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German Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds in the United States, and many people obtain their beloved Shepherd as a puppy. In order to make sure your German Shepherd puppy is healthy and growing appropriately, it’s important to know the weight and size of an average German Shepherd so you can compare the two and monitor your puppy’s growth throughout his lifetime.
A German Shepherd growth chart is an easy way for you to monitor and track your German Shepherd puppy’s size as they age, and it will allow you to compare your German Shepherd puppy’s size to the average German Shepherd’s size throughout the growth period and even into their adult and senior years.
In this article we will discuss what a German Shepherd growth chart is, how you can use a growth chart to make sure your German Shepherd is growing appropriately, and examples of what size the average male and female German Shepherds are through their lifetime. We’ll also look at what can potentially impact the growth of a German Shepherd puppy, and what to do if your German Shepherd is not growing as they should be.
What Size Should My German Shepherd Be?
While individual German Shepherd puppies and adults may vary slightly, there are average weights, heights, and lengths that you can use to make sure your puppy or dog is an appropriate size for their age, as well as to estimate how big your puppy is likely to be as they age.
Photo: Comparison between an adult 8 year old male German Shepherd and an 8 month old female German Shepherd puppy
Male German Shepherds VS Female German Shepherds
Male German Shepherds tend to be larger than female German Shepherds, though there are exceptions based on the breeding and lineage.
The average male German Shepherd weighs around 65 to 90 pounds, and the average female German Shepherd weighs around 50 to 70 pounds.
Both genders tend to be longer than they are taller, and the average length of an adult German Shepherd is 36 to 45 inches from the front-most tip of the breastbone to the base of the tail or rear of the thigh/hip area.
Height-wise male German Shepherds tend to be around 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder, and female German Shepherds tend to be a bit shorter at 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder.
In terms of weight, both male and female German Shepherds tend to gain about 1 to 2 pounds per week, which increases slightly as they are nearing sexual maturity and exit adolescence and then tapers off around 2 to 3 years of age which is the age most German Shepherds would be considered sexually mature and done with the growing stages.
At that point, provided a regular diet and exercise plan is in place, your German Shepherd should be maintaining their weight with only slight differences on a yearly basis.
Any significant change after this point should be discussed with your vet to rule out an underlying health condition.
Photo: Comparison between an adult male German Shepherd and an adult female German Shepherd
Average Weight & Height For A Male German Shepherd From Puppyhood to Adulthood
|Age||Weight (lbs)||Height (in)|
Average Weight & Height For A Female German Shepherd From Puppyhood To Adulthood
|Age||Weight (lbs)||Height (in)|
A Note On Size Differences In German Shepherd Sub-Types
Did you know that there are different types of German Shepherds?
German Shepherds are traditionally a working breed, and their popularity has caused the breed to branch off in different directions depending on what traits the breeder was looking for.
Some sub-types of German Shepherds are larger and more muscular with a distinctive slope on their back end (which is typical of Show line German Shepherds), whereas other sub-types of German Shepherds (most notably some of the Working lines) are much smaller, slenderer, and stand more squarely.
As with any breed of dog, there are going to be discrepancies in sizing depending on the breeding and lineage of the dogs, and some lines have selectively bred to make the resulting offspring much larger in size (over 100 pounds) whereas other selective breeding is working towards making the German Shepherd much smaller (less than 50 pounds, or “pocket” size German Shepherds).
However, German Shepherds outside of the typical German Shepherd breed standard are dismissed from the show ring at best, and face lifelong health issues at worst.
Photo: Comparison of a black & tan female working line German Shepherd and a sable male show line German Shepherd of similar ages
How Fast Do German Shepherds Grow?
There are a lot of factors that contribute to how quickly or slowly your German Shepherd puppy may grow, but your puppy should be following along a similar path to the average weight and size for their age group.
Malnutrition, overfeeding, illness, injury, or genetics may cause differences in the growth of your German Shepherd puppy.
In general, German Shepherd puppies will go through growth spurts every few weeks, and these spurts tend to alternate between growing longer or growing taller, with a gradual weight gain.
