The Chihuahua is a dog known for many things, but its size is often what people first register. If we can imagine a scale of dog size, the tallest end would be the Great Dane and the Chihuahua would be the smallest at the opposite end. Since the adult size of a Chihuahua is small enough, when we adopt a Chihuahua puppy, it is normal for us to want to know at what age they will stop growing. By knowing more about Chihuahua’s growth and development, we can give them the best care at different stages of their lives.
At AnimalWised we ask, “When do Chihuahuas Stop Growing?” By Answering, we can find out not only the limits of this dog’s growth but also what problems may occur if they do not reach their ideal size.
How big will my Chihuahua get?
Although the Chihuahua’s heritage likely dates back to antiquity, the first recognized breed standard didn’t occur until 1904. Even since then, there have been some changes and adaptations to the breed. There are different types of Chihuahua which might make determining their ideal growth and size difficult. Types of Chihuahua include:
- Apple head: as the name suggests, this type of Chihuahua is defined by its head shape. Like an apple, it is rounded, its eyes are relatively close together and its ears are not particularly large.
- Deer head: the deer head Chihuahua has a flat top head which has a longer snout and larger ears, somewhat resembling the head shape of a deer.
- Smooth coat: many breed standard organizations only recognize the apple-head Chihuahua breed. However, two coats are accepted. The smooth coat Chihuahua is a shorthair version of the breed.
- Long coat: a longhair version of the breed is also accepted. Despite being longer, both types of Chihuahua coat lengths are relatively easy to maintain and they do not shed much.
- Teacup: as with all teacup-size dogs, they are a very miniature version of the regular Chihuahua breed standard. These dogs are not generally recognized by competitive bodies and the health issues related to their mean their breeding is a cruel practice.
Breed standard organizations
As we stated above, not all types of Chihuahua are recognized by breed standard organizations. This does not mean they are not still common domestic pets and companion animals. Pedigree Chihuahuas are found as both show dogs and companion animals. However, the specifics of breed standards disqualify some pedigree Chihuahuas from being allowed to exhibit in shows.
- Show Chihuahuas: maximum weight of up to 6 lbs (2.72 kg).
- Pet Chihuahuas: can weigh anywhere up to 10 lb (4.5 kg).
There may be some kennel clubs or organizations which have slightly different rules, but generally, a 6 lb weight limit is enforced. While there are weight restrictions, there is no height restriction. They tend to measure up to 10″, but can measure as much as 15″. The Chihuahua is considered a ‘toy’ type dog, thanks to their small size. Teacup Chihuahuas may only grow to weigh no more than 4 lbs (1.8 kg), a dangerously small size that brings many health problems.
When do Chihuahua puppies stop growing?
As with all dogs, the Chihuahua’s development is most noticeable during the puppy stage. There is a correlation between size and sexual maturity. Some larger dog breeds may take over a year for females to reach sexual maturity, but the average is between 8 to 12 months. Since Chihuahuas reach sexual maturity from as little as 4 months of age, they are typical of smaller dog breeds.
The gestation period of a dog is usually between 60 and 63 days, but Chihuahuas are known to suffer from complications and are more likely than some breeds to require a cesarean section. However, even if this is the case, healthy puppies should develop well. Due to the small size of the breed, charting the growth of Chihuahua development can seem difficult. This is why we need to know when the Chihuahua will stop growing.
Since the greatest growth of a Chihuahua occurs during their puppy stage, they will generally have stopped growing when they reach adulthood. This means they should reach a standard weight, as detailed above. However, even in the adult stage muscle development can mean their weight is still subject to change, even if they are technically adult dogs.
The duration of a dog’s puppy stage will vary depending on the size of the dog. In the case of a small dog like the Chihuahua, the transition to the adult stage should be complete between the ages of 9 and 12 months.
The majority of a Chihuahua’s growth and development will occur before the age of 8 months, but they will still be developing after this time. A lot of this has to do with the structure of the body which can differ according to sex:
- Male: as the dog grows, it will continue to develop muscle mass and its torso will broaden.
- Female: muscle mass will also continue to develop, but the female’s hips will broaden more than males.
Since there are so many variables in the Chihuahua’s development, it is best to lay out a Chihuahua’s growth chart. This, generally, goes as follows:
- Birth: at birth, the weight of a newborn Chihuahua ranges between 2.5 and 6.5 ounces. However, growth is very fast and they can double in size in only a few days.
- Puppies: as we stated above, the main growth will occur up to 8 months of age, but it does not stop there. After 12 months, the dog will reach its adult size, but there will still be some development to go. During this time, it is important to visit the veterinarian for checkups, but also to weigh the puppy at home to ensure its development is going well.
- After 1 year: after the first year of life, musculature and body shape will still develop. After the age of 18 months, the Chihuahua will be considered fully grown.
Although Chihuahuas are small dogs and have some health problems, they are one of the longest-living dogs. This is partly because larger dog breeds tend to die younger. The Chihuahua will change over this time as they become an adult and, eventually, senior dogs.
How to know if a Chihuahua has a growth disorder
There are several issues that can affect any dog’s development. The general health and well-being of both the mother and puppies will determine whether or not they have a healthy growth period. The mother will need to be able to produce milk that has sufficient nutrients and they will need to be free of disease, parasitical infestation or even stress.
There are also several problems related to growth disorders in puppies which manifest themselves with various symptoms, including:
- Dermatological problems
- Loss of appetite
- Exercise intolerance
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty in movement
These symptoms can reveal certain endocrine, metabolic, and/or skