Another key factor in puppy growth is nutrition. Growing dogs need specific vitamins, proteins, and minerals to grow the right way.
A puppy who isn't getting enough to eat won't reach his full potential size. Likewise, a puppy who is getting too much food may become overweight, which can lead to health problems later in life.
When choosing their food, always pick a high-quality version. Choose food made for the breed of your dog. Certain breeds need different dietary requirements than others.
Timing of Spay/Neuter
Spaying and neutering a puppy is an important part of keeping a puppy healthy. There is a longstanding myth that spaying and neutering a puppy can stunt their growth.
When looking at how a dog grows, hormones aren't what determines the size of the puppy. There is actually evidence that dogs neutered before they are four months old can grow bigger.
Keeping your pup in good health is crucial to its development. One of the most common reasons for stunted puppy growth is if your dog has hookworms or roundworms.
Both worm types stop dog growth because they steal the nutrients needed for the puppy to grow. If the worms get the calories, the puppy will starve.
Catching worms early will help keep your puppy on track. After the worms are gone, the puppy should continue growing at their normal rate.
General Emotional and Physical Puppy Growth Timeline
Taking care of a dog is a big responsibility to take on. Knowing how puppies grow both physically and emotionally can prepare you for what to expect during the first year of their life. This time can feel like a whirlwind, but this growth gives them a foundation for the rest of their lives.
A lot of learning happens in the first year of a puppy's life. Here is an overview of what the first twelve months may look like for your new pup.
The First Three Weeks
When puppies are first born, they will find comfort in their mom. Most pups this age don't even open their eyes yet. They seek warmth, food, and comfort.
The Fourth and Fifth Week
Once your new puppy is a month old, they start to learn more about the world. Their eyes and ears work now, and they have rapidly growing brains. It's during these weeks that puppies start to play, walk, and explore.
Weeks Six Through Eight
Emotions are the name of the game in these weeks of life. Around eight weeks, puppies start to develop relationships with their human parents. They can eat solid foods and will start to bond with their new human family.
If you get a puppy at eight weeks, weeks eight through twelve are all about bonding. You'll want your puppy to have strong positive associations with you.
Puppies have developed fear and happiness at this point. Anything that can scare them can leave an imprint on them for life. Puppies should work on confidence, socialization, and positive reinforcement at this stage.
The Fourth and Fifth Month
By this point, your puppy has a brain that is almost completely developed. Their personality starts to shine. Keep up with the training and the exposure to new locations, people, and other dogs.
Months Sixth Through Twelve
You may find your pre-teen pup testing more boundaries at this phase. Even older dogs need to stay on top of their socialization. Continue to keep socializing with your dog so it can feel comfortable with others.
Dogs Are Mans Best Friend No Matter What Their Size
After you get a puppy, you'll immediately want to Google, "when do dogs stop growing." The truth is, there are many things that you can do to help your puppy live a long time. By taking good care of your dog, you can ensure that your furry friends enjoy long, happy lives.
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