Have you ever wondered how your German Shepherd grows and how fast they do?
A German Shepherd will fully grow when they are 36 months old. They will take time passing between stages until they fully mature.
However, there are other factors that affect your German Shepherd growth which are diet, exercising, and neutering.
How much do German Shepherd puppies weigh?
A German Shepherd mother usually gives birth to 6 to 8 puppies.
These puppies birth weight and litter size depend on a German Shepherd’s mother size and body weight; in which, they genetically get their body weight and size.
At birth, the average weight of German Shepherd puppies is 503 grams or 1.1 Ibs.
About a week of age, they will weigh 1.6 to 2.1 Ibs which is double their birth weight.
Many German puppies then begin to show their individual weight and gain more weight while growing up.
German Shepherd growth by age in months
At about a month, a German Shepherd puppy will weigh about 4.5 to 9 Ibs.
At two months, a German Shepherd puppy will weigh at 11-20 Ibs.
When they are about three months old, your puppy will be 17.5 to 31 Ibs.
At four months, your German Shepherd puppy will weigh between 28.5-39.5 lbs.
Between 2 to 5 months, a German Shepherd will be growing in weight very quickly.
At six month, the average male German Shepherd will weigh 53 Ibs. While a female German Shepherd will weigh about 46 Ibs.
By nine months, German Shepherd stops growing in height. While females stop growing in the eighth month.
How big does a German Shepherd grow?
On average, an adult male German Shepherd grows up to 25 inches long with a weight between 65 to 90 pounds.
While an adult female German Shepherd is smaller in size in comparison to a male German Shepherd.
A fully- grown female German Shepherd reaches from 20 to 21 inches tall weighing between 45 to 70 pounds.
The development stages of German Shepherds
This is the first stage where a German Shepherd puppy is born. The German Shepherd puppy is fully dependent on their mother until they are two weeks old.
When they are first born, they are born deaf, blind, and with no teeth. Usually, a puppy would pile on their littermates to balance their temperature.
Also, their mother takes care of them by constantly licking and cleaning them after they are born.
Neonatal stage: 2 weeks
The period that the neonatal stage lasts is two weeks in which a German Shepherd puppy’s body temperature is lower compared to a fully grown German Shepherd.
Their heartbeat also beats faster than normal about 200 beats per minute.
Here’s what exactly happens in the first two weeks:
- When picked up, a puppy will begin to arch the back and stretch their legs.
- Their eyes and ears begin to open.
- A German Shepherd puppy will open their eyes completely.
- They will start to crawl everywhere
- A puppy will develop their first incisor teeth
- They will begin to take their first walking steps
A German Shepherd spends about 90 % of their time sleeping for the first 2 weeks. While the other 10 % is spent nursing.
Transitional period: 2 to 4 weeks
This stage starts when your puppy is 2 weeks of age and ends when they are 4 weeks old.
A puppy is able to fully hear and see and their first milk teeth start developing.
Other behaviors to notice:
- A German Shepherd puppy will start growling and barking.
- They will be able to stand and explore their surroundings.
- The puppy will become independent of their mother and play with their littermates.
Socialization period: 2 to 13 weeks
The socialization period starts from two until thirteen weeks.
It is a period of constant exploration and curiosity for new experiences and interactions with people and dogs.
This is a really important period for emotional development.
Here’s what happens in some of the weeks in the socialization period:
- German Shepherd puppies can identify their own kind.
- They can learn how to form bonds with other German Shepherds and with humans.
- They learn how to communicate with other littermates.
- At this age, they can playfully fight with other animals.
- A German Shepherd may begin to eat soft foods.
- Their body temperature stabilizes at around 100 degrees and their heart rate begins to beat slower at 170 BPM.
Juvenile stage: 8 weeks to 6 months
This period is the time that most German Shepherds get adopted by different families.
Your German Shepherd can start eating solid foods since their teeth are out.
Because after 3 months, a German Shepherd’s front teeth are all out. While all other teeth are fully grown after 6 months.
