How Big Will My Puppy Get? (Find Out Now)
All puppies start out small and adorable, and we can’t help but fawn over how cute they are. However, all pups grow up into dogs of various sizes, and this rate of growth can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. Fortunately, it’s easy to be proactive here.
The Importance of Due Diligence
The moment you decide you want to bring a puppy into your life, you need to start doing research on what kind of dog is right for you. There are a host of metrics that can help you narrow down your decision, from trainability and exercise needs to potential health issues and friendliness toward children.
While those metrics are important to consider, average size might be the most important element to hone in on. After all, if you bring home what you think is a medium sized dog, you’re bound to be disappointed if he becomes enormous or stops growing when he reaches the length of your forearm.
This is a pretty easy thing to figure out with a purebred. In these cases, you can essentially take a gander at the breed standard and get a pretty good estimate of what your dog is going to be like as an adult. While you may end up with a runt in the puppy phase, you can still be assured he’ll still grow into the expected size range.
Figuring Out the Size of a “Designer Dog”
“Designer dogs,” also known as hybrid dogs, have become particular popular within the last thirty years or so. Some hybrids have become so popular, their names have become every bit as recognizable as some of the more popular purebreds. Labradoodles, Pocket Pitbulls, and Cockapoos are all hybrid dogs you’ve probably heard of before.
You can get a pretty decent estimate of how large these dogs are going to get by taking a look at their parent breeds. The best way to do this is to talk to the breeder that is creating these unique dogs. Any reputable breeder will have appropriate parental information for you to inspect before bringing home your pup.
There are two things you’ll want to specifically look for in determining the size of your hybrid dog. Firstly, you’ll want to get a gauge on the purity of the dog’s parental bloodline. If he stems from two different purebred dogs, you shouldn’t have any surprises once your pooch reaches adulthood.
The second thing you’ll want to consider is what kind of size the breeder had in mind with the dogs being produced. Certain hybrids are available in a pretty impressive range of size. If the parental breeds come in different sizes, such as a poodle or schnauzer, you’ll want to make sure what size of breed helped sire the pup.
Estimating Mixed Breeds and Mutts
While the eventual size of purebreds and even hybrids can be pretty easy to calculate, mixed breeds stemming from unknown origins and so-called “mutts” are a different story. Because there is no concrete evidence on where these truly unique dogs come from, you won’t have as many size-determining tools at your disposal.
For the person who simply just wants a dog to love, this may be the one item that makes him or her wary about picking up a mutt. This may also make him or her reluctant to bring home a shelter dog, since it’s estimated that only 20% of rescue dogs are purebred. This is a shame, because mutts can be wonderful dogs!
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Even if you don’t have concrete information on a puppy’s origin story, you can still use a couple of tools to help determine how big your potential four-legged friend is going to be as an adult.
The first thing you’re going to want to look at is his paw size. If your puppy has big paws, that’s a clear indication that his body is going to grow to a size where their paws can support their carriage. It’s a trait that dogs share with humans.
For example, let’s take a look at a purebred pup – say, a German Shepherd. A GSD puppy is going to have some enormous paws to run on as he romps and explores the world. Over time, the rest of his body is going to grow at a size that matches his feet, which will be large enough to support his bulky frame.
Another sign to look for is the looseness of his skin. This also carries the same principles as the size of the feet, in the sense that puppy will need to grow into his flesh and iron out the wrinkles. The looser the skin appears, the larger the dog is going to be in order to “fill in.”
These metrics may not necessarily tell you precisely how large or small your pup will be as an adult. However, they will give you enough information to make a pretty solid estimate – solid enough to at least inform you whether or not your dog will be a little guy or a big buddy.
How Quickly Will My Pup Grow?
Once you’ve gotten a bead on how large your puppy will be when he reaches dog status, it may be important to figure out how quickly that grown-up frame will develop. This is particularly important if you have plans on prepping for life with an adult dog of particular size and temperament.
One method you can use is to use a growth curve chart. There is a little bit of math involved, which may bum some of you out, but it’s nonetheless an effective tool to help you plan for your pup’s growth accordingly.
To use it effectively, you’ll need to have a rough estimate of how big your dog is projected to be as an adult. Once this has been determined, you can chart out the pooch’s growth based on how rapidly a puppy grows and how old your puppy is when you bring him into your home.
For instance, a puppy with grow rapidly within the first 6 months of his life, and become full grown, on average, by the time he reaches his first birthday. You can expect the pooch to be about 75% of his estimated weight at 6 months; after this time, growth will somewhat plateau.
If you know what your dog’s projected weight and the age and weight that you got him, you can calculate estimates of what his expected weight may be at specific intervals. This will help you acutely prepare your life and home for an adult dog. If that seems like too much math, you can always use an online chart.
Remember – Your Dog Will Not Remain a Puppy Forever!
All puppies are adorable. However, there’s one problem that novice owners may forget about: puppies grow up. While there are a lot of things you can do with your dog in the puppy stage to prepare him for adulthood in your home, there are a few things you should be aware of prior to bringing your little guy home.
First and foremost, you need to make sure your home is a good fit for the adult version of your dog and not the just the puppy-sized model. While that Golden Retriever puppy may have a good time hanging out in your apartment as he’s just starting out in life, he’s going to be miserable in those same confines as a grown-up.
In that same spirit, you should also prepare your home for your dog’s adulthood before he reaches adulthood. This may mean doing things like putting up special fencing or creating a hangout space for your pooch that seems overtly large while he’s a pup. This will give him plenty of time to acclimate to the environment.
You also want to make sure you can afford a dog of a certain size. The rule of thumb is, the larger the dog, the more expensive he’ll be. This tends to especially be the case with dog food, as a big dog will plow through a large bag of high-quality kibble at a much faster rate than a little dog.
The Importance of Research Before You Bring a Dog Home
It may sound a bit crude to speak of a puppy in terms that seem more fitting for a car or a television. But a lot of the same research needs that go into making the right choice regarding those particular items applies to the canine world. If anything, the needs are significantly more important with dogs, because there’s a potential pet involved.
Because of this, it’s critical that you do as much research on a dog as you possibly can before you bring him home. This research should not only touch on size, but it should also encompass personality, temperament, exercise needs, and other elements that provide a glimpse on what a dog may be like.
If you don’t do these things, you’ll run the risk of having a miserable dog experience; something that will be bad for both you and the dog. But if you follow through with the proper amount of research, you’ll be well on your way to seeing why the term “man’s best friend” applies to dogs as brilliantly as it does.