There are very few breeds that are as widely recognized as the German shepherd is. This dog is considered to be an iconic dog when it comes to working animals, but they can make just as wonderful companions for families as well. This universal nature of the German shepherd is one of the reasons why it is one of the most recognizable and popular dog breeds around.
Because of its popularity, there are plenty of people out there who want to adopt German shepherds, and it is important for these people to know what they should expect as the dog grows and ages. Not only should you have a good idea of what breed-specific things your dog is going to need, but you should also know how your dog should be growing and what will come of it.
If you are adopting a puppy, there are even more things that you should be aware about. For instance, you should know how the puppies are going to develop and what milestones you should be looking for so that you can feel confident knowing that your dog is going to grow up strong enough to be a working dog or healthy enough to be a companion pet.
How Big Do German Shepherds Get?
By technical classification, these dogs are considered to be between the large and medium range, depending on individual height. The health of the dog, the genetics, and its gender all play a role into how big the dog is going to get by the time it is fully grown. Most male German shepherds are going to be about 24 to 26 inches in height and about two inches shorter for their female counterparts.
These dogs are longer than they are tall, so they have a larger appearance when you step back and look at them. These dogs can weigh anywhere from 50 to 90 pounds, again depending on their gender and genetics for where they will fall on this scale. Most female German shepherds are going to be noticeably smaller than their male counterparts, coming in at about 20 pounds less.
German shepherds also have a muscular appearance. While their medium-length coats obscure their muscles more than it does for other breeds (such as boxers and pitbulls), they are historically bred to be working dogs who live on the field. This gives a bit of a stocky and solid appearance to them on top of their sizable structure. All of these components go toward what you should expect from your dog when it is full grown, but what about when your dog is just a puppy?
By the breed standard of when do German shepherds stop growing, you can expect them to stop somewhere around two years of age.
How Small Are the Puppies?
German shepherd puppies are going to be fairly small puppies, as far as their breed goes. After all, they have a lot of growing to do so that they can become large and strong enough to be your standard working dog. Most puppies are born small and by the time they reach one month of age, they will be no taller than six inches in height, and no more than nine pounds.
The differences between male and female puppies doesn’t begin to show as substantially until between three and five months of age, when the males begin to grow at a faster rate to obtain their adult height. Female puppies may be a little bit smaller than male puppies at first, but when they are first born, they will be just about interchangeable in height and weight.
German shepherds will grow for a long time, reaching their full maturity at about two years of age. Female dogs will typically stop growing at about 18 months of age, while male dogs may take until about 30 months of age, as they need to be a little bit larger than the females. Their mental maturity tends to finish growing at about two years of age when the dog will mellow out a bit more.
The Stages of Growth
Much like with people, dogs have different stages of growth and maturity as they reach their full height and mindset. They begin at the neonatal stage of growth, which is the first two weeks of your dog’s life when it is fully dependent on its mother and does nothing more than sleep. They will then reach the transitional stage, the socialization stage, the juvenile stage, the adolescent stage, and finally the maturity stage.
Different stages of your dog’s life are not only going to be characterized by how fast or slow the dog is growing, but also behavioral changes. For instance, the transitional stage is the most apparent, as the puppies open their eyes and transition from being fully dependent on their mother to starting to explore the world on their own.
German Shepherds, much like other dogs, will do much of their growing around the earlier stages. They grow the fastest in the neonatal stage, gaining between 5% to 10% of their weight on a weekly basis as they grow and mature into being little rambunctious puppies. The growing will slow down a bit more until it reaches the adolescent stage, where another growth spurt happens.
What If Your Puppy Isn’t Large Enough?
Because this breed is so popular, there are countless different charts to go off of for height and weight. As such, you might find that your puppy isn’t exactly on the highest end of these charts and may be growing more slowly (or even more quickly) than the chart suggests. The most important thing to remember when going by these charts is that everything is an average and individual differences will play a role in it.
Of course, if your puppy is noticeably smaller than the rest of the chart suggests, or growing seemingly too fast for its health and is experiencing pains, you should consult with your vet. This should happen more quickly if the puppy is experiencing other problems, such as distress, during the development. Otherwise, it isn’t particularly urgent that you address how fast your puppy is growing.
Some puppies grow more quickly than others do. Some puppies will hit growth spurts a month before they technically should, but then won’t have another spurt for the month that they are supposed to. These types of variations are completely normal and expected, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about it unless there is a major disparity.
For the most part, your German shepherd will grow from the day it is born, gaining more height and weight on some days compared to others. Its growth spurts will be during the first weeks of life and around the six- to nine-month mark. Depending on the gender of your puppy, it will reach its full adult height somewhere between 18 and 30 months of age.