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Practical information about the nutritional needs of cats and dogs at each life stage, including growth, maintenance, reproduction and aging.

Body Condition Assessment

Puppy Growth Rates

Compared to smaller dogs, large and giant breed puppies have more rapid growth rates and reach full skeletal maturity, i.e., adult life stage, later. In general, by breed size, full skeletal maturity is reached at the following ages:


6 to 9 months, Toy breeds (i.e., adult weight <6 kg or 12 lbs). 8 to 10 months, Small breeds (i.e., adult weight from 6 to 10 kg or 13 to 20 lbs). Up to 12 months, Medium breeds (i.e., adult weight from 10 to 25 kg or 20 to 50 lbs). 12 to 18 months, Large breeds (i.e., adult weight from 25 to 45 kg or 50 to 100 lbs). Up to 24 months, Giant breeds (i.e., adult weight from >45 kg or 100 lbs).


Puppies should be fed a complete and balanced growth diet (puppy food) until they reach full skeletal maturity. Feeding large and giant breed puppies a less energy-dense growth diet formulated specifically for large and giant breeds can help reduce excessively rapid growth rates, which helps protect against the development of skeletal abnormalities and excess body weight.

Feed all puppies to maintain lean body condition. Purina research has shown that maintaining a lean body condition from puppyhood onward can reduce skeletal problems and extend a dog’s healthy life by up to 15%.


To Share With Pet Owner:

Evaluating Your Dog’s Body Condition

Assess your dog's Body Condition in just 3 simple steps.​

View Video 1 min to 5 min

Additional Resources

Larsen, J. (2010). Feeding large-breed puppies. Compendium: Continuing Education for Veterinarians, 32(5), E1–E4.   

Kealy, R. D., Lawler, D. F., Ballam, J. M., Mantz, S. L., Biery, D. N., Greeley, E. H., Lust, G., Segre, M., Smith, G. K., & Stowe, H. D. (2002). Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 220(9), 1315–1320.  doi:10.2460/javma.2002.220.1315