Australian Shepherds (or Aussies) are beautiful, highly active, and intelligent dogs. The Australian Shepherd Dog breed doesn’t originate in Australia. In fact, the breed has its origins in Europe before growing in popularity as a ranch dog in America. Their intelligence makes them well suited to working life, whether on a ranch or as an assistance dog. They are happiest when they have a job that keeps them physically and mentally active. They are not suited for a lazy lifestyle.
It’s important to note that puppy growth charts are much like human children’s charts. Some puppies will grow faster, and some will grow slower than the average. This is perfectly normal. It is also normal for growth to happen in spurts with periods of little or no growth. Remember, your Aussie will grow on their own timeline.
If you are worried about your puppy’s development or growth, chat with your local veterinarian, who will advise on essential things like nutrition and exercise to ensure your pup gets the best start in life.
Growth Chart Timeline
At this time, your Australian Shepherd pup is entirely dependent on her mom. In those early weeks, she is both blind and deaf. All of her nutrition comes from mom’s milk, and she should be allowed to feed whenever needed. At around two weeks of age, her eyes will begin to open, and she will start to hear sounds for the first time!
Once your pup reaches one month old, he uses all 5 of his senses. He will also now start to interact and socialize with his littermates. At the 4–5-week mark, your puppy is also ready to start trying food for the first time and can be offered a small amount of wet food. He will still need to have milk from his mom.
Your puppy is ready to leave his mom at around the eight-week mark. This is a good time to give your Aussie puppy a name. By this time, he will be fully weaned and needs to be fed on a special diet designed to meet the complex nutritional needs of a growing puppy. Due to the fact your pup only has a tiny tummy, he will need his food split over three meals throughout the day.
It’s never too early to start with training and socialization for your pup. Even at eight weeks old, she is ready to learn. One crucial thing to ensure you do is socialize your pup. Puppies’ socialization window, when they are most receptive to learning how to behave and act around other living things or new experiences, is thought to close around 16 weeks of age.
Without socialization in these early months, your puppy won’t know how to handle herself in a new environment or social situation. This can lead to fear, aggression, and anxiety behaviors developing. Care should be taken to balance the risk of exposure to new diseases until your pup has had all their shots. Crate and toilet training should be undertaken as soon as you bring your new pup home. A regular schedule is the key to success here. Remember, your pup has a tiny bladder and will need to pee often!
Around this time, your puppy will begin teething, where their baby teeth start to fall out, and their adult teeth start to erupt. You will likely notice your pet chewing obsessively. This is to help them cope with teething pains but can sometimes be quite painful for us pet owners! The use of teeth toys can help displace inappropriate chewing and biting behaviors. Always supervise your pup when playing or chewing on their toys.
We can’t overstate how vital continued socialization is for your new Aussie puppy. It is in their nature to be stand-offish with strangers unless they are very well-socialized. Expose them to anything you will expect them to cope with as they grow – trips to the vets or grooming parlor, mixing with children, car journeys. Although this can all seem overwhelming, it is crucial to make an effort to ensure your pup has the emotional toolkit they need to deal with these types of experiences. Puppy classes can be a great way to get some help and support during this intense socialization time.
During this time, continue with your puppy’s social and obedience education. Aussies are built for being pushy with livestock. This can mean they need confident ownership so they don’t take on a dominant role in the home. Puppy classes can help your puppy settle into his place in your family hierarchy.
By around six months of age, your Aussie will have finished teething. If they still have any baby teeth that have stubbornly stayed in place, have them assessed by your veterinarian. If they don’t fall out on their own, they can lead to severe dental disease and may need to be removed under an anesthetic.
Your puppy will likely have boundless energy. Both mental and physical exercise are essential, but make sure you keep any physical activity low impact until they are fully grown to avoid injury to their growing joints.
Your pup will have established an incredible bond with you and be used to his daily routine by this time. Continued training is vital to keep your Aussie’s brain stimulated to prevent unwanted behaviors from developing. He’s in the “teenage” life stage and will try to push the limits when he can! It’s now OK to drop his meals down to twice daily.