You have to also focus on giving your German Shepherd vaccination to protect them from different diseases such as rabies.
Other things you will notice in your dog:
- A German Shepherd ear will start to go up and down.
- They will go through their mouthing and chewing stage when teething.
You can easily train your German Shepherd during this period through positive reinforcement and removing the negative behaviors before they become a habit.
Here are some tips to do:
- You can take them to a puppy school where they will learn certain commands and socialize with other puppies.
- Take them to places where there are people and dogs such as parks so they can socialize.
- You have to be consistent with the rules and boundaries that you put in your home and in public so your puppy learns and doesn’t get confused.
- Spend a lot of time with your German Shepherd puppy such as cuddling and exercising.
Adolescent: 6 months to 1 to 2 years
The adolescent stage is where your dog will mature sexually.
Male German Shepherds will try to establish dominance over other dogs and mark their territories so other dogs would stay away.
On the other hand, female German Shepherds will become inconsistent with their temperament or may become escape experts.
Because they will pay attention to many things, it will be the perfect period for them to take obedience classes.
Transition to Adulthood: 16 to 36 months
The German Shepherd is a very large dog breed. They will continue to mature until they reach 36 months.
However, they can be considered an adult male German Shepherd when the male is 2 1/2 years.
As for females German Shepherd, they become adults when they are two years or more.
When does a German Shepherd stop growing?
Generally, a German Shepherd male dogs stop growing in height at the age of nine-month.
While a female German Shepherd will stop growing in height at eight months.
However, at the age of 15 months, a German Shepherd male may grow an inch while a female German Shepherd may grow less than an inch between 12 to 15 months.
They are considered fully grown at 18 months.
What can you feed your German Shepherd to help them grow fast?
Your goal shouldn’t be to let your dog grow fast rather you have to feed them so they become healthy adults with good bone structure, muscle structure, calm temperament, and basic training.
Food guidelines to give to your adult German Shepherd
- German Shepherds are carnivores and require a high content of protein. This protein keeps them healthy and gives them energy.
- They also require a certain amount of fat so always keep a balance of fat; make sure that you don’t feed your German Shepherd too much fat as this can cause them problems such as obesity and don’t let your dog eat a very low amount of fat as this will cause them skin problems.
- They will also need antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to keep them healthy and have all the nutrients they need.
The ideal protein sources for a German Shepherd is beef, fish, poultry, and other organ meats.
While you can get healthy fats from sources such as fish oil and vegetables that contain fatty 3 acids. These will also help in keeping your dog’s coat shiny and healthy.
You can also feed your German Shepherd large breed dog food that offers lots of the nutrition for your dog.
How much should you feed your adult German Shepherd?
An adult German Shepherd should eat twice a day. You can give your German Shepherd food once in the morning and once in the evening.
You have to be careful to not overfeed your German Shepherd as it will cause them to become obese.
It is important to keep a routine when feeding your German Shepherd.
How much should a puppy eat during the day?
Generally, A German Shepherd puppy has to eat 3 to 4 meals per day. However, depending on which month they are, meals may increase in number.
They require more food than adult German Shepherds because they are still developing and need certain nutrition.
Food guidelines for German Shepherd puppies
For a German Shepherd puppy to develop properly, they have to nurse for at least 6 to 8 weeks.
The benefits of nursing for the first couple of weeks is that puppies build their natural defenses, contributes to proper blood flow, and gives oxygen to organs in your puppy’s body.
1-month-old puppy diet
In this stage, it is best to introduce other types of food to your German Shepherd puppy such as special wet food for puppies.
2-month-old puppy diet
At 2 month, you can start to switch your German Shepherd food from wet food to dry food.
The process has to be gradual where you decrease your dog’s wet food at a time until it is totally switched to dry food.
Also, at this stage, your puppy will eat 4 to 5 times a day. It is important that their diet is higher in calories, fats, protein, and calcium than adult German Shepherds.
