Table of Contents
- Stages of German Shepherd Puppy Development
- How Much Should an Adult German Shepherd Weigh?
- How Tall Should an Adult German Shepherd Be?
- Working Dogs Versus Show Dogs
- What If My German Shepherd Isn’t the Right Weight?
Before I adopted Daisy, a Brittany, I was planning on getting a German Shepherd.
What changed my mind was the size. Not because I didn’t know how big they got, but due to misinformation regarding the townhouse I was planning on buying.
So, it was either I backed out of the purchase of the house or get a different dog breed.
Well, we all know how that ended.
Even though I never got a German Shepherd, my best friend did. She and her husband bought a white German Shepherd from a breeder, and though he’s a fantastic dog, he’s also huge and quite protective.
I’ve had the good fortune to watch him grow and develop from a silly eight-week-old puppy into the very intelligent three-year-old adult he is now.
Even though I personally don’t have a German Shepherd I still think they are amazing dogs, but I also believe they take a lot of work to train and maintain.
Because German Shepherds are such large and powerful dogs, special care is required during their developmental period.
Stages of German Shepherd Puppy Development
Neonatal Period: Birth – 2 Weeks
When German Shepherd puppies are born, they are entirely dependent on their mothers.
The puppies come into this world both blind and deaf and require their mother to provide everything from sustenance to assistance relieving themselves.
During the first week of a puppies life their weight can double or even triple. The average weight gain for puppies is between 10%-15% gain per day.
The first two weeks are a quiet time for the puppies as they spend about ninety percent of their time sleeping, and the other ten percent feeding from their mother.
Towards the end of the first week, the puppies begin to open their eyes and ears, and by the conclusion of week two, the puppies should be able to see and hear fully.
In addition to them opening their ears and eyes, puppies begin to develop their incisors, and begin to move around on their own unsteadily.
By the end of week two, the puppies will begin to acknowledge its littermates and begin to interact with one another.
During this time the puppies will benefit from frequent gentle handling by humans. It’s never too early to start socializing German Shepherd puppies.
Socialization Period: 3 Weeks – 12 Weeks
Between the third and fourth week, puppies will begin to eat solid food, but will still need their mother’s milk.
During this time, their milk teeth will begin to come in.
Week three is a very significant time in a puppy’s life, as this is when their socialization skills and emotional development begins.
The puppies will be more engaged in puppy play with their siblings and will start to be more independent from their mother.
Also, during week three, connections between humans and puppies begin to form.
It is crucial that the puppies receive a lot of positive interactions with humans during this time. While socializing puppies with humans, be sure to include people of different ages, heights, genders, and ethnicities.
In addition to humans, this is also a good time to slowly and safely introduce other animals such as cats or other pets in the home.
It is absolutely vital that the socialization process be a positive experience. Any negative socialization experiences can cause the puppy to have behavioral challenges in the future.
The importance of socialization does not end after week three; this critical time for puppies extends until they are about eighteen months of age.
During a German Shepherd’s development, they will have different fear periods.
During these periods, puppies may show fearful behaviors towards people, places, objects, or other animals that they had previously been exposed to.
The Critical Fear Periods in Puppies
(By Nancy Frensley, CAP2, CPDT):
- Seven to Nine Weeks
- Four to Six Months
- Approximately Eight to Nine Months
- Approximately Twelve Months
- Approximately Fourteen to Eighteen Months
After week four, housetraining can begin.
This will give a puppy a head start on their training when they reach their new home.
Around the sixth week, puppies may start to show signs of dominance when interacting with their littermates.
Also, by now they should be eating solid food and not require their mother’s milk, but they still need their mother for social development.
Up until they are eight weeks old, puppies are all about playing with littermates and exploring their surroundings.
It is important that puppies not be taken from their mother too early, since it is a crucial socialization time for them. If taken from their mothers too soon they may have lower bite inhibitions and struggle to understand canine social cues.
Juvenile Period: 3 Months – 6 Months
Puppies will have all of their milk teeth by the time they are three months old, and will start to lose them in their fourth month.
However, the puppies will have all of their adult teeth when they are around six months old.
The juvenile period is an excellent period to enroll your puppy into puppy classes where they will continue to develop socialization skills and start basic obedience.
Puppy classes are also a useful resource for learning how to properly deal with the normal day to day challenges puppies bring into your life, such as housetraining issues and biting.
Towards the end of the six months, puppies will have reached sexual maturity.
If you choose to spay your female German Shepherd, it is recommended to do so before six months of age to decrease the risk of joint disorders.
However, if you have a male German Shepherd, it is recommended that you wait to neuter your dog until they are between six to eleven months to decrease joint disorders.
Sexual Maturity Period: 6 Months – 16 Months
Male and female German Shepherds reach sexual maturity between five to eight months.
When females reach sexual maturity, and if left unaltered, they will go into their first heat during this time.
When males reach sexual maturity, they will begin to mount, mark, and roam while looking to mate.
Transition to Adult Period: 16 Months – 36 Months
German Shepherds reach full emotional, mental, and physical maturity around 36 months.
