The growth curve - Royal Canin

Growth, a key stage

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The growth curve

Every dog has a different growth

Whether they are small, medium, large or giant, puppies don’t all have the same growth. Growth curves enable to monitor the adequate growth trend, all the more so as it is not linear in time.

A decisive stage in the dog’s life, growth determines at the same time the future adult’s disposition, but also his morphology and the harmony of his figure.

Weight growth curves

In order to try to determine whether a puppy’s growth is normal or not, his veterinarian has several quite useful tools at his disposal: average growth curves for males and females. They enable to check a puppy’s weight development from birth through adulthood. The daily weight gain (DWG) increases after birth to reach a plateau of variable length, then decreases as the animal comes closer to maturity (adult age and weight). While the puppies’ weight increases normally very quickly from 5 to 10% a day over the first weeks, an examination of these reference curves for many breeds show that small breed individuals, combining a slow growth rate and very early growth are already fairly heavy, at birth and then at weaning, with respect to what their adult weight will be. In other terms, these findings could be illustrated by saying that a small-sized puppy is born "better finished" than a medium breed puppy and a fortiori than a large breed puppy. On the other hand, the latter have a relatively low birth weight and will register sharp and sustained growth.

Significant differences in precocity according to breeds

Differences between dog breeds may be observed right at birth. For instance, a Miniature Poodle bitch gives birth to 1 to 3 puppies weighing 150 to 200 grams each. A Newfoundland bitch gives birth to 8 to 10 puppies and the growth weight of each fluctuates between 600 and 700 grams. Even though a giant breed adult dog weighs 25 times more than a small breed dog, the birth weight ratio stands only at 1 to 6. The ground to cover during growth to reach an adult’s stature and weight is therefore quite different according to breeds. Thus:

  • half the adult weight is reached around 3 months of age for a small breed puppy, but around 5 to 6 months only for a large breed puppy;
  • a Miniature Poodle reaches his adult weight around 8 months of age; he has then multiplied his birth weight by 20. As for the Newfoundland, he is still growing at 18 to 24 months of age, until he has multiplied his birth weight by approximately 100!

It is essential to understand these differences in early growth and biological behavior during this growth stage. They explain especially the need to offer, for harmonious growth, a Health Nutrition food suited not only to the puppy’s age, but also to his size and breed.

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