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How big will my puppy get? This is one of the most frequent questions veterinarians get from new puppy parents or experienced dog lovers who have adopted a new-to-them breed. Some ask out of pure curiosity, others want to know so they can ensure they have enough space in their home before adopting. They also wonder about other logistical concerns, such as what size crate, dog bed or collar they should buy before bringing home their new furry friend.
While your vet will be the best person to guide you through puppy growth and expected size, there are some other well-known suggestions, such as looking at paw size or breed markers that may (or may not) guide you in the right direction. Here are some of the most common ways to estimate how big your dog will be.
Does Paw Size Prove Anything?
Some like to say that the bigger a dog's paws are as a puppy, the larger they’ll be when grown up. However, it's not always a good judge of what to expect. A hefty Bernese mountain dog will have bigger paws to hold them up than a corgi, but there are larger dogs with small paws for their size (like a dainty collie) and vice versa (like a bulldog). Just like any human kid, your puppy may have tall, thin, tubby, or disproportionate phases as they grow.
Purebred Versus Mixed Breed
Wondering "how big will my puppy get?" after adopting a lovable dog? Well, unfortunately, you may have to wait until fully grown to be sure. If you don't know your pup's precise mix, how genes will influence their size is a guessing game. If you know that your dog is a mix of two small breeds or two large breeds, you may be able to guess how large they’ll be when fully grown, but remember, it's still an estimate.
The final size of a purebred pup is still surprisingly hard to predict. They could be the smallest or largest pup of the litter, or grow at a different rate than other dogs of the same breed due to an illness as a puppy. Reading up on the standards of an official breed club can help you judge how big dogs of that breed are.
Your veterinarian should be able to give you guidelines for what you can expect from your pet's growth. If you're someone who likes to research for yourself, check out The Kennel Club’s dog breed database for the expected size range of each breed.
Check out the Parents
One of the best ways to determine an approximate expected height and weight for your dog would be to take a look at the mum and dad, if possible. Their grown height and weight will likely be a good determinant of what to expect from your own dog. In fact, this is often suggested for humans, as well. However, many adopters won't know much, if anything at all, about their new pet's parents.
Chart the Growth
Another method, that's a little more tedious, is to chart your dog's growth over time. Many dogs will become fully grown by one year old, but some breeds may take an extra six months to a year. Charting your dog's growth from puppy to three months old, to six months old, to one year will help you get a better sense of how big they’ll be once fully grown. However, this method requires you to estimate based on what other pet parents of similar breeds have experienced. Your dog is unique, and individual traits are the biggest determining factor for the overall size.
There's no science for determining how big your pup will be, except for looking at breed history and consulting a vet. It's best to do your research early, so you can spend the time with your new pet playing and enjoying each other's company. And when in doubt, buy the bigger crate.