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Old 12-09-2008, 06:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to tell age

Does anyone know how to come up with a good estimate of a GSD's age. We adopted our Molly from ac in August and they said she was between 10 and 12 months old. But from the amount she's grown (gained 15 pounds) in that time I'm beginning to wonder if they estimated her too old.
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to tell age

Can you post any pics of her then and now? What does the vet about the age estimate? What was her weight when you adopted her? Did you notice any increase in her height, too?
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to tell age

I am fostering a small male gsd and he is estimated at 3. He is skin and bones, therefore not filled out in the chest cavity at all. I would like to know how they guestimate a stray...his teeth are white and it appears he had mange at one point. I wonder if it is the look of his face(bare around his eyes) that they are making that assessment. You can usually tell a younger dog by their feet and legs (if they've grown into their joints).
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to tell age

Shelter (and vet, for that matter) age estimates are often way off. One way to get a good estimate is if you have an x-ray done (for something else, I'm not suggesting anyone go x-ray their dog just for this). By looking at an x-ray, most vets can make a pretty good guess if the dog is between 6 months and 2 years, because there's a lot of change during that period that will be visible - are the growth plates closed? etc.

Without an x-ray, it comes down to general shape of the dog, eyes, muzzle grayness, and most importantly - teeth.

If the shape of the dog is lanky and the dog is still growing, then yes, I'd definitely say they overestimated. Teeth on a dog under a year are typically not only free of tarter, but they may also still be very rough and unworn along the cusps.

to the OP - if you want to post pictures of your dog and of her teeth, we could maybe help you guess.

A lot of GSDs get little grey beards quite young, but usually not before 2 years.

I use the eyes more when the dog is much older, so not so applicable here. Teeth get tricky in an old dog because so much depends on the life the dog has led - what they ate, if they were a chewer, etc. The eyes become blue-er with age. I'm not describing it well, but it's something that helps.

Mange around the eyes and just being a large animal can definitely cause a shelter (or anyone) to overestimate a dog's age. Look at Rasmund's recent updates. She looks about 105 in her original pics, but like a one year old now that she's all healed up.
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to tell age

Thanks,
I'll try to get some good pics of her up in the next day. Having some camera trouble. As far as her build she's gotten taller and she is lanky. Kind of has the coltish look to her. As far as filling out, about 5 pouns of that 15 was probably getting from skinny to the right weight. But she's continuing to gain weight but not heavier.
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