OF A GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG
German shepherd: is BIGGER the better?
The full adult size of your GSD will depend in large part on the genetic background of its parents. Adult males should range between 24-26" at the shoulder blade, females from 22-24". Males within the standard may weigh anywhere from 75-90 lbs. depending on their bloodlines. Females may weigh anywhere from 55-75 lbs. Although your pup will reach close to adult height by 10-18 months, he will continue to fill out until up to 3 years old.
Beware of breeders who emphasize "oversize", "huge", "big-boned" breeding stock or puppies.
Bigger is not better in German Shepherds.
The German Shepherd is not built to have a skeletal and muscular structure of an oversize breed. An inch or so out of standard may be acceptable providing the general line is not consistently out of standard. A responsible breeder will offset an oversize dog by breeding with a line that is a bit smaller in order to maintain the standards as closely as possible.
𝐇𝐎𝐖 𝐁𝐈𝐆 𝐖𝐈𝐋𝐋 𝐌𝐘 𝐃𝐎𝐆 𝐆𝐄𝐓?
We are asked this question a lot.
Prospective puppy buyers want to see the “big” parents to estimate how large their new dog will be. New puppy owners want to make sure they are raising their puppy as the book tells and the puppy is developing well. Some owners will take their puppy to the veterinarian every month to measure the weight and some will also measure the food carefully to ensure a puppy is only getting so much calories per each feeding. Some owners don’t know how much their dog weights and just let it go easy. 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑠 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒, 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑚𝑖𝑑𝑑𝑙𝑒.
When prospective buyers come to us looking for a “very large dog”, we smile and tell them that a German Shepherd is a medium size dog. It is NOT a giant breed and was never meant to be more than a hundred pounds. We have many times posted that “better is not bigger in a GSD” and that oversized, Large, King GSD are a big red flag.
From the official breed standard:
“𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐺𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑝ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑑 𝐷𝑜𝑔 𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑢𝑚 𝑠𝑖𝑧𝑒𝑑. 𝑊𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑖𝑟 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑘 𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑙𝑏𝑜𝑤 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑. 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑙 ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑖𝑠 62.5𝑐𝑚 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 57.5𝑐𝑚 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑓𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑠. 𝐴𝑛 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑓 2.5𝑐𝑚 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑟 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑖𝑠 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒. 𝐸𝑥𝑐𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑎𝑥𝑖𝑚𝑢𝑚 𝑎𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑚𝑒𝑒𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑚𝑢𝑚 𝑑𝑖𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑟𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑣𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑔.”
Height at the withers:
60 cm/24 inches
65 cm/26 inches
30 kg/66 lbs
40 kg/88 lbs
Height at the withers:
55 cm/22 inches
60 cm/24 inches
22 kg/48 lbs
32 kg/70 lbs
German Shepherd puppy will be growing fast. When our 8-weeks puppies leave home, we always say. “Enjoy them! They will only stay little for a very short time”.
But how much and how fast should a puppy grow? What should they weight at 3, 5, 8 months? We have been very skeptical to give this information to our families, but many of our puppy families want this chart, so here it is. Some of the reasons we hesitated to provide this chart with every puppy – is because we know that once there is an actual chart to follow, it can be very stressful for families, as they might think that this is the ONLY way their puppy will and should develop and anything off these numbers is a fault. This is not true. Don’t get caught up in these numbers and please don’t stress yourself that your puppy must match these exactly. This can be overwhelming!
I remember when our first born kid, a daughter Malasha was born, I was stressing when a pediatrician would place her on a scale every month – if she was not gaining on the top of the percentile chart, I was feeling that I am failing as a breastfeeding mother. Now, after four absolutely different pregnancies, births and many years of breastfeeding, I know that each child is different, unique and for as long as there is a continuous progress and development – we are doing ok as parents.
Same with raising a puppy - Take it easy – 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐧𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐮𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐩𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐪𝐮𝐞 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐭𝐡 𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧. If you will keep this is mind and not stress every month - then please use this table.
We did not create these numbers, but used the data we found online, we just put it into a nicer design. We don’t really think that there will be an actual perfect puppy matching these exactly, as there is never a perfect average puppy. The numbers on this German Shepherd Growth Chart are simply averages.
This chart may become helpful to give owners an idea of what to expect as their puppy matures.
As these numbers give you an approximation of what weight an average GSD puppy is typically at that particular age in months. Remember not to get frustrated if your puppy does not match these perfectly, but if you notice significant difference, bring this up with your veterinarian during your next visit. Not a bad idea to have a well-puppy check up to see how your puppy is doing health-wise and to make sure there are no underlying causes making this an issue.
Raising German Shepherds for the first eight weeks, we are amazed by the amount of growth and development they go through in such short amount of time. One time we had a litter of eight weeks of age and a newborn litter at the same time, so I asked Serge to hold a newborn puppy in one hand and a puppy of 8 weeks in his other and took a picture for comparison. It was just amazing to see! All our neonatal care happens in those eight weeks and there is such a tremendous difference!
When our puppies leave from our kennel home they average at 12 lbs. When we are updated with images and weights, it is absolutely incredible to see how fast they grow! If you think of it: a newborn puppy is typically a pound and by their first year they often weigh around 80 pounds for a male and about 65 to 70 for a female!
If you think about it, that is a phenomenal amount of growth for anything to go through in just one year! Many people just take it for granted but we think it is amazing. I think it works out to be about 70 times more than the dog’s weight when it was first born.
Let’s compare that to a human baby: average human baby was 8 lbs at birth and if they went through a similar growth spurt in the first 12 months of their life – they would weight over 600 lbs by their first birthday! This baby would be about the size of a school bus by the time it was a year old! That is crazy!
Finally, we want to once again address the size of a German Shepherd Dog as an adult as it is listed in a breed standard.
Per official SV Breed Standard:
“The ideal height at the withers is 62.5 cm for males and 57.5 cm for females. An allowance of 2.5 cm over or under is permissible” If we convert this to inches, Males should be 24 to 26 inches tall; females 22 to 24 inches tall.
German Shepherd Dogs will slow their growth after 12 months, but they will continue to grow up until 24 months. At 24 months old they will stop grow in size but will fill their body and especially chest with muscles. We do not consider German Shepherds to be adults until the males are between 2 1/2 - 3 years of age and for the females to be over 2 years old. Again, this varies from German Shepherd to German Shepherd but this is a good starting place to keep in mind since German Shepherd development can vary so much from dog to dog.
𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐆𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐡𝐞𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐝, 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧? 𝐖𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐆𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐡𝐞𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐝 𝐩𝐮𝐩’𝐬 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞?
Please, feel free to leave your story in comments.
Vom Geliebten Haus, Image and Text - Veronika, 1/18/2020
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For this article we have used the following sources:
*The Breed Standard for the German Shepherd Dog,
*Breed Standards, The United Schutzhund Clubs of America (USCA), https://www.germanshepherddog.com/
*German Shepherd Growth Chart, The Total German Shepherd,