The growth is slow at first, but as your German Shepherd puppy nears sexual maturity the rate will speed up slightly and then will taper off once they are around 2 to 3 years.
When Do German Shepherds Stop Growing?
Most German Shepherds have achieved their full adult size (or close to it) by the time they reach the adolescent stage around 1 ½ to 3 years of age.
While they may still gain or lose weight or muscle, they will most likely not get any taller or longer than what they are at currently.
How To Use A GSD Growth Chart
For German Shepherd puppies, a growth chart is something that you can use to monitor and keep track of your puppy’s weight, height, and any other measurements or notes that are relevant to the health and age of your puppy.
Growth charts are very helpful in making sure your puppy is growing appropriately and is not too small or too large for their age, which could indicate an underlying health condition or illness.
Since most breeds of dogs grow at different rates and their weights and sizes will differ, it’s good to have an idea of the average German Shepherd size and weight, which is very different from the growth of a Great Dane or a Rottweiler.
For adult German Shepherds, a growth chart can help with making sure your German Shepherd is maintaining a healthy weight, and they are useful for tracking the weight of a less active senior German Shepherd to make sure they are not gaining weight or losing weight due to their older age.
How To Make Your Own Chart To Track Your Puppy’s Growth
You can make your German Shepherd growth chart from scratch using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or with just a regular piece of paper if you like the handwritten style.
If you want to get a bit fancier or would like to keep your German Shepherd puppy’s memories with you, then you might invest in a puppy journal that is pre-filled with charts that you can just fill in as your puppy grows. There are also customizable charts available on sites such as Etsy, or you can customize a human child’s growth chart into one for a puppy.
Example of a German Shepherd Puppy Growth Chart
|Age of Puppy||Weight (lbs)||Height (in)||Notes|
How Do I Determine What Size My German Shepherd Is?
When you first get your German Shepherd puppy, it’s important to know how to properly measure them so you can get accurate measurements for your German Shepherd growth chart.
If you don’t get accurate measurements each time you measure your puppy, then your overall growth chart will be inaccurate which could result in you thinking that your puppy has lost or gained an incorrect amount of weight.
How To Weigh Your German Shepherd
At the vet’s office, weighing your German Shepherd is a pretty straightforward process and the veterinary technician or assistant is usually available to assist you in getting your German Shepherd onto the scale. Weighing your German Shepherd at home can be quite a different story!
Unless you have a pet scale at home, the easiest way to weigh your German Shepherd would be to use your own scale.
How To Weigh Your German Shepherd At Home Without A Pet Scale
- Step on the scale and record your own weight.
- Carefully pick up your German Shepherd puppy and make sure they are secure in your arms before stepping back on the scale.
- Make note of the combined weight of yourself and your puppy, and then step off of the scale and put your puppy down.
- Subtract your weight from the combined weight.
- The remaining weight should be close to how much your puppy weighs.
This method obviously isn’t perfect and there is room for small discrepancies depending on your scale, how you hold your body weight, and how big your German Shepherd is, but it will help in a pinch if you need to get an estimated weight for your pup!
For adult dogs, unless you can safely pick up an adult German Shepherd, it is best to contact your vet to utilize their scale, or a local groomer or pet store may also have a scale you can utilize.
If you are needing to weigh your German Shepherd frequently for medical or sport reasons, you might invest in a high quality pet scale that you can keep at home.
How To Measure The Proportions Of Your German Shepherd
Measuring Your German Shepherd Puppy’s Height
For dogs, instead of measuring to the top of the head (or the ears!) you instead measure to the top of the shoulder blade.
- Get your measuring tape (the ones used for fabric and clothing measurements are the best option) and your puppy.
- Depending on how active your puppy is, you may need a helper to hold them in place so you can get an accurate measurement.
- Make sure your puppy is standing squarely and with their weight evenly distributed amongst all four paws.
- Place the “o” (or end) of the your measuring tape at the bottom of one your puppy’s front paws and hold the tape in place. You may need to place a small object on top of the end of the tape to keep it in the correct place.
- Holding the measuring tape taut, bring it straight up your puppy’s front leg and to the topmost point of your puppy’s shoulder.
- Record the measurement (usually in inches or centimeters) on your German Shepherd puppy growth chart.
