Very Slow Growth in My German Shepherd Puppy

by DD
(Hudson Valley, NY)

What a pretty female German Shepherd

What a pretty female German Shepherd

I got my female puppy at three months old. She weighted then 10 lbs, and 5 days after getting her from the breeder, I found out she had giardia. I have fed her puppy food for "small and medium breed" dogs, in addition to giving her chondroitin supplements, salmon oil, and vitamins, specifically to prevent the growth problems that GS are prone to suffer.

She is now 22 weeks old, she is beautiful, and very proportionate, but she weights only 31 lbs. I am not sure if her slow growth has to do with the giardia, or her diet, or genetics... probably a combination of the above. However, now I am worried that her growth has been stunned during a time when puppies grow the most, and that she will not reach her normal full size.

I am petite too :-) but the price I paid the breeder for my puppy is what is paid for show dogs, and her size does not fit that category... not even close...

Total German Shepherd: Hey DD,

This is one of the things I mention on the German Shepherd growth chart page, as long as she is happy, healthy, active and playful I would not be so concerned with her growth rate. I would encourage you to change her over to large breed puppy food as soon as you can though.

All dogs, like people, grow at different rates - some are large "Arnold" types while others are small to medium frames and builds. Sounds like your girl is going to be on the small end of the scale - however you never know.

Sometime there will be a growth spurt and the dog will make a sizeable jump in size over the course of a few months - so you never know. At any rate, you girl will continue to grow until she is about 2 to 3 years of age - so be patient. She still has a long way to go yet!

Enjoy her puppyhood while you can and don't stress over size averages. She is a unique individual and will grow at her own rate. Continued success with your new GSD puppy.

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Dec 19, 2015
Growth problem
by: john

I have GSD male puppy , after 3 months the puppy doesn't reach is actual height but veterinary told there is a unbalance growth in the puppy.
Please give me correct suggestion and what to do for puppy growth and gain weight.

Oct 22, 2015
GSD weight
by: Anonymous

I have a GSD dog named Annie and at 1 year 4 months she only weighed in at just over 60 lbs and I was worried as well. While at the vet I questioned her on this and she said as long as she is active attentive and happy not to worry so I agree the best is to not worry about size and just make sure they are healthy happy family members!

Jun 30, 2015
Slow growth
by: Anonymous

My puppy seems to be growing at a slower rate than normal, but I feed her a pro line of food and also give her glucosamine chrondroitin supplements. I give her this mainly because I had a lab that developed hip dysphasia and I do not want my GS to develop it as well. It is to my understanding that if a puppy grows too fast, it can develope this, and since I give her supplements to help prevent her from getting it, I am okay with her slow growth. I do know that both the breeder and my vet both told me that she would be large. The breeder because all of his dogs are big, and my vet based on the size of her feet when I first brought her to him at 7 weeks old. Now, I do not know if the food I am feeding her is the reason, or if it is the glucosamine, or a combination of both. The food is grain free, and I started her on the puppy, but she keep going to the adult food, and one of my adults preferred the puppy food. At any rate, I compared the numbers on the bags, and realized that they aren't that much different, plus my dog looks exceptionally healthy, so I think it's fine with the adult food. If it takes her 2 years, so be it. I've been checking her against the chart since I got her, but I feel it is best to let her slow grow if it's better for her health. And since she doesn't look like she's on the lean size, then I think it's just a matter of time before she catches up in height.

Jun 06, 2015
My girl is on the smaller side too:)
by: Anonymous

My new little girl,Ricca is on the small side too. She's 3.5 months and 21 pounds:) she went to the vet yesterday and they said she looked great! I Love GSD's! I had to have my sweet Ruger put to sleep a few months back and I'm just heartbroken:( Ruger was a big boy at 110lbs! It's hard not to get "hung up" on their growth rates bc I catch myself doing it with Ricca. Your girl is just Beautiful!

Aug 28, 2014
Growth Of my German shepherd dogs are very very slow
by: Anonymous

Growth Of my German shepherd dogs are very very slow
they are 6 months old but they both are look like a 3 month puppy i am giving him pedigree now i am change theirs food i am giving him a drools .I am gave them calcium,height growth suppliment but no result . i am do vaccination of him. Their's parent are too heighted . What i will do ?

Feb 24, 2014
slow growth
by: malik

I have 7 month old german sheprador male growing very slowly plz let me tell what should I do for fast growing.

Apr 25, 2013
Thank you!
by: Anonymous

Thanks to all for the comments and encouragement. A word of update. My little girl has done much better lately.

She's been on very heavy antibiotic treatment, and dewormers, and probiotics. She's now a bit over 6 months, and 43 lbs.

I did try Orijen but she had very loose stool afterward. However, I agree that Orijen is the very BEST dog food money can buy! Just go to their website and read how they make this food...

I hope that after all this ordeal is over, I'll be able to slowly introduce her again to that food. For now, she's on a Limited Ingredient and doing really well.

Apr 19, 2013
She is a beautiful girl
by: Cheryl G/Rugers Mom

I read your story about your pup. I wouldnt worry too much about her size. Sometimes they seem to grow alot at first then some dont and grow steady but longer. She is proportioned right and such a pretty girl.

You should just keep doing what you are doing and give her lots of exercise and she will grow up big before you know it. Keep us posted on here. I am Ruger's mom (Ruger the Magnum pup) he is hugely huge.

But I am hoping that wont cause problems in another way. Dont worry about your baby she is lovely.

Apr 19, 2013
by: Misha

I read your artical and wondered just what Giardia is and found out a lot. I would think that you also researched it so you would have your vet give you what is needed as there is treatment.

Wondering if you have called your breader and found out if the other puppies have it. It is a parasite in the intestine and is treatable. Your Girl should be about 15 lbs.more.

You will have to keep all of her feces picked up right away and out of your yard. She is a pretty girl and your vet will get her on the right track.

Thank you for loving your German Shepherd Dog. For myself, that is the breed I love to live with, they are the best. M

Apr 19, 2013
by: Cathy

I agree that you should not worry about your puppy being on the small size. Specifically in the U.S.A. there has been an inordinate interest in making not only GSD's but other breeds larger and bigger.

Bigger is not necessarily better, look how large they have bred horses so tall and big, but still they have to be supported by feet that do not cover much ground space.

I would suggest you get your puppy on a very good quality dog food, specifically for large breed puppies, such as Orijen (not Iams, Purina, or any that you get at a department or grocery store. Get your food from a pet supplier store. With a good quality large breed puppy food it is a waste of money to give those other supplements.

Dogs who receive proper diet do not need supplements. These premium foods have been meticulously researched as to what goes in them for beneficial growth and well being.

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Thank you for this web site. Very informative and well written. I often advise my shepherd people to visit here for information. Again GREAT JOB.
Laura Page Warden

What a fabulous website!!! I really enjoyed reading about the history of the dogs. There is a ton of helpful information on here and defiantly something for every reader to enjoy!!!
Misty Weaver

Recently got a GSD again. Last time had GSD no internet etc. Cant believe how much info for free. Kenneth

I love and appreciate the helpful advice I found on your website!