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When Do German Shepherds Stop Growing? When Is Your GSD Fully Grown?

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

german shepherd standing on grass

Have you spent time looking at your German Shepherd Dog (GSD) and wondering when they’re going to stop growing? You’re certainly not alone. When they’re puppies, it can certainly feel like they’re going to grow forever.

The truth is that most German Shepherds have reached their full height around 18 months, but they’ll continue to fill out past that. Females continue to fill out until about the 2-year mark, while males take a bit longer by putting on weight until the 2.5-year point.

But can you tell how big a German Shepherd will get before then? What other developmental milestones should you keep an eye on with your pup? We answer both those questions and more here.

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How Can You Tell How Big a German Shepherd Will Get?

While there are tons of backyard tricks to help you determine how big your German Shepherd will get, the truth is that none of them really work. The best way that you can make a guess is to take a look at their parents.

Genetics are the second-largest indicator of a German Shepherd’s size, right behind their sex. If you want a small German Shepherd, try to find one from two small parents, and if you want a large one, try to find large parents.

But if you don’t know too much about their parents, you can always look at their paws. While you won’t get an exact answer, you can get a pretty good understanding if they’re fully grown or not.

If your GSD has abnormally large paws, they’re not finished growing. Once they grow into their paws, it’s a good sign that they’re near their maximum size.

black german shepherd
Image Credit: Yama Zsuzsanna Márkus, Pixabay

What Is the Average Size of a German Shepherd?

The average size of a German Shepherd largely comes down to genetics, but if you have a purebred GSD, then they should fit into these parameters.

Fully grown male German Shepherds typically stand about 24 to 26 inches tall and weigh between 66 and 88 pounds. Females tend to be a bit smaller, standing between 22 and 24 inches tall and weighing between 49 and 71 pounds.

This large discrepancy in size generally comes down to genetics. Purebred German Shepherds from good lineages tend to be on the larger size, but it’s still not a guarantee.

How Much Do German Shepherds Grow After 1 Year?

While a German Shepherd might not finish reaching their full height and weight till their 2-year mark, when you look at how they grow, you’ll find that they do most of their developing in their first year.

But how much does a German Shepherd typically grow in the first year, and how much can you expect over the next year?

By the 1-year mark, most German Shepherds are near their full height. Both males and females will typically grow about another 2 inches over the next year, but that’s not much compared to how they’ve grown up to that point.

Males typically have another 25 pounds to add over the next year, while females typically have about another 20 pounds to pack on. So, while they still have a little growing to do, you can see that by the time they reach their 1st birthday, they’ve done most of their growing already.

Sable German Shepherd stacking
Image Credit: TanyaCPhotography, Shutterstock

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Other German Shepherd Developmental Milestones

While the size of your German Shepherd is a big milestone in its own right, it’s not the only thing that you need to keep an eye out for. Here, we highlighted three other developmental milestones that you should be aware of if you’re rearing a German Shepherd puppy.


Did you know that your German Shepherd goes through two sets of teeth throughout their life? Their first set of teeth come in around the 2–3-week mark, but they don’t last long. Around 12 weeks, they start to get their adult teeth, which means their baby teeth only stick around for about 3 months!

It’s no wonder that many owners don’t realize that there’s a difference between their ultra-sharp puppy teeth and their adult chompers.

close up of a german shepherd on a leash with mouth open
Image Credit: aleksandra85foto, Pixabay

Sexual Maturity

If you have pups of different sexes in the same home, you need to be aware of when your German Shepherds can reach sexual maturity.

Most male German Shepherds will reach some level of sexual maturity by the 6-month mark. This is a big deal if you have an unspayed female pup in the house.

However, while your GSD might start to display a certain amount of sexual activity after 6 months, they won’t reach full sexual maturity until the 12–15-month mark. This is when you’ll start to notice typical male behavior even if you don’t have a female in heat around.

On the other hand, females can experience their first heat anywhere from the 6-month to the 15-month mark. Females tend to take a little longer than males to sexually mature, but there’s still a chance that they will reach sexual maturity at just 6 months. If you have unneutered males in the house, this is a pretty big deal.

Full Maturity

Sexual maturity doesn’t equal full maturity, and neither does size. Once your German Shepherd reaches the 18-month mark, they’re no longer a puppy at heart, even if they still have a little growing to do.

After 18 months, you will have a fully mature dog, which means they have a dog’s temperament and instinctual behaviors. If you’re hoping for behavioral changes with maturity after your GSD reaches 18 months, that’s not going to happen.

german shepherd dog lying on wooden table outdoors
Image Credit: lancegfx, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

When you have a growing German Shepherd, it can seem like they get bigger every day and like the growth will never stop. While growth might happen for longer than you were expecting, what we can promise is that it will slow down.

But did you really get a German Shepherd expecting them to be a small dog? Your German Shepherd is going to grow, and you knew this when you got them. You’re definitely getting a large dog, it’s just a matter of when!

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Featured Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

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