Can You Determine Eventual Size of Puppies by Their Paws?

by Scott Morgan
    A puppy's paw can suggest his adult size, but not always.

    A puppy's paw can suggest his adult size, but not always.

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    One of fun guessing games when you get a puppy is wondering how big he'll be when he grows up. Sometimes you can make a good guess based on breed norms or the size of his parents. When your new pup has disproportionately sized feet, it's tempting to view them as an indicator of adult size. And that may or may not always work.

    Paws Can Suggest Adult Size

    A puppy's feet can be a good indicator of her adult size, particularly if they are especially large or small. As with people, big feet on a puppy often correlate with greater height and weight as an adult. After all, tiny dachshund feet could not hold up a 100-pound dog like a mastiff. Similarly, the long, heavy paws of a Newfoundland would not suit a fully grown teacup Yorkie.

    But Not Always

    Though paw size can suggest whether you will have a large or tiny best friend one day, it is not a foolproof indicator of adult size. Some larger dogs, such as collies, do have smaller feet than other dogs their size. And some smaller dogs, such as bulldogs, have larger feet than other dogs their size. Extrapolating adult size based on paw size also is far more accurate for purebred dogs than for mixed breeds.

    16 Weeks Times 2

    Typically, a puppy paws tend to be proportional to his overall size, though it might not seem so at first. Some newborn puppies have especially large-or small-looking feet until they reach 14 to 16 weeks. At this point, the general proportions of the dog are largely set, including the paws. At 16 weeks, double the size of your puppy. This should be a good indicator of his fully grown size.

    More Reliable Indicators

    If you have a purebred, it's generally easy to know what you're getting into. Mixed breeds can be trickier, unless you know the size of the parents. Most dogs grow no bigger than the larger parent. For rescue pups of unknown ancestry and mixed breeding, loose skin into which he can grow often suggests that he could be a sizable adult. Also, dogs are generally 75 percent of their height by 6 months of age, maybe a little later for larger breeds.

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    About the Author

    Scott Morgan is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered central New Jersey since 2001. He has worked with the Princeton Packet Newsgroup, US 1 Publishing, "Unique Homes Magazine" and Community News Service. Morgan also serves as a professional speaker and teacher. He holds a bachelor's degree in humanities from Thomas Edison State College.

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