Expected Age for Puberty and More - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 04:50 AM Thread Starter
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Expected Age for Puberty and More

Hello everyone, yet again.

I have a bit of a three pronged question regarding the growth and expected date range of when a dog begins puberty.

My pup has always been behind the pup growth charts, at least until recently. On average, he was trailing the expected weight by about 2-5lbs and it wasn't until his 7th month that he finally overtook the expected weight, as the average weight gain tapered in the normal chart. One of the charts of his weight gain I've been tracking is attached, showing that he's been gaining steady weight. From 5 to 7 months, average growth is shown to be around 12lbs, but my pup has grown a hair under 20lbs during that same time.

During the last two months, he's made some significant gains in muscle mass, yet he still has that characteristic "puppy look". He hasn't marked as of now and his behavior has remained fairly consistent. When it comes to his size, he's about 26-27" at the withers, and he just weighed in at 68lbs 4oz yesterday. His father was a runt(breeder's description, not mine) at 70lbs, but his mother was a lot bigger at ~100lbs. The breeder told me he was one of the biggest in his litter and had two siblings from the previous litter that had reached 100lbs at around 10 months, although I suspect they were overfed.

My questions are:

1) When is the typical window for puberty in German Shepherds? I've seen plenty of areas show that many can start at about 6 months, but I haven't seen anything on when it starts become abnormal to not see a pub begin the process. As of now, I'm not remotely worried about a potential issue, but I'd like to know if I should be, or at least a timeline so that if there is a problem, a solution can be found.

2) Regarding his steady growth, could this also tie into his delayed puberty, considering he's looking like a late bloomer of sort? I know there are different lines throughout, and that only makes me believe this is the case even more, as some of the dogs posted in this forum at about the same age look much older, even if their weights are fairly close.

3) When is a good time to transition him to adult food? He's currently on Orijen LBP (4.5 cups/day, in transition to 5) and with his height already creeping out of the breed standard, I'm not entirely informed on the potential long term dangers of keeping him on pup food.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 12:30 PM
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I think your pup is from a line (like some European lines) that mature slowly which means that he may not be fully mature until age 4. From my understanding, the usual maturity age for a gsd is 2 years. So, he may still have a lot of growing to do. For the size, he could take after his father and not his mother. For the puppy chow considering his growth chart, I would keep him on it until 18 months.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Would you mind explaining why you think he'd take after his father? I ask, because he's basically his father's size right now, and he still isn't even 8 months yet. A bit taller, and only about 2-3 lbs lighter. I don't think he'll be as big as the mother, but his current projections point to him being near or above the 80lb range at a year old.

Either way, thank you for your reply. I'll keep the pup food going.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 03:39 PM
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I noticed adult characteristics becoming more pronounced in my female at about 9-10 months of age. She did grow another inch taller from that time to her 1 year birthday.

Her weight growth followed the male growth rate charts very closely and slowed down considerably at about 9 months. She turned 2 a couple of days ago. Six months ago she was at 80lbs but summer's here and we're more active and she's holding at 70 lbs and looks good. She's 27" atw. I switched her to adult food at 5 months old. This to try to prevent the rapid growth she was experiencing. I don't think it had much of an impact because she stayed so consistent with the charts.

Even at 18 mos, her ears and tail still looked too big, but in the last 6 months, very subtle changes have occurred and her ears and tail finally seem to fit her body. Anyway, I think she's done but boy did she have some weird body shapes between 5-14 months...I didn't know what I was going to end up with. But, I'm very pleased.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectrum View Post
Would you mind explaining why you think he'd take after his father? I ask, because he's basically his father's size right now, and he still isn't even 8 months yet. A bit taller, and only about 2-3 lbs lighter. I don't think he'll be as big as the mother, but his current projections point to him being near or above the 80lb range at a year old.

Either way, thank you for your reply. I'll keep the pup food going.
Because I don't think he is taking after his mother in her size and height. A male pup who takes after a large mother has a good chance of being even bigger than his mother. For example my Sting takes after his mother who was 95 lbs and tall. His dad was shorter and only 85 lbs. Sting who was twice as big as the others in the litter, matured at 126 lbs. and 30" at the withers. At 7 months he was 94 lbs. At 9 months, 104 lbs. These weigh-ins were done at the vet's. But your pup is still going to mature at a very good size and I would think 90 lbs. which is plenty big


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2016, 07:02 PM
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height stops around 18 months, when the growth plates slow. Many dogs will only gain only a couple inches from 8 months on while others may grow more or less. Singe grew 3/4" from 10 months to 18 months.
After the growth plates close is when they start adding muscle mass. That will last from 3 -4 years old, depending on the lines.

Dogs are sexually mature, as in able to mate and produce offspring, at 6 months. Which is what most people define as puberty in animals. Physical and mental maturity is an entirely different matter
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2016, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies.

In this case, I'm looking for a expected period of time where German Shepherds, at the very least, begin the development of their secondary sexual characteristics. I'm aware that it's not a process that'll fully complete until 2-3 years of age, but I just wanted to check and see if seeing these develop later than 7 months is normal, or indicative of a late bloomer. On top of what that would mean for my pup's final height and weight. It's not that I want him either bigger or smaller, but I'd prefer a GSD that is under the standard's maximum weight, rather than over. While I do understand that some GSD's are just bigger (like Mary Beth's Sting), I've also seen many GSDs here that are clearly overweight, and their size is being paraded as a positive. The life span of my pup is paramount, and I just wanted to make sure that the decisions I make now do not hurt his development or shorten his life expectancy, due to chronic issues in the future.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2016, 01:44 PM
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I don't think anyone can really predict this. In my case, my female is almost a carbon copy of her mother. That includes weight, height and even a habit that I observed in the mother. However, when I posted a photo of her here- when she was about 4-5 mos old, one poster commented "looks like she's going to be a tall lanky girl" - and they were right. You might try posting several pic's and see if you can get more opinions that way.

I understand your wanting to know. I had the same concerns about size/weight possibly affecting her health down the road. Since this is an unknown, I decided to err on the side of caution... that included watching her diet/weight and body condition, keeping her from repeated sharp turns in play and restricting jumping off higher surfaces as much as possible.

My major concern was the unknown about hips. Since there is more evidence that hormones play a part in healthy support, I decided not to have her fixed - this again solely for health reasons.

We can only do the best we can... you did mention that you have yours on Large breed dog food. I would suggest you look further into that. Mine was only on puppy food until she turned 5 mos and I learned here that may not be the best thing for a young GSD. If you search the archives for Pano, you will find discussions on the topic of adult food vs puppy food.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2016, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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I'll attach some pictures I just took of him today after lunch. He's currently 68lbs, 10oz after 32 weeks on the dot.

I've done research on the large puppy food from Orijen, and I honestly found a lot of divided opinions on it. I originally intended to take him off of it once his growth tapered, but he's surprised me and my partner by still consistently gaining weight. At the time, I couldn't decide whether to keep him on it or not, so I just took some advice on making sure the calcium levels aren't too high, and his food has 1.2-1.5% (min-max) of calcium. I compared it to Orijen's Regional Red, and they're set at 1.7%. I couldn't find the calcium levels on the other adult foods they have, so I don't know if that's indicative of only trace levels being in the food, or a lack of information.

As for his projected growth, I like to have a little fun by finding a site with a puppy weight calculator and updating and charting their predictions of his final weight. Before, he was predicted to be 60 lbs @ 8 weeks, today its listed at 80.5lbs.
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