We all stop growing at some point, right? Yeah, the same is true for the descendants of the 19th-century German herding dogs. These overall-utility canines have an interesting growth journey from childhood to adulthood as they transition through different growth phases.
As a responsible dog owner or parent, however, one needs to understand these phases for several reasons, like changing the diet plan, determining exercise intensity, and what to expect generally through the years because this mostly depends on the breed of your German Shepherd. Summarily, the need to take proper care of one’s dog is why this question is important. So, getting right into it, when do German Shepherds stop growing? We explore the growth stages below…
Growth Stages of German Shepherds
Neonatal Stage (0-2 weeks)
The neonatal, or newborn, stage includes the first two weeks of puppies right after birth. During this period, they cannot walk, see, or hear, so they rely solely on their mother’s care. They depend solely on their senses of touch and smell to navigate the environment. Also, they sleep for most of the day as their other senses develop.
Transitional Phase (2 weeks-4/5 weeks)
For the next two to three weeks, following the neonatal phase, German Shepherd pups begin to hear, see, and walk. They wobble in the beginning because their muscles are still developing, but it is during this period that they begin to explore on their own with some support from their mother. Also, their first set of teeth become visible.
Socialization Phase (1-3 Months)
Socialization literally means social interaction with one’s immediate environment while learning to inculcate socially acceptable behavior. Therefore, this is the stage where your pup’s senses develop considerably and they begin to socialize with you and their littermates. It’s safe for you to take them out and begin basic training. It is, in fact, necessary, as this lays the foundation for well-adjusted adult behavior.
Juvenile Stage (3 Months-6 Months)
This is the period when GSD’s become even more independent of their parents. Their motor skills should be almost perfect now. Also, their mental capacity blossoms, and since they’re excited about the world, breaking things in the house is not unexpected. Therefore, there’s no better time to teach commands and impulse control and go for brief walks to burn some energy. By the fourth month, they will grow adult teeth anytime over the next 40 days, and by the sixth month, your pet is gearing up for sexual maturity.
Adolescent Stage (6/8 Months-2 Years)
At around six to eight months, depending on the gender, your dog reaches sexual maturity. The males become territorial, and the females go into heat and, as a result, may show aggressive behavior. But it shouldn’t be too much of a headache if you have established a bond and taught your dog to obey your commands. In order to convert your GSD’s aggression into more productive endeavors, increase the intensity of their training routine. You may also consider spaying or neutering, especially if you do not want an unplanned litter.
Transition to Adulthood (1 1/2 Years-3 Years)
At 18 months, GSD’s continue to grow physically (in height and weight), and it’s a good time to switch up their diet to something more adult. Ensure you provide high-quality dog food to meet their energy needs and, most importantly, their specific nutritional needs. At about age three, GSD’s reach full maturity and stop growing. When exactly depends on the breed of your German Shepherd and gender.
German Shepherd Height and Weight by Age
Male and female German Shepherds grow big, but differently. The males tend to grow bigger and taller than their female counterparts. Check the table below for appropriate weight and height through their first three years:
The Wrap-Up: How to Check Your Dog’s Weight and Height at Home
Height (Using a tape measure)
1. Stand your dog against a vertical surface (door, fridge, wall, etc.). Ensure all four paws are touching the ground
2. Keep the legs at shoulder-width distance
3. Find the withers (shoulder blades) using a flat object such as a ruler or book while keeping the dog steady
4. Ensure one end of the ruler is touching the wall
5. Mark the spot on the wall and let the dog out of the picture
6. Get a tape measure or use the same ruler to measure the distance from the ground
Weight (Using a bathroom scale)
1. Place the scale on the bare ground
2. For small dogs, place the dog on it and keep it steady for a few seconds to get an accurate figure
3. For older and bigger dogs, carry the dog in your arms
4. Hold securely in your arms for a few seconds till you’re confident before stepping on the scale
5. Memorize the number and get off the scale
6. Step on the scale once again, but this time without the dog.
7. Calculate the difference to determine your dog’s actual weight.