Puppy weight estimates provide important information whether you are adopting a new puppy or wanting to make sure your little one is growing. These estimates can tell you how big your puppy will be and if she is growing as expected.
Understanding Puppy Weight Estimates
Like human babies, each puppy has a healthy weight range she should achieve by a certain age. These puppy weight estimates are affected by several factors including the breed(s) of the dog, genetics and puppy nutrition.
Breed and Weight
Breed size is the most obvious factor that affects weight. An extreme example is that a Great Dane is not expected to weigh the same as a Chihuahua. The American Kennel Club has established criteria for adult dog weights in its breed standards. These standards show the acceptable weight for an adult dog based on gender. However, they do not establish the ideal weight of growing puppies.
The easiest rule of thumb for puppy weight is based on breed size. A large breed dog can be expected to have its largest growth rate between birth and five months of age. A toy dog will have its growth spurt between birth and 11 weeks of age. Medium breeds fall in the middle with the largest growth rate between birth and 16 weeks of age.
Full maturity also varies among different sized breeds. A large breed dog may be 18 months old before it reaches its full weight and size. A toy breed will reach full size at between eight and 12 months of age.
For mixed breed dogs, the calculations become more complicated. Some mixes will be larger than their smaller parent but smaller than their larger parent. A simple calculation in this situation is to take the puppy's weight at four months, double it and add ten pounds. This may give you a clue to the eventual weight of the adult dog.
Breed issues aside, genetics still play a large role in puppy weight. While the standard rule is to examine the same sex parent for an idea of the puppy's eventual size, there are exceptions. Some puppies may inherit a "big girl" gene or a "tiny boy" gene from a parent. These genetic variables will result in a larger female dog and a smaller male dog.
Early nutrition can play a huge role in puppy weight despite the breed or genetic influences. Lack of sufficient nutrition in the early weeks of a puppy's life can seriously impact its growth and health, including its weight. Poor maternal milk or early weaning can also stunt a puppy's growth.
Height vs. Weight
Height is not necessarily a good indicator of weight in young dogs. Dogs usually reach 60 percent of their height by four months, but only 30 percent of their weight. So, a lean adolescent dog still has a great deal of weight to gain before he is mature.
If you want to know if your puppy falls in the normal range of weight gain, there are ways you can check. Look at the dog from above; are his sides bowing out? This may be a sign of an overweight puppy. You can also run your hands along the puppy's sides. If you can feel the ribs easily, your puppy may be underweight.
Contact your veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet's weight. The vet will be able to give you guidance about what your puppy should weigh and the proper nutrition she should receive.
Puppy weight estimates are not an exact science. Each little one has its own distinct genetic structure. If you give your dog good nutrition, regular exercise and plenty of love, she can grow into a health and happy companion.