If you are considering adopting a large breed dog, there are certain things that you should be aware of to ensure that you and your puppy live harmoniously and comfortably.
For example, keeping a large breed puppy growth chart will help you monitor their development and know what to expect.
Since space is a major concern for most dog owners, it is important that you anticipate their growth rate and final size.
Large breed dogs need more space to run around and need more time for attention and exercise to remain at a healthy weight.
To ensure that you make accurate predictions of your puppy’s adult size, this article provides more information on the growth of large-breed dogs including health issues and factors that can impact their development.
Is A Large Breed Dog Full Grown At 12 Months?
No. Large breeds require more time to grow and build up. Most large dogs finish growing between the ages of 18 and 24.
First, they reach their adult height at around 18 months then continue adding weight for the next six months and by the second birthday, they would have finished growing.
Your puppy’s growth can be slowed down by certain factors such as poor nutrition, health issues, and genetics.
The growth rate in dogs varies from one to the other, therefore, do not be worried if your dog is slightly shorter or weighs less than your neighbor’s.
However, if their growth seems too slow or too fast, take them to the vet for an assessment.
Balanced nutrition containing food specifically designed for large breeds and regular medical check-ups will help your dog have proper growth and development.
Large Breed Puppy Growth Chart
It takes between 18 and 24 months for large breed dogs to achieve their adult weight and height.
If your dog weighs between 50 and 100 pounds, then they are classified as a large breed dog.
However, there is some overlap with medium breeds on the lower side and giant breeds on the higher side of the scale.
Examples of large-breed dogs include German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, American Bulldogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bullmastiffs, Saint Bernards, Irish Wolfhounds, and Great Danes.
You can use the following large breed growth chart to find out the weight of your puppy when they are fully grown.
Remember that the numbers are just an estimate and your puppy’s weight may slightly vary.
To use the large dog weight chart, check your puppy’s age on the left side then look at the number in the adjacent column to check the weight range.
If the weight of your puppy is too high or too low than the number, speak to your vet as your puppy may be having an underlying health condition.
For large breed dogs, their growth does not stop when they reach one year but continues growing until the age of 18 months when the growth slows down.
For some large dogs, their growth may go further and some even reach the final height of about 145 pounds.
Large Breed Puppy Weight Chart
|2 Months||12 lbs||14 lbs||16 lbs|
|3 Months||18 lbs||21 lbs||24 lbs|
|5 Months||32 lbs||32 lbs||37 lbs|
|6 months||37 lbs||40 lbs||43 lbs|
|7 months||43 lbs||50 lbs||58 lbs|
|8 months||49 lbs||58 lbs||67 lbs|
|10 months||60 lbs||65 lbs||83 lbs|
|1 Year||73 lbs||85 lbs||98 lbs|
|1.5 Years||105 lbs||125 lbs||145 lbs|
Calculating The Adult Weight Of A Large Breed Puppy
There are two ways that you can use to determine the adult weight of your large breed puppy:
The first option is to use your puppy’s growth rate.
You can find the growth rate by dividing their current weight in pounds at the age of 20 weeks by their current age in weeks, then multiplying the result by 52. The final answer will be your puppy’s adult weight.
For example, if your puppy weighs 32 pounds at 20 weeks, their adult weight will be:
(32/20)*52 = 83.2 pounds.
The second option is by doubling your puppy’s weight at the age of 6 months. This means that you have to find out how much your puppy weighs at 6 months first.
For example, if your puppy weighs 40 pounds at six months old, their adult weight will be 80 pounds.
Factors That Affect Your Puppy’s Size
Breed size is known to impact the development of puppies and different breed grow and reach their adult size at different rates.
Larger breeds take longer to reach adulthood compared to smaller or medium breeds.
The general rule of thumb is that your dog is considered a puppy if they are less than one year old, but the size of the puppy can determine whether they attain adult maturity before its first birthday.
Some breeds take up to 24 months to reach full maturity or even longer especially large and giant breeds.
Genetic factors hugely affect the growth of your dogs such as hereditary diseases and physical characteristics.
For instance, if both parents are a large breed, the puppy will be automatically large and if they are a smaller breed, then the offspring will be small.
Genetic health conditions can affect the growth of your puppy by slowing it down.
Therefore, it is important that you get all the medical history from the breeder so that you can know how to help your dog live a healthy life if it should inherit an illness from its parents.
Various studies have shown that gender differences in development and weight gain affect the size of your dog.
Male dogs are known to be larger in their adolescent years and tend to be slightly bigger than female dogs.
This is because male dogs have more muscle mass and wider chests.
Health & Nutrition
If puppies are not fed the right amount of calories and a well-balanced diet, they will experience poor growth and may develop health issues.
Ensure that you feed your dog food designed for puppies that support their development.
Buy food for small breeds if you have a smaller dog and large dog food if you have a bigger dog.
Apart from proper nutrition, ensure that your dog is getting adequate exercise so that they have a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Regular visits to the vet will also help in keeping your dog healthy.
Large Breed Puppy Development Stages
Neonatal Period: Birth – 3 Weeks
Dogs are born delicate and they cannot take care of themselves.
They need their mother for comfort, warmth, and food. they cannot see or hear as the eyes and ears are not developed.
Newborn puppies need the optimal temperature to survive and they like to stay close to their mother.
However, their muscles are underdeveloped so they cannot walk yet. For puppies to grow, they need to spend most of their time with their mother.
Socialization Period: 3 Weeks – 12 Weeks
This is the stage where your puppy goes through many changes. Their muscles become stronger and they become more playful and active.
They will actively play with their littermates and begin moving away from where they sleep to empty their bladder and bowels.
They need to be thoroughly socialized so that they can interact well with other pets and people.
This will also make the transition into their new homes easy. The puppy should be weaned by 6 weeks and depending on puppy food for nourishment.
Juvenile Period: 3 Months – 6 Months
This is the stage where the puppies start looking more like their adult selves but the miniature version.
By the end of six months, medium to large puppies will achieve half of their adult height.
To keep your puppy active, give them lots of opportunities to run and play around. They start becoming independent and will depend less on you for security.
Sexual Maturity: 6 months – 16 months
During this period, your puppy will have plenty of sex hormones in their system not unless they are spayed or neutered.
This will slow their growth and increase their confidence.
Once the female dog finishes their first cycle, it can be spayed. It is not recommended to impregnate a female dog in its first heat as it has high risks and most of them are unprepared.
Transition To Adult Period: 16 Months – 36 Months
For a large breed, this is the period where they reach their adult height and weight.
They will reach their height first then continue to build up and add muscle.
Most dogs should now be transitioned from puppy food to adult food as they require different nutrients and calories now.
Physical maturity comes before mental maturity which can happen at around three years old.
How To Predict Your Large Breed Puppy’s Weight?
Knowing the adult weight of your large dog will enable you to be prepared in terms of providing enough space for them when they are fully grown.
There are various ways to predict your puppy’s weight including:
- Look at the parents – it is easy to tell the adult weight of your puppy especially if they are a pure breed dog by looking at the parents. This is because they are likely to inherit the size from their parents. Mixed breed puppies may take the size of one of the parents or average the size of both parents.
- Follow a weight chart – another way is following a large dog weight chart for your puppy. Keeping a weight chart with your where you record the weight of your puppy each month can help you tell where your puppy is heading in terms of weight.
- Paws – if the paws of your puppy are smaller and disproportional to the body, they have not yet achieved their adult weight and will need some time to fill out until the whole body is proportional.
- DNA test – this method can be used when you do not know your dog’s breed. You send a swap sample of your dog’s cheeks to a genetic testing company and they will tell you the breed and final size of your dog.
At What Age Do Large Breed Puppies Reach Their Full Adult Height?
Since large breed dogs take their time to grow, they reach their adult height at around the age of 16 to 18 months.
This is when the growth plates close and they have finally ‘grown onto their paws’.
