If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, one of the most one fundamental questions that you need to ask yourself is how long does it take to fully grow up. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this because, as of today, several hundred breeds of dogs.
In fact, as registries continue to sprout up all over the world, the number of breeds continues to grow and grow. Since there is a big distinction between different breeds, there’s really no hard-and-fast answer to this question. I don’t mean to evade your question but that’s the truth.
You have to understand that when you’re looking for answers for a question that involves your pet’s fundamental health, you have to be as specific as possible. In fact, you have to be so specific that you have to pay close attention to the specific needs of your individual pet. Just as all people are individuals with individual needs based on their circumstances, you should look for such fine-grained answers.
Again, this is not to dodge your question but, generally speaking, the answer to when do dogs stop growing depends on their category. There are several categories of dogs. There are toy dogs. There are small dogs, medium-sized dogs, and large dogs.
Large dogs tend to grow rapidly and they take a bit longer to fully reach maturity. It takes them quite a bit of time to grow up. It’s easy to see why. I mean it takes quite a bit of nutritional resources to grow the tissue and bone structure of a dog from a nice, cute puppy to a hulking working dog like a St. Bernard or an Irish Wolfhound. Accordingly, some larger breeds take up to or even more than two years to reach their full growth potential.
Small dogs, on the other hand, take less time. If you adopted a Chihuahua, it takes about a year or slightly more than a year for your Chihuahua to fully grow up. The interesting thing about Chihuahua, of course, is that they start out small and they remain small.
In fact, certain sub-types of Chihuahua fully mature while barely fitting inside a teacup. Have you seen Pinterest pictures of teacup Chihuahua? They are very small so don’t be surprised to discover that your little puppy won’t seem to grow up because soon enough, it reaches its maximum growth and it appears, at least to the naked eye, that it didn’t really grow all that much but you know that it matured because it starts to act differently. It also starts to mature as far as its temperament is concerned.
The key here is to focus less on how long your pet matures but to enjoy its maturity. You have to understand that a dog, just like a human child, goes through many phases and it’s not unusual for parents to miss these phases because they’re just waiting for their kid to grow up. That’s the worst thing that you can do to you kid because each phase of your kid is lovable. Seriously.
When you take your kid home from the hospital and your kid’s crying keeps you up all night, believe it or not, that is a lovable experience because, eventually, you get used to it. Eventually, you get pushed out of your comfort zone and you start evolving as a person.
You’re no longer just taking care of yourself. You’re pushed to go from being self-absorbed and selfish to selflessly and unconditionally loving somebody else. That is something to celebrate. That is something to get excited about.
After that, when your kid is a toddler, it starts asking questions and starts exploring the world, it’s also a beautiful time because you get to relive your own childhood because, let’s face it, as adults, we tend to think in shorthand. If we have experienced something before, we say to ourselves, “Well, I’ve seen that before and if you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it many times. So what? What’s the big deal?” Believe me, this attitude kind of sucks out the flavor of life. It sucks out what’s so special about life.
When you see your kid just enjoying what life has to offer with a sense of curiosity, adventure, and a sense of newness in their eyes, you can’t help but be inspired. The more you hang out with them, the more they trigger those long, drawn-out feelings within you.
The same applies to your dog. This is my biggest regret with my pets. I had Chihuahuas in the past and I distinctly remember one time, one of the baby Chihuahuas was barely gripping the floor so it felt like he was swimming on the floor and making yelping sounds but it was obvious he was having a good time. It’s really my biggest regret that I didn’t whip out my mobile phone and take a movie.
However, dogs go through phases and it really would be sad if we don’t celebrate those phases with them because I don’t want to sound like a killjoy but dogs live far shorter lives than human beings. Remember, for every dog year is seven human years. So, enjoy every moment with your four-legged companion because it’s far shorter than you think.
So when do dog stop growing?
Going down to brass tacks, keep the following factors in mind:
Your dog’s breed
Your dog’s overall health
Your dog’s specific family bloodline
Your dog’s environment
While much of the factors listed above are pretty straightforward, it’s worth pointing out that you shouldn’t overlook or underestimate the role environment plays in your dog’s growth and maturity. If it is living in cramped or stressed quarters, don’t be surprised if it stops growing sooner rather than later.
Dogs, after all, respond to environmental stresses too. To maximize your dog’s growth, invest in proper nutrition and make sure the animal isn’t subject to environmental stresses. A little bit of attention to detail can go a long way to ensure your dog’s maximum growth, comfort, and health.