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Golden Retriever - Puppy Growth and Development

Puppy Growth
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Golden Retriever puppy growth from 8 weeks to adulthood.
If you’re a proud new Golden Retriever owner, this is an exciting time.
Your new furry friend has a lot of growing to do, and you probably have a lot of questions.
We’ll look at how much a Golden Retriever puppy should weigh and the impact of nutrition on puppy growth.
We’ll also cover how you can determine if your Golden is too fat or too thin to ensure your puppy is as healthy as possible.

When Do Golden Retrievers Stop Growing?

Your Golden Retriever puppy will go through a number of developmental stages throughout their first twelve weeks.

When they’re 12 to 16 weeks old, they’ll look less puppy-like and start to resemble how they’ll appear as an adult.

From 3 to 6 months, your pup will grow so quickly, it may seem like he’s changing every single day.

This period of rapid growth will slow down by the time they’re 6 months old.

Male Golden Retrievers generally weigh between 65 and 75 pounds and stand from 23 to 24 inches tall.

Females are generally smaller weighing between 55 to 65 pounds, and will grow to stand 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall on average.

When Will My Golden Retriever Stop Growing?

At 4 months, your Golden Retriever puppy will reach about half their adult height.

By the time they’re 6 months, they’ll be approximately two-thirds of their adult weight.

Golden Retrievers typically reach their full height by the time they’re one year old.

However, they may not fill out and reach their full weight until they’re roughly 18 months of age.

When it comes to mental development, it can take even longer than that before the Golden Retriever is fully mature.

However, every puppy is a unique individual, and these are merely milestone guidelines.

Puppies Playing

How Much Should My Golden Retriever Puppy Weigh?

Since there can be wide variations in size from puppy to puppy, there’s no precise answer to this question.

Each dog will vary in their growth rate as well as in how much they’ll eventually weigh as an adult.

Disparities exist between the working and show Goldens, as well as between males and females.

Golden Retriever puppy growth can also be quite sporadic.

However, it’s important to monitor your puppy’s weight to ensure he’s not growing too quickly or too slowly.

As an overall average, many Golden Retriever puppies will weigh just approximately 1.5 pounds for each week of age.

This means at 3 months, your puppy could weigh about 22 pounds / 9.97kg,

and at 6 months, they could weigh roughly 44 pounds / 19.95kg.

Golden Retriever Puppy Growth Chart

  • 8 weeks - 10 pounds / 4.5kg

  • 9 weeks - 12 pounds / 5.44kg

  • 10 weeks - 15 pounds / 6.8kg

  • 11 weeks - 17 pounds / 7.7kg

  • 3 months - 22 pounds / 9.97kg

  • 4 months - 30 pounds / 13.6kg

  • 5 months - 40 pounds / 18.14kg

  • 6 months - 44 pounds / 19.95kg

  • 7 months - 48 pounds / 21.77kg

  • 8 months - 55 pounds / 24.94kg

  • 9 months - 57 pounds / 25.85kg

  • 10 months - 62 pounds / 28.12kg

  • 11 months - 65 pounds / 29.48kg

  • 1 year - 68 pounds / 30.84kg

Remember that there can be wide weight variations within any breed.

It’s most important to know your dog well so that you can tell when he’s happy and healthy and when something isn’t quite right.

Golden Retrievers are classified as a gundog breed, and these dogs are often divided into those bred for show and those meant for work.

Different Growth in Golden Retriever Types

Overall the physical differences are slight.

However, the body of the show Golden is typically larger, taller, heavy-boned, and fuller in the chest.

If your puppy comes from a working-type background, then don’t be surprised if their weight falls a little below average.

Small Parents

Like people, puppies inherit physical traits from their parents.

So if your puppy had small parents, there’s a good chance he’ll be smaller than average throughout his life.

However, it’s not only genetics that play a role in how big your puppy is.

And even puppies from the same litter can vary in size.

Neutering, diet, level of care, and overall health can also influence your puppy’s size.

Impact of Nutrition on Breed Puppy Growth

Puppies that don’t get enough to eat or are fed a low-quality diet may not grow properly.

However, in developed countries, it’s far more likely that a dog is being overfed.

Neither of these scenarios is healthy for a puppy.

Larger breeds like the Golden Retriever are more at risk for growth disorders than small breed dogs.

It’s important to remember that both the type and amount of food are key.

This article will give you a lot more information on how much to feed, what to feed, and how often to feed a Golden Retriever puppy.

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Illness and Puppy Growth

If a puppy has been seriously ill for a prolonged period, it may affect their ability to grow normally.

Being heavily infested with intestinal worms like hookworms and roundworms can leach calories and ultimately affect a puppy’s growth.

However, once the puppy is free of worms, they should continue to grow at a normal rate.

If you’re concerned about your puppy’s growth rate, it’s best to contact your vet to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical cause.

Is My Puppy Too Thin or Fat?

The best way to determine if your puppy is too thin or too fat is by how he looks and feels.

When looking at your puppy from above, he should have a noticeable waistline.

Another way to tell is by putting your hands on either side of his ribcage.

You should be able to feel his ribs using a gentle pressure.

If you can’t feel them at all, your Golden Retriever puppy could be overweight.

But if his ribs are visible, he could be underweight.

Obesity is a huge problem for many dog breeds.

And almost 63% of adult Golden Retrievers are considered overweight or obese.

Can I Make My Puppy Grow Bigger?

Although there are ways to make your puppy grow bigger, this is not something you should attempt.

Overfeeding can increase a puppy’s growth rate, but it can damage his joints.

It could also mean you end up with a fat puppy.

One of the best ways to ensure your puppy has a long, healthy life is to ensure he stays at an optimal weight.

Hip and elbow dysplasia and other musculoskeletal disorders are associated with excess weight in larger breeds.

Having your dog neutered at a young age can also cause them to grow taller.

Since the sex hormones play a role in the cessation of development, growth will continue in breeds who’ve been neutered.

The problem is, this can also cause abnormalities in joint formation.

Neutering also makes Golden Retrievers more at risk for certain types of cancers.

When Will My Puppy Become an Adult?

Typically it will take approximately 18 months for your Golden Retriever to become an adult dog.

Even though they can reach their full height at anywhere from 9 to 12 months, it will usually take them longer to fill out to their full weight.

Remember that there are wide variations in size within the Golden Retriever breed.

Don’t be too concerned about your puppy’s weight unless they’re way off the average.

If this is the case, you should contact your veterinarian to seek advice.

It’s most important to know your puppy so that you can tell if there’s a problem.

Beginning the puppy development stages before birth

Puppy development stages week by week

Amazingly, in a way the puppy development stages begin before your dog is even born. But there isn’t much to see at this point! Your puppy spends approximately 9 weeks developing inside his Mom. The mother dog has a womb or uterus, that has two long tubes, and the puppies grow in a row along each tube rather like peas in a pod. The puppies are joined to their mother by a placenta which provides all the nourishment they need for those few weeks. To begin with, the puppies have plenty of room to move but they grow fast and as the time for birth draws near they are packed in quite tightly.

The one week old puppy

Your puppy is born fully furred but with his eyes and ears closed so he cannot hear or see. His front feet are strong and he can pull himself towards his mother with them.

He can cry if he is uncomfortable and his mother will respond to his cries by moving him towards her and licking him.

Your puppy spends most of his time sleeping or suckling. If orphaned he’ll need feeding by hand every two hours!

He cannot regulate his own body temperature and needs his mother for heat, or an artificial heat source.

In the first week to ten days of his life your puppy grows rapidly and will double his birth weight.

2 week old puppies

Puppies grow in independence gradually as they pass through the key puppy development stages.

During this week, your puppy’s eyes will start to open. He probably can’t see very much yet.

His forelegs are getting much stronger. He’ll continue to grow rapidly, adding 5-10% of his body weight.

The puppies’ mother is constantly attentive, only leaving her babies to eat or for toilet purposes.

She licks the puppies bottoms to stimulate a bowel or bladder movement and eats the result. There is no cleaning up for the breeder to do yet.

