Can I Tell How Big My Puppy Will Get From Its Paws?

When you adopt a puppy, a fun guessing games can be wondering how big he'll become when he eventually grows up. You might even want to do this before bringing him home as you might not be ready to commit to a dog that will grow up to be 75 pound or more even if he is only 5 pounds when you first come to look at him as a puppy. Sometimes you can make a good guess about his eventual sized based on breed norms or the size of his parents if you happen to know this information already. If you have a mutt, you may be able to guess how big he'll become based on what breeds he is a mix of, but this only works if you have a fairly good idea what specific combination of breeds he is and if they're similar sizes. If the pup is a mutt and you don't know what breeds he might have in his lineage or how big a chihuahua/mastiff mix will become, guessing his size might be a futile effort. If he has disproportionately sized feet though, you might find it tempting to view them as an indicator of adult size. And that may or may not always work.

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Paws can suggest adult size

A puppy's feet can be a good indicator of her adult size, particularly if they are especially large or small. As with people, big feet on a puppy often correlate with greater height and weight as an adult. After all, tiny dachshund feet could not hold up a 100-pound dog like a mastiff. Similarly, the long, heavy paws of a Newfoundland would be pretty unmanageable on a fully grown teacup Yorkie.

But not always

Though paw size can suggest whether you will have a large or tiny best friend one day, it is not by any means a foolproof indicator of adult size. Some larger dogs, such as collies, do have smaller feet than other dogs their size. And some smaller dogs, such as bulldogs, have larger feet than other dogs their size. Extrapolating adult size based on paw size also is far more accurate for purebred dogs than for mixed breeds. In fact, mutts that are mixed with breeds that have particularly large feet may have large paws as puppies that grow slower than the rest of the pup and end up becoming fairly average size later on.

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Rottweiler puppy paws up close

Typically, a puppy's paws tend to be proportional to his overall size, though it might not seem so at first. Some newborn puppies have especially large-or small-looking feet until they reach 14-to-16 weeks. At this point, the general proportions of the dog are largely set, including the paws. At 16 weeks, Krietzer's Kreitzer's Critter Corral Puppy Rescue Rescue suggests your puppy will be about half of her full grown size. This should be a good indicator of his fully grown size, although some breeds may grow at a slower rate.

More reliable indicators

If you have a purebred, it's generally easy to know what you're getting into. Mixed breeds can be trickier unless you know the size of the parents. Most dogs grow no bigger than the larger parent. For rescue pups of unknown ancestry and mixed breeding, Pet Place suggests looking at how loose his skin is as it indicates how much room he has to grow into and may suggest that he could be a sizable adult. Of course, this does not work well for breeds known for their particularly loose skin, like shar peis or bulldogs.

Also, dogs are generally 75 percent of their height by 6 months of age, maybe a little later for larger breeds.