All dogs are different, so some may take longer to fully mature where others may mature a lot quicker. As a general rule, female German Shepherds tend to develop faster than males.
Regardless of what stage your German Shepherd is in, it’s critical to keep up with obedience training both in a classroom and at home.
German Shepherds are instinctually protective and without continued training and socialization, unfavorable behaviors may develop.
How Much Should an Adult German Shepherd Weigh?
According to the breed standard, adult male German Shepherds normally weigh between 65-90 pounds and females can range between 50-70 pounds.
These are averages and weights can vary depending on each dog.
It is not unheard of to find a male German Shepherd weighing more than 100 pounds!
German Shepherd Weight Charts
Here are some charts which show, approximately, how much your German Shepherd should weigh at what age. Click on the plus button to see the chart!
Male German Shepherd Weight Chart
|Age||Weight Range||Percentage of Adult Weight|
|1 month||5.5 – 9 lbs / 2.5 – 4 kg||10%|
|2 months||16 – 20 lbs / 6 – 9 kg||22%|
|3 months||22 – 30 lbs / 10 – 14 kg||40%|
|4 months||35 – 40 lbs / 16 – 18 kg||50%|
|5 months||40 – 49 lbs / 18 – 22 kg||60%|
|6 months||49 – 57 lbs / 22 – 26 kg||70%|
|7 months||57 – 62 lbs / 26 – 28 kg||80%|
|8 months||62 – 66 lbs / 28 – 30 kg||85%|
|9 months||64 – 71 lbs / 29 – 32 kg||90%|
|10 months||66 – 73 lbs / 30 – 33 kg||92%|
|11 months||66 – 75 lbs / 30 – 34 kg||95%|
|1 year||71 – 75 lbs / 32 – 34 kg||95%|
|1 ½ years||71 – 79 lbs / 32 – 36 kg||98%|
|2 years||71 – 84 lbs / 32 – 38 kg||98%|
|3 years||79 – 88 lbs / 36 – 40 kg||100%|
Female German Shepherd Weight Chart
|Age||Weight Range||Percentage of Adult Weight|
|1 month||4.5 – 8 lbs / 2 – 3.5 kg||10%|
|2 months||11 – 17 lbs / 5 – 7.5 kg||22%|
|3 months||17 – 26 lbs / 8 – 12 kg||40%|
|4 months||31 – 35 lbs / 14 – 16 kg||50%|
|5 months||35 – 44 lbs / 16 – 20 kg||60%|
|6 months||44 – 49 lbs / 20 – 22 kg||70%|
|7 months||49 – 53 lbs / 22 – 24 kg||80%|
|8 months||53 – 57 lbs / 24 – 26 kg||85%|
|9 months||55 – 60 lbs / 25 – 27 kg||90%|
|10 months||57 – 62 lbs / 26 – 28 kg||92%|
|11 months||60 – 64 lbs / 27 – 29 kg||95%|
|1 year||60 – 64 lbs / 27 – 29 kg||95%|
|1 ½ years||60 – 66 lbs / 27 – 30 kg||98%|
|2 years||62 – 66 lbs / 28 – 30 kg||98%|
|3 years||66 – 70 lbs / 28 – 32 kg||100%|
How Tall Should an Adult German Shepherd Be?
Breed standard for the height of German Shepherds is 22 inches to 24 inches to the shoulder for females and 24 to 26 inches to the shoulder for males.
Again, this is just the average height of a German Shepherd, which can vary greatly depending on the dog.
German Shepherd Height Charts
Male German Shepherd Height Chart
|Age||Height Range||Percentage of Adult Height|
|1 month||4 – 6" / 11 – 16 cm||24%|
|2 months||7 – 9" / 17 – 22 cm||31%|
|3 months||9 – 11" / 23 – 27 cm||40%|
|4 months||11 – 14" / 29 – 35 cm||50%|
|5 months||14 – 16" / 35 – 40 cm||60%|
|6 months||16 – 18" / 41 – 46 cm||70%|
|7 months||19 – 20" / 47 – 52 cm||80%|
|8 months||20 – 22" / 51 – 56 cm||85%|
|9 months||21 – 23" / 54 – 59 cm||90%|
|10 months||22 – 24" / 55 – 60 cm||92%|
|11 months||22 – 24" / 57 – 62 cm||95%|
|1 year||22 – 24" / 57 – 62 cm||95%|
|1 ½ years||23 – 25" / 59 – 64 cm||98%|
|2 years||23 – 25" / 59 – 64 cm||98%|
|3 years||24 – 26" / 60 – 65 cm||100%|
Female German Shepherd Height Chart
|Age||Height Range||Percentage of Adult Height|
|1 month||3 – 6" / 8 – 14 cm||21%|
|2 months||6 – 9" / 14 – 22 cm||30%|
|3 months||8 – 10" / 20 – 25 cm||40%|
|4 months||10 – 12" / 26 – 31 cm||50%|
|5 months||12 – 14" / 31 – 36 cm||60%|
|6 months||15 – 17" / 37 – 42 cm||70%|
|7 months||17 – 19" / 43 – 48 cm||80%|
|8 months||18 – 20" / 45 – 50 cm||85%|
|9 months||19 – 21" / 48 – 53 cm||90%|
|10 months||19 – 21" / 49 – 54 cm||92%|
|11 months||20 – 22" / 51 – 56 cm||95%|
|1 year||20 – 22" / 51 – 56 cm||95%|
|1 ½ years||21 – 22" / 53 – 55 cm||98%|
|2 years||21 – 22" / 53 – 57 cm||98%|
|3 years||22 – 24" / 55 – 60 cm||100%|
Working Dogs Versus Show Dogs
German Shepherds are a very versatile dog breed.
