- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
When you first welcome that wonderful little furball into your home, all you can focus on is how tiny and cute they are—and it’s hard to imagine them getting any bigger than their current adorable puppy state. And who could blame you? With those diminutive noses, silky soft ears and small, wagging tails, it’s no wonder we hope they stay small forever.
But they will get bigger, and knowing how and when they will grow is helpful information to have. Their final size will, of course, depend on their breed (and mix of breeds), and we’re happy to help you understand just how big and mighty your little bundle of fur might become.
Let’s start by diving into some of the most important questions about puppy growth:
Jerry Klein, DVM and Chief Veterinary Officer at AKC has some fascinating things to say about why puppies grow the way they do. Dog legs have growth plates, which are soft when they’re young. “When the growth plates have stopped producing new tissue and become completely calcified, they are said to have ‘closed,’ which means that they’ve stopped growing and the bone has reached its final size,” he explains.
We cover this topic thoroughly in a previous Rover article, but basically when a puppy stops growing is entirely dependent on their breed, other genetic factors, and even the sex of the dog (females tend to grow and mature a little faster than males).
The longest amount of time that puppies grow seems to be around 24 months, but that’s generally for larger breeds (which you’ll hear more about shortly).
There really isn’t any way to perfectly predict how big your puppy is going to be, though genetic history is still going to be your best indicator. Knowing how big the breed usually gets is helpful, but also, if you have any information about the pup’s mother and father you can see how their size compared to the breed’s average measurements.
In this article from PetMD, Dr. Matthew Rooney, owner of Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists in Longmont, Colorado says, “If you know the breed of your dog or, better yet, the parents of your pup, you can estimate how large your dog will be from that. Otherwise, it can be tough.”
He also says that although people may comment on the size of a puppy’s paws and ears, they don’t actually give a super reliable way to estimate their final size—even if they seem really larger for your pup’s current frame (but they sure are cute, aren’t they?).
Growth rates are different between breeds that are different sizes—here’s how it generally breaks down according to our friends at AKC:
Small Breeds: Pups on the more diminutive side of things tend to “grow-up” pretty quickly compared to their larger friends. Usually, this falls around the 6 to 8 months of age point.
Medium Breeds: Dogs who are medium-sized take a bit longer, usually around 12 months to grow completely.
Large Breeds: The big guys? Those take much longer—which makes sense considering their bones are a lot bigger. These puppies can grow for up to 12 to 18 months.
Giant Breeds: Now, these REALLY big guys are the ones who can take up to 24 months to reach their full size (which is often 70 pounds or more). So you’re in for the long haul when you’re waiting to see how big they’re going to actually get (ahem, mastiffs).
Puppy Growth Chart
|0-6 Months||6-12 Months||12-18 Months||18-24 Months|
|Small Breed (<22 lbs.)||Growing!||Growing – Fully Grown||Fully Grown||Fully Grown|
|Medium Breed (22 -55 lbs.)||Growing!||Growing!||Fully Grown||Fully Grown|
|Large Breed (55 – 70 lbs.)||Growing!||Growing!||Fully Grown||Fully Grown|
|Giant Breed (>70 lbs.)||Growing!||Growing!||Growing!||Growing – Fully Grown|
Though you can’t exactly predict when your puppy is going to stop growing, or how big they’re going to end up—you can help them stay their happiest and healthiest throughout the journey.
To support them best, make sure you’re feeding them food that meets all of their nutritional needs. You’ll also want to ensure that they’re getting exercise, but not too much exercise! You don’t want to damage their puppy joints by taking them out on long jogs when they’re little—there’s plenty of time for that later on.
Also, lots of cuddles and love are known to help puppies thrive, so be sure to include plenty of that in your everyday interactions.
Your great dog deserves great dog care. You’ve found the best food, toys, and accessories, and your puppy even rocks their own Instagram—so now it’s time to find them the perfect pet sitter or dog walker. Find your pup’s perfect match, right from your phone—and then hit the road happy.
Here are more resources to help you on your journey with your puppy: