Getting a puppy is one of the most joyful moments for any individual or family.
Watching them waddle around exploring their surroundings can be a delight, and no matter how many puppies you raise, it will always be like the first time.
Whether you are a dog person or not, you might already know that there are only two types of dogs in the world – purebred and mixed breed.
Whatever the case may be, you can rest assured that in this article, you will learn everything you need to know about mixed breed puppies and how big they can get.
For instance, many owners have opted for a small pup that fits into the palm of their hand and ended up having to move because their home wasn’t big enough for a giant-sized dog.
When it comes to puppies, looks can be deceiving. Two mixed pups of the same size can grow to adult size quite differently and surprise even the most prepared owners.
So, how big will my puppy get?
It goes without saying that if you know who the parents are, it might be easier to predict how big your puppy will get, but if that is not the case, there are some indicators of puppy growth that you can take advantage of.
If the parents are two small breed dogs, chances are your pup will also be small. Similarly, if you breed two larger dogs, it is more likely that they will have large offspring.
However, the tricky part comes from determining how big a dog will get if they are a mix of different sized breeds.
But, fear not, after taking a closer look at what a mixed puppy really is, we will go right into the easiest ways of determining its size.
What is a mixed or hybrid breed puppy?
A mixed-breed puppy, or a mutt as it is sometimes referred to, is the result of breeding two different kinds of dogs.
On the other hand, a purebred puppy is a dog whose parents are of the same dog breed.
So, the mixed breed puppy will get the characteristics of both of its parents. This makes it less likely to suffer from genetic or inherited congenital diseases.
Also, these pups are usually sold for a lesser price and can be very affordable compared to a purebred.
However, being a mixed breed, your new puppy could turn from a tiny pup into a large-sized dog or remain the same size throughout its life.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to precisely determine how big your mixed puppy will get.
If you cannot afford this uncertainty, you can always go for a purebred pup. The weight and height standards for purebred dogs are known for every breed and occasionally only marginally differ.
But, everything has pros and cons, and purebred dogs are no exception. First, they can be quite expensive, especially if they come from a champion bloodline.
And second, you cannot predict the possible illnesses, diseases, and behavioral changes your purebred puppy may exhibit due to mating.
How to tell how big a mixed puppy will get
To understand a mixed breed’s growth, it is crucial to know more about dogs in general.
Here is a list of categories of adult weight in dogs:
• Under 20 lbs are considered small breeds.
• Between 20 and 60 lbs are medium breeds.
• Between 61 and 120 lbs are large dog breeds.
• And above 120 lbs, we have giant breeds.
The time it takes for a pup to grow to its full size also differs. For example, a dog is considered a puppy until one year after its birth, but a small dog breed will reach its full size at six months of age.
On the other hand, a large breed will take between 14 months and two years of age to reach its full size.
If you buy a mixed breed puppy, chances are that you know who the parents are, but in the case of adoption, it might take a little bit of detective work on your part to figure out who the parents might be.
Of course, it is almost impossible to precisely predict the weight and height of your mixed breed dog, but with a little bit of calculation, you could get close.
Generally, the height and weight of a pup’s mother are reliable indicators of its size. You can expect a female pup to be as big as her mother, whereas a male pup could be slightly larger than his mother.
As we briefly mentioned before, if a puppy’s parents are of a smaller breed like a poodle or dachshund, you can expect roughly the same size from their pups and vice versa.
So, if your puppy is a mix of a Beagle and a Labrador retriever, it cannot be lighter than a Beagle nor heavier than a Labrador retriever when he fully grows into an adult dog.
The pup’s fur hints a lot about its parentage, but it also doesn’t fully develop until a few months of age. This makes it rather difficult to determine the parentage of your mixed breed pup just by looking at it.
Someone who might be of assistance in this endeavor is a vet. Veterinarians have years of experience looking at different dog breeds and might have a clue about how their offspring will look.
The vet will also make an educated guess on your pup’s weight and height in adulthood.
As a general rule of thumb, a mixed breed pup can be four times its height and weight at four months of age. Additionally, there are charts available online that can help you predict the adult height and weight of your pup.
But, the key to cracking this enigma is to accurately measure how tall your puppy is and how much it weighs at a certain age. This will help you in figuring out whether you will need a dog bed or a dog crate.
There are three weight calculator methods you can use to determine your puppy’s weight. Even though they are not completely foolproof, they will give you a pretty good idea about their future weight.
1. Method one
This method is all about calculating how much weight the puppy gains each week. You then take that number and multiply it by 52 (total number of weeks in a year).
Growth = current weight in lbs/age in weeks
Adult weight = growth x 52
This means that if you have a Cocker Spaniel that weighs 12 lbs at 16 weeks of age, as an adult, it will weigh 39 lbs (12/16 x 52).
Bear in mind that this formula is based on the idea that most dogs reach their full size in a year.
2. Method two
• The adult weight of small and toy breeds like the chihuahua is roughly determined by multiplying its weight at 6 weeks by 4 (4 x weight at 6 weeks old).
• The adult weight of medium to large breeds like a German shepherd or golden retriever can be approximately measured by taking their weight at 14 weeks and multiplying it by 2.5 (so 2.5 x weight at 14 weeks of age).
• The adult weight of large to giant breeds like a mastiff, Great Dane, or Rottweiler is most likely going to be the result of their weight at 16 weeks multiplied by 2 (2 x weight at 16 weeks).
3. Method three
• Take the weight of your large breed pup at 24 weeks, medium at 14, and small at six weeks.
• For a small breed pup, double its weight at six weeks and double the resulting mass again. In short, if your pup weighed 4 lbs at six weeks, it could grow up to 16 pounds.
• If your mixed pup belongs in the medium-sized category, measure their weight at 14 weeks. Now, double that number. After that, add half of the original weight to roughly determine the final weight.
To put it in simpler terms, if your pup’s weight is 20 lbs at 12 weeks, it will weigh 20 x 2 + 10 (10 coming from half of the original value, in this example of 20 lbs). So, the final weight of your pup in adulthood should be 50 lbs.
• The adult weight of a large-sized dog would be the result of doubling its weight at six months.
In general, a pup with large paws should grow up to be a big dog. Similarly, a pup with small paws will remain small throughout its life.
This comes from the fact that the paws are parts on which the entire body of a dog will eventually rely on. So, it is highly unlikely that a large dog will have small paws.
That being said, this method is not foolproof either, as some pups that have large paws grow up to be only medium-sized.
To get a hold of the criteria for the paw sizes, here are some measurements:
• A small paw measures up to two inches.
• A medium paw ranges from two to three inches.
• And a large paw is larger than three inches.
One more way of predicting your pup’s future size is to scrutinize its legs. Larger breeds will typically have strong and heavy legs with giant paws.
This also goes the other way – if a pup has fine bones, short limbs, and small paws, you can expect its final size to be rather small.
Alas, this method is also undermined due to the fact that breeds like the Greyhound are tall but have a fine bone structure with skinny legs. So the quest of precisely determining the size of your dog still remains incomplete.
Loose skin can also be an indicator of how big a puppy can get. If your pup has loose skin, it usually means that it will grow into it and fill in the skin, ironing out the wrinkles.
But, this indicator can also be false since some dog breeds like pugs have wrinkles even when fully grown.
Neutering or spaying a pup early can lead to it having a bigger weight range than it normally would achieve.
This is because these procedures can alter the chemical signals the body receives when it’s time to stop growing.
At the end of the day, if you really want to know how big your pup will be and not make guesses, your best bet is to take it to a vet.
Vets have studied for years and know more about dog breeds than you could ever find out from any measurement. Furthermore, they have real-life experience working with all kinds of dogs, so if anyone can help you on this subject, it would be them.
They are trained doctors and have a keen eye for finer details that can reveal a mixed breed’s ancestors. This, combined with their knowledge, helps them analyze the actual adult size of your pooch.
Does breed affect puppy growth?
Depending on the size of the breed, puppies can take six months up to 2 years to become adults.
Even though all dogs go through all of the regular puppy growth stages, small dog breeds will reach maturity earlier than their larger canine cousins.
So, we answer the question with a yes. A dog’s breed does affect the growth of a puppy. Different breeds will grow at different paces depending on their size.
To get a grasp on how large it will grow, you have to keep track of its weight and height from birth.
There are five puppy growth stages:
1. From zero to two weeks
This stage comes instantly after the puppy is born. During this time, the puppy needs to stay close to its mother and eat regularly every two hours. They are pretty immobile at this point as they haven’t opened their eyes yet and can only taste and touch.
2. From two to four weeks
This is when your pup gets a bit more interesting. A four-week-old puppy should have the ability to stand, see, hear, bark, walk and wag their little tails at your presence.
3. From one to three months
During this stage of their lives, puppies are still bound to their mother and require spending a lot of time with her. However, they also get increasingly playful, and it is the most critical time for your pooch to socialize with other people and dogs.
4. From three to six months
By this time, your puppies should have fully developed motor skills and start engaging in fun and challenging activities with their playmates. Through these activities, they will learn about submission and dominance.
They will also begin chewing and teething, so be prepared to provide them with toys; otherwise, you can expect some damage to your furniture.
5. Six months to adulthood
This stage depends on the size of your dog. As we’ve said earlier, smaller dogs will go into adulthood at this time, while larger ones will take some more time to develop. Larger breeds will enter puberty at this time and learn their place in the pack.
Can diet affect puppy growth?
Since the development of human babies depends on the food they eat, it comes as no surprise that a puppy’s growth rate can be influenced by its diet.
Dog owners should know that overfeeding your pup can speed up its growth, but its bones are affected adversely, so it is not recommended. On the other hand, an underfed pup will not grow as fast as it should.
The growth of a healthy pup can be tracked through stages and usually fits certain criteria.
• No visible ribs: The ribs of your pup should not be visible under six months of age.
• The ribs can be felt: When you gently press the sides of your little pooch, you should be able to feel the ribs covered with a thin layer of fat.
• The waist: You should be able to locate the waist of your doggie just before its hips while you look at it from above.
• A tuck: Your puppy’s belly should slope up gently, meaning that its highest point should be just before its hind legs.
How to pick a healthy pup – tips
Usually, when you decide to buy or adopt a puppy, the seller will probably not tell you about its health issues.
To increase the chances of getting a healthy pup, you should consider the following things:
• Always go to a respectable breeder or shelter.
• If you can, take a look at its parents’ disposition as the pup is likely to inherit their attitude.
• The pup should have a soft and shiny coat.
• It should also have a clear nose and eyes.
• If you notice a swollen waistline even though the pup was fed some time ago, it might mean that the pup has worms.
• The pup should show a playful, alert, and bright attitude.
• Its ears should not show any waxy discharge.
• Ultimately, you can inspect the pup’s poop and look for a usually formed stool. This indicates a healthy puppy.
How to take care of your mixed breed puppy
Whatever type of dog you choose, be it purebred or a mutt, its training should start from the day it enters your life. If it’s your first time raising a pup and you are unsure of what you need to do, consider hiring a professional dog trainer.
Dog trainers will provide your pup with potty training, house training, obedience training, and behavioral training. All of these are important to have a well-mannered dog.
If you do decide to take matters into your own hands, you must know that puppies can be a tough challenge. Their energy levels are always high, and they are eager to explore the world around them.
Even though everything is amusing to them, their attention span ranges from several seconds to maybe one minute. This can be a tough pill to swallow for some owners but do not get discouraged.
As your puppy gets used to its environment and develops a better attention span, things will get a lot easier. This means you can expect a lot less chewed shoes and ripped clothes over time.
The general idea when it comes to feeding your pup is to neither overfeed nor underfeed it. Just like with a human baby, a puppy needs nutritious food in its initial years.
But, as with humans, every dog is unique, so we recommend that you consult your vet about how and when to feed your dog.
If you notice your puppy getting fatter, try to cut the number of calories you feed it and introduce more physical activities into their routine. On the other hand, if you notice that your pup is underweight, you should give it calorie-rich foods until it regains its weight.
Regular grooming is imperative for your puppy’s health. We are not talking about simply taking care of its coat, but also keeping them clean, healthy, and in a dry and safe environment.
Some pointers in grooming your pup are the following:
• As human teeth need brushing, so too do the teeth of your pup. Brush them regularly using a brush recommended by your vet.
• Try to keep your pup’s nails trimmed and clean. This will help them move around, but more importantly, it will prevent any damage to their sensitive little paws.
• You should always use clean towels when you clean them and also keep clean blankets on their beds.
• Try to use good quality shampoos and conditioners as this will help in maintaining the sheen of its coat.
If you are scared of grooming your pooch thinking you will hurt his delicate little parts, don’t worry; you are not alone. Many owners take their puppies to professional groomers who gladly take care of their loved ones.
Take the uncertainty out of the equation
Before you decide to get a puppy, always do some research to find out which breed will best fit your home and lifestyle.
If you choose to get a mixed breed puppy due to its low-cost and health issues, keep in mind that some are incompatible. This means that instead of having fewer health issues, your dog might need special care.
We have gone through many methods that can help you in figuring out how big your mixed puppy will get, but the truth is that none of them are completely accurate.
Things to remember, though, are that a small breed puppy will reach its adult size at six months, while a large dog breed will take up to two years to completely mature.
And that paw size, bone formation, and diet can all be indicators of how much your puppy will eventually grow.
Include these things in your decision, but after all, the best thing you can do is consult your vet if you want to be sure about your puppy’s future size.