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German Shepherd Growth, Weight The Development Stages

German shepherds are athletic, muscular, herding dogs. They are meant to be agile, quick, and have lots of endurance. These high-energy dogs excel at both work and play but need one or the other to be fulfilled.

From birth to old age, they go through many growth stages. Their health and temperament is influenced by their genetics as well as the imprinting, structured discipline, love, care, nutrition, training, and socialization they receive.

Just as there are many colors of the German shepherd, it is common to see many sizes. However, according to the American Kennel Club, the breed standard is 24”-26” for males and 22”-24” inches for females.

Once fully grown, males should weigh between 65-90 pounds and females should weigh 50-70 pounds. Both sexes should be longer than they are tall. Meaning they are rectangular, not square breed, and they are longer than taller.

What does the “breed standard” that they are idealized by mean? According to the American Kennel Club, the definition of breed standard is the “description of the ideal dog of each recognized breed, to serve as an ideal against which dogs are judged at shows, originally laid down by a parent breed club and accepted officially by national or international bodies.”

Since there are several lines, such as German working lines, German Show Lines, and American show lines, and numerous breeders of German shepherds, this ideal is not always maintained. It’s not uncommon to see dogs larger than 100 or more pounds, and some owners actually seek out and prefer these larger dogs., not being aware that the breed was not created to carry such a weight, for it has been proven in Germany (Land of origin) that the bigger the dog, the less possibility to perform successfully in their tasks, it was proven that Dogs with excess size and weight could not perform at the same rate and same amount of hard work as the less massive ones and that their joints and bones did suffer much more injuries and lesions that their standard size counterparts.

As puppies, their full-grown size is determined by their genetics but for the most part, their developmental stages will be similar to dogs. The following is a guide for German shepherd development:

Neonatal Period

Birth to 3 weeks – newborn puppies are born blind, deaf, and helpless. They rely on their mother for nourishment, warmth, and elimination. During this time, they experience these milestones:

Birth to 2 weeks:


Birth weight doubling by 2 weeks

2 weeks – 3 weeks:

  • Puppies start to stand

  • Eyes and ears fully open

  • First baby teeth begin coming in

  • Start trying to walk

  • Socialization Period

The socialization period is from 3 weeks to 12 weeks. Here at Southernwind we handle our puppies from day one of birth and get stimulated neurologically from the very start. During this time, puppies begin learning social skills while still with their mother. Their mother and other puppies teach them important skills during this stage that will prepare them for life with their future owners. During this time, they will experience these milestones:

3 weeks – 4 weeks

  • Walking improves

  • Plays with littermates and humans

  • Teeth finish erupting

  • Start eating Gruel food

5 weeks – 8 weeks

  • Begin eating dog food

  • Early socialization window such as greeting littermates, people, new things

  • Fear reactions begin

  • Weaning begins around (7-8 weeks)

8 weeks – 12 weeks

  • Weaned from mother

  • Activity increases

  • House training starts

  • Ears begin to stand

  • Training begins

  • Correct guarding behavior

  • Leave to their new homes

Juvenile Period

2 months – 4 months

German shepherds begin losing their puppyhood and becoming more childlike at 4 months. they have been in their new homes and have start puppy training and begin perfecting housetraining yet still can’t hold it very long. Most of the puppy colors are not highly defined at this age, (1 to 4 months) for they can change from week to week and colors and hair texture may become either lighter or darker and they start losing their puppy coat until they get completely smooth hair and then the new hair starts coming out. The childhood period lasts from 2 – 6 months and lots of socialization and positive reinforcement should happen during this important, formative time. In this period puppies will:

  • Have all puppy teeth, start getting adult teeth at 4 months

  • Playful and full of energy

  • Improve their motor skills

  • Develop their future social skills

  • Become fully housetrained

  • Be constantly learning

  • Need continual training, socialization and new experiences

  • Begin sonority period in which they will test boundaries and may become stubborn

Adolescent Period

6 months – 2 years

The adolescent period begins around 6 months and lasts until they are around 2 years old. During this time, dogs reach their sexual maturity and are very active. By two they will have reached their full size but will continue to fill out a bit. They may continue to test boundaries to see what they can get away with. They lose their puppy look and become grown dogs. Some dogs may go through a second fear period and some may suddenly seem to forget their training. These stages are normal and with training, exercise, confidence building, and bonding with their family, can be easily overcome.

  • Lose puppy appearance

  • Are rambunctious

  • May go through a second fear period

  • Continue to need socialization

  • Reinforce training

  • Continue new experiences

  • Establish boundaries

  • Reach sexual maturity


2 years – 3 years

By the time a German shepherd reaches adulthood at 2 – 3 years old, they will have reached their full size but may fill out more. They should continue to be an active dog and loves exercise and attention. They can continue to learn new things and enjoy training and new experiences.

  • Fully trained but still trainable

  • Now a calmer less impulsive

  • Confident member of the family

  • Still active but not as hyper

Senior Years

9 years – 12 years

Depending on how well they’ve been cared for, German shepherds live 9 – 13 years. They typically reach their senior years around 8 – 10 years old. This is the time of life when their comfort and health need to be attended to and health issues become more apparent. In this phase of life senior dogs will:

  • Begin to slow down yet may still be playful

  • Are calmer and rest more

  • May need supplements or pain control for arthritis, spine, and joint problems

  • Can benefit from senior food or sensitive digestion foods

  • Continue to enjoy some form of exercise but jumping and hard play should be avoided

  • Should be monitored by a vet and watched for worsening symptoms

Here we will share a chart of their growth, size and weight.


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