The breeder will begin to handle the puppies more though, and get them used to human contact. She will worm the puppies for the first time at the end of this week.

3 week old puppy

During this week a lot happens. Puppies begin to get their personalities.

Your puppy can stand and sit up by the end of the week. Tails can be wagged, ears will be completely open and puppies start play growling and interacting with their littermates.

Your puppy can regulate his body temperature more effectively and will start to cut his first teeth in preparation for weaning.

The front teeth, canines and incisors are cut first. Toward the end of the week he may have his first tiny taste of puppy food.

4 week old puppy

In the 4th of these puppy development stages, puppies become really active and strong on their legs, and play actively with one another. They also start to move away from the sleeping area to empty their bowels and bladder.

They may try to climb out of the whelping box.

The puppies’ mother will start to spend more time relaxing away from the puppies. She will gradually stop cleaning up after the pups, that is now the breeder’s problem!

If she lives indoors, she may rejoin the family for more of each day.

Your puppy will cut his back teeth and the breeder will get weaning underway this week and by the end of it, your puppy will be getting quite a bit of his nourishment from puppy food.

She will also worm the puppies a second time.

If the mother is allowed near the puppies after she has been fed, she may regurgitate her dinner for them. This is completely natural and normal.

5 week old puppy

Your puppy can now really run and play. He is a proper little dog.

Rolling around with his brothers and sisters and playing with toys. Teething toys, puppy Kongs, balls and rope toys are big favorites with puppies.

He can bark too and some puppies can be quite noisy at this age! He chases after his mother whenever she appears and suckles hungrily, but she is starting to get fed up with it, and may be reluctant to feed her brood for very long.

His mother is teaching him not to bite too hard. And his breeder is introducing him to lots of new experiences so that he won’t be afraid of them later.

If he lives in outdoor kennels he should spend part of each day indoors with the family.

6 week old puppy

Puppies require different feeding frequencies at different puppy development stages.

By the end of the sixth week, most are fully weaned, and eating five or six little meals of puppy food each day.

Your puppy may still suckle from his mother, but he doesn’t need to.

From now on, a small breed puppy may gain around 5 ounces a week in weight, whereas a large breed puppy puts on a massive 21/2lbs.

7 week old puppy

Some puppies go to their new homes towards the end of this week – many puppies show the beginnings of fearfulness at this point and will startle or jump at strange sounds an sights.

Socialization must begin in earnest. Your puppy’s mother continues to teach him bite inhibition when she visits him to play.

8 week old puppy

This is normally the week when your puppy leaves his first home and joins his forever family.

He is now two months old and ready for his new life. From now on, we’ll be looking at your puppy’s development month by month, from three to eight months

The Perfect Companion For Life With A New Puppy

Puppy wellington

3 month old puppy (12 weeks)

From eight to twelve weeks is a very important period for puppies. It is the time during which they become fearful of anything unfamiliar and need to be thoroughly socialized.

This is also the time during which most puppies get to grips with house-training, learning to wait before eliminating and start sleeping through the night without a potty break.

It is a busy time for new puppy owners. Your puppy will have his vaccinations during this month.

Biting can be a big problem during this stage and you need to be patient and consistent in order to teach the puppy not to hurt people when he plays.

Provided you use force free methods, this is a great time to get puppy training under way, and especially to teach a puppy recall, and to get your puppy used to working with food.

You’ll be feeding him four times a day, and/or using much of his food in training

Handle your puppy all over, every day. If he is a long coated breed he will need regular grooming and although he won’t have much coat yet, now is the time to begin.

4 month old puppy

Most puppies can drop down to three meals a day at twelve weeks old. This means slightly larger meals, so watch your puppy doesn’t get an upset tummy.

And at twelve weeks, if you take a small breed puppy’s weight in pounds, divide it by his age in weeks, and then multiply by the number of weeks in the year, you will have a rough idea what your puppy’s final weight as an adult will be.

So, for a 2.5lb puppy at twelve weeks the formula will be (2.5/12) X 52

Calculate the bit inside the brackets first. You can do the same calculation for medium pups at sixteen weeks and large breed pups at 20 weeks – just divide his weight by his age in weeks before you multiply by 52.

