Understanding Puppy Growth Spurts: Stages & What to Expect

Let’s face it… 

One of the most special events is bringing a new little pup home; Sleepy yawns, adorable bursts of energy, puppy breath, and tons of loving licks, are enough to melt the hearts of just about anyone. 

But at the same time, you might be wondering about your puppy's development. 

At what stages can you expect growth spurts and should you do anything during this time to enable healthy growth?

As a proud new owner of your beloved pet, you want to ensure that you provide the best care possible as your pup grows to a full-sized adult. 

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about puppy growth stages, what to expect, and how to care for your dog through each stage. 

A small white puppy with black spots lays on a concrete floor looking up

Puppy growth chart


Developmental Stage

Significant Developments


0 - 2 Weeks


  • Newborn stage 
  • Eyes and ears closed
  • Dependent on mother for warmth
  • and nutrition
  • Minimal movement

Your pup is only 1-5% of their expected adult weight.

2 - 4 Weeks


  • Eyes open around 10-14 days
  • Ears begin to open
  • Start to crawl and stand

Your puppy will now gain 5-10% more body mass every day.

4 - 12 Weeks


  • Begin to play with littermates
  • Introduction to solid food
  • Teeth start to emerge
  • Develops a healthy fear of new things

Your puppy will continue gaining 5-10% more body mass every day until 8 weeks.

8 - 12 Weeks


  • Weaning complete
  • Basic training and socialization with humans 
  • Starts to form attachments
  • Loses puppy teeth and starts teething again (adult teeth)

Growth spurt

3 - 6 Months


  • Rapid growth
  • Increased energy and playfulness
  • Adult teeth start to come through
  • Their unique personalities start to develop

% of full size at 6 months:

Small breed 

(0-9 kg): 75% 

Medium breed 

(9-22 kg): 66%

Large breeds 

(22-45 kg): 60%

Giant breed 

(45+ kg): 50%

6 - 18 Months


  • Sexual maturity (varies by breed)
  • Continued socialization and training
  • Growth slows down

% of full size at 9 months:

Small breed 

(0-9 kg): 90% 

Medium breed 

(9-22 kg): 85%

Large breed 

(22-45 kg): 75%

Giant breed 

(45+ kg): 65%

1 - 2 Years


  • Physical and behavioral maturity
  • Continued training and mental stimulation

Age at which your dog will reach its full size:

Small breed 

(0-9 kg): 1 year

Medium breed 

(9-22 kg): 12-18 months

Large breed 

(22-45 kg): 18 months

Giant breed 

(45+ kg): 18-24 months

Puppy growth stages & how to care for them at each stage

Neonatal Stage (0-2 Weeks)

A puppy sleeps on the grass with its tongue sticking out

During the neonatal stage, your puppy is incredibly tiny, weighing only 1-5% of their 

expected adult weight. Their eyes and ears are still closed, and they rely completely on their mother for warmth and nutrition.

Movement is minimal at this stage, with most of their time spent sleeping and nursing.

Caring for Neonatal Puppies

Ensure that the mother is healthy and is on the right diet. You should provide a specially formulated dog food for lactating bitches, as she will provide all the nourishment the puppies need. 

Keep the whelping area warm and quiet to promote a calm environment. Handle the puppies gently and minimally to avoid stressing them out.

Transitional Stage (2-4 Weeks)

Around 10-14 days, your puppy’s eyes will begin to open, and their ears start to function. They will start to crawl and even attempt to stand. This is a period of rapid development where your puppy begins to interact more with their surroundings.

Caring for Transitional Puppies

Provide a safe, clean space for your puppy to explore. Gradually introduce gentle sounds and touches to help them acclimate to different stimuli. Ensure the mother feeds them adequately, as they will still rely on her milk. 

Socialisation Stage (4-12 Weeks)

Two adorable puppies sit side-by-side in a field of flowers.

Let the fun begin! This stage is all about socialization and play.

Your puppy will start playing with its littermates, and its teeth will begin to emerge. At this stage, it can be slowly introduced to solid food and will continue to gain 5-10% more body mass every day until it is 2 months old (8 weeks). 

This is also when puppies develop a healthy fear of new things, an essential part of their emotional growth. 

Caring for the Socialisation Stage of Puppies

Introduce your puppy to a variety of people, environments, and other animals to help them become well-rounded adults. 

During this stage, they should also begin with their vaccinations. Don’t take them to a dog park before they are fully vaccinated, because they might pick up dangerous bugs. 

During this puppy development stage, start basic training and use positive reinforcement to build good habits. 

Ensure they get balanced nutrition by only using specially formulated puppy food, as this will support their overall health...

Juvenile Stage (8-12 Weeks)

By now, weaning is complete, and your puppy starts to form attachments with humans. They will lose their puppy teeth and begin teething again as their adult teeth come in. Expect a growth spurt during this period.

