german shepherd growth chart

German Shepherd Growth Chart: What to Expect As Your GSD Puppy Grows UP

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The German Shepherd dog has a devoted and loyal following all around the world today. It is easy to forget there was a time not so long ago when only a tiny group of people in western German even knew the German Shepherd dog existed!

Every day, new people bring their German Shepherd puppy home for the very first time. This is an exciting period of time and also sometimes an anxious one.

You are not sure what to expect. How fast will your GSD puppy grow up? How will your growing dog’s needs change as the weeks and months pass? How can you prepare so your dog is as healthy as possible?

We will address all of these questions and more in this article.

German Shepherd Growth Chart

Most German Shepherd puppies complete most of their growing by the age of 18 months but may continue filling out for up to 36 months. The German Shepherd adult dog may vary in adult height from 22 to 26 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 50 to 90 pounds.

This can change how long it takes for your German Shepherd puppy to completely grow up, meaning your GSD puppy’s growth chart may look quite different from that of your friend’s GSD puppy who lives down the street.

Watch a German Shepherd Puppy Grow Up

In this adorable YouTube video, you can watch a little German Shepherd puppy of eight weeks grow up to age two.

Even though a GSD puppy looks like a tiny furball in those first few weeks after they come home with you, they sure won’t stay that way! It is smart to start preparing early for your large breed dog’s inevitable growth spurt.

How to Guesstimate Your German Shepherd Puppy’s Adult Height and Weight

As VomGeliebten GSD Breeders explains, there is a myth in the German Shepherd dog lover community that bigger is better in every way.

But the fact is that the German Shepherd dog breed was not created to be a big, bulky dog.

These dogs were created to be livestock herding working dogs. To do this, they need to be light on their feet, athletic, and rangy so they can move and navigate quickly.

So you want to steer clear of any breeder that is advertising “oversized” German Shepherd dogs.

While some GSDs are naturally bigger than others, and males do tend to be a bit taller and heavier than females, this is not always the case.

Most importantly, having a smaller German Shepherd who finishes growing up a bit more quickly than what you see on this growth chart example does not mean you did something wrong.

There is a handy method you can use to guesstimate the minimum and maximum height and weight your puppy might be when they are completely done growing.

Start with the dog breed standard

According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, the German Shepherd as a breed typically stands between 22 and 24 inches tall (paw pads to shoulder tops) for female adult dogs and 24 to 26 inches tall for male adult dogs.

No weight range is given for the official dog breed standard. However, the standard does say the dog typically measures between 8.5 and 10 inches from the dog’s breastbone (front chest) to pelvis (rear before the tail).

So these can give you some good starting measurements.

Add to this that the American Kennel Club (AKC) gives a weight range of 50 to 90 pounds, with about 10 pounds difference between adult females and adult males, and you have a good working start to figure out when your GSD puppy might be done growing.

Learn about the measurements of your puppy’s parents

The next step to take in guesstimating your German Shepherd puppy’s adult height, weight, and size is to learn as much as you can about the mother and father dog.

Find out from your breeder what the exact height, weight, and length measurements are for each parent dog. You can also ask the breeder about how long it took each parent dog to complete their growth.

Factor in your puppy’s gender and genes

Once you know the measurements range for both of your puppy’s parents, you can then take a closer look at which parent dog your puppy most favors genetically.

Gender does not always factor into a puppy’s growth potential, especially if the female parent dog is bigger than the stud (male) parent.

The greatest influence will come from learning as much as possible about which parent dog your puppy seems to most favor in looks.

Your breeder will be in the best position to weigh in on this question, both from the point of view of the parent dogs and the lineage as a whole.

You can also ask where your GSD puppy falls on the size spectrum within their particular litter. While it is possible that a smaller puppy may end up being a bigger adult dog, this is more the exception than the norm.

For example, if you know that your puppy was the middleweight in the litter, you can expect your adult GSD to maintain that position as all the puppies grow up.

A Typical German Shepherd Puppy Growth Chart and Timeline

Once you have gathered as much information as possible about your particular German Shepherd puppy’s parents, genes, and growth timeline before they got to you, you can plug in what you’ve learned to the typical German Shepherd growth chart.

So now let’s take a closer look at the typical growth chart for an “average” German Shepherd puppy. Just keep in mind that this is just a template you can use, not a prediction of how fast your puppy might grow or how big your dog might get.

This is very important because you don’t want to over-feed your dog too early in life. Let your dog grow at their own pace and check in with your dog’s breeder and your canine veterinarian frequently if you have any questions or concerns.

German Shepherd Puppy Growth Chart for Male GSDs

For a male German Shepherd puppy, the weight range in adulthood typically varies between 65 pounds and 90 pounds. Puppies will be between 24 to 26 inches tall (paw pads to shoulders) on average.

This growth chart timeline is courtesy of VomGeliebtenHaus GSD breeders. It uses an average female German Shepherd that weighs 64 pounds at one year old.

One month old

A one-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 9.2 pounds, which represents about 11 percent of the growing left to do.

Two months old

A two-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 19.9 pounds, which represents about 26 percent of the growing left to do.

Three months old

A three-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 31.3 pounds, which represents about 41 percent of the growing left to do.

Four months old

A four-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 41.8 pounds, which represents about 55 percent of the growing left to do.

Five months old

A five-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 50.6 pounds, which represents about 66 percent of the growing left to do.

Six months old

A six-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 57.4 pounds, which represents about 75 percent of the growing left to do.

Seven months old

A seven-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 62.6 pounds, which represents about 82 percent of the growing left to do.

Eight months old

An eight-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 66.4 pounds, which represents about 87 percent of the growing left to do.

Nine months old

A nine-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 69.4 pounds, which represents about 91 percent of the growing left to do.

Ten months old

A ten-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 72 pounds, which represents about 94 percent of the growing left to do.

Eleven months old

An eleven-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 74.3 pounds, which represents about 97 percent of the growing left to do.

Twelve months old

A twelve-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 76 pounds, which represents about 100 percent of the growing left to do.

German Shepherd Puppy Growth Chart for Female GSDs

For a female German Shepherd puppy, the weight range in adulthood typically varies between 50 pounds and 80 pounds. Puppies will be between 22 to 24 inches tall (paw pads to shoulders) on average.

This growth chart timeline is courtesy of VomGeliebtenHaus GSD breeders. It uses an average female German Shepherd that weighs 64 pounds at one year old.

This growth chart timeline is courtesy of VomGeliebtenHaus GSD breeders. It uses an average female German Shepherd that weighs 64 pounds at one year old.

One month old

A one-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 7 pounds, which represents about 11 percent of the growing left to do.

Two months old

A two-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 16 pounds, which represents about 26 percent of the growing left to do.

Three months old

A three-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 27 pounds, which represents about 41 percent of the growing left to do.

Four months old

A four-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 36 pounds, which represents about 55 percent of the growing left to do.

Five months old

A five-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 44 pounds, which represents about 66 percent of the growing left to do.

Six months old

A six-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 50 pounds, which represents about 75 percent of the growing left to do.

Seven months old

A seven-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 54 pounds, which represents about 82 percent of the growing left to do.

Eight months old

An eight-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 58 pounds, which represents about 87 percent of the growing left to do.

Nine months old

A nine-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 60 pounds, which represents about 91 percent of the growing left to do.

Ten months old

A ten-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 61 pounds, which represents about 94 percent of the growing left to do.

Eleven months old

An eleven-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 63 pounds, which represents about 97 percent of the growing left to do.

Twelve months old

A twelve-month-old GSD puppy may weigh up to 64 pounds, which represents about 100 percent of the growing left to do.

What Happens After Your German Shepherd Puppy Turns One Year Old?

As you likely have already noticed from reviewing the generic growth charts for a male and a female GSD puppy, puppies do a healthy chunk of their growing during the first six months of life.

By the age of six months old, the typical German Shepherd puppy has completed about three-quarters of the growth they will ever do!

But this doesn’t mean they are done. Not by a long shot. In fact, the average German Shepherd puppy will complete most of their height and length growth by the age of one year old.

But they may continue to pack on the pounds for as long as another 24 months.

How to Know for Sure That Your German Shepherd Puppy Is Done Growing Up

As Von Rothaus German Shepherds breeder explains, the only way to know for sure that your puppy has gotten as tall as they are going to get is to have your veterinarian do X-rays.

What can X-rays tell you about your dog’s growth?

The X-rays are looking for one particular thing: the status of the growth plates at the top of each of your dog’s long leg bones.

