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Can You Determine Your Puppy’s Adult Size By Their Paws?

Determining what size your puppy will be as an adult can be difficult. While a good guess can be made by considering the average size of your dog’s breed or the size of their parents, that information may not be readily available for adopted or mixed breed pets. This is why many pet parents rely on looking at the size of their dog’s paws.

If this post you’ll learn about:

Border Collie and Lab lying down looking at camera - dog size based on paws

Puppy Paws As an Indicator Of Adult Weight

While not food proof, a puppy's paws can be a good indicator of future growth spurts, especially if their paws are unusually large.

The rule is easy to remember too:

  • If your puppy’s feet look like they are too big for their body, then they have more growth spurts left in them.
  • If your puppy’s feet look like they are the right size for their body, they most likely won’t grow any bigger

Why does this rule work?

Typically, large breed dogs like labrador retrievers need bigger feet to support their heavier builds and taller heights. After all, tiny feet cannot hold up a 100-pound dog. This means that even when your big dog is a puppy, their paws will already be on the larger side in anticipation of their growth.

Similarly, if your dog is born with tiny feet, they will probably be on the smaller side as adults.

However, while paw-size can be a good indicator of whether your dog’s growth spurt is done, it doesn’t tell you how much bigger your dog will actually be. To figure out your dog’s adult size, you will need to know your dog’s current weight and their ages.

How to Calculate Your Dog’s Adult Size

Although you can tell if you will have a large or tiny furry friend in the future by looking at your puppy paws, it is not foolproof. Some large dogs, such as collies, tend to have smaller feet compared to other dogs their size. Some small dogs, like bulldogs or terriers, have larger feet than other dogs their size.

That’s why it’s more accurate and helpful to calculate your puppy’s adult size based on their weight.

According to the Canine Journal, you can use these equations to figure out what your puppy’s adult size will be:

infographic: how to calculate adult weight of puppy


Toy Breeds (up to 12 pounds): (weight at 6 weeks) x 4 = adult weight

Small Breeds (12-25 pounds): (weight at 6 weeks) x 4 = adult weight

Medium Breeds (25-50 pounds): (weight at 14 weeks x 2) + (half of weight at 14 weeks) = adult weight

Large Breeds (50-100 pounds): (weight at 6 months) x 2 = adult weight

Giant Breeds (over 100 pounds): (weight at 6 months) x 2 = adult weight

Trying to tell anything about their size too soon or too late is going to be inaccurate, and that’s not even getting into how being a mutt can complicate matters.

Predicting How Big Will a Mixed Breed Dog Be

It can be relatively easy to guess how big a purebred puppy will grow up to be. However, it can be difficult to guess a puppy's adult size if they are a mixture of different breeds or if you don’t know what breed their parents are. This is a common problem for those who adopted their puppy from a local shelter.

In this case, the canine DNA testing services available online may prove helpful to answer if, when, and do dogs stop growing. These tests do not cost too much and can help you determine the breed as well as the physical traits and temperament tied to that breed ( the American Kennel Club website is a great resource for finding out more information about every dog breed out there).

Once you know what breeds your dog is a mixture of, you can determine if their paws are too big for their bodies. If they have a parent who is a large dog and your dog has large paws, you can anticipate another growth spurt ahead. Inversely, if their parent is small and your dog’s paws look proportional to their body, then they are most likely done growing.

At What Rates Does a Puppy Grow?

a lab puppy lounging on the grass

A puppy’s growth can be unpredictable at times. Their long bone growth plates generally stop growing (also known as “close”) between 8 to 11 months of age. So if you are looking at an older puppy of about six months, he has probably reached 75% of his adult height by then.

After these bones close, the puppy's height and length stop growing. However, they may continue to get heavier because most large breed dogs who weigh more than 55 pounds do not fully develop into an adult until they are 12 months old.

Other Reliable Indicators of Future Size

If you can’t estimate your puppy’s adult size based on their paws, there are a few other ways you can determine how much bigger they have yet to grow:

  • The 16 Weeks Rule. Even if most dogs are not fully grown at 14-16 weeks old, they usually have grown into their adult proportions. If your dog is 14-16 weeks old, you double their size for a rough idea of how they will be when they are fully grown at 32 weeks.
  • Check for loose skin. Excess skin can also help predict the adult size of a puppy. Typically, the more loose skin a puppy has, the more room he has for growth.
  • Big parents equals big puppies. The best and easiest way to determine the future size of your puppy is by looking at both parents. Generally, whatever the parent’s size and weight is, you can bet your puppy will be as well.

Make sure you take proper care of your puppy, try to keep diseases at bay, and meet all his nutritional needs so that he may grow into the best possible version of himself. Puppy food is a must, and being sure to exercise new puppies will ensure they grow up big and strong!

Shop all pet doors to find the perfect pet door for your puppy. Want to learn more about your puppy's behavior and health? Read about Your Dog's Sleeping Positions and what they say about your dog!

Grace Fuh

Written by

Digital Marketing Specialist

Pets: I have a bunny named Henry and he spends a lot of time munching— like me!
Fun stuff: I like to make art in my free time.

Digital Marketing Specialist

Pets: I have a bunny named Henry and he spends a lot of time munching— like me!
Fun stuff: I like to make art in my free time.


  • My 12 week old German Shepard puppy is 35 lbs. and walks on his ankles. Breeder says his weight gain and size can not support him yet but it will not straighten up in a few weeks. Is that true?

    Patricia Rhea
  • My puppy is 12 weeks she weighs 2.12lbs!! I hope she gets bigger! shes just soooo tiny I worry about her with other medium size dogs. She is very playful and friendly, but my sisters dog can basically stomp on her with one paw if he wanted to & he is 19lbs, but he loves her dearly. It’s just the non-playful/friendly dogs I’m worried about. He even steps on her by accident sometimes, but she bounces back quickly. She is a mixed breed Shih Tzu & Pomeranian. I hope the 16-week x’s two does not work.

    Angelina Munoz
  • I have a puppy that was born on newyears if this year…so hes about 5 months old he went in this past Saturday the 16th for his vet checkup his weifht was 32.9 pounds. Vet says he looks like hes got aussie and blue heeler in him for aure with a few other breeds possibly been curious how big he will get?

    Proud mommy of a mutt
  • Seems like everyone around here thinks they will have a big dog if the puppy has big feet.

    Jeremy Stockstill
  • So we have a “hound mix”…super vague since hounds come in lots of sizes from small to large. Our pup is 6 months now and 30lbs. Paws are definitely quite a bit larger than, let’s say, a standard beagle. He’s got some beagle for sure but is already larger than most we know that are fully grown. I simply don’t remember how much he weighed at 4 months so I can’t even try that formula anyway. From his physical traits, I think there’s some Foxhound but how much is a mystery. Legs look long…We are completely stumped and very anxious for the next couple of months to see how much more he’ll grow…

    Carol-Ann Kurdziel

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