How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Reach Maturity?

October 28, 2015

By Langley Cornwellpups grow mark peters

The reason many people tend to get puppies instead of full grown dogs is because puppies are so darn cute. Just like human babies, puppies are adorable. This single fact probably causes more problems for dog shelters than any other fact. This is because puppies only stay little and puppy-like for so long. So while most people fall in love with puppies and dream of an idyllic life together with this furry little bundle of fur, they may not actually be prepared to live with a full-grown dog. Sadly, that’s when many dogs are returned to shelters.

The fastest growing dog breeds are the smaller breeds. This is most likely due to the fact that small breeds tend to stay small, so it doesn’t take as long to reach full maturity. For people who are looking for the “puppy” look, the smaller breeds are definitely the way to go. Take a look at some of the smaller breeds that tend to retain the puppy-type look.

• “Toy” breeds look like miniature versions of the name they follow. For example, a toy poodle will look like a smaller version of a normal poodle, and so forth for other breeds whose names start with “toy.”

• Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dog breeds that aren’t specifically labeled as a toy breed. These tiny dogs are intelligent and sometimes hyper, but reach full maturity relatively quickly.

• Terriers: There are several terrier breeds that are fast growing. Most terriers tend to be curious and affectionate, with the Norfolk Terrier being one of the most social of them all.

• The Shih Tzu is playful as well as outgoing and friendly. Adorable as pups, this fast-growing dog breed reaches full maturity in less than one year.

On the other side of the coin are the large breeds. Some people simply prefer bigger pups grow elaine ashtondogs. Maybe they want some form of protection or just aren’t looking for a small pet. Large breed dogs can take up to 18 months to reach their full size, but there are some that come close to full size within six months to a year.

When it comes to large breeds, there are some issues pet owners should be aware of before selecting a dog of this size. You need to be ready for the exercise and mental stimulation needs of larger dog breeds. Also, and this may seem obvious but it bears mentioning, larger dogs take up more space. There may be medical issues that need to be addressed or perceptions that need to be changed in order for the dog to live a happy and healthy life.

• Bone and joint issues. Because some of the larger breeds do develop so quickly, they often experience issues with the bones and joints. One way to combat this concern is through proper nutrition. Be sure you’re feeding them a premium food formulated for big dogs, such as CANIDAE Life Stages Duck for Large Breeds.

• Clumsy movements. If you’ve ever watched a human teenager try to navigate the world, you have some understanding of what large breed dogs go through. Human teenagers are clumsy because they grow so rapidly they are often unable to adjust to their own bodies as quickly as they would like. Fast-growing large breed dogs are the same way, but they go through these changes within in a few months while humans take years to grow to full maturity.

• Distorted perception. Large breeds don’t actually understand how big they are, so it isn’t uncommon for them to try and climb onto your lap.

No matter what dog breed you settle on, remember that most dogs reach full maturity in less than two years. That’s one reason why it’s so important to do your research before making your final decision. And don’t be afraid to consider older dogs. With a senior dog you already know how big he’s going to get, and they might already be trained. And contrary to the old adage, old dogs really can learn new tricks!

Top photo by Mark Peters/Flickr
Bottom photo by Elaine Ashton/Flickr

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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