Caring for Juvenile Puppies

Continue with socialization to improve their social skills with other animals and humans. Training is also really important at this stage. You will need to focus on basic commands and potty training

Provide teething toys to soothe their gums and to stop your pup from using your furniture as chew toys. 

Maintain a consistent routine to help your puppy feel secure and confident.

Ranking Stage (3-6 Months)

This stage is marked by rapid growth and increased energy levels. Your puppy’s adult teeth will start to come through, and its unique personality will begin to shine. 

By six months, puppies will reach a significant portion of their adult size, with small breeds at 75% of their full adult size, medium breeds at 66%, large breeds at 60%, and giant breeds at 50%.

Caring for Your Pup During The Ranking Stage

Ensure your puppy gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to match their energy levels. Continue with regular training sessions to reinforce good behavior. 

It’s also important to keep providing a balanced diet to support their growth and monitor their weight to prevent overfeeding.

Adolescence (6-18 Months)

A puppy sits in the grass wearing a blue Sparkpaws harness.

Your puppy will reach sexual maturity during this stage, though the exact timing can vary depending on the breed, for example, smaller breeds will reach sexual maturity sooner.

Their growth will slow down, but socialization and training should continue. By nine months, small breeds will be about 90% of their full size, medium breeds 85%, large breeds 75%, and giant breeds 65%.

Caring for Adolescent Puppies

Maintain a consistent training schedule to help your pup develop proper manners and route out any rebellious behaviors that might emerge. 

It’s important to continue socializing your puppy to prevent fear and aggression issues. Also, make sure that you give your pup enough exercise and mental stimulation daily.

Adulthood (1-2 Years) 

A dog wearing Sparkpaws Comfort Control No-Pull Dog Harness

Your dog will reach full maturity during this period; both physically and mentally. Small dogs reach full size by one year of age, medium breeds by 12-18 months, larger breeds by 18 months, and giant breeds by 18-24 months. 

Continued training and mental stimulation remain important to keep your dog well-behaved and content.

Caring for Adult Dogs

Focus on maintaining a balanced diet and have a regular exercise routine. You will also want to keep engaging your beloved pooch in activities that challenge their minds, such as puzzle toys and advanced training. 

It’s also important to schedule regular vet check-ups to monitor their health and catch any potential issues early.

When do puppies grow the most?

Puppies experience the most rapid growth stages during the first six months of their lives. During this period, you’ll notice your little furball changing from a tiny bundle into a more robust and active young dog. 

Their bones and muscles develop quickly, and their energy levels increase as they explore the world around them. 

To support this crucial growth phase in your puppy’s life, ensure that they receive only the best dog food with all the nutrients to sustain them. 

Balanced nutrition, plenty of sleep, and lots of play are imperative during this incredible stage of growth. 

Just like children, puppies benefit immensely from a loving and nurturing environment during these formative months.

When do puppies stop growing? 

A dog wearing Sparkpaws Dog Raincoat

Puppies stop growing between 1 and 2 years of age, but this may vary depending on their breed. 

For example, small-breed dogs usually reach their full size in around one year, while medium breeds might take up to 18 months. 

Large breeds typically stop growing at around 18 months, and giant breeds can continue to grow until they are 18-24 months old. 

During this time, their growth begins to slow down as they reach physical and behavioral maturity. 

How do I know if my puppy is going through a growth spurt?

You can tell if your dog is going through a growth spurt  if they seem to be showing the following:  

  • An increased appetite as their body demands more nutrients to support their rapid development. 
  • You might also notice a sudden increase in size, particularly in height and length. 
  • Puppies going through growth spurts tend to have big bursts of energy followed by longer periods of rest to recuperate. 
  • You might also notice some awkwardness in your pup's movements as their limbs and body grow at different rates. 

Do puppies go through growth spurts where they sleep more?

A puppy sleeps peacefully in a person's arms

Yes, if you notice that your pup is sleeping more, it could mean they are going through a growth spurt.

During this time, their bodies work hard to develop muscle, bones, and other tissues, which require a lot of energy. 

As a result, you might notice your puppy sleeping more than usual to support this intense growth phase. 

A word of caution though, if your puppy seems to be sleeping a lot more than usual, eating less, and lacking in energy, you might want to take them to the vet to rule out any illness. 


A person holding a sleeping Boston Terrier puppy in their arms.


Understanding the various stages of your pup's growth is essential in helping you care for them in the best way possible. 

From the tiny, dependent neonatal stage to the energetic and curious juvenile period, each phase brings tremendous joy and some challenges. 

Knowing what to expect and how to care for your puppy at each stage can ensure they develop into a healthy, well-adjusted adult dog. 

Remember, proper nutrition, regular vet check-ups, consistent training, and plenty of love and attention are key to supporting your puppy's growth and overall well-being.