These growth plates are made up of softer cartilage. They send out signals to the leg bones to start growing, keep growing, and stop growing.

When they are done sending out signals, the growth plates will harden. The X-rays will be able to detect whether the growth plates are still soft or if they have hardened.

This is important for a number of reasons, including the amount and intensity of exercise you allow your German Shepherd puppy to enjoy. You want to wait until the growth plates are closed to let your dog do any sustained or vigorous athletic activity.

How Getting Your GSD Spayed or Neutered Can Impact Puppy Growth

Another vitally important fact that many German Shepherd owners do not realize until it is too late is that the timing of spay or neuter procedures can greatly affect puppy growth.

As the Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Science explains, a dog that is neutered or spayed too early is then at risk for a whole range of health issues later in life.

This includes continued growth past what the breed standard suggests is normal or healthy for the German Shepherd dog breed.

Why does having your German Shepherd puppy spayed or neutered too early potentially cause your dog to grow larger than is normal for the breed?

The reason is that the spay or neuter surgery turns off important sex hormones that interact with the soft growth plates in the long leg bones.

When those hormones are removed from the dog’s body through spay/neuter surgery, the growth plates will stay soft for longer and keep telling the long leg bones to grow more and more.

This can result in a very tall dog that has more issues with bones, joints, and tissues.

As the University of California at Davis points out, when the growth plates in a German Shepherd’s leg bones do not close on time, each of the following serious health issues can arise.

Joint dysplasia

Elbow, hip, and shoulder dysplasia occur when these major ball and socket joints do not develop properly.

While there can be a genetic component to dysplasia, and German Shepherds as a breed are known to carry the gene for hereditary elbow and hip dysplasia, they can also be caused by early spay/neuter.

This is because the long leg bones will keep growing and cause the joint to be malformed.

For a dog that has a mild genetic case of the elbow or hip dysplasia, too-early neuter/spay surgery can create a severe joint problem that requires an invasive and expensive full joint replacement surgery.

Cranial cruciate ligament tears

CCL tears are also more common in dogs with too-long leg bones because the ligaments are stretched beyond what the dog’s body is genetically designed to accommodate.

So when that dog goes running or jump or enjoy the types of athletic activities these amazing K-9 athletes are known for, they may endure CCL tears that then require physical therapy or even surgery to correct.

As well, the problem may occur multiple times throughout the dog’s life.

When Is the Right Time to Neuter or Spay a GSD Puppy?

This is a question that is best discussed with your dog’s veterinarian.

Many German Shepherd breeders recommend waiting until at least the age of one year when the dog has completed the majority of growth and the growth plates in the long leg bones have closed for good.

The key is to wait until those growth plates have closed, which may mean waiting longer than 12 months to do the spay/neuter surgery and having to endure a restless, sexually mature dog for a few months.

But this can prevent potentially disastrous and financially devastating veterinary care later in life, so it is worth talking about with your dog’s veterinarian.

In some cases, a dog’s growth plates may close earlier than 12 months of age, and in this case, you will want to talk about how the timing of the spay/neuter procedure can increase or reduce the incidence of other known GSD health issues such as cancer and incontinence.

When Will Your German Shepherd Puppy Reach Their Full Adult Weight?

As the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia explains, it is important not only to keep your puppy from putting on too much weight, but it is equally important to keep your puppy from putting on weight too fast.

The most critical period for a puppy’s weight gain is the period between two and five months of age. So this is exactly the period when most people will be bringing their new German Shepherd puppy home to stay.

As with so many large breed purebred dogs, the German Shepherd can take up to half their life expectancy to complete their growth.

For example, the Council’s growth chart timeline indicates that a male GSD may take up to four years and a female GSD may take up to three years to completely fill out (weight-wise).

Providing you are feeding your German Shepherd puppy appropriate for their age and stage of life and are keeping accurate weekly weigh-in records, this provides a handy individual growth tracker you can use to guesstimate adult size.

For either a female or a male German Shepherd puppy, the weight and height they are at four months old should be about half of their full growth potential, which can be determined best by knowing the puppy’s parents.

Now that you have a much better idea of what to expect as you nurture your German Shepherd puppy through this oh-so-important growth period of life, you can plan ahead for staging food transitions, adding more physical exercise, and making sure your puppy grows up to live a long, healthy and happy life with you.

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