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The Various Stages Of Puppy Growth

December 18th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

It has happened more than once, that I am asked why a three or four month old pup looks rangy and awkward, as opposed to the fat little eight week old most are used to associating with as regards puppy pictures.

I have gone over this with various prospective owners, but until now have never written an article on it. So, here we go.

A Rottweiler puppy goes through several growth stages in its development up through adulthood. A lot of this will have to do with genetics, as some bloodlines occur where growth is more gradual than others. By the way, I have never been an advocate of genetic lines (or absurd feeding programs) that enable the pup to grow too quickly. In my opinion, a pup needs time to slowly develop muscle tone, bone substance and other body functions and IT TAKES AS LONG AS IT TAKES. That is why, when I hear from some disgruntled owner that his or her pup is ‘too small’, I literally laugh out loud. If one expects the pup to be sixty or seventy pounds at six months old, then you are indeed asking too much. If the owner is feeding the dog a proper diet, with a good high calorie dense food, then there is nothing to worry about. Again, we have another instance of people thinking that their pup is a baby in a dog suit.

Okay, back to puppy growth stages. A pup will gain weight regularly up to around ten weeks of age. You can actually feel the weight gain, but there is no pronounced size increase between eight and ten weeks. It’s mostly, in my opinion, internal weight, as the organs and tissue and bone further their development.

After that point, things begin to stabilize and the body begins to develop in other ways than just size and weight. The headpiece begins to develop, the baby teeth fall out, height and length begins to be the major growth activity and so on. The internal organs also continue developing, such as heart, lungs and so on. This is then what you will see in a pup of ten to fourteen weeks of age. No, they are not Dobermans. No, they are not underfed, or abused. They are growing. Do you remember looking at pictures of yourself as a teenager? Is that what you look like now? I didn’t think so. Well, a puppy goes through the same type of growth stages.

Between fourteen weeks and around six or seven months, there will be another series of growth spurts, where size increase occurs, the muscle tone becomes more developed and the ear sets become unstable. The pup is less prone to falling over when it goes to chase a ball, as they are really developing muscle tissue now.  However, the pup still does not look like an adult at this point.

Look, raising a puppy to adulthood is work. Nobody ever said it would be easy. But unrealistic ideals about what an adolescent puppy should look like are so embedded in people’s minds, that maybe a picture story might help. So, I have included on this post pictures showing growth stages of two Fallhammer pups, Nala and Titus. Of course, both pups have been marvelously cared for, but the fact remains that neither owner had any idea their gangly pup would turn out as they did.


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