Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:
I have so many people calling me to ask if their puppy is too big and if they should stop puppy food. This is a difficult question. First let us look at the breed standard and then give some useful benchmarks to to use in making that decison.
For males, height ranges from 60-65 centimeters adn 66-88 pounds. For females the height is 55-60 (5 cm or 2 inches at the withers…shoulder blade area) and weight at 48-70 pounds. So the maximum weight for a male it around 88, although they may get to be 90-95 at maturity (4-6 years old), MAX. An 80 pound female is over standard and may be overweight. But this is where it takes more discernment.
Frame is very important. If a dog is over standard in height then it will likely be overstandard in weight. If a dog is mid-standard in height it should likely be mid-standard in weight. When dogs are obese is when they have a weight grossly inconsistent with their frame height.
American always seem to want to buy by the pound. They think they are getting a better deal when getting more pound for the dollar. But oversize shepherds are more prone to joint problems. They move less characteristically, I would say less gracefully. They can, if much larger than the standard, start exhibiting characteristics of gigantism: Drooping jowls, different bone structure in the face, atypical gait, etc. Shepherds are not a giant breed. For years the Germans have allowed “creative stacking” in the world sieger show and have been biased toward the more majestic, larger shepherds. But not the gigantic ones Americans seem to like. They were maybe a centimeter or two above standard.
But the SV is moving back toward the middle of the standard, trying to correct the tendency toward huge shepherds. Max Von Stephanitz had a particular vision for the shepherd which was as a working dog, and oversize can negatively impact this. One could also argue that having shepherd grossly larger than standard could negatively affects other characteristics of the breed standard from movement to appearance. Also, one might argue that the German shepherd joints were not made for such a large dog.
In the next article we will give you some guidelines about when to stop puppy food and some of the dangers of overgrowing puppies. Bottom line: Bigger is not better, stick with standard, although slightly over standard is fine.
I hope this was helpful. Please visit our current litters or import litters pages for some exciting world class litters with parents with excellent hip profiles, which is one of our major goals as German shepherd breeders, strong joints.