If you’re wondering when do german shepherds stop growing then you’ve come to the right article! In this article not only are you going to find out when you can expect your german shepherd to reach their full size, but you’ll also learn such more!
Such as how to know which stage of growth your pup is in, how to know when they’ve stopped growing, how to tell if they’re not growing fast enough, and most importantly, how to know when they’ve stopped growing!
So if you want to know all this and more then keep reading to find out!
First Of All, When Do German Shepherds Stop Growing?
The age at which your german shepherd is going to stop growing depends on whether you have a boy or a girl. Boy german shepherds tend to stop growing at 2½ to 3 years of age, and girls stop growing at around 2 to 2 ½ years of age
However, remember this is obviously just a rough guide. The age at which your german shepherd is going to stop growing could be a little bit earlier than this, or a little bit later as well.
So, What Are The Other Ways To Tell Your German Shepherd Has Stopped Growing?
Fortunately, as well as age, size and weight are a great indicator to let you know whether a german shepherd has stopped growing or not. If your german shepherd is between 22-26″ tall and they should weigh between 50-90lbs, then they’ve probably reached their full size.
If you want to get even more specific, there’s actually a length to height ratio to help you know if your german shepherd is the right size. The ratio should be 10:8.5, where you measure the length by the chest to the base of the tail and the height is measured from the middle of the shoulder blades to the pad of the foot.
When your german shepherds ratio is 10:8.5 you know your german shepherd is the right size.
And lastly, if you want to know whether your german has stopped growing, being aware of the stages they go through as they grow can help you do this.
German Shepherd Growth Stages
As your german shepherd ages, you can expect them to go through different growth stages. In the early days, they’ll go from stage to stage quite quickly. However, as they age, the stages become longer.
So here are the stages of growth you can expect your german shepherd to go through.
The newborn or neonatal stage is the first stage of your pups life, and unfortunately the stage you are not likely to see.
At this stage of their life, they’re completely dependent on their mother to survive. In this stage not only are they deaf and blind, but they’re also unable to regulate their temperature properly or even go to the toilet.
This stage only last two weeks, but even then, they’re going to undergo massive changes. They’ll grow between 65-90 grams a day but that’s not all.
During the first week you’ll notice that your puppies begin to start stretching their legs and arching their backs when being picked up. And they also begin to open their eyes and ears and see the world for the first time!
In the second week, even more, growth happens. Their eyes and ears will be completely open now, and they’ll also be getting their first incisors. Lastly, they’ll also start to crawl and they’ll also begin to try and take their first steps!
The Transitional Stage
Next is the transitional stage, this stage is once again going to last for 2 weeks and it occurs between the second and fourth weeks of life.
The first thing thats noticeable at this stage is that any late bloomers will begin to catch up with their brothers and sisters.
During these two weeks, all pups will begin to open their ears and eyes if they haven’t done so already. As well as this they’ll continue to learn how to walk, and they’ll even begin to wag their tails.
This is the stage where they’ll also begin to go to toilet on their own. And obviously, because they can see, hear and walk (kind of), they’ll also begin to be a lot more curious. You’ll notice at this stage they’ll begin to explore their environment a lot more.
This is one of the most important stages for your pup. And it’s a lot longer than the last two. It often overlaps with the transitional stage and you can expect it to happen between 3 weeks and 12 weeks.
During this stage your breeder and you will need to make sure you’re introducing your german shepherd to as many different stimulus as possible. This means new dogs, new people, new noises, sounds and sights. Just as many experiences as possible.
Doing this will help make sure that you’re german shepherd is going to be the most confident pup they can be! (Check out how to socialise your german shepherd.)
This is what you can expect to see throughout these weeks.
During week 3 your german shepherd should begin to be able to walk well. They’ll also begin to identify other dogs and they’ll also start bonding with humans for the first time.
In the fourth week, they’ll begin play fighting and communicating with the rest of their litter. And the good news is that hey’ll no longer rely on their mother to regulate their temperature as it will stability. Around the same time has this their little heart will beat slower than they’ll be able to start eating soft foods, owing to the fact they have most of their teeth.
