It is perhaps one of the best things to see, a growing dog. But when do dogs stop growing? But like most other mammals, dogs eventually reach size and stop growing. Although many individuals continue to ‘fill’ over the next few months, most puppies have reached their final height and height by about 1 year of age.
However, there is plenty of leeway and some dogs will stop growing much earlier or later after the 1-year year. We’ll talk below about these differences and some of the things that affect your dog’s progression from puppy.
How do puppies actually grow?
Anatomically, dogs grow in much the same way as human children, especially when it comes to height. It’s easy to understand the growth of your puppy’s muscles and other soft tissues; after all, muscles can grow during a dog’s life. Many dogs could even “grow up” if they were given an exercise regimen that included resistance training and proper nutrition.
But bones are different. They do not grow at all during doghood and it is more difficult to imagine how they increase in size early in your pet’s life. Rather than growing in a general way that encompasses the entire bone, the long bones in a puppy’s paws grow from two different places called growth plates. At each end of the bones, growth plates are relatively thin cartilaginous areas in which new tissue is created.
The growth plates are somewhat flexible and soft during puppyhood when new tissue is formed. As the new tissue ages, it hardens and calcifies and eventually becomes blunt. When the growth plates have stopped producing new tissue and are completely calcified, they become ‘closed’, which means they have stopped growing and the bone has reached its final size.
Growth plates are actually somewhat vulnerable and vulnerable to injuries. So it is important to prevent young puppies from moving too much which can damage the growth plates. It’s also a bad idea to make puppies jump high heights, such as on or off the couch.
Size and breed related factors
It turns out that small dogs stop growing earlier than large dogs. This makes sense, since large breeds grow much more between the day they are born and the day they stop growing than small breeds. For example, remember that Chihuahua puppies are born weighing about 5 ounces and reaching about 5 pounds at maturity. This means that they increase their size by a factor of 15.
On the other hand, a Great Dane puppy weighs about 500 grams at birth and 55 pounds or more at maturity. This means they show a 100-fold difference in size over the course of their lives (and 200-pound Great Danes experience twice as much growth!). Because it takes time to convert food into new tissue, large breeds must continue to grow over a longer period of time than their smaller counterparts.
On average, small breeds usually stop growing by the time they are 6 to 8 months old, but giant breeds grow until they are 12 to 18 months old. Larger breeds can end up costing quite a bit more because a perfect puppy bed won’t last too long with a young Newfoundlander.
This is also something to keep in mind when selecting a crate for your pup – you’d better opt for a larger crate and use dividers to keep the space large enough until your growing dog needs more space!
Other factors that change the growth rate
Aside from your dog’s breed, there are a few other factors that can affect its growth rate and final size. Two of the main factors are:
1. Genetic Differences
Each dog has a unique genetic code that can significantly affect the length of its growth period, its build and its size.
Some genetic traits are passed on from parent to puppy, but others are simply the result of the random variation that occurs during DNA recombination.
This means that large parent puppies themselves may show a slightly longer growth period and a larger final size, but that is by no means guaranteed. Big parents will occasionally produce small offspring and vice versa.
Puppies fed a poor diet may not be able to get all the minerals and proteins they need to grow into large, punishing dogs. Therefore, to maximize your pup’s potential (and generally keep him healthy), you will want to feed him high-quality food specifically designed for puppies.
Such foods have a higher protein content and are specially formulated to meet the needs of their growing body in puppies.
Note that if you have a large breed puppy you will want to choose a food specially designed for them. Large puppies that grow too fast can experience orthopedic problems later in life.
How does sterilization or spaying affect growth rate?
There are many myths and misunderstandings about the consequences of spaying or neutering, and many owners believe their dog is more likely to stop growing or not grow as big if they change their pet.
Technically, spay and neutering are believed to cause very subtle changes in puppies’ growth rate trajectory (bring lunch before visiting that link) and they can very slightly affect a dog’s size.
However, this change in size happens in the opposite direction that most owners suspect: dogs that have changed before the age of 16 weeks actually become a little larger than those that are not spayed or natural at this age.
Nevertheless, hormones are not the main drivers of growth – genetics and nutrition. The differences caused by sterilization and sterilization procedures only become apparent when you consider buckets full of data representing thousands of individuals. Your decision to spay or neuter your pet should not noticeably change its size.
The puppy phenomenon
Note that many large breeds remain within the mental and emotional limits of puppyhood long after they stop growing, they may have reached their full size and have passed their second birthday, but they still have that sweet puppy face. Many also maintain a goofy, playful puppy-like behavior at this time.
It is not entirely clear why this happens, but it may be related to social factors. Puppies display many of the same facial features as other young animals, including large eyes and round faces. These properties are thought to promote tolerance and care behavior in. So their puppy-like qualities can help prevent dogs from making exceptions to their social faux pas.