Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Some stay relatively tiny their whole life while other dogs leave their owners wondering if they’ll ever stop growing! The actual growth process of puppies takes place in their bones: older pups reach approximately 75% of their adult height at around 6 months. After this (between 8-11 months of age), their long bone growth plates in the puppy’s legs start to close (meaning they stop producing new tissue and calcify into bone).
At this point, typically growth in both height and weight stops - although after the bones are developed, your puppy will still continue to develop fat and muscle in the same way that humans do. Some puppies carry on growing up until the age of 24 months, while large breeds may take a while to reach adult size (most dogs weighing over 55lbs tend not to reach full adult size until they are a year old).
What Size will my Dog Be?
So: when do dogs stop growing? The answer is: it depends. Questions about growth rate are commonly heard by veterinarians - although even they cannot be sure exactly when your pup will completely grow up.
While there are some similarities between all the different breeds (most dogs stop growing after 6-18 months in age), differences due to a number of different factors can affect your dog’s growth including certain genetic differences.
Growth hormones can also play a part, too - as well as neutering: one study suggests the growth of dogs can potentially be affected by neutering before they reach the age of one year - but only by a few millimetres (centimetres in larger breeds). Your vet may consider all of these to try and get an estimate of the adult size of your pet.
Growth and Nutrition
A poor diet lacking in minerals and protein will not give your puppy the nutrition they need for optimal growth and health - so it’s important to ensure they are getting everything they need. Puppy foods are higher in protein and specifically designed to nurture healthy development.
Proper nutrition (in the appropriate quantities in order to maintain a healthy weight) is essential for the healthy growth and development in dogs of all sizes - but for larger giant breeds it’s especially important.
Dogs of this size require specialist diets to prevent rapid growth during puppyhood, which could damage their heart health.Large or giant-sized puppies are also calcium sensitive (too much in their food can affect their bone growth) - so seek out food specifically for large or giant breed pups.
King Size Puppy: King Size Bed?
Once your puppy is fully grown, you’ll have a better idea of what size to buy in terms of crates, harnesses, and other equipment including dog beds. Correctly sized beds are important for your dog’s health and wellbeing at all stages, including puppyhood.
While giant and large breed puppies eventually grow into big dogs, large dog beds may not be suitable for them: puppies tend to need in cosier beds with a little extra padding. This not only helps them to feel safe and secure - but it could help them to settle in and sleep better.
Safe Exercise for Growing Pups
Puppies are typically full of beans - but too much exercise can cause more harm than good: excessive activity over prolonged periods (especially on hard surfaces) causes unnecessary stress on the bones and joints of developing puppies - especially in larger or giant breeds.
For this reason, avoid walking (or jogging with) your dog on hard surfaces (not least because smaller pups may not be able to keep pace). Instead, up to the age of around 14-18 months (when the growth plates are fully fused), it’s a better idea to take your puppy on relatively short walks (a quarter-mile at most, depending on their size and ability), walking on softer surfaces such as grass.
Big Dog, Little Dog
One of the smallest breeds is the tiny-yet-fierce griffon bruxellois, measuring 17-20 cm and weighing in at 5kg (11lbs)- while large breed dogs such as the great danes can reach heights of 76-86 centimetres, weighing up to 91kg (200lbs). While heights vary depending on the individual dog breed, this guide can give you a general idea:
● Small breeds (such as Yorkshire terriers, chihuahuas and miniature dachshunds) grow the quickest, reaching full maturity at around 9-12 months old.
● Medium dogs such as bulldogs and corgis reach their full size within around 8-12 months.
● Larger breeds such as the German shepherd, dalmatians and labrador retrievers (as expected) take a little longer to grow, finishing at 10-16 months old - although a few may continue to develop beyond this point.
● Giant breeds like mastiffs, Newfoundlands and great Danes grow to around 100-200 lbs.
In mixed breeds - where the maximum size of your pet as an adult may come as something of a surprise. That said, seeing a puppy’s parents isn’t necessarily an indicator of how big their puppies will become (it’s not unknown for larger dog parents to produce smaller offspring and vice-versa).
In situations like these it may help to ask about dog DNA tests before bringing your pet home to be settled - unless you don’t mind surprises and are willing to rehome a pet much larger than you anticipated.
What About Paw Size?
While not 100% scientifically accurate, looking at a puppy's paw size may give you a clue as to how large they’ll be as adult dogs. Bigger breeds generally require bigger feet to support their height and heavy build - while smaller breeds such as teacup sized dogs tend to have tinier, more delicate paws.
There can also be other physical signs: if you’ve ever heard a dog owner joke about their pet “growing into” their loose skin - there’s a grain of truth in it: in some breeds of dogs, excess loose skin is there for precisely this reason - and the more of it there is, the larger the dog is likely to be. Regardless of their speed of growth, puppyhood passes quickly - so if you are a lucky new puppy owner, make the most of it.
Dog Beds For All Sizes!
No matter what size your dog is, we have many dog beds and a wide range of dog harnesses to find the right dog harness to suit your furry friend. Don't forget we offer 10% off your first order and have fast, free delivery!