What is the difference between emotional maturity, sexual maturity and physical maturity?
Physical Maturity is what you will use to calculate the feeding amount. Depending on the breed of your puppy it will reach its full-frame or height at different times. This is physical maturity. Toy breeds (Chihuahuas) can be around 6 months, small breeds (Jack Russels) around 9 months, medium breeds (Labradors, Cockerpoos) 12 months and giant breeds (Dogue de Bordeaux) 18 months to 2 years. Reaching this milestone doesn't mean your dog won't gain any more weight. What it means is they probably won't grow any taller. They will still mature and fill out but the rapid period of growth that happens as a puppy will slow and stop.
How can I find out when my dog will reach physical maturity?
Your breeder should have given you an idea, get in touch if they haven't.
Check the breed standard, a range is normally given. Check the difference between male and female as many males are heavier.
Use a forum for your breed. Often advice from current owners can get you to a very close estimate.
What if my dog is a hybrid or mixed breed?
These dogs can throw some surprises at you! They can be smaller, the same as or larger than the parents. In other words, there can be quite a range.
If you have a mixed breed try to do an average between the parent breeds taking into account male/female differences.
Emotional Maturity - For many owners, this is the most noticeable change. Your puppy will start to become less rambunctious and start behaving like an adult dog. This is breed dependent and can be influenced by the amount of training you have put in. At around 12-18months hormones start to settle down and your once super energetic puppy will begin to act calmer.
Sexual Maturity - Is younger than you may think. For many dogs, 6 months is the time when they can sire a pup or get pregnant, bigger/giant breeds can be later. This doesn't mean your dog is fully grown, they will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate.
Warning. There are lots of puppy growth calculators on-line, however, we have never found any consistency between the formulas. Puppies do not grow at an even rate, they have periods of fast growth follower by slower, so one month is not the same as the last. During the first four months of your puppies life, you will witness rapid growth and once your puppy reaches 6 months it will slow. So don't worry if your puppy is looking much bigger than expected by 5 months, they won't continue at the same rate!
One good, basic rule of thumb for many breeds is that your puppy will be around 2/3rds of their adult weight by 6 months. This doesn't apply to the toy or giant breeds but does cover a vast range in the middle. From our experience, many owners overestimate how large their dog will get. Do your homework and be cautious. Overfeeding your dog will not make it bigger it will just give it loose stools and no one wants that.
Once you have established the Expected Adult Size of your puppy select their feeding guide here. This is just a guide you may still need to adjust the feeding amount depending on your dog's temperament and energy level (all dogs are not the same!)
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