The reason for this healthy-packed diet is that your puppy needs to develop and grow.
4-month-old puppy diet
At this age, meals should be reduced to 3 per day. You could also mix fresh foods such as meat, fish, or vegetables with dry food.
A raw diet isn’t recommended, at this stage, because they are still developing and their stomach isn’t tolerant as when they are adults.
If you want to give your puppy wet food, you have to give the food to them in moderation to avoid plaque and tartar from developing.
Also, you can start training your puppy using positive reinforcement and treats.
6 months old puppy diet
At this age, your puppy’s food has to be only twice a day. You have to take into consideration that you have to increase food quantity and eating time.
Ways to make your German Shepherd gain weight if they are underweight
1.) Switch to food containing fat
When your German Shepherd is eating food but isn’t gaining weight, you can then switch to a new food.
Look for food with a good balance of fat and protein. For adult German Shepherd, they should get 20 to 25 percent of calories from protein as well as fats.
A puppy should be kept on a puppy formulated food for the first six months to one year.
Tips on feeding your German Shepherd
- Puppies or adult dogs struggling with weight gain may need other nutrition supplements.
- They could also need to go to the vet to get dewormed from worms.
- When transitioning to a diet that is higher in protein and fat, you have to start gradually and mix this food with the regular food that you give to your dog.
2.) Switch to puppy food
If your adult or senior German Shepherd is underweight, even though they are eating a balanced diet, you could switch them into a puppy food diet.
The main advantage is that the puppy food is higher in calories so it will help your German Shepherd gain weight.
Just try to mix your dog’s regular food with puppy food and monitor the changes over the next period.
Some important tips to do before switching your dog’s diet:
- Consult your vet to know if it’s okay to let your dog eat puppy food that is high in protein.
- Never give your puppy other food that isn’t puppy food. It will harm them instead of benefiting them.
3.) Use dry food
Dry food is denser and has more calories than wet food. The reason is that the moisture has been taken out of it.
It can help your dog put some weight without eating lots of food.
However, you have to always get the dry food that is packed with high-quality protein and fats.
If your dog is used to wet food, you can try to mix both dry and wet food together.
How to get your German Shepherd to eat more?
Go the vet
If your German Shepherd is underweight, you have to first go to the vet.
Let your vet know that the problem has to do with their weight.
They will first run tests to see if it is a medical problem or a disease.
If it is due to a medical problem or a disease, they will prescribe you certain medications, diet, and exercise.
Add an extra meal to their routine
You can add an extra meal in between meals so that it will help let your German Shepherd gain weight.
Start by feeding your dog three meals rather than two meals.
Allow your dog to be free-fed
If your dog isn’t eating all of their meals, it may help to leave your dog food to eat.
This will let your dog nibble and eat food when they are hungry and bored.
Supplement regular food with treats
Giving them extra treats while they are eating meals. This will make them gain weight much faster.
You have to find treats for dogs that are full of fat and protein.
Other ways to help a German Shepherd grow healthy
Give your German Shepherd exercise so they maintain a healthy weight and will grow healthy.
If you give them too much exercise at a younger age, they may develop hip dysplasia.
As a rule, give your dog 10 to 15 minutes of exercise per day for the first 3 months.
Don’t neuter your German Shepherd while they are too young because they need certain hormones to fully develop.
You have to wait until your dog has been 24 months old and their muscles have developed.
In conclusion, your German Shepherd will naturally gain weight and height while growing up.
They will pass through many growth phases where they will change and require different dietary requirements at each stage.
However, there is a certain age where they will stop growing and reach maturity. At this stage, they have become fully grown.
To successfully let your German Shepherd develop, you have to give them a healthy diet and exercise. Never give them food that can harm them or cause them serious conditions.
Always monitor your German Shepherd if they become ill and are frequently tired. Go to the vet immediately to know what they have.
To know more about submission urination in German Shepherds, check Why does my German Shepherd Urinate when I pet him and How to Solve it?