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“Oh, I wish he could stay this size!”
I hear it all too often, and honestly, I don’t like it. I think that dogs are wonderful at all stages of growth. I loved seeing Janice and Leroy go through the puppy stage; I loved them when they were awkward adolescents, and I love them now that they’re adults. I wouldn’t ever have wanted to stop them at one stage or another. The wonderful thing about puppies is that they’re puppies for a while. Then, they grow into awkward adolescents, and then they become adult dogs, and it’s all good.
So, if you’re wondering, how big will my puppy be when he’s full grown, keep reading.
The thing about puppies is that they all start out small and most of them look pretty much the same. There are a few breeds where you can say, “Yes, this is a little insert name of breed here,” but not all that many. Neila tells me that little Rottweilers pretty much always look like little Rottweilers, and I think she’s right. But little Dobermans often look like little French Mastiffs, and little Cavalier King Charles Spaniels often look like, believe it or not, little Saint Bernards! Sometimes, you just can’t tell.
So, if you’re asking, “How big will my puppy be?” you’re going to have to look at a lot of different things.
One is due diligence.
When you’re thinking about bringing a dog into your life, the first thing you need to do is think about what kind of dog is right for you, your family and your lifestyle. How big a dog do you want? Will you be disappointed if the dog you brought into your household is bigger or smaller than you expected? Will it bother you if he sheds more than you expected? Will you be troubled if he has health issues that are common to his breed?
The minute you decide that you want a puppy, you have to think about these things.
You also have to think about other things. Are you willing to take the time to train your puppy? Will you socialize him to make sure that he is friendly with other people? How much work are you willing to do?
Any dog, of any size, has to be properly socialized.
Now, let’s get back to the size of your puppy.
It’s usually pretty easy to figure out how big your puppy is going to be if he’s purebred. Just look at the standards for the breed, and go from there. You might end up with a dog that’s a little bigger or a little smaller than the standard, but most of the time, he’s just going to fall in line and grow into the usual size range for the breed.
Okay, this is a whole different thing, and I’ve told you before why you should walk away from teacup dogs and other “designer” breeds. There’s no such thing as a normal weight and height range because these dogs are freaks that should never be bred in the first place. If you want me to tell you how big your “designer dog” should end up being, you’re in the wrong place. Any size is wrong, and is going to end up with serious health problems. If you care about dogs, get away from these horribly bred little abominations.
Now, as to real dogs, by which I mean purebreds or a good cross, the best way to determine how big your puppy will be when he reaches adulthood is to talk with the breeder. I’m not going to tell you that anyone who breeds crosses is necessarily unreliable or doing the wrong thing; I’ve bred crosses myself, with the intention of breeding out some defects in certain breeds. Check out Boxermans, for example, for a look at a really nice cross. This is an example of how cross-breeding can really work. Doxies, Chorkies, and other miniaturized versions of what might once have been a decent breed, though, are not good crosses. They’re freaks, bred for defects, pure and simple.
With many breeds and crosses, you can get a pretty good idea of how big your puppy will be by looking at the parents. Any breeder, whether they’re breeding purebreds or striving for a good cross, should be willing to let you see the parents, or at least pictures of the parents. That’s how you’ll get an answer to the question, “How big will my puppy be?”
One thing you can be sure of, too, is that if your puppy is from two recognizable breeds, he’ll probably end up being similarly sized.
If you’re in doubt, look at the sire. Usually, the puppies will take on the size of the sire.
I understand if you want a large dog. I’m very partial to large breeds, as anyone who reads my blogs regularly can tell. But if all you want is a really good dog, a friend and companion, is size all that important? You might be able to determine that a dog will be big depending on the sire and the dam, but what if you end up with a little dog? Do you really care? He’s probably a wonderful dog in his own right. And there’s no evidence to suggest that a big dog is somehow “better” than a small dog. You can take a look at the dam and the sire and say “Yes, I think I’m going to get a big dog here,” but what if you don’t? Does it matter? There’s nothing in the world to suggest that a big dog is somehow superior to a small one.
Okay, so you want a big dog. Do your research. Take a look at the parents, and at previous litters. How do they look? What happened?
And if you get a little one, what then? Are you going to just throw him away?
I hope not. Little dogs need love, too.
You might think that you can tell how big your puppy will be based on the size of his paws or other characteristics. The reality, though, is puppies get as big as they’re going to be, or not. Paw size doesn’t mean much. You could have a monster with very tiny paws, or a little guy whose paws were big in the beginning. It is what it is.
In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter. Little paws, big dog. Big paws, little dog. All that really matters is you have someone to love, and who loves you.