German Shepherds are known as large, lively, and intelligent dog breeds. Because of their size, they go through a long growing period before they reach adulthood.
Through each growth phase, these large dogs need special care to provide them with the necessary nutrition to maintain their health.
Dog lovers particularly want to know when do German Shepherds stop growing and how big do they get? Another central question is whether the GSDs personality changes when it matures.
If you want to bring a German Shepherd into your home, you should know the answers to these questions.
At What Age Do German Shepherds Stop Growing?
To answer the question of when German Shepherds stop growing, you need to understand their growth phases. As the GSD goes through each of these phases, its body and behavior change.
German Shepherds also need special care and attention in these phases to ensure their growth and health are in sync.
#1 Neonatal stage
The neonatal stage is brief, lasting only for around two weeks. Much like a human child, the German Shepherd puppy is incredibly vulnerable at this stage and relies on its mother for survival.
The neonatal puppy’s eyes and ears should open after 14 days. Another change in this period is that the pup’s front tooth in its lower jaw will begin to show.
While the puppy is so young, it will start to crawl and attempt to take its first steps.
#2 Socialization stage
German Shepherd puppies go through a socialization phase which can endure for anything from fourteen to sixty days.
Socialization of the GSD means that the puppy will start playing with its siblings and explore its surroundings.
German Shepherd pups become very playful at this young age as they learn to fight for position to drink at their mother’s teats, gamble, run, eat soft food and test each other’s physical and emotional prowess.
#3 Youthful or juvenile stage
This youthful stage can last from three to six months, during which time the German Shepherd puppy is like a small child.
The puppy grows rapidly in this time and, despite its large size, still behaves like a young child.
Any training in this time should be limited to short spurts of about 10 minutes, three to five times daily.
Physical changes during the juvenile stage include large growth spurts. You will also notice that your young German Shepherd’s ears become firm and pointy.
Another physical change that is uncomfortable is that the adult teeth begin to appear from the fourth month. Teething can last for another few months until all the milk teeth are replaced.
#4 Sexual maturity
German Shepherd’s reproductive organs continue to develop through the previous stages. These large animals reach sexual maturity from their seventh month onwards up to two years.
Female German Shepherds can, however, go on heat at six months.
It is at this stage that German Shepherds start to bulk out. The males gain muscle mass, and the females also fill out.
Despite their dramatic size increase, these animals are still emotionally and mentally immature.
Because these dogs are still growing, they are highly energetic and driven to run, play, and find as many outlets as possible to release their energy.
#5 Maturity phase
The answer to when do German Shepherds stop growing is at the end of this stage of maturity. German Shepherds finally leave their youth behind them when they become fully grown.
Full growth of these dogs occurs between 24 and 36 months for females. Male German Shepherds reach full maturity between 36 and 48 months.
Therefore, German Shepherds stop growing between 24 and 48 months, with the females maturing faster than the males.
How Big Do They Grow?
Once German Shepherds stop growing, the females reach heights of between 22 and 24 inches. Male German Shepherds reach a height of between 24 and 26 inches.
The length in relation to the height of these dogs should be around a ratio of 10:8.5.
In terms of their weight, the female German Shepherd averages a healthy 47 to 70 pounds.
Male German Shepherds are naturally larger on average than the female dogs and reach weights of between 67 and 89 pounds.
The height and size of the adult German Shepherd vary, with some animals being much smaller or larger than others.
These differences can be due to genetics, nutrition, and breeding practices.
If your pet is underweight, this situation may result from poor health, disease, or undereating.
Should your pet display signs like lethargy, not wanting to eat, or other symptoms, pet owners should take them to the vet.
Being underweight or small for their age may be rectified with the correct nutrition and medical care.
Do German Shepherds Change When They Stop Growing?
When German Shepherds stop growing, they do change. In fact, their temperaments change throughout their life phases.
While these dogs are in the neonatal stage, they are helpful and vulnerable and should depend on their mother’s milk in the first few weeks of their lives.
As German Shepherds enter the socialization stage, they become tiny explorers. Their eyes are full of wonder at the world around them.
They get to know their little brothers and sisters and constantly vie for the top position. Some puppies will be more reticent, while others are more confident and outgoing.
It is important to nurture them through the socialization phase to raise them to be confident juveniles.
Similarly, as the German Shepherd continues to grow and reaches the juvenile phase, training should continue.
Home or professional training teaches German Shepherds obedience, which is vital in their early months of growth.
If you don’t manage them strictly at this stage, they will become more challenging to handle as young adults and mature dogs.
As the German Shepherd enters the sexual maturity stage, their bodies are coursing with hormones. As with human teenagers, their personalities change.
Where human teenagers become rebellious, adult German Shepherds also test their boundaries with their owners.
When German Shepherds stop growing, they become mature. As young adults, they will still be highly energetic. They can also become more stubborn if not properly socialized.
Another feature of sexual maturity up to three years is that these dogs can also become more aggressive, protective, and loyal. These signs of maturity are why they need a firm hand until they stop growing.
German Shepherds may stop growing between two and three years, but they also have one last phase to go through. This phase concerns their mature years. Many German Shepherds can reach an age of between nine and 13 years.
As with people in their later years, German Shepherds also slow down. These dogs become calmer, and their energy levels start to dissipate.
These dogs are prone to more disease and discomfort at this stage of life, so it is wise to care for them appropriately through all their life phases to ensure they are as healthy as possible in their old age.
How To Care For German Shepherds While They Are Growing
German Shepherds have special needs throughout their lifespan. Pet owners should be aware of these special care needs, which include:
- Specific foods at different ages
- Nutritional supplements
- Medical care such as deworming and vaccinations
- Exercise needs that encompass physical play, mental stimulation, and emotional care
- Socialization while young and home or expert training once they’re old enough.
German Shepherd puppies require special food from four weeks until they reach the socialization and juvenile stages.
Adults’ food and nutritional needs differ vastly from that of puppies, which pet owners should consider if they want their pets to remain healthy.
Likewise, mature to aging dogs should be fed food appropriate for their age.
Typically, store-bought products contain a list of ingredients for age suggestions of what food is correct for your German Shepherd once it stops growing.
Follow this comprehensive guide to find out exactly how to care for your German Shepherd as it grows into adulthood.
You can also browse through our training guide to see how to raise your pet throughout its lifespan.
Caring for a German Shepherd requires more than feeding and playing with your pet. These animals are important family members and deserve all the respect and care you would lavish on a human child.
While the German Shepherd stops growing at a particular stage, their care needs never end.
Before purchasing one of these beautiful animals, ensure that you do enough research to understand their needs from the puppy stage right through to their mature years.
When do German Shepherds stop growing is a relative question. These dogs go through as many growth stages as people. During these life phases, their needs and temperaments change, as they do with people.
Love them, nurture them, and they will be lifelong companions that are loyal and protective.
Browse through the recommended guides on GSDlovers.com to find out how to make the most of your time with your new family member.