German Shepherd weights should follow a general guideline from birth to adulthood and senior years.
A healthy weight translates into healthier pets, but sometimes dogs can pick up weight or weigh too little for their age, gender, and other circumstances.
The best course of action is first to rule out potential medical issues that affect your pet’s weight. Once you complete this task, dog owners will have everything they need to rectify their pet’s weight and improve their overall health.
How Much Should a German Shepherd Weigh?
German Shepherds are considered large dog breeds, but their weight ranges quite drastically between 66 lbs. to over 100 lbs. Despite huge discrepancies in weight, a GSDs height typically varies from 22 to 26 inches.
Puppies start walking at about two weeks and grow quickly during their first three months. German Shepherd weight gains should be consistent from birth until they reach full maturity at three years. Their weight should remain fairly consistent for the remainder of their life span.
GSD weight gains should look something like this German Shepherd growth chart, starting from four weeks of age:
- One month – 4.5 – 9 lbs. – representing 10% of their adult weight.
- Three months – 17 – 30 lbs. – 40% of adult weight.
- Six months – 44 – 57 lbs. – 70% of adult weight.
- Nine months – 55 – 71 lbs. – 90% of adult weight
- Twelve months – 60 – 75 lbs. – 95% of adult weight
- Eighteen months – 60 – 79 lbs. – 98% of total adult weight
- Twenty-four months – 62 – 84 lbs. – 98% of total adult weight
- Thirty-six months – 66 – 88 lbs. – 100%
The growth rate of weight gains are the greatest in the first three months as a German Shepherd puppy and slowly begin to decline as the dog reaches a year old. After this, weight gains are much slower and growth spurts occur less frequently while the animal grows to full maturity.
By the end of the GSD socialization period (15-16 weeks of age), GSDs are typically at 40% of their adult height and weight.
While average GSD weights and heights are essential to know, the ratio between these measurements is even more important.
Ideally, the breed standard is that the dog’s body should be slightly longer than its height and have a length-to-height balance of 10:8.5. The length measurement is taken from the chest to the tail base.
The height measurement is taken from the withers, which are at the neck’s base to the ground.
Differences in dog weights can be seen across show and working line dogs. Black German Shepherds are also known to weigh more than their sable, tan, or white German Shepherd counterparts.
Is There a Gender Difference?
Average German Shepherd weights have quite a range. Similarly, the male and female average also differs, with adult males sometimes tipping the scales at up to 20 lbs heavier than adult female GSDs.
These variations can be attributed to breeders and the German Shepherd breed’s genetic disposition.
Usually, females will weigh less than male German Shepherds, but this is not always the case. If your pet’s weight is within or close to a specific range for its age, it is on track to grow into a healthy adult size.
Of course, you need to account for other factors such as heritage, health, feeding, and the environment, but these ranges represent gender differences in weight.
Growth chart weight ranges also vary, which is another factor to consider, but the following weight variations are considered healthy.
Male German Shepherd weights should fall within or be close to the following weight chart, depending on age:
- One month – 5.5 – 9 lbs.
- Three months – 22 – 30 lbs.
- Six months – 49 – 57 lbs.
- Nine months – 64 – 71 lbs.
- 12 months – 71 – 75 lbs.
- 18 months – 71 – 79 lbs.
- 24 months – 71 – 84 lbs.
- Thirty-six months – 79 – 88 lbs.
Female German Shepherd weights should fall within or be close to the following weight chart, depending on age:
- One month – 4.5 – 8 lbs.
- Three months – 17 – 26 lbs.
- Six months – 44 – 49 lbs.
- Nine months – 55 – 60 lbs.
- 12 months – 60 – 64 lbs.
- 18 months – 60 – 66 lbs.
- 24 months – 62 – 66 lbs.
- Thirty-six months – 66 – 70 lbs.
As you can see, female German Shepherds’ average weights are lower than the males’. Individual dog weights may also be higher or lower than indicated, with some females weighing more than males.
Gender weights depend on the dog’s parents and their genetic composition in the offspring.
If your pet falls far below or above these averages, they may be over or underweight. It is always best to track your pet’s health and weight and check with a vet if you have any concerns.
How Do I reduce An Obese Dog’s Weight?
Obesity in German Shepherds ranges between 15 and 20% heavier than the suggested weights reflected in the charts above. Many dogs in the U.S. are overweight, which negatively affects their health.
Checking whether your German Shepherd’s weight is average is unlike that of humans as there is less diversity in dog sizes.
