The trade-off for puppies being as mouthy, rambunctious and distractible is quite obvious— they are so freaking adorable. They are super soft to cuddle, smells like the best scent on the planet and their cute faces are almost impossible to say “no” to.
Bringing home a puppy, they are so small and cute that it can be easy to forget that they will not stay that size forever. As hard as it can to admit it, all puppies will eventually become dogs one day.
The question now is when?
Well, that question has more than one answer.
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Dismissing the Common Misconception
Once upon a time, people used to think that puppies stop growing when they reach a year of age. And although this might be a fairly accurate statement in some cases, this does not hold true for others.
This misconception is large because of the fact that most kibble manufacturers recommending that you only feed kibbles and puppy food until your dog reaches a year of age. But, puppies don’t magically stop growing on the day of their first birthday.
So, When Do Puppies Stop Growing?
Well, there various factors that determine and affect your puppy’s growth.
However, the biggest factor of all?
Nobody can exactly when your pup will stop growing. However, the best indicator would be his genetic history, also known as his breed. Smaller dog breeds tend to reach their full, adult size as well as sexual maturity faster than the larger dog breeds. Which actually makes sense since they have less growing to do.
So, in terms of figuring out when your puppy will stop growing, take a look at its genetic history. Is your pup a Great Dane or a Chihuahua? Were its parents big or small for its breed?
For a general guideline, the American Kennel Club has provided some rubrics in order to measure your puppy’s growth against:
- Small and Medium Breeds: Breeds weighing 22 – 50 pounds as adults can reach maturity between 8 and 12 months.
- Large and Giant Dog Breeds: Large breeds anywhere from 50 – 100 and giant breeds from 100 – 200 pounds in weight as an adult can stop growing at around 10 – 16 months.
In all cases, a male dog is usually larger than the female with females coming into maturity much faster.
What About Mixed Breeds?
Breed size is all fine and easy to understand when you have a purebred pup back generations. Now, what if you got a mixed-breed?
Well, if you know what breed your pup’s parents were or even know how large they grew to be, then you can take the average weight for a guess at your pup’s soon to be the size.
For instance, if your pup has a parent who was 40 pounds and another 60 pounds, you could estimate that your pup will grow around 50 pounds. This means that your pup will likely be fully grown around 10 – 16 months.
However, if you do not know anything about your pup’s parents, then it would be best to consult your vet. They might be able to spot particular traits that could provide clues to your pup’s age, lineage and future size.
Factors That Can Affect Your Puppy’s Growth
The average time it takes for every breed to reach their full size can give you a benchmark on when you can expect your pup to stop growing. However, there are other various factors that can affect your pup’s growth.
The most common thing that can impact your pup’s ability to grow and reach his full potential? Nutrition.
If your pup is lacking the proper diet that they do not get enough minerals, vitamins, and nutrients they need in order to support growth, then it can cause a delay. Much worse, it can permanently prevent them from reaching their full size and/or weight.
Common conditions that cause your pup to not reach his full growth potential are roundworms and hookworms. A particularly bad case of worms can actually steal calories from a growing pup which mimics starvation and causes stunting.
However, once the worms are removed, pups can heal quickly and get back on the right track toward normal growth.
Spay or Neuter History
Neutering or spaying your pup can significantly affect their hormone which can then affect their growth trajectory.
Studies, however, show that the effect is minimal. And although you might think that neutering or spaying your dog could hamper their growth, neutered dogs before 37 weeks, actually showed a significant upward trend in their growth trajectory.
When it feels like your pup is growing so fast that he needs a new collar every other day, you probably look forward to when he is good and completely grown.
His puppy days will go by so quickly that before you know it, you will have a full-grown dog on your hands. Thus, enjoy those first few months, or in some lucky cases, years, of puppy growth spurts your pup will stop growing soon enough.