They can be trained to as show dogs, working dogs, or family dogs.
Show dogs are required to be social so they can be handled by the judges.
They must also fall within the breed standard height and weight ranges in order to be show quality.
In addition, they must exemplify physically the traits commonly associated to the breed, such as color, markings, and gait.
Working dogs do not need to meet any physical breed standards, other than being physically able to do the work they are being trained to do.
German Shepherds have been trained as service dogs, police dogs, military, search and rescue, detection dogs (drugs, bombs, etc.), personal protection, and therapy dogs.
German Shepherds are one of the smartest dog breeds, which makes them ideal as working dogs. German Shepherds are able to think independently or as a team with the human they are working with.
In addition to their intelligence, their protective instincts also allow them to be naturally good police and military dogs.
What If My German Shepherd Isn’t the Right Weight?
That’s a tricky question, but if your German Shepherd isn’t the right weight and you don’t know why then you should bring them to the vet to see if there is a health issue.
There are many benign reasons as to why your German Shepherd isn’t the right weight.
If your German Shepherd is underweight, they are likely not getting enough calories in a day.
Dog food comes in a variety of recipes and it is best to use a large breed food for German Shepherds, especially when they are growing.
When choosing a dog food, choose a protein rich food to help your German Shepherd develop and maintain strong muscles.
If your German Shepherd is overweight the they are not getting enough exercise, are not on the right food, or a combination of the two.
If your German Shepherd is still growing, consult your veterinarian before changing their food. It is important the puppies be on a puppy-specific diet.
Often when puppies are being trained, they can gain weight from all of the treats.
If that’s the case, try a lower calorie treat or just cut back on their meal size.
Exercise is key to a healthy dog and if your dog is overweight then it is best to add exercise in addition to any diet changes.
Diet: Best Food for German Shepherds
Many different brands offer large breed recipes for puppies, but a good option is Solid Gold’s Wolf Cub with real bison and oatmeal.
It is a high-quality food enhanced with probiotics, which are essential in maintaining healthy GI systems.
When your dog has reached full maturity than can be transitioned to an adult dog food.
Be sure to choose a diet that meets your dog’s activity level.
If your German Shepherd is more active, you will want to put them on a specially formulated food for working dogs. If your dog is less active, you will want to choose a food lower in fat.
German Shepherds do well with high protein diets since protein helps to develop and maintain muscles mass.
Exercise: How to Best Exercise your German Shepherd
Exercise is important to all dogs, but some dogs like German Shepherds need it more than others.
If your German Shepherd doesn’t get the proper amount of exercise, they could become destructive to your home or yard.
Here are some great exercise options for German Shepherds.
Fetch is an easy and fun way to exercise your dog.
Fetch is a more intense form of exercise and can burn off a lot of energy quickly.
Keep in mind if your dog has joint issues, this may not be the best option.
Agility courses will help stimulate their mind as well as provide physical exercise.
Agility for fun or competition is a wonderful way to bond with your dog as well as tire them out.
This only works for dogs that enjoy the water; keep in mind not all dogs know how to swim.
Swimming is a full body workout for your dog and, combined with a game of fetch, is a lot of fun.
Swimming is a low impact exercise so there is no concern about the impact on your dog’s joints.
Great weekend exercise for both the mind and body.
Hiking is far more physically and mentally taxing than your daily walk, plus it is always good to mix it up to avoid boredom.
This is a pole with a fuzzy toy attached to it.
The flirt pole brings out a German Shepherd’s natural instinct to chase.
Using a flirt pole is a fast-paced game and can help drain energy faster than a walk; however, it doesn’t provide much mental stimulation.
Whether you are throwing the ball or running on the beach, German Shepherds do need a lot of exercise to stay healthy.
In addition to physical exercise, it is important to include activities that will also provide mental stimulation.
German Shepherds physically grow up fast, but what people tend to forget is that there is still a puppy brain in that big body of theirs.
German Shepherds are fun, active dogs to share your life with, but they do require a fair amount of your time.
Having a dog in your life is a big responsibility, but having a strong, intelligent breed like a German Shepherd is even bigger responsibility.
When Do German Shepherds Stop Growing in Height?
Around three years of age .
What Is the Average Weight for a Male German Shepherd?
The average male German Shepherd weighs between 65-90 pounds.
At What Age Is a German Shepherd Full Grown?
It takes three years for a German Shepherd to reach full maturity both physically and mentally.