From twelve to sixteen weeks puppies start to lose that very young puppy ‘look’ and more closely resemble a miniature version of their adult selves. Medium to large pups will reach about half their adult height by the end of the month.

Puppy Running

Puppies under four months don’t need formal walks, just lots of opportunity to play and run around in your garden or yard.

If the weather is warm you can get your puppy swimming now.

Puppy Swimming

Most dogs swim instinctively, but don’t allow brachycephalic (flat-faced) puppies such as Bulldogs, to swim unsupervised – some are not able to swim at all.

You’ll enjoy training your puppy now as he is getting more attentive and can concentrate for longer. He should be able to come when he is called, in and around your home, provided there are not too many distractions.

He’ll probably understand sit, touch your hand on cue, and perhaps be able to sit in his basket for a few seconds when asked. It all depends on what you have taught him.

5 month old puppy

Your puppy will start losing his baby teeth from around four months of age. He’ll probably have a more adult coat by the end of this month.

He may still be chewing a lot and biting too. Use frozen Kongs to help him and give your furniture and fingers a break.

Puppies can go for short walks now. By the end of this month your puppy could have a twenty minute walk each day.

He may also enjoy fetching a ball and playing with other dogs, but take care to stop before he gets very tired.

And don’t walk brachycephalic puppies very far, or in warm weather.

Less dependence

This is the month during which some puppies start to become less dependent on their humans for security.

Keep your puppy close to you outdoors by changing direction frequently so that you puppy has to keep coming to find you. And engaging him in games.

Reward your puppy generously for ‘checking in’ with you on walks. The foundations of a great recall are often build or spoilt during this month.

If your puppy knows how to sit or lie down at home, start some simple proofing exercises with him in public places. And start teaching him to ‘stay’ for short periods of time

6 month old puppy

This is one of the most significant puppy development stages as it signals the end of your puppy’s babyhood and for some pups, the beginnings of sexual maturity.

A healthy puppy can usually manage on two meals a day from around six months. During this month a Retriever, Spaniel or GSD puppy will reach around two thirds of his adult weight.

A Great Dane and other large breeds will have reached about half their final weight and little dogs will have almost completed their growth.

Some female dogs will come on heat for the first time during this month, or the next, so keep an eye open now for swelling of her vulva and any discharge.

Your dog will become increasingly confident over the next few months so practice, practice and practice that recall! Make it a habit he cannot break. And be generous with your rewards.

7 month old puppy

By the end of this month, your puppy will have all 42 of his adult teeth and be looking quite grown up. Small breed pups may now be more or less mature.

Your puppy will enjoy half hour off lead walks now, and should be able to walk on a loose lead for short periods with plenty of encouragement and rewards.

Keep practicing that recall! Teach your dog to recall away from all kinds of interesting things such as ‘other people’, other dogs, frisbees, etc.

8 month old puppy

Unless you have had your puppy neutered he now has plenty of sex hormones zooming around his system.

These help to slow his growth further and to build his confidence.

Make sure you practice good outdoor management on walks to maintain the good recall you have built and work hard on thoroughly proofing all his obedience skills.

9 month old puppy and beyond

Many female dogs will be neutered once they have completed their first season. Read up on neutering before you take this important step, for dogs of either sex.

Once your dog is a year old he can participate in more strenuous activities and sports.

Now is the time to think about the kinds of activities you would like to do with him – go jogging together for example – and if necessary, to start to get him fit.

Puppy to Adult

Puppy development stages – Summary

There is huge variation in the way in which dogs develop and mature. The puppy development stages and ages outlined above are a rough guide.

We hope you enjoyed them and found the information interesting.

When it comes to training, you get out what you put in. Your progress depends as much if not more on you rather than your puppy.

If you train your puppy five times a day, six days a week he will learn many, many times faster than a puppy that is trained once a day at the weekend.

Enjoy watching your puppy grow and develop. Puppyhood doesn’t last very long in the grand scheme of things, so make the most of it. And have fun!