Usually, by 12 months of age, your Aussie will have reached his full adult height, although he may continue to fill out for another few months yet.
Usually, by the 16-month mark, your Aussie will have reached adult weight. If she continues to gain weight beyond this time frame, care should be taken to avoid becoming overweight. If you are unsure how to check if your Aussie is a healthy body weight, speak to your local veterinary clinic. They will be able to offer tailored weight advice for your pet to ensure she doesn’t pile on the pounds. Obesity is a growing epidemic in our pets, and being overweight has many profound health implications for your pet.
Australian Shepherd Growth Chart
|Weight range (lbs)
|Height range (inches)
|Weight range (lbs)
|Height range (inches)
Other Things To Consider
Great nutrition is paramount when it comes to healthy growth for your pup and to also manage a healthy coat and shedding. This does not mean feeding more. Over-feeding leads to problems too. Instead, it means feeding a high-quality diet that meets all the complex nutritional needs a growing dog has. The easiest way to do this is to provide a commercial puppy diet – these have been carefully formulated to ensure they contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals for your pup in the correct balance. Some pet parents prefer to feed a home-prepared diet.
This can be extremely challenging to do correctly for growing puppies, and there is a lot of dangerous information on the web that can seem very convincing. Often, these articles will contain a lot of scaremongering or pet-food industry conspiracy theories. These should act as red flags regarding the quality of the information provided. If you’d like to feed a home-prepped diet, your veterinarian is the best person to talk to. They will be able to advise you on how to do it or point you in the direction of a qualified veterinary nutritionist who will be able to advise on a complete, balanced diet.
Your pup’s genetics will impact their size. If their parents or grandparents are on the larger side, it may be your Aussie will be bigger too. However, genetics are complex, and this should not be relied upon!
Any severe illness as a young puppy, examples including parasite or parvovirus infection, can stunt your puppy’s growth. Aussies are also at increased risk of a condition called “Cobalamin (vitamin B12) Malabsorption”. This is an inherited condition where the body cannot absorb vitamin B12 in the gut. Vitamin B12 is crucial for utilizing nutrients, red blood cell health, and DNA synthesis, amongst many other things. Signs of this condition include weakness, poor growth, and blood problems. There are screening tests available.
Consider Pet Insurance
It is always a good idea to consider getting your new puppy insured. If your pup is diagnosed with a medical problem and you have a pet insurance policy, you can then make the best decisions for their veterinary care without worrying about finances. Insurance policies vary, so make sure to do your research. Our pet insurance guide, written specifically for Aussies, can help you find the right company
Spay & Neutering
A common question is when is the best time to spay or neuter your new puppy. This question is best discussed with your veterinarian as many factors come into play that affect this decision. Your veterinarian will be able to tailor this advice to ensure it is the right time for your Aussie.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what age will my Australian Shepherd stop growing?
Australian Shepherds will typically reach their full height by around a year old and adult weight by around the 16-month mark. However, some dogs will get to their full adult size earlier than this.
How big is an adult Standard Australian Shepherd meant to be?
The American Kennel Club Official Australian Shepherd standards state the breed average for males is between 20-23 inches in height and 50-65 pounds in males and 18-21 inches and 40-55 pounds for females.
What about Miniature Australian Shepherds?
Miniature Aussies, now a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club, are smaller in height and weight than the Standard Aussie. The general principles of puppy development still apply, but more information about what to expect from your Mini Aussie can be found here.
Australian Shepherds are wonderfully intelligent, energetic dogs that can be an excellent fit for active homes. These medium-sized dogs are great family members but require a lot of exercise and training to meet their physical and mental needs. Keeping track of your Aussie’s growth through puppyhood into adulthood is a great way to be sure they are growing up healthy. It’s a great idea to have regular check-ups with your veterinarian to ensure their development is on track and help your pup be happy at the veterinary clinic. Learn more about how much it costs to raise Aussies, including harnesses and beds.