If you’re looking for an age when a German Shepherd stops being a puppy and becomes a dog, the notable benchmark is about 2 years. But while that’s the age that they stop maturing completely, there are plenty of milestones between puppyhood and full dog-hood that they need to meet.
What are these milestones, and when can you expect them to meet them? We break it all down here, so you know exactly what to expect each step of the way.
When Does a German Shepherd Stop Growing?
When you adopt a German Shepherd puppy, it can seem like they just keep growing. That’s because for the first 18 months of their life, they are. A fully grown German Shepherd will stand between 22 and 24 inches tall and weigh anywhere between 50 and 90 pounds.
German Shepherds aren’t small dogs, and it takes them time to reach their full size. While they can stop growing a little before or after the 18-month mark, it’s a consistent standard.
If you’re trying to determine how big your pup will be, take a look at their paws. Dogs have to grow into their paws, so they’ll look abnormally large for quite some time until they fully grow into them.4
- Related Read: Reasons Why German Shepherds Eat Poop & How to Stop It!
When Does a German Shepherd Reach Full Maturity?
Just like many humans don’t reach full maturity until after they start growing, most German Shepherds don’t fully leave the puppy stage until they’re about 2 years old. This is a full 6 months after they stop growing, so just because you have a fully grown pup, that doesn’t mean they’ve reached full maturity.
This manifests itself in many ways, but the most notable factor is their energy level. Puppies tend to have far more energy and be a little clumsier than fully mature dogs. While they might lose some of their clumsiness when they stop growing, they’re still going to have an excess of energy.
When Does a German Shepherd Leave the Puppy Phase?
Technically, a German Shepherd doesn’t fully leave the puppy stage until they’re 2 years old. However, just like there’s a difference between an infant and a 14-year-old human, there’s a big difference between a puppy and an adolescent dog.
German Shepherds leave their first puppy stage at around the 6-month mark, when they reach adolescence. They start to pick up more of their natural instincts at this point and don’t display many of the tendencies that you’d notice in a typical puppy.
When Does a German Shepherd Reach Sexual Maturity?
When a dog reaches sexual maturity varies drastically depending on their sex. Male dogs tend to reach sexual maturity anywhere from 6 to 9 months, while female dogs tend to wait until adulthood.
This means you don’t need to worry about a female dog getting pregnant until she’s about 2 years old. That said, if you have a sexually active male dog in the house, you don’t want to wait this long, as some female German Shepherds can reach sexual maturity as soon as 12 months.
You can typically neuter a dog when he’s around 6 months in age, while spaying a German Shepherd should wait until about the 8-month mark. If you want to neuter a dog, you have a much smaller window to prevent puppies than with females.
Still, unless you’re looking to breed your German Shepherd, you need to be aware of the potential age ranges before you have an accidental pregnancy!
When Does a German Shepherd Lose Their Puppy Teeth?
When a puppy enters the world, they don’t have any teeth in their mouth. They develop their first set of teeth around their 3-week mark, and they have a full set of teeth once they’re about 6 weeks old.
You can adopt a pup at their 8-week mark, but the teeth that they have at this point won’t last. Their adult teeth are much larger and less sharp than their puppy teeth. They start to lose their puppy teeth around 14 weeks, and they’ll lose the last of them at around 30 weeks.
This means they’ll have lost all their puppy teeth right about the same time they reach adolescence, between 6 and 7 months.
With so many age ranges that your German Shepherd can mature in various ways, it can be hard to keep track of everything. If you’re looking for a fully mature dog, you have to wait until the 2-year mark, but they’ll meet tons of milestones between birth and then.
We highly recommend keeping up with each milestone so you can enjoy your German Shepherd’s journey from puppy to dog without missing a step!
Related German Shepherd Reads:
- Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot? What You Need To Know!
- Do German Shepherds Drool? What You Need to Know!
- Dwarf German Shepherd — Info, Pictures, Causes & More
Featured Image Credit: Sebastian_Wolf, Shutterstock