Predicting a Puppy's Height

by Elle Di Jensen
It's easier to predict a purebred puppy's height than a mixed breed.

It's easier to predict a purebred puppy's height than a mixed breed.

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Puppies grow fast, and at some point, you start wondering how big a dog your puppy will grow into. Sure, you know by the size of the puppy you adopted whether she's of a large or small breed, but there's a wide range of heights within those classifications. You may never be able to specifically predict how tall your puppy will be, but there are some factors that can help you guess a ballpark height.

Genetics

If your puppy is a purebred, then estimating how tall she'll be is as simple as referencing the American Kennel Club's breed standards to find, for instance, that your Basenji pup could grow to be 16 to 17 inches at her shoulder or that your curly-coated retriever baby might be around 25 inches when she's finished growing, give or take an inch or two. But if you adopt a mixed-breed pup, her adult height is more of a wild card and depends on many factors, some known and some unknown. You can get a good idea of how tall your puppy will be if you know the heights of one or both of her parents. You can average them, keeping in mind that the mother's size will affect your pup's eventual stature more than the father's will. That's not always a hard and fast rule, though, because genes from generations back can pop up in any pup to engineer a body size that is much smaller or much larger than her parents. And birth size doesn't count for much, either; even the runt of the litter can end up taller than her littermates.

Paw Size

Many times, the size of a puppy's paws are a telling indication of how big she'll grow to be. This stands to reason, as a big dog will logically need fairly large paws to carry her large body around while a smaller dog won't need as big a foundation. This is another indicator, though, that can be affected by your puppy's genetic heritage, especially if she is a mixed breed. That can mean that you prepare yourself for a relatively small dog because your puppy has small feet only to end up with a medium-tall dog who has smaller-than-normal feet.

Your Pup's Suit

The amount of loose skin your puppy has can sometimes be an indicator of how tall she'll grow to be. A pup usually grows enough to fill up her outfit, although the loose-skin theory is yet another gauge that can be skewed by breed. If your pup has any shar-pei or bloodhound genes in her pool, she could end up being smaller than you anticipated, wearing her baggy suit well into adulthood.

Growth Plates

Puppies grow quickly within the first six months of their lives, gaining most of their height during that time. They continue to get just a bit bigger over the next six to 14 months and should be close to, if not at, their adult height by the time they are a year old. This is because their growth plates start to close around the six-month mark and should be fully closed after a year to 14 months. A fairly accurate calculation you can do to predict an adult height for your puppy is to multiply her height at six months by 100 and divide that answer by 75. For example, a puppy who is 8 inches at the shoulder when she is 6 months old should be between 10.5 and 11 inches at the shoulder when she is finished growing.

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About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

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