I recently acquired a puppy – by accident. I already had a 6-month-old puppy at home and no inkling that we’d be getting another one. But a couple moved in down the street, and a few nights ago the wife came knocking on my door, crying. She asked if I would like to have the puppy she was carrying in her arms because her husband was making her get rid of it. I sighed and said, “Give it here,” and told her to tell her husband … Well, I don’t think you can print what I told her to tell him.
Are there any tips or tricks to determine how large a puppy will grow up to be? This is not a purebred, but the head shape does look like there is some Chihuahua in the dog.
Sharon Levine; Aurora, CO
I know the puppy was unexpected, but it is good this little pup is now living in a household where everyone will care for him. Better he get into the right home now than suffer for the lack of affection and care (or worse) that was surely in his future at the home down the street.
As someone who knows many in both the shelter/recue world as well as plenty of veterinary professionals, not to mention the innumerable number of mixed breed dogs I’ve owned over the years, guessing the adult size of a puppy of unknown origins is a tricky business, to say the least. Many experienced shelter workers and more than a few veterinarians are pretty good at it, but there are never any guarantees. Only a DNA test can tell you for sure.
If you have an idea of what breeds went into the mix, you can guess how large the pup will end up or more to the point how large it probably won’t get (any dog that is part Chihuahua isn’t likely to grow into a giant). The problem is some of these youngsters are sooooo mixed, it’s anyone’s guess as to what went into the genetic blender. However, since you need to take your new puppy to your veterinarian anyway go ahead and ask for the veterinarian’s and staff’s best guesses on what breeds are in your puppy’s background while you’re there.
The other way to predict a puppy’s grown size is to look at the paws, because big dogs start out with relatively big puppy paws.
Nothing is foolproof, though. In fact, a friend of mine – a well-regarded expert on dogs – once adopted a puppy from one a well-known shelter in her area, where the staff sees enough puppies to be pretty educated about how they might turn out.
My friend and the shelter staff put their heads together and guessed the pup for a terrier mix, and figured an adult size of 30 to 40 pounds. That little puppy grew up to be a 90-pound tank of a dog.
I adopted a dog I thought would easily reach 130 lbs – he was a huge puppy with huge puppy paws. Although he turned out to be a large dog (about100 lbs.) he wasn’t quite as big as I thought when I picked him. He’s no less loveable, though. So much for expertise!