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Growth and Development: When Do German Shepherds Stop Growing?

By Junefrazier

German Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds in the world and known to be very obedient, loyal, courageous, and intelligent. If you've got your own German Shepherd at home, you must be very fortunate to have it as your life companion.

There are times when you can't help but wonder how they grow, develop, and live. But when do German Shepherds stop growing?

These German Shepherds have gone through several stages of maturity before they become the extraordinary dogs they are now. From puppyhood to adulthood, each life stage uncovers incredible changes in their behavior and physical traits. Have you witnessed any of these?

Our illustrated guide will take you to every exciting phase of your German Shepherd's life. Are you ready? Let's go!

Six Life Stages of a German Shepherd

-They are blind and deaf


-They spend most of their time sleeping and filling their tummies up with their mother's milk

2 weeks to 4 weeks old

-They can see and hear

-They are still dependent on their mom but not as helpless as before

-First milk teeth will come out

-They'll try to walk for the first time

3 weeks to 12 weeks old

-They have full set of teeth; can eat solid food

-Adventurous, playful, and outgoing

-They learn to interact with other animals, their littermates, and humans

3 to 6 months old

-Ears would stand up


-Active and more playful

-Behavioral issues may arise

-Sexual maturity takes place

-Puppy teeth are gradually replaced with adult teeth

6 months to 2 years old

-Female German Shepherds will have their first estrus period

-Male German Shepherds become more dominant over other male dogs

-Male German Shepherds will set up his own territory and start searching for his mate

-Fuller adult body

-Puppy teeth are fully replaced with adult teeth

-Fully developed adult size

-Disciplined, well-adjusted

-Capable of showing obedience and intelligence

Neonatal Stage

Age: 2 weeks old

The Neonatal stage is the earliest days of the puppies where they are still blind and deaf. They have no idea about the real world yet and all they have is their mother who would feed them and clean them up. Their first two weeks are vulnerable. You'd see them crawling around and finding their own way back to their mom.

You won't see them walk and wander around or play with other puppies. They'll be spending most of their time sleeping and filling their tummies up with their mom's milk.

Transitional Stage

Age: 2 weeks to 4 weeks old

In this stage, you'll see them open their eyes for the first time. They'll also be able to hear the sounds in their surroundings and follow them down. They have grown bigger in size. You'd also notice their first milk teeth to come out. Of course, they are still delicate and vulnerable but you'd see distinct development in their growth.

By this time, the puppies will also try to take their first walk. It may appear a bit wobbly but they are not as helpless as they were a few weeks before.

Socialization Stage

Age: 3 weeks to 12 weeks old

The socialization stage is where a German Shepherd puppy is more outgoing, adventurous, and playful. They are pretty much more curious about everything that's new to them. The puppy also learns to maximize its company by interacting with its littermates or other animals in the house and the people around it.

But you should take note that this is the most important phase in a German Shepherd's growth and development. Early exposure and interaction with the other puppies, animals, or other new things, help your German Shepherd puppy to adjust and cope well with the adulthood and the world in the long run.

The socialization stage would also be the perfect time to determine whether the German Shepherd puppy is fit to be a rescue dog, guard dog, or a family dog.

At this age, the puppies will also have their full set of teeth which can be a little painful for the mom when feeding them. But as they reach eight weeks of age, they'd be ready to eat solid food. You should opt for the best dog food for German Shepherd puppies that will nourish them to perfect health.

Juvenile Stage

Age: 3 to 6 months old

The Juvenile stage is when the German Shepherd puppies are more independent and would try to explore new places and things on their own. They are much more active and playful so you've got to be careful when you take them off the leash.

This stage also unfolds noticeable changes in the puppy's behavior and some issues may arise. The good news is this is the perfect time to resolve all those behavioral issues. It is vital to respond to those issues as early as possible to prevent any trouble in the future.

Their ears would also look upright by this time. At around 4 months, their puppy teeth are gradually replaced with an adult teeth. Their sexual maturity will also take place at this stage.

Adolescent Stage

Age: 6 months to 2 years old

This stage is evidently long where the sexual maturity is the primary development. Hormonal changes would drive the male German Shepherds to establish dominance among other male dogs while in search for a mate. He would apparently set up his own territory and might get into trouble with other male dogs.

On the other hand, the female German Shepherd will have her first estrus period by this time. Both male and female will have a fuller adult body. Their puppy teeth will also be fully replaced with the adult teeth.


Age: 3 years old

German Shepherds are considered adults by the age of 3 years old. Besides their fully developed adult size, they are more capable of showing obedience, intelligence, and courage. You'd also have a disciplined and well-adjusted German Shepherd dog if you've preserved to train it and resolve its behavioral issues in its early stages of maturity.

Make Each Day With Your German Shepherd Count

The average lifespan of a German Shepherd is between 9 to 13 years of age. It's a devastating fact that they might not live as long as humans do. But you can make each day count by giving your dog all that it needs physically and emotionally.

With your dedication, patience, time, and affection, you can maintain a close and healthy bond with your furry companion for the longest time possible.

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