My German Shepherd puppy is smaller than his siblings... Normal?

by Kristen Baughman
(Portage PA 15946)

I Bought my GSD when he was six weeks old and they let me take him home, estatic as I was I was nervous having a dog that small.

The breeder used free range feeding with the puppies so she really didn't know how much to tell me to feed them. So I fed baby Ulrich a cup of food in the morning and a cup at night to try to get him on a schedule.

We went through three dog brands of food to get his stool solid again then when that was solved he started coughing up worms.

After I treated those he got fleas so it was one thing after another (still trying to get rid of fleas in the house.) but on his first vet appointment on august 16 2010 his litter mates were there as well because the breeder paid for the appointments.

But they were all bigger than him. they almost had a pot belly (which i always associated with worms. but they had thicker arms and their ears were up as well. they were taller too but only by a little.

Now, my boy is trim looking not scrawny, but I asked the vet and he then told me that I should feed him as much as he'll eat because he needs the calcium and other nutrients.

I now leave two heaping bowls of purina puppy chow and two huge bowls of water out for him, I would like him to eat more he doesn't seem to eat that much but than again the bowls are bigger and maybe I just can't tell just how much of a dent he is making on them.

Any advice is welcome, please respond,


Attached are pictures of Ulrich taken 8-5-10 and 8-8-10 he was roughly 2 months old. please let me know your thoughts. the second picture is so that you can see that he is lean and trim and not scrawny, but his litter mates are bigger. should I be concerned?

Please and thank you for your help.


Total German Shepherd: Congratulations on your new German Shepherd puppy - what a cutie pie!! I just love the black German Shepherds! And your question about having a puppy that is smaller than his siblings - yes, this is very normal and pretty common. More than likely, especially if the breeder was using free feeding, he just didn't get as much of the food as did his other litter mates. He'll probably catch up now that he's "on his own" with you and with less competition for food.

Anyway, concerning just feeding your German Shepherd puppy using the free feeding method, I have to say right up front that I don't suggest that method to anyone - and for many reasons but most especially because you have no control over how much the dog/puppy eats, when the dog eats, what other kinds of critters get access to the food as well (including insects, etc), and I feel it is just a pretty lazy way of feeding your dogs.

But as far as plenty of water goes, that's great - except when you're potty training then you will have to restrict access to it for a time but that's a whole 'nother thing.

Anyway, concerning feeding your German Shepherd puppy, it's a great habit to get into to have set feeding times for your puppy/dog - that way you'll know exactly what is going in your dog - just the same as when you take your dog out to potty that you know exactly what is being "output".

Also, from a training standpoint, you as the owner want the German Shepherd to understand that you're in control of the food - and if you're free feeding it's not the same message at all.

Plus if you're potty training you need to teach the puppy to eat at certain times when you put the food out so that you can also help "control" the puppies bowel movements to a sort of schedule - if you let the puppy free feed it will have a much harder time learning the potty training.

To help the German Shepherd puppies growth I would also refer to the feeding schedules you'll find on the back of most dog foods and use this as a kind of guide so you'll better know about what you should be feeding your dog.

Now this is not a "set in stone" kind of thing but just a guide so use it accordingly. Just take that daily amount and split it up between 3 to 4 meals a day - if your German Shepherd puppy is finishing off all it's food quickly and still acting hungry, give it a little more than the guideline states and if it's leaving food in it's bowl for more than a few meals then cut back a bit and see how that works.

Ideally, I like to feed my younger puppies (under 4 months or so) at least 3 to 4 small meals a day, and then as they age I eventually cut them back to 2 meals a day and that's how I continue to feed my German Shepherds the rest of their lives. Plus this helps cut down on the chances of your GSD bloating.

But don't overfeed your German Shepherd puppy either - that's bad on the joints - it's much better to keep your puppy a little on the trim side any day as opposed to having a big chunky puppy.

Just keep in mind that the feeding amount will change as your puppy/dog ages too so it is kind of "fluid" in a way. The amount of food your GSD puppy eats when it's 4 months old will be different than when it's 9 months old, 15 months old, 5 years old, etc. But you'll learn as you go what the right amount is.

Anyway, play a more active role in the feeding schedule, give the puppy access to meals only at certain feeding times that you've chosen (take it up when the time is up) and divide the meals up across the day and he should do fine. Good luck with your German Shepherd puppy and keep the pictures coming!

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