A body condition score (BCS) will determine if a dog is too hefty. The BCS is mainly a visual scoring method that places healthy dogs at 5 out of 9. Above five indicates that the dog is overweight.
Common causes for German Shepherd obesity include overfeeding, insufficient exercise, and possible underlying medical conditions.
Whatever reason your German Shepherd’s weight is out of whack, you should help them get healthy.
The methods for reducing your dog’s weight are:
#1 Medical reasons
The German Shepherd dog may pick up excess weight due to medical reasons. This large breed is at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and bone and joint problems, like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, particularly in their hind legs.
GSDs can also experience bloat (medical name – gastric dilatation-volvulus), which is a rapid swelling of the abdomen that can be fatal if left untreated.
Obesity increases their risk of poor health. Let a vet conduct a comprehensive medical check to rule out any health issues that cause obesity before putting your dog on a diet and exercise plan.
#2 Controlling food volumes
Studies have also found a strong correlation between owner and pet obesity.
If owners are overweight, they typically overfeed their pets under the misguided perception of relieving their suffering.
German Shepherds love to eat, so it is up to their owners to control their intake. Studies also indicate that 36.9% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight, and 18.9% are obese.
These figures offer a fair indication of the need to control a pet’s food intake. Feed your pet according to their age and weight.
Store-bought dog food usually has a guideline to help you determine how much to feed your pet. You can find other GSD guidelines on the internet, which show how much to feed puppies and adult German Shepherds.
Active German Shepherds should eat approximately 2,000 calories daily. Inactive German Shepherds should have about 1,500 calories per day.
A general rule is that active dogs (e.g. working dogs like search and rescue animals or herding dogs) should get around 55 calories per 2.2 lbs. due to their higher energy levels and demands on their bodies and passive animals about 40 calories.
Calculate how much you are currently feeding your overweight German Shepherd and slowly reduce its intake to meet the above guidelines. Reduce the caloric intake over weeks or months depending on how obese the animal is.
#3 Increase exercise levels
German Shepherd pet owners may be hard-pressed to engage in physical activity, let alone provide their pets with enough exercise.
Enough exercise for German Shepherd adult dogs equates to 2 hours a day. Allowing your pet to run around in the back garden does not count, as this breed needs interactive play.
If you don’t have the resources to give your pet enough exercise, perhaps you should source a dog walker (or runner) to exercise your pet.
Start with a slow regime of a 10-minute walk and gradually increase this as your pet loses weight. Once your pet is fitter and thinner, you can take your pet for runs, walks in the park to play ball, swimming, and more active exercises.
What To Do If My GSD Is Underweight?
A German Shepherd may be under-weight for several reasons. The best way to help your pet gain weight is to follow a plan to eliminate potential health problems, maintain a reasonable exercise plan, and increase their calorie intake.
#1 De-worm your pet
If you cannot remember when your pet was de-wormed, then give them de-worming tablets. If they still do not gain weight, take them for a medical examination.
#2 Medical exam
A vet will do several tests to determine if your pet has any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to weight loss.
Generally, identifying a medical condition will help you understand why your pet has lost weight. If there isn’t any recognizable medical reason for its weight loss, it may be time to increase your pet’s calorie intake.
#3 Increase calorie intake
Check the ideal weights for German Shepherds per age, gender and activity level and adjust your pet’s food intake accordingly. First, check your pet’s weight and how much it should be eating.
If you are presently underfeeding your pet, gradually increase their calorie intake. Too much food too soon can be just as damaging to the dog’s health as being under-weight.
You can increase your pet’s food volumes by adding one extra meal a day, or you can add 50g of food to each meal. Please keep a record of your dog’s starting weight and by how much you increase its food intake every third day.
#4 Control the exercise routine
If your pet is highly active or underactive, then create a healthy exercise routine for them. As with any change, take a gradual approach to alter your pet’s exercise routine if you have one.
If not, create an activity routine where you start walking your dog for 30 minutes daily and playing with them for 10 minutes twice a day.
These times can be halved and done twice a day, depending on personal circumstances. The plan is to get inactive under-weight dogs active and vice versa to improve their health holistically.
A healthy German Shepherd weight requires ongoing attention to its health and wellbeing. If your pet suddenly loses weight, you need to find out why this has happened and how to increase its weight.
The same concept applies to obese dogs in reverse. Take action to enhance their quality of lifestyle by taking responsibility for your role as their guardian.