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I’m sure you’ve realized that puppies grow really fast. One day they’re tiny and can’t even move around properly and before you know what’s happening, they’re fully grown. But you have to really ask the question, at what age do dogs stop growing? That’s because all dogs don’t grow at the same rate.
Usually smaller breeds grow much faster than large breeds because their larger bones need more time to develop. All puppies are usually seen as adults when they reach one year, but growing can continue till they’re about 18 months old and in some cases, more than this.
At what age do dogs stop growing?
For small dog breeds usually less than 20 lbs (9 kg), by the sixth month, they’re usually about 75% grown, and by the twelfth month, they’re usually fully grown.
These include toy breeds and some examples are the Toy Poodle, Japanese Chin, Papillon, Toy Fox Terrier, and the English Toy Spaniel and also, small breed dogs and some examples of these are the Chihuahua, French Bulldog, Maltese, Pomeranian, Dachsund, and the Pug.
For medium-sized dog breeds from around 20 lbs to 50 lbs (22.67 kg), by the sixth month, they should be about 66% grown and it usually takes up to 15 months before they’re fully grown. By the 12 months, they’re already past 90% though so you might not notice any differences. Some small breeds may stop growing before 12 months though. Usually between 6 and 8 months.
Some medium breed examples are the American Foxhound, Dalmatian, the Border Collie, the Bull Terrier, Bulldog, and Basset Hound.
For large dog breeds, usually between 50 and 100 lbs (45.36 kg), by the sixth month, they’re about 60% grown. After a year they’d have grown up to 85% and it usually takes about 18 months for them to fully mature.
Examples of large breed dogs are the Greyhound, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Bullmastiff, Boxer, and German Shepherd.
And for the very large breeds which are over 100 lbs, by month six they’re only halfway through the growing process and it usually takes 18 months or more before they’re fully grown. At the one-year mark, they’d have grown up to about 80%. Giant breed dogs might take up to 24 months to reach their final height.
Some of the examples of Giant Breeds are the Great Dane, Anatolian Shepherd, Beauceron, Irish Wolfhound, and Mastiff.
The weights stated above are their weights as adults.
As they grow, their growth plates produce tissue that hardens into the bone and when this process stops and they have become completely calcified, then your dogs have stopped growing and their bones are at their final size. Most of the growing happens before the one-year mark and that’s why most dogs are considered adults by then. Even after the bones stop growing your dogs will still develop muscles and fat.
Can You Tell How Big Your Puppy Will Get?
On average, newborn puppies double their weight after one week and after this, they’ll usually gain a 5 to 10% increase every day. By the six-week mark, some changes begin to occur based on the breed. Small breeds will usually gain about 5 oz. (141.7 g) a week from this point and larger breeds will gain about 2 lbs and 5 oz. (1.04 kg) every week.
For Small Breeds
To get their adult weight, at the six-week mark, take their weight, double it, and double it again. For a puppy that’s 3 lbs, doubling it will be 6 lbs, and doubling gain will give you 12 lbs and that’s their final adult weight.
For Medium and Large Breeds
For medium or large breeds, you’ll have to wait till the fourteen-week mark, then you’ll double their current weight, and then add half of the original 14-week weight.
For a puppy weighing 25 lbs at fourteen weeks, you’ll double the weight, and that gives you 50 lbs. Then you’ll add half of the initial weight (25 lbs), which will be 12.5 lbs. So, 50 + 12.5 will give us 62.5 lbs as their final adult weight.
What Happens if You Didn’t Get Their Weight at These Points?
There is a general formula you can use if you were not able to get your dog to weigh at any of the time periods mentioned above. This will give you an idea of what to expect. This works for breeds of all ages but the age at which you’ll do the calculation is different for each size.
First, take their weight and divide it by their required age in weeks. Then you’ll multiply your result by 52 which is the number of weeks in a year. This can be used for breeds of all sizes.
For small breeds it’s 12 weeks, for medium-sized breeds it’s 16 weeks, and for large breeds, it’s 20 weeks.
Now let’s test it out. For a large breed puppy who is 23 lbs at 20 weeks, you’ll divide 23 by 20. That’ll give 1.15. Then you multiply it by 52. That’ll be 1.15 x 52 which is 59.8 lbs as their adult weight.
For a medium-sized breed, if their weight is 12 lbs at 16 weeks, that’ll be 14 divided by 16 which is 0.75 and 0.75 x 52 is 39 lbs.
And finally, for a small breed puppy weighing 2 lbs at 12 weeks, 2 divided by 12 is 0.167 and 0.167 x 52 is 8.68 which is 8 lbs and 10 ounces.
How to Feed A Growing Puppy?
Some dog foods are made for all life stages and these can be fed to growing and fully grown dogs. You can also find puppy-specific foods and talk to your veterinarian about how you should feed your dog. These puppy-specific foods should be used until your dogs are fully grown.
Make sure you stick to your veterinarian’s advice or the guidelines on the food because you shouldn’t take any risks with your growing dogs and also you don’t want them to overeat and become obese. Obesity in puppies predisposes them to future orthopedic issues so you should be cautious.
Their systems are still developing and you need to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need. These puppy-specific foods provide enough protein which is essential to meet the needs of their growing bodies.
How to Feed Growing Large Breed Puppies
Larger breed puppies are more sensitive to too much or too little calcium in their diet while their bones grow. Some food products have labels that state that they’re suitable for the growth of large size dogs and you should look out for these.
Genetics and Dog Growth
You’ve probably come across a really short person with tall parents or vice versa. This comes down to genetic traits and it’s similar for dogs too. All dogs have different genetic traits passed down from their parents and ancestors.
Your dog may have certain genetic traits that might affect growth in certain ways but genetics can be very unpredictable. It’s a sort of wild card. Small parents may produce large offspring and vice versa. But a Great Dane will always be larger than a Chihuahua.
Does Neutering Affect Growth?
Contrary to what most people think, neutering won’t have any major effects on the growth of your puppy. It has its effects but genetics and nutrition are the major factors that influence growth and not hormones. Your decision to neuter your puppy won’t influence their final adult size in a major way.
Exercise for Growing Puppies?
Puppies need regular exercise to remain healthy. However, prolonged sessions or very stressful exercises can be very bad for their growing bones. Jogging generally should be restricted to dogs older than 14 months for smaller breeds and that gets up to 18 months for medium or larger breeds. Just take them for short walks, a quarter of a mile (0.4 km) or less.
It’s recommended you walk them on soft surfaces like sand or grass until they’re fully grown. A good time ratio for exercise is 5 minutes for every month of age (ideally up to two times a day), so for a five-month-old puppy that will be 25 minutes (or a total of 50 if you do it twice a day).
Finally, you shouldn’t start walking them until they’re done with their final puppy vaccinations. Letting them out before they could expose them to harmful diseases that vaccination would make them immune to. Your veterinarian will determine the vaccination schedule so you can make plans to leave the house and go for a walk with your puppy as exercise or set up play dates or engage in other fun activities.
The age at which dogs stop growing is determined mainly by their breed size but this usually falls between 6 and 18 months of age with small breeds taking less time to grow than larger breeds. The other factor that will play a major role in nutrition and genes can be a wildcard but don’t really do much across breeds.