Asking yourself the question, “When do dogs stop growing?” is perfectly natural, especially if you’ve just welcomed a new puppy into your family. Being able to predict their size will be helpful for a variety of reasons.
For example, it will give you an idea of how much dog food you’ll end up buying. You’ll also have a good idea of the amount of space your dog will take up in your home.
Here’s a look at what to expect as your pooch grows up. Remember, though, not every puppy is alike – even puppies of the same breed. In general, though, this information will give you a good picture of the ultimate size and weight of your new companion.
How Does A Puppy’s Body Develop?
The growth rate of your puppy will largely depend on the rate at which the bones grow. Once a puppy gets to the adult stage, the bones stop growing. There are two areas of a dog’s bones where growth takes place. Appropriately enough, these are known as growth plates. These are areas of cartilage that produce new tissue.1
Unfortunately, a puppy’s growth plates can easily be injured. As a result, you have to keep your puppy from playing too rough. You’ll need to be especially careful if your pup is on a piece of furniture. Pick your puppy up and put them on the ground, rather than letting them jump off.2
How Long Will It Take For Your Dog To Grow Into An Adult?
There are a few different factors that will help determine how long it will take a puppy to fully grow into an adult. In most cases, the larger the breed, the longer it will take. Smaller breeds usually take about six months before they reach maximum growth. For a large breed puppy, though, it could take as long as two years.3
Other contributing factors include gender and the age at which a dog is spayed or neutered. A male dog will usually grow up to be larger than a female of the same breed.4 If a dog is spayed or neutered at a very young age, they may be bigger than a dog that was “de-sexed” when older. The reason is that neutering delays the time it takes the growth plates to stop working.5
Dogs are typically spayed or neutered between the ages of six and nine months. However, if a puppy is healthy enough, they can undergo this procedure as early as eight weeks old.6
Estimating The Eventual Size Of Purebred And Mixed Breed Puppies
If you have a purebred puppy, the answer to the question of, “When do dogs stop growing?” is easy to answer. All you need to do is go to the website of the American Kennel Club. Look up your dog’s breed and you’ll likely find all you need to know.7
There’s always a chance your pup could go on an unexpected growth spurt, or not grow as large in size as most other dogs of the same breed. But this will at least give you a good idea of what size your puppy will ultimately be.
If you have a mixed breed dog, on the other hand, the answer won’t be as clear. But if you know the parents of the dog, that could give you a clue. If the parents are similar in size, it’s likely that a female will probably be the same size as the mother, and the male will be close in size to the father. If the parents are not similar in size, your puppy will grow up to be somewhere in the middle.8
But the odds of you knowing the mom and dad of your mixed breed puppy are obviously not that great. If that’s the case, take the dog to your vet to see if they can give you an idea. Your vet can give you an educated guess as to what sort of growth to expect.
Growth And Development For Toy Breeds, Small Breed Dogs, Or A Large Breed Puppy
Your dog’s breed will also provide some clues as to how big your pup will be when they become an adult. Here’s some information on the different sizes of breeds and how big they typically grow.
In most cases, the growth rates of small breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Toy Poodle, and Italian Greyhound are fairly predictable.
When they’re eight weeks old, for example, they’ll usually only reach a weight of between 13 and 39 ounces. When they’re four months old, they are typically between 1.5 and 5 pounds. When they reach the adult stage (18 months), they’ll be anywhere from 2.5-7 pounds in weight.9
A medium-sized dog, such as the Bulldog, Basset Hound, and Beagle, will usually reach their maximum size at around 18 months. Their weight will typically range from 5-9 pounds at the 8-week mark to between 27-46 pounds when they reach the adult stage.10
Large breed dogs can vary a great deal in terms of weight. An Afghan Hound, for example, can grow to between 50-60 pounds by the time
they become an adult.11 Larger dogs, such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, on the other hand, can grow to a weight of 80-115 pounds.12
Larger breeds can grow to anywhere between 15-34 inches high.13
Can Paws Give A Clue To Your Dog’s Eventual Size?
A lot of people believe a dog’s paws will give them an idea of how big their puppy will eventually be. While this isn’t an entirely accurate method for predicting your pup’s adult size, it can be helpful in some rare instances. For example, if your puppy’s paws are extremely large, that probably means you’ll wind up with a pretty large adult on your hands.14
Conditions To Watch Out For In Your Growing Puppy
No matter what size and weight your dog ultimately may be as an adult, there are a few potential health issues you’ll need to be aware of. A larger puppy, for example, maybe prone to problems affecting the shoulders and elbows. A tiny puppy will be at a higher risk for knee or hip problems.15,16
Your vet can help if you notice any problems with your puppy as they grow and gain weight. A vet can also recommend ways to keep your dog at a healthy weight. No matter how big or small your pooch will ultimately be, always remember to bring them in for regular checkups.