However, if they are not neutered or spayed, they may continue growing and will become taller compared to other dogs of similar size.
They will also become more muscular and have wider chests.
If your dog has a long coat, it will grow and become more voluminous, which may make your dog appear bigger.
Does The Smallest Puppy In A Litter Stay The Smallest?
Until the age of about six to eight weeks, the weight of pure-bred puppies is not yet an indication of their adult weight.
Some factors will determine birth weight such as uterine placement, this is where they were in their mother’s uterus.
As the puppies grow in the first two months of their lives, the biggest one may become smaller when older while the smaller one may catch up and become bigger.
However, this may be different for puppies that are mixed breeds because there is plenty of variation in size within one litter.
What If My Puppy Grows Too Fast Or Too Slow
Large breeds are most susceptible to health issues associated with growing too fast.
This especially happens if your dog is eating food that is high in calories and calcium when they are younger as their joints and bones will develop faster.
The faster growth makes the joints and bones strain causing health issues associated with these parts of the body.
Larger dogs need to eat slow-growth food that is low in Vitamin D, phosphorus, calcium, calories, and fat.
On the other hand, if you feed your dog fewer calories when they are young, they are likely to have stunted growth because of malnutrition.
To ensure that your dog’s growth is not slowed down, feed them the recommended amount according to their size. If your puppy is picky, try a different flavor or warming the food before serving it.
Additionally, parasites like roundworms and hookworms can slow your puppy’s growth, hence regular worming treatments are recommended.
Can Spaying & Neutering Affect My Puppy’s Growth
Neutering and spaying can affect the final size of your puppy because the reproductive hormones are responsible for telling your puppy’s body to stop growing.
If your dog is neutered or spayed before the growth stops, it may continue growing and will become taller than it should because there are no sex hormones to switch off the process.
If your puppy continues to grow taller, they are predisposed to joint issues and could also suffer from hip dysplasia and ligament tears.
However, these procedures are beneficial to your dog. For instance, spaying in female dogs reduces the risk of mammary cancer, ovarian cancer, and unwanted pregnancy.
While neutering helps in minimizing aggressive behavior and preventing testicular cancer.
Speak to your vet to know exactly when to neuter or spay your dog as they would know when your dog has fully grown.
Large Breed Dogs Genetics And Common Health Problems
As a large-breed dog owner, there are health conditions that you should be aware of so that if your dog shows any symptoms they can be treated early. They include:
- Hip Dysplasia – this is a condition where the joints in the hips do not form properly and it is the most common condition that affects large dogs. It causes the grinding and rubbing of the head of the femur against the joint causing lots of pain and low quality of life.
- Elbow Dysplasia – this is the most common cause of lameness in the front legs in most large breed dogs which happens when the elbow joints have abnormal growth. Symptoms can show when your dog is about 4 months old and the pain can be reduced by managing your dog’s weight. As your dog gets older and the pain increases, surgery can be done to help with the symptoms.
- Osteosarcoma – this is a type of bone cancer and it mostly affects dogs who weigh over 80 pounds. If it is caught early, the leg can be amputated to cure the illness, however, it can spread to the lungs if not treated.
- Degenerative Joint Disease – also known as arthritis, this condition happens when the cartilage in the joints is worn down making the joints rub against each other causing pain. Obesity is the main contributor to this condition, hence keep your dog at a healthy weight.
- Panosteitis – also known as growing pains, this condition causes inflammation of the bones, mostly in the front legs. It can be treated with steroids and pain medication.
- Other Conditions – include Wobbler Syndrome, dilated cardiomyopathy, Aortic stenosis, hypothyroidism, Addison’s Disease, and Obesity.
The above large breed growth chart gives guidelines on how you can predict the adult size of your dog and the different stages of its development.
It also includes the various health conditions to watch out for if you own a large breed dog.
Note that the figures provided in the growth chart are just an estimate based on average growth rates of large breed dogs and your puppy’s weight may slightly vary depending on their nutrition, lifestyle, and genetics.