You’ll also notice the first adult behavior starting to shine through as they’ll begin sniffing each others tails and mounting at 6 weeks. And at 7 weeks the breeder should begin house training the litter.
(A word on socialisation)
When your puppy is being socialised they often go through a period that is extremely important for how they form social bonds. If your breeder has exposed your german shepherd to anything that scares them such as children or other aggressive people, then they may end up being scared for life.
This is another reason it’s so important to make sure your german shepherd is being raised by a responsible breeder.
The Juvenile Stage
This is the stage where you’ll most likely pick up your german shepherd. It starts at 3 months and ends at 6 months. Now they’re up and about they’re really going to start exploring more. They’re extremely curious dogs, so you’re probably going to notice them always wandering around.
The only noticeable change apart from their growth is their ears. Between the 4-6 month make you may notice that your german shepherds ears begin to stick up.
This stage starts when your german shepherd is 6 months old and doesn’t end until they’re about 2 years old. This is basically the equivalent of puberty for your german shepherd. They’re going to go through lot of hormonal changes and sexual maturity is going to occur at this stage.
During the 6 month mark, you’ll notice that their teeth have come in completely, and their ears should be standing up. (They’ll also have a decreased heart rate.) One notable thing to remember is that during the 6-8 month mark female german shepherds will have their first period.
If you have a male pup you’ll notice between the 7-12 month mark they stack to cock their leg while they’re urinating. And at 14-16 months a strong pack bond will begin to form. This is the ideal time to start training.
(A great training program is Brain Training For Dogs. If you haven’t already I’d highly check it out (or read the review). It’s based on positive reinforcement instead of punishment and discipline, and the best part is it’s more effective this way!)
The Adult Stage
Next is the adult stage. At this stage they’re going to completely mature. And as you already know, you can expect females to typically mature 6 months faster than their male counterparts.
You can expect your female to reach the adult stage after 2 and a half years at the lastest and 3 years for males.
This stage is often forgotten about, however, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Your german shepherd will reach seniority from as early as six, however, it typically tends to happen closer to 10 years of age.
When your german shepherd reaches seniority, just like in people, they’re health is going to deteriorate. They may begin to suffer from dysplasia (such as elbow and hip) and they may also suffer joint pain in other areas as well.
At this point, you’ll need to make sure you’re paying close attention to your german shepherd to make sure they’re not suffering. The earlier you catch certain problems, the less harm they’re going to cause in the long run for your german shepherd.
How To Make Sure Your German Shepherd Grows Properly
When your puppy grows, the first thing that is going to grow is their bones and cartilage. So when you’re looking after your pup, you need to make sure that their cartilage, bones and growth plates are being looked after.
Out of the three, the growth plates are the area that needs the most care. The growth plates are the area where cartilage and bone meet and they’re also where new bone tissue is produced. So once the bone plates have been damaged or stop working, it’s going to cause problems for your pup.
Taking Care Of The Growth Plates
Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to take care of your german shepherds growth plates, and ensure they grow as healthy as they can.
Make Sure They’re Not Exercising Too Much
The first thing you need to do is make sure that your german shepherd isn’t getting too much exercise. Over exertion is going to wear the growth plates down, so you need to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
If you’re not sure how much exercise you should be giving your german shepherd then you can check out these articles:
But as a rough rule of thumb a puppy should get 5 minutes of exercise for every month old they are twice as they are. So if you have a 6 month old puppy, you can walk them for 30 minutes twice a day.
When your german shepherd reaches full adulthood you should be making sure they get at least two hours of exercise a day. However, before they’re fully grown, make sure you’re exercising them with caution.
Your best bet is to ask your vet how much exercise they need as they’ll be able to tailor advice specifically to your pup.
Lastly, it’s not just about physical exercise. Mental stimulation is also incredibly important for your pup. German shepherds are highly intelligent and without the right mental stimulation, it’s highly likely they’ll end up acting out.
(Here are some great mind games for your pup.)
How To Tell If Your German Shepherd Is Exercising Too Much
Fortunately, there are ways you can spot when your german shepherd is overexerting. And if you do notice them overexerting themselves then you need to make sure you give them a rest as soon as possible.
