Everyone loves a cute puppy. But any dog owner knows that a little puppy is likely to grow into a big, loveable adult dog. But when does a dog grow to be an adult?
When do dogs stop growing? And when can you count on your dog to not outgrow their collars or kennels?
Today, we take a look at how dogs grow and when they reach adulthood.
When Do Dogs Stop Growing?
If you’ve recently gotten a puppy, you might be wondering when dogs stop growing. The short answer is that most dogs stop growing taller or longer after about one year of age. While most dogs are “full sized” after one year, that doesn’t mean that they’ll stop growing though.
Your dog’s skeletal system will grow until they reach about one year of age, but their mass can continue to grow. If you’ve ever raised a dog from puppyhood, you’re probably aware of this. Your dog isn’t getting much bigger after a year, but the scale at the vet’s office continues to go up!
This is because your dog will build more muscle and gain more fat, even if they are getting taller or longer. Their body fills out, and within about two years they should be at their total weight.
Breed Factors that Affect Growth
You might not think about it this way but not all breeds are built the same way. It seems that smaller breeds will actually stop growing sooner than large breeds will. This logic adds up though. A small breed might only have to put on an extra ten pounds or so. Ten pounds isn’t a whole lot of weight.
But for a larger dog who might put on a hundred pounds or more, they’re going to need more time to achieve that growth. So, while we say that a dog is pretty much full size after about a year, this is a little misleading.
How long it takes your dog to grow is dependent on their breed, or rather on how big their breed is likely to get.
A dog like a Chihuahua might be full size after only six months. Then take a breed like the Akita. They can grow to be over one hundred pounds. Larger breeds like this can take as much as two years to achieve their full height.
So, saying that most dogs are fully grown within a year is usually true. Remember though that just like with people, dogs can grow slower or more quickly.
Other Growth Factors
While breed is one factor that can affect how quickly your dog might grow, there are other factors as well. Take a look at some factors that will also affect when your dog will stop growing:
- Genetics – When it comes to how big a dog will get, sometimes it’s just the chance of genetics. Each dog has a random chance to be slightly larger or smaller than their parents. You can look to the puppy’s parents to guess how large they’ll grow to be. This isn’t guaranteed though.
- Nutrition – Sometimes when a puppy is given poor nutrition, their growth will be stunted. They will be slow to reach full size, and in some cases, they will not reach the size that they could have if they had been fed a good diet. For this reason, it is suggested that you feed your puppy a high-quality food that is meant for puppies. This ensures that they are getting all the protein, vitamins and minerals that they need to be healthy.
Can Spaying Affect Growth?
There are a lot of misunderstandings about what neutering can or cannot do to a puppy’s growth. This is honestly because the growth of dogs hasn’t been studied extensively.
What can be said is that spaying or neutering your dog has the potential to very slightly alter your dog’s growth. This doesn’t mean that neutering your pet will affect their growth. Also, it has been found that dogs who are neutered before 16 weeks of age usually have a larger final size than those who aren’t.
While there isn’t a huge pool of data to swim through about neutering and growth, the most important data shows that a dog’s nutrition is key. A dog with poor nutrition will never reach their full potential and will grow very slowly.
All this shows that the growth of dogs is a tricky subject to nail down. One this is certain: while a dog may stop growing in size, the spot they take in our heart only continues to grow.