When do German Shepherds Stop Growing? Be Prepared!
As the name suggests, German Shepherds originated in Germany. They first bred into existence in the early 1800s. The original motivation of the dog breeders was to breed a dog for the best possible traits that helped them in their job of herding sheep.
German Shepherds are medium to large dogs. They are loveable, energetic, loyal, and very protective of their owners. They will gladly lay down their lives to protect their owners, which is the reason why many people around the world own them.
If you are someone who is thinking of adopting a German Shepherd, or someone who already owns one but are thinking about how long does it take for them to fully grow, then you have come to the right place because in this article we are going to discuss all of the developmental stages of a German Shepherd and at what age do German Shepherds stop growing. We are also going to give you bits and pieces of advice here and there to make you aware of how to take care of your dog through each of the stages. So, without further ado, let us begin.
At what age do German Shepard’s stop growing?
Difference Between Male and Female German Shepherds
Just like humans, there is a degree of sexual dimorphism in German Shepherds which makes them a little different depending on if it is a male or a female. They also develop a little differently. The females of this breed tend to reach sexual maturity faster than the males. On the other hand, males tend to be larger and weigh more than their female counterparts. With regards to their nature, the females are more affectionate, easy to train, and obedient. The males are physically and emotionally resilient relative to the females. It is because of these characteristics that males are kept for personal protection and females are regarded as more suitable for family protection.
The Developmental Stages of German Shepherds
Neonatal Period (0 – 2 weeks)
This period starts from birth, hence the name “neonatal”. In this period the pups are unable to see, hear, or walk. During this stage, they generally weigh about 4 pounds. The pups are so frail that they cannot even regulate their own body temperature on their own and need their mother’s warmth to keep them alive. They are largely dependent on their mother’s care during this period, so they must not be separated from them.
Socialization Period (2 weeks – 2 months)
It is during this period that their eyes and ears start to function. Consequently, they can see and hear the world around them and are ready to explore it. They weigh about 16 to 20 pounds, whereas they have a height of 7 to 9 inches. They develop the ability to walk, although they may stumble and fall at first. Their milk teeth start to come and they become somewhat independent from their mother, so they will bite and gnaw soft foods and toys. To socialize, they will play, fight, and communicate with other animals. They also learn to identify their own species.
It is imperative to the owner that they introduce the pup to new people and animals who are kind to them so that they may learn various emotional and social skills. This stage is arguably the most important in their lifetimes. You should start training them and playing with them as much as you can and develop a bond of trust and friendliness as soon as you can. The better your relationship is with your pup, the more confident and friendly it will be around other animals and strangers. If you neglect your pup at this stage, then it may become wary of and aggressive towards strangers, and even you!
Juvenile Period (3 – 6 months)
This is the period when the pup grows significantly large in size and weight. How fast do German Shepherds grow at this stage? Their weight grows from 22 to 45 pounds, whereas their height goes from 9 to 18 inches! Almost double in size. It becomes much more active and completely independent of its mother at this stage. They may want to explore the world much more extensively and learn about it. You should take your pup for a short walk during this period frequently. They will enjoy this. Even though they may have grown, their attention spans are analogous to those of human teenagers, short and fleeting. So, keep their walks and training sessions short.
The puppies will lose their milk teeth during this period and get permanent adult teeth, so they can be fed somewhat harder foods now. Their floppy years also start getting pointy and stand straight up. The next developmental period is the sexual maturity/reproductive period.
Sexual Maturity (6 months – 2 years)
You might have guessed from the name. This is the period when physical and hormonal changes occur in the body of the dog, which allows for the development of sexual organs and libido. During this period, the dog weighs about 29 – 31 kgs and has a height of 22 – 24 inches. The female German Shepherds go into the heat period which lasts from 6 – 8 months, whereas their male counterparts tend to take longer to develop sexually. The males during this stage become territorial in their behavior and start marking. They may also get aroused, so do not be surprised as this is natural. If your dog’s behavior is hard to control, you may consider neutering them. Your dog is no longer considered a pup. It is fully independent, although this is not the end stage of its physical and mental maturity, which comes later. Your pup is ready to enter adulthood now. They grow up so fast, don’t they?
Adult Phase (2 years and above)
This is when your dog is a fully grown adult. For all intents and purposes, your dog will stop growing physically and mentally when it reaches this stage. It weighs roughly 32 – 35 kg at this point and has a height of 23 – 25 inches. There is not much development going on in this phase. There is a marked difference between the males and the females. The latter tend to be smaller in size and lighter in weight than the former, but the latter matures faster than the former, as stated previously.
Some Frequently Asked Questions Regarding German Shepherds
It takes more or less the same time for them to grow as compared to the males, Which is two years. One difference between the two is that the females, when fully grown, tend to be smaller and lighter than their male counterparts. Another difference is that females reach sexual maturity faster than males for reasons unbeknownst to me.
German shepherds take around 2 years to reach adulthood. After which, there isn’t much physical or mental growth.
The average lifespan and life expectancy of a German Shepard is 9 – 13 years. Their lifespan is mostly affected by their surroundings.
Take a look at your German Shepard’s paws at around age 14 – 16 weeks. Also consider the size of your German Shepherd’s parents. As well as see how much extra loose skin he has.
What Are Some Factors That Affect The Growth Of German Shepherds?
You might have already learned a lot about the developmental stages of German Shepherds in this article but do you know that there are factors that may boost or inhibit the growth of your dog as well?
- Spaying and Neutering:
A dog who has been neutered or spayed will grow a little bit taller and gain more weight than usual. The reason behind this is that the chemicals would delay its bone growth plate.
- Heavy exercise during the juvenile period:
As stated in the article above, you should limit your dog during this period to short walks because of its short attention span, but there is another reason for this as well. During its juvenile period, the dog’s bones are soft and delicate and must not experience too much strenuous exercise as this will stunt its growth.
- Worm Infestations:
This is probably the worst factor out of all which can stunt your dog’s growth. This is because the dietary nutrients that you feed your dog will be eaten by worms in its digestive system. You should be wary of worm infestations in your dog by monitoring its poop and keeping it away from fleas. Make sure to feed it fresh food and clean the feeding bowl regularly. Also, take it to the vet on regular checkups at least once a year even if your dog looks and feels healthy.
Now that you finally know all there is to know about the developmental stages of a German Shepherd, I think you are in a better position to adopt one and take care of it throughout its lifetime. The companionship and protectiveness of a German Shepherd are unlike any other dog. So, love them with all your heart and they will protect you with all their might. I hope this article has given you your answer and also provided you with additional useful information. If you would like to read more on German Shepherds or other dogs then you should head on over to the following links:
About The Author
I'm a content writer and researcher. But bottom line, I loveee animals. I had my first animal which was a guinea pig at age 8. Later had a bunny, dog and a lot, a lot of fish. Writing about what I know about pets will allow me to share my knowledge and love for them with everyone else. Dealing with dogs my entire life, I know a lot.