Golden retrievers are some of the most adorable puppies ever, but owners may wonder at what age they stop growing. For the first six months of a golden retriever puppy’s life, it seems as if they change and grow bigger each day.
These rapid changes and periods of growth do slow down in the second half of the first year, although puppies may still grow and gradually fill out in some areas for another six months.
So, at what age does a golden retriever puppy stop growing? Generally, a golden retriever puppy will stop growing at roughly 18 months old. This is typically the point when golden retrievers have reached their full height and weight. Full-grown male golden retrievers, on average, weigh 65-75 pounds and are 23-24 inches tall. Female retrievers are generally smaller, on average weighing 55-65 pounds and standing 21-23 inches tall when fully grown.
It’s important for puppy owners to understand patterns of growth for their dog’s breed. All dogs go through puppy development stages, which include important milestones for owners to observe and follow.
In this way, owners can ensure the best physical and mental health for their dogs, as well as be aware of any problems arise.
Golden Retriever Puppy Physical Growth
Golden retriever puppies develop in several stages on their way to full physical growth. Overall, the first 12 weeks are spent figuring out sensory input and learning how to be puppies. The first few stages of puppy life include internal and external physical growth and development.
Once these puppies reach 12 to 16 weeks old, they will begin to resemble more of an adult golden retriever. At 16 weeks, retriever puppies will have grown to about half their adult height.
It’s also during this period that puppies experience their most rapid growth, eventually slowing by the time they are 6 months old. At approximately 6 months old, retriever puppies will have reached almost two-thirds of their adult weight.
Physical development and growth for golden retriever puppies are divided into 7 stages:
- 2-3 Weeks: sense organs begin to develop; crawling is learned
- 3-4 Weeks: senses continue to develop; sudden changes in the environment can cause stress
- 4-7 Weeks: exploration of the environment; social development is critical
- 8-12 Weeks: rapid learning takes place; puppies assert independence; human contact is important
- 12-16 Weeks: more adult appearance and independence; need firm but gentle guidance
- 16-24 Weeks: teething begins and must be relieved through chewing; demonstrating dominant behaviors
- 6-24 Months: physical growth slows, and adult size is reached; learning continues as does social adjustments
Golden retrievers generally reach their full height by the time they are a year old, and their full weight by the time they are 18 months old.
Promoting Physical Health and Growth in Golden Retriever Puppies
Owners can promote physical health in their golden retriever puppies by adhering to a few strategies regarding food, water, immunizations, and exercise. This allows puppies to grow and develop in optimal ways for long-term well-being. Your veterinarian can provide recommendations, services, and important information to keep your puppy as healthy as possible.
- Provide high-quality, nutritious food, specific to puppy age and golden retriever breed.
- Develop a proper feeding schedule for frequency and amount based on puppy age.
- Provide easy access to fresh, clean water at all times.
- Offer healthy treats as occasional rewards, being careful not to over-feed or over-reward.
- Avoid giving any “human” food, which could interfere with your puppy’s gastrointestinal health and result in severe toxicity in their system.
- Provide proper immunizations for your puppy, administered by a veterinary professional on a recommended schedule.
- Allow for exercise through playtime and reasonable walks.
It’s also important for owners to pay close attention to any signs of distress in their retrievers, as this can inhibit healthy growth and development.
These signs can be anything from excessive grooming to appetite and digestive issues to isolation or aggressive behavior.
Dogs that are experiencing agitation or anxiety will often manifest these symptoms through physical and/or behavioral changes. Any indication of distress when it comes to puppies should be evaluated and treated by a veterinarian immediately.
One of the more dangerous trends interfering with physical health and growth for golden retriever puppies, as well as other breeds, is overfeeding.
Allowing free-feeding, high-frequency feeding, or unhealthy amounts of food can cause long-term health and growth problems.
These problems may include chronic obesity, diabetes, and lethargy—all of which can negatively affect physical development and even lead to a shortened lifespan.
Establishing early healthy patterns and routines for golden retrievers will enhance their normal, positive growth and development, as well as reduce their risks for illness and/or long-term physical problems.
Golden Retriever Puppy Mental Growth
A puppy’s mental development and well-being are as important as their physical growth when it comes to promoting their health and maturity. Socialization and mental enrichment are two essential activities when it comes to mental growth for golden retriever puppies.
Socialization is a large part of healthy mental development in golden retriever puppies. Socialization is the process that teaches dogs how to acclimate comfortably to the human world by exposing them to a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and experiences.
It’s critical to begin puppy socialization when they are very young to prepare them for interactions with unfamiliar people, dogs, and environments.
Here are some techniques for positive puppy socialization:
- Spend time with your puppy and allow it to interact with other people in a loving way
- Encourage your puppy’s exploration of different environments
- Allow safe interactions between your puppy and other dogs and pets
- Expose your puppy to different noises in a calm manner
Golden retriever puppies that are not socialized are at risk of being fearful, anxious, and unpredictable in behavior when faced with unfamiliar environments or conditions. However, those that are socialized generally grow into happy, confident, sociable, and adaptable adult dogs.
Golden retriever puppies thrive when they are mentally engaged and enriched. This breed of dog has a natural abundance of energy, both physically and mentally, and they require outlets for this.
Enrichment activities can facilitate mental growth and development in puppies, as well as keep older dogs from experiencing boredom, anxiety, and destructive behaviors.
Some forms of mental enrichment for your puppy are:
- Taking a walk
- Riding in a car
- Visiting a park
- Obedience training
- Interesting toys
While it’s important not to over-stimulate puppies and allow them to have their space and rest, it’s vital for their mental growth and well-being to lead an enriched life. This will carry them in a healthy way towards physical and mental maturity.
When Puppies Stop Growing
In a sense, most owners would claim that their puppies never truly stop growing. Golden retrievers may reach physical and mental maturity between a year and 18 months, yet this breed can be lifelong learners and develop deeper relationships with humans across time.
Puppy-hood can be a challenging time for both owners and their retrievers. However, it passes quite quickly, and effort on the part of owners to establish healthy strategies for physical and mental growth in the early stages will benefit dogs throughout their adulthood and senior years.
Dogs of all breeds can provide unconditional love, joy, and emotional health for their owners—especially golden retrievers.
In return, golden retriever owners can return their dogs’ love and enhance their quality of life by taking care of their physical health and mental well-being from the time they are puppies and throughout adulthood.