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When do dogs stop growing?

The essentials

  • The amount of time a dog takes to reach maturity varies — Dogs grow at different rates, but on average, puppies reach full size anywhere between 6 and 24 months of age.
  • Many factors impact growth — Genetics, nutrition, and overall health can affect the growth of your pup.
  • Some dogs’ growth is harder to predict  — Purebred pups are likely to grow up to be the same size as their parents, but the adult size of a mixed-breed puppy is harder to predict.

Welcoming a puppy into your life is an adventure filled with cuddles, playful moments, and of course, plenty of growth spurts. As your furry friend bounds through their early months, you might wonder just how big they’re going to get. 

It’s a common question among new and seasoned dog owners alike, and for good reason. Understanding your puppy’s growth journey is crucial for providing the best care, and ensuring they grow up healthy, strong, and happy.

How do dogs grow?

From the adorable clumsiness of puppyhood to the poised agility of adulthood, dogs undergo remarkable transformations. Initially, puppies experience rapid growth spurts. These are periods when they seem to grow overnight, developing both physically and mentally. 

This growth isn’t just about gaining height and weight; it’s also about the strengthening and maturing of their bones and joints, an essential part of their overall development.

During these early months, proper nutrition plays a crucial role. A balanced diet ensures that puppies receive the necessary nutrients to support their fast-paced growth. It’s a delicate balance, though, as overfeeding can lead to health issues, including obesity and improperly developed joints.

When do puppies stop growing?

The age when dogs stop growing can vary significantly across different breeds and sizes. Generally, smaller breeds tend to reach their full size quicker than larger breeds. The chart below serves as a general guideline, but remember, every dog is unique and may not fit perfectly within these ranges.

Size Category Age When Growth Stops Breed Examples
Small 6-12 months Chihuahua, Pomeranian
Medium 12-18 months Beagle, Border collie
Large 18-24 months Labrador retriever, German shepherd
Giant 24+ months Great Dane, Mastiff

What factors impact your dog’s growth?

Ever wonder why some dogs are small and dainty while others are big and strong? Genetics plays a pivotal role in dictating the potential size and growth rate. Nutrition and exercise are also important for providing the building blocks for healthy development

It’s in the genes

Think of genes like a secret recipe that decides how big your dog will get. Just like you might inherit your mom’s eyes or your dad’s smile, dogs inherit their size from their parents. So, if you’re curious about how big your puppy will get, looking at their mom and dad can give you a clue. 

If your dog’s bloodline is a little bit hazy, you can purchase canine DNA testing kits to help you get a better idea. Knowing your dog’s breed(s) will help predict how large they will get.

Good food for good growth

A healthy diet with proper nutrition will help your pup reach their full size and ensure that your growing pup’s bones and joints develop properly. 

Because pups grow so quickly, they need a higher calorie intake than adult dogs. Following proper puppy feeding guidelines will help keep your growing furry friend happy and healthy.

Keep your pup happy and healthy

A dog’s health can significantly affect its growth. Conditions such as parasitic infections, hormonal imbalances, or congenital issues can hinder proper development. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to identify and address any health concerns early on, ensuring your furry friend stays on track.

A little exercise goes a long way

It’s also important to foster the appropriate amount of exercise at each stage of development. For example, even active breeds of dogs don’t need to go on long walks before they’re four months old. 

Outside playtime or play in the house should be plenty of exercise for a young puppy. As they age, however, follow your veterinarian’s advice for daily exercise.

Mixed-breed mystery vs purebred predictability

When it comes to growth, mixed-breed dogs present a bit of a mystery. Without clear lineage, predicting the exact size they will grow to can be challenging. 

Typically, they fall somewhere between the sizes of their parents, but variations can be wide-ranging. Purebred dogs, on the other hand, tend to have more predictable growth patterns, thanks to generations of documented breeding.

Understanding the nuances between mixed-breed and purebred dogs’ growth can help manage expectations and prepare for the future. Regardless of their genetic background, all dogs deserve love, proper care, and attention so they can thrive.

Watching your dog grow from a playful puppy into a dignified adult is one of the many joys of pet ownership. By understanding the factors influencing their growth, you can provide the best possible care at every stage of their life. 

Every dog is unique, and their growth journey is a special part of what makes them the perfect companion for you. As we continue to learn and adapt to our dogs’ needs, we strengthen the bond that makes them an irreplaceable part of our families.

Frequently asked questions

At what age do dogs reach full size?

The age at which a dog reaches its full size varies considerably across different breeds and sizes. Smaller breeds often reach their adult size quicker, typically by 6-12 months. Medium breeds usually find their full stride around 12-15 months, while larger breeds might not fully mature until they’re 18-24 months old. It’s a fascinating journey that differs from one dog to another, emphasizing the unique nature of each canine companion.

Can you tell how big a puppy will get?

Predicting a puppy’s adult size involves a mix of genetics, observation, and sometimes guesswork. Looking at the size of the puppy’s parents can give you a good indication, especially for purebreds. For mixed breeds, it’s a bit more challenging but still possible. Another popular method is observing the size of the puppy’s paws; larger paws might indicate a larger adult size, though this isn’t always a foolproof indicator.

Do dogs grow a lot after 6 months?

Yes, many dogs continue to grow significantly after the 6-month mark. While smaller breeds may be nearing their adult size by this age, medium and larger breeds often have quite a bit of growing left to do. This continued growth can include both height and muscle mass, contributing to their overall adult size and shape.

Will my dog get taller after 7 months?

For many dogs, especially those of larger breeds, the answer is yes. These dogs often continue to gain height well after 7 months, sometimes up to 18-24 months. It’s all part of their unique developmental timeline, which can vary widely among different breeds and individual dogs.

Can you tell how big a dog is going to be by the size of their paws?

While the size of a puppy’s paws can offer clues about their future size, it’s not an exact science. Generally, puppies with larger paws are expected to grow into larger dogs as they need to fill out their frame to match their paw size. However, this should be considered alongside other factors, such as breed and observed growth patterns, for a more accurate prediction.