Skip to Content

What Age Do German Shepherds Stop Growing?

What Age Do German Shepherds Stop Growing?

Have you just got a German Shepherd Puppy? Do you want to know what age they’ll reach their full adult size and stop growing? Here’s everything you need to know about what age German Shepherds stop growing.

What Age Do German Shepherds Stop Growing? German Shepherds stop growing when they reach around 18 months old. At this age, your GSD is unlikely to grow any taller but will carry on filling out for longer than this. Males reach full adult size at around 2.5 years old, and females at about 2 years old.

Read on to find out how to tell if your German Shepherd has reached full size, how much more your puppy will grow, and what other physical and mental changes you’ll notice as they grow (some may surprise you!).

Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years. 

When Are German Shepherds Fully Grown?

At around 18 months old, your German Shepherd’s growth plates should close and they should stop growing in physical size. 

By this time, their skeletal system should be fully developed, meaning they won’t get any taller or longer after this. But they may look a little bit leggy and slender at this stage of their development.

However, some GSDs will carry on growing for longer than this, depending on different factors like health, genetics, nutrition and lifestyle.

Also, this timeframe can be slightly different for male and female German Shepherds too.

Male GSDs carry on filling out until they’re around two and a half, whereas females finish when they’re closer to 2 years old.

Once they’ve reached this point and have completely filled out their chest and abdomen, your German Shepherd will be considered a fully grown adult in size.

What Size Should A Fully Grown Adult German Shepherd Be?

Male German Shepherds will be between 24 and 26 inches tall to their shoulders and weigh 65-90lbs when they’re fully grown. Whereas female German Shepherds will be 22-24 inches tall from paw to shoulder and weigh between 50 and 70lbs.

Females are notably smaller than male GSDs, who are generally bigger and sturdier-looking when they’re fully grown.

When they’ve stopped growing, German Shepherds should be longer than they are tall.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard guidelines suggest their length to height ratio is 10:8.5. And for info, their length is measured from a GSD’s breastbone to the base of their tail. 

These size and weight guidelines are what the AKC uses when German Shepherds are being shown in competition, or used as good examples for breeding purposes.

However, there’s often some natural variation, meaning it’s not a problem if your GSD’s bigger or smaller than these measurements.

Provided they’re a healthy weight, it doesn’t matter too much if they don’t fit exactly into these ‘breed standard’ guidelines.

In fact, it’s essential you don’t look at their weight alone to determine if your German Shepherd has stopped growing and is fully grown.

Just because they’ve reached an adult weight, doesn’t mean their body is completely developed.

GSDs should be well-muscled, lean and powerful with a deep chest and full body.

They should be able to move freely without awkwardness or clumsiness, as this can suggest they’ve still got some growing left to do.

What Age Do German Shepherds Stop Growing? German Shepherd puppy on a blue background with a speech bubble that says 'When will I reach my full adult size?'
German Shepherd Puppy Growing In Size

How Much More Will My German Shepherd Puppy Grow?

It’s impossible to predict precisely how much more growing your German Shepherd puppy has left to do.

However, if they’re younger than two years old, you can almost guarantee they’ve still got more growing or filling out to come! 

German Shepherd puppies have most of their growth spurts between 2 and 5 months of age. They’ll change shape and size most dramatically during this period. In fact, it can be quite a shock to see how quickly they grow!

However, when they reach 12 months old, your German Shepherd’s growth will slow down a lot. They’ll still be growing and developing, but it won’t be as immediately obvious as it was during their puppyhood.

Although there’s no scientific evidence to prove this, many owners also look at their German Shepherd puppy’s paws to determine if they’re going to grow any more.

If their paws still look big compared to their legs, it’s likely they’ll grow some more. But, if they seem in proportion to the rest of their body, then they won’t have as much growing left to do. 

If you’ve purchased your GSD puppy from a breeder, you’ll also be able to see the size and weight of their parents. This can give you a better idea of how big your puppy is likely to become. 

Can German Shepherds Get Growing Pains?