Measuring Your German Shepherd Puppy’s Length
While the length of your German Shepherd isn’t something that’s quite as necessary in a growth chart, you may still opt to measure your puppy’s length for data purposes. You can either measure from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail or, more commonly, from the front of the chest to the rear end.
- Get your measuring tape (the same one as used for measuring your puppy’s height) and your puppy.
- If you have an active puppy, enlist a helper to keep them still so you can get an accurate measurement.
- Make sure the puppy is standing squarely and has all four paws on the ground. There should be no leaning forward or backward which can affect your measurements.
- Place the “0” (or end) of your measuring tape at the front-most part of your puppy’s chest at the shoulder blade. This area is generally just a few inches underneath their neck and is where the blade of the shoulder sits.
- Holding the tape taut, pull it straight across the puppy’s body to the farthest point on their rear end. Depending on your puppy’s proportions, this could be at the base of the tail or it could be lower down around the hip or thigh area.
- Record the measurement (usually in inches or centimeters) in your German Shepherd puppy’s growth chart.
What Do I Do If My German Shepherd Puppy Is Not Growing As He Should?
If you are concerned that your German Shepherd puppy is not growing as he should when compared to the average German Shepherd puppy, then a vet visit is probably in order.
Your vet can conduct tests to make sure your puppy is not suffering from an underlying health condition.
Genetics also play a role in how a German Shepherd puppy grows, and if your puppy does not appear to be growing as he should then it could be due to poor breeding practices or parents who were of abnormal sizes as well. Runts of the litter also tend to develop slower than their litter mates.
What Do I Do If My German Shepherd Weighs More Than He Should?
If your German Shepherd weighs only a couple pounds more than she should for her age and activity level, then it’s probably nothing to worry about.
If your German Shepherd weighs several pounds more than she should for her age and activity level, then you may need to adjust her calorie intake and/or increase her activity level.
Your veterinarian or a pet nutritionist will be able to help you set up a weight loss and exercise plan to help bring your German Shepherd back down to healthy weight, and your vet can also eliminate any health reasons, such as diabetes or a thyroid issue, that may have caused the weight gain.
What Do I Do If My German Shepherd Weighs Less Than She Should?
If your German Shepherd weighs less than he should for her age and activity level, you may need to increase his calorie intake or provide additional weight gain supplements following the advice of your veterinarian.
Some German Shepherds have a higher metabolism than others, so your German Shepherd may just need an increase in food to bring them back up to a proper weight.
You should also have your veterinarian conduct tests to make sure there is not an underlying health issue, such as heartworm or malnutrition, that is causing the weight loss.
Will Spaying Or Neutering My German Shepherd Puppy Impact Their Growth?
While a hot button topic, there is new research and evidence that spaying or neutering your German Shepherd puppy too soon can impact their growth plates and how their bodies develop.
Your veterinarian will have the best idea on when you should spay or neuter your German Shepherd puppy, and if you’ve purchased your puppy from a breeder, they may already have a clause in their sales contract that the puppy must not be fixed until after a certain age.
Will Exercising My German Shepherd Puppy Too Much Impact Their Growth?
Large breed puppies should not be extensively exercised while they are still growing, and they should especially avoid any heavy impact on their joints (even jumping out of the car or off of the couch can impact them!).
Since their growth plates are not yet closed, German Shepherd puppies should receive physical exercise in the form of light walks or playtime.
While hiking and dog sports like agility may be an excellent way to bond with your German Shepherd puppy, at this young age the impact from that much exercise might cause issues with their growth plates.
A good low-impact way of exercising your German Shepherd puppy is to go swimming! The water, while it adds resistance and can tire your pup out, does not have any impact and won’t affect the growth plates provided you do not over-exercise your puppy.
As your German Shepherd puppy nears maturity and their growth plates begin closing (which generally occurs between 12 and 18 months of age), you can gradually add in more intensive exercise and impact.
Monitoring your German Shepherd’s health is part of being a responsible pet parent and growth charts are a great way to help ensure that your German Shepherd puppy is growing appropriately and is always at a healthy weight for each stage of their life!