- Laying down or slowing down when you’re playing and walking with them.
- Limping or becoming lame.
- Walking slowly behind you or not running if they’re off the leash.
- Panting heavily.
However, you shouldn’t rely on these signals alone. You should be aware of how long you’ve been walking your german shepherd and make sure you don’t overexert them.
Make Sure You’re Giving Them A Good Diet
Secondly, you need to make sure you’re giving your german shepherd a diet that’s going to fulfil their nutritional needs. This means giving them puppy food designed specifically for larger dogs, and adjusting as they grow.
Some people recommend a raw diet for german shepherds, but it’s not a good idea. Dog food already has all the minerals, vitamins and calories that your german shepherd needs. When you try to feed them a raw diet, the chances are you’re not going to be able to meet these requirements. And your pup will suffer.
(Find out more about feeding your german shepherd raw meat.)
And remember not to overfeed them, just like feeding them too little will stunt their growth, feeding them too much can make them grow too fast.
What Can Affect Your German Shepherds Growth
There are a number of things that are going to affect your german shepherds growth. Some of them are going to be in your control, and some of them aren’t.
Not only are they going to affect your german shepherd’s height, but some will also affect their weight. So it’s a good idea to keep them in mind, to make sure nothings wrong with your pup.
As previously mentioned, nutrition is going to have a massive affect on whether your german shepherd will grow properly or not. When your german shepherd isn’t getting enough food, you may notice the following problems.
- A visible rib cage
- A dull coat
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Always scavenging for food
The best and easiest way to check if your german shepherd is overweight is to run your hands along their ribs. If you notice that there’s a thin later of fat over their rib cage then they’re a healthy weight. However, if it just feels like skin and bone then take the to the vet. The chances are they’re underweight.
Another determiner that you have no control of is their genetics. If your german shepherd has small parents, then the chances are they’re going to be small as well.
So if you know the size of the parents you’ll get a pretty good idea about the size your pup should grow too.
Believe it or not, being spayed or neutered to early can actually increase the size your german shepherd will grow too. But this isn’t a good thing. They’ll probably grow too fast, and this can be damaging to their growth plates. As well as this, it can often cause them to look a little bit more gangly.
While it’s best to talk to your vet, it’s often recommended to spay or neuter your german shepherd when they’re around 1 year old.
What To Do If Your German Shepherd Isn’t The Right Weight
When your german shepherd isn’t the right weight, the first thing to do is take them to a vet. A vet will be able to give you the best course of action. Here, are some of the options you’ll likely be faced with:
An Underweight German Shepherd
If your german shepherd is underweight, the first step that you’ll likely take is to give them bigger meals or give them higher-quality dog food. (Check out reasons why your german shepherd is skinny, and the best dog foods for skinny german shepherds.)
They may also treat them for parasites such as worms or check for diseases and illnesses that can cause low body weight such as worms or diabetes. And lastly, they’ll also check for any dental problems they may have.
(If your german shepherd has bad breath, then it could be because of oral problems.)
An Overweight German Shepherd
On the other hand if your german shepherd is overweight, you’ll need to take a different approach.
First and most obviously, you should stop feeding them as much. Treats, should only make up about 10% of their diet. And if even with treats they’re still overweight, then you should cut them out completely.
You may also consider switching to higher quality food. Ideally, you want food with less carbohydrates. And along with food, make sure you’re giving them enough exercise as well. If there getting two hours a day, then try exercise that isn’t going to be too strenuous on their joints such as tug of war.
And lastly, take them to the vets to make sure they aren’t suffering from any illnesses or diseases such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, or dysplasia.
German Shepherd Growth Chart
If you’re curious about what weight and height your german shepherd should be as they’re growing, then here is a helpful chart. Just remember, this is only a rough estimate and the height and weight will likely vary from dog to dog.
Now you should have a good understanding of how fast your german shepherd should grow. Not only this you can now see there are lots of developmental stages that you should be aware of throughout your german shepherd’s growth phase.
It’s also important to remember to make sure you’re taking your pup to the vets frequently to make sure everything is okay with their growth!
If you liked this article make sure you check out the rest of the website. Otherwise have a great day!