How Big Will My Puppy Get?
How Big Will My Puppy Get? It's a question that all dog owners should ask before they get their new dog and is commonly the most deciding factor when considering which dog breeds are most suited to your family. Puppies come in all shapes and sizes, and with each breed having specific needs, considering which size dog to adopt or buy is just the first step in making the decision to add a puppy to your household.
What Is Standard For The Breed?
Puppies come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny Chihuahuas to towering Great Danes, and everything in between. Unless you have met both parents, predicting the adult weight of a dog can only be an educated guess, and using an official breed standard book, you can find breed specific data to compare against your puppies age, height and weight. There can, however, be large variations even within breeds, depending on lineage, general health and neonatal care. Mixed breed puppies can often surprise us by outgrowing all estimates! What you feed your puppy will also influence his adult weight, so choosing a good quality dog food to ensure your puppy reaches his height and weight potential is very important.
The Smallest Breeds
The smallest dog ever recorded was a chihuahua named Milly who measured at 3.8 inches tall when fully grown (about the height of a soft drinks can!).
The Yorkshire Terrier, Papillon and Chihuahua are amongst the most popular small breed dogs kept as pets worldwide, and are increasingly being selectively bred to be smaller than ever to meet the ever increasing demand of "handbag dogs". This, however, does come with higher risks of certain health issues due to their unnaturally small size, such as hypoglycemia, certain skin conditions and urinary tract issues.
Smaller breed dogs do have a significantly longer life expectancy than large dog breeds, with reports of small dogs reaching late teens, although 12 - 14 years is more common. In fact, the oldest Chihuahua ever recorded, Megabyte from the USA, lived to a ripe old age of 20 years and 265 days!
Standard adult weights of three popular small breeds are as follows:
Yorkshire Terrier - 5 - 7lbs
Papillon - 4 - 9lbs
Chihuahua - 3 - 8lbs
The Largest Breeds
Perhaps the most well known large dog breeds are the Great Dane, Saint Bernard and Newfoundland dogs. These dogs make popular family pets, despite their larger than life statures, and are often considered to have calm and clumsy personalities and be great with children. Movies such as "Beethoven" and "Marley and Me" have firmly ingrained our love of large dogs into our culture and hearts.
The tallest dog in the world was a Great Dane named Zeus, who measured a whopping 2.26m when standing on his back legs. The heaviest dog recorded was an English Mastiff named Zorba, who weighed an astonishing 343lbs!
Larger dogs are at higher risk of hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis and heart problems due to their large size causing stress on the heart muscles. They also have a lower life expectancy than smaller dogs, with an average lifespan across the giant breeds of 8 years old.
Average adult weights of three popular large breeds are as follows:
Saint Bernard - 120 - 200lbs
Great Dane - 100 - 180lbs
Newfoundland - 100 - 150lbs
And Everything In Between
If your puppy is a mixed breed, there are several indicators you can use to estimate his full grown adult size. First of all, ensure you have a good idea of the approximate age of your puppy.
Breed and size of both parents
If you are able to meet both parents, then you can have a good idea of how big your puppy will grow. Male dogs will tend to grow to the same size of their sires. Female dogs are more commonly growing to the smaller size of the mother. If you are unable to determine the sire and the dam of a puppy, then you must use other methods to make an approximate estimate of the final adult size of your puppy.
Puppies with large paws tend to grow into larger dogs. The increased surface area of large, puppy paws, are preparing to support the limbs of a taller dog, while delicate puppy paws indicate a much smaller adult stature. In fact, this can also be seen in people, with a linear correlation found between feet size and adult height.
Excess skin and creases indicate that your puppy will soon grow into this loose skin! This is not always an accurate prediction, based on the breeds that may be in your puppies breeding history. Some breeds, such as Pubs and Bulldogs, have been selectively bred to have extra skin, so this should be taken into consideration when using this method.
Height and Weight increase
In your puppy, his growth plates of the long bones become fused around 8 - 11 months of age. After these bones have fused, your puppy will not get any taller but will continue to grow muscle mass until full sized at approximately 18 months old. Therefore, a simple estimation is that any puppy will reach 75% of adult size at around 6 months of age.
Canine DNA test
A DNA test can shed light on which breeds are dominant in your puppies family history. When you have a better idea of what breeds make up your puppy, you can consult breed standard literature to determine average height and weights for the breeds shown.
* No method is 100% perfect when predicting the size of your puppy once he reaches adulthood, but using the above methods you can get a good estimate for the majority of dogs.
Is your dog an anomaly? Did he outgrow his parents? Or was your dog the runt of the litter? Let us know in the comments!