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When Do Dogs Stop Growing?

Many factors contribute to a puppy's full-grown size, including breed, sex, diet, when they were spayed or neutered, and if they have any illnesses.

An adult English Bulldog basks in the sun next to a younger English bulldog.

Many factors contribute to a puppy's full-grown size, including breed, sex, diet, when they were spayed or neutered, and if they have any illnesses.

By: Dr. Juli, DVM  @itsDrJuli 

Caring for a new puppy is an exciting time for pet parents, and it's natural to have numerous questions concerning their needs, nutrition, and care. It may be hard to imagine your new bundle of fur becoming an adult dog, but puppyhood goes by quickly. Proper physical and mental development is critical to ensure your four-legged companion thrives throughout life.

When choosing a new puppy, it's not uncommon to wonder how big they will be as adult dogs. Knowing your dog's final size will also help determine their space requirements and if they will fit well into your lifestyle. Dogs, like people, come in countless shapes, sizes, and heights, making it challenging to know what a puppy will look like as an adult. Fortunately, puppy growth has been extensively studied. Here are answers to common questions about your puppy's size and growth.

An adult English Bulldog basks in the sun next to a younger English bulldog.

How to Tell How Big Your Puppy Will Get

There is no single answer to determining how big a puppy will get. Still, numerous factors and ways exist to identify an estimated weight and full adult size. Breed and genetics play the most significant roles in determining when your puppy will stop growing. Additionally, one of the biggest myths is using your puppy's ear and paw sizes to determine how big they will be, as these two factors don't predict your pup's size. 

Growth charts have been used in human medicine for decades to help pediatricians and nurses track the growth of infants and small children. Similar growth charts have been created for dogs of various breeds and sex to help determine if your dog is growing correctly. They are good tools for pet owners to determine if their puppy is growing at a healthy rate.

Pet owners can also use this formula to estimate how much their puppy will weigh as an adult: 

Current weight (lbs)/age in weeks x 52 = adult estimated weight

For example, if your puppy weighs 5 pounds when they are ten weeks old, they may weigh around 26 pounds when fully grown. Remember that this formula is an estimate and does not consider other factors that may determine your dog's size when they stop growing. 

What Factors Contribute to a Dog’s Growth?

Like people, numerous factors contribute to a dog's growth and overall wellness. If you acquired your puppy from a breeder, looking at your dog's parents can give you an idea of how much your dog will grow. Other factors influencing a dog's growth include:

Breed

If your dog is purebred, observing other dogs of the same breed - such as your puppy’s parents or other dogs you meet at the dog park - can give you an idea of how big your dog will grow. Mixed-breed puppies can be challenging to determine their size, as there is no way to fully predict which genetic influences will be most dominant. 

Sex

Generally, male dogs tend to be larger and heavier than females of the same breed due to hormonal influences. However, there are always exceptions and variability to this rule. 

Diet

Dogs who are severely malnourished or sick with underlying illnesses as puppies are at risk for stunted growth. Conversely, overfed dogs may be at risk for growing too fast and too much, leading to problems like obesity or joint disease into adulthood. 

Spay or Neuter Age

Spaying or neutering your dog at a younger age may affect their overall weight and height. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best time to sterilize your pet. 

Disease or Illness

Young puppies have an increased risk for infection because their immune systems are still developing. Additionally, intestinal parasites are not uncommon in puppies because they often contract them from their mother or environment. Without proper veterinary care, parasites or other illnesses can rob your puppy of the nutrients required for adequate growth and development and could result in long-term effects. 

A grey puppy is examined by a veterinarian.

When Do Dogs Stop Growing

Although dogs are generally considered adults when one year old, their bones may still grow depending on their genetics and breed size. There is no one-dog-fits-all growth rate to determine when your dog will stop growing, and larger breed dogs generally require more time for their bones and joints to develop fully.

Additionally, like people, dogs can continue to gain weight and or muscle after their bones stop growing due to variability in their lifestyle, environment, and care when they are adults. As we mentioned, it can be difficult to determine how big mixed-breed dogs will grow. However, because genetics are the primary factor affecting overall growth, the following is a general guideline based on breed type:

Toy and Small Breeds

Smaller breeds, including Chihuahuas, Maltese, toy poodles, Dachshunds, and Pomeranians, will reach their adult weight around eight to 12 months, and some could be fully grown as early as six months. Small and toy-breed dogs should weigh less than 20 pounds as adults and will range between 12 inches and 18 inches in height. 

Medium Breeds

These dogs include beagles, bulldogs, miniature Schnauzers, and basset hounds. Adult medium-sized dogs will stop growing between 12 and 15 months and have a weight range of 25 to 50 pounds when they are adults.

Large Breeds 

Example large breed dogs include golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and German shepherd dogs. Larger breeds stop growing between 12 months and 18 months of age. These larger dogs will weigh more than 50 pounds and can reach a height of approximately 30 inches.

Giant Breeds

Giant dog breeds, including Great Danes and Bernese mountain dogs, take the longest time to finish growing, up to 2 years. Large and giant breed dogs require more time for calcium to build up in their bones for proper growth. When fully grown, these dogs will exceed 100 pounds and may be up to 44 inches tall. 

Ways to Support a Dog’s Growth

Proper care when your dog is young will set them up for success and health into their gray muzzle years. Once your dog has finished growing, they must maintain a healthy weight to decrease their chances of developing diseases, including obesity, diabetes, or painful joint problems.

Unless your DVM advises, young puppies should not receive supplements when growing because an imbalance in vitamins or minerals can harm your pup. However, once they reach adulthood, certain breeds, especially large and giant breed dogs prone to joint disease, may benefit from added nutritional support like Native Pet's Relief Chews or Native Pet Omega Oil.

A man lies on his back in the grass as he plays with his brown scruffy dog.

The Low-Down on Growing Up

Although there are numerous factors affecting your dog's growth, there are ways you can monitor and care for your growing dog to ensure they are on track, including:

  • Feeding them a high-quality, AAFCO-approved puppy food (and, eventually, dog food) tailored to your dog's breed type. This will ensure they have all the required nutrients for healthy growth.
  • Bringing your puppy for their veterinary examinations every three to four weeks starting at six weeks of age to ensure they receive their vaccinations are remain parasite- and disease-free.
  • Weighing your puppy regularly throughout their first year of life to ensure they are not gaining too much or not enough weight.

For more tips on your pet's health, check out the Native Pet blog.

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