Yes, German Shepherds are a large dog breed that grow rapidly so are prone to a condition called ‘Panosteitis’ – which is more commonly known as ‘growing pains’.

Panosteitis affects the long bones of a GSD’s legs and can cause pain and inflammation, leading to limping or lameness.

Most episodes go on for about 3 weeks, but some can sadly last many months longer than this. You may also find that the pain moves from one leg to the other.

Even though it should resolve over time as your GSD stops growing, your vet may be able to prescribe some anti-inflammatories to help with pain while the episode persists.

What Age Do German Shepherds Stop Growing? German Shepherd puppy on a blue background with a speech bubble that says 'When will I reach my full adult size?'
German Shepherd Puppy Growth

Do You Need To Limit Exercise While Your German Shepherd Puppy Is Growing?

Yes, you do need to limit exercise while your German Shepherd puppy is still growing.

Jumping on and off high things, over-exercising, high-impact activities, and putting extra strain on their bones and joints while their growth plates are still open, can cause issues in later life.

The general rule for puppy exercise is 5 minutes of formal leash walking exercise for every month of age. So that’s 20 minutes for a 4 month old GSD and 25 minutes for a 5 month old GSD – and so on.

German Shepherds can be exercised twice a day and played with throughout the day too. Just be mindful that their growth plates are still flexible and haven’t hardened yet to take too much strain.

What Other Changes Will You Notice As Your German Shepherd Puppy Grows?

This is what you will notice as your German Shepherd grows:


German Shepherds are born with floppy ears! The upright silhouette commonly associated with GSDs takes time to develop.

A German Shepherd’s ears normally stay floppy through the teething stage, which lasts up until about 24 weeks old.

This stage of development is when the muscles and ear cartilage becomes strong enough to hold the ear in an upright position. 

During this growth stage, you may start to notice your GSD’s ears standing up and then going floppy again. Or, one may go up and the other may stay down. This is completely normal!

And, if there are periods of time where the ears stay standing, you can be pretty sure they will eventually get there.

By month 8, your German Shepherd should have fully upright ears. If not, then they may stay floppy for life.

There can be many reasons why this can happen. For example, it could be down to breeding, genetics or poor nutrition – more specifically, not enough Calcium and vitamin D for puppy growth!

Most German Shepherds will end up with upright ears and that physical change will happen as they grow. However, if the ears don’t move into the upright position, it shouldn’t matter.

As long as your GSD has been checked by your Vet and is healthy, then you can love them as part of your family, just as much as you would any other dog!


Your German Shepherd’s coat will also change as they go from a puppy into a fully grown adult dog. 

Not only can the coat length, thickness and texture change, but the pattern and color can alter too!

In fact, some German Shepherds can change coat colors several times, up until they reach about 2 years old. 

In general, German Shepherd puppies are all born with black coats before other colors start to grow through. They go through a process of shedding and then the coat color starts to change.

The only way to know for sure what color German Shepherd you’ll end up with is to go to a registered and highly experienced breeder who fully understands the genetics of the parents.


German Shepherds will also start loosing their puppy teeth as they grow. You may notice teeth around your home or blood on your GSD’s dog toys.

This process starts at around 4 months old and finishes at about 7 months when they should have a full set of adult teeth.


As your German Shepherd grows, their personality will change too. 

They’ll go from a playful puppy that wants to explore and learn about everything around them, to reaching sexual maturity at around 6-7 months of age. 

This is where females will have their first heat and males will start lifting their leg on anything and everything!

They may also start to get more confident and test boundaries, so dog training will be important here too.

Even when your GSD reaches their full size, they aren’t properly mentally mature until females are at least 2 years old and males are more like 2.5 years old. 

So there you have it! German Shepherds stop growing at about 18 months old. However, they’ll keep filling out and putting on muscle and weight for longer than this. Females should reach their full adult size by around 2 years old and males at about 2.5 years old.

What do I do next?

Thank you for reading all the way to the end of this article, your support for my blog means everything to me! If you found this article helpful, please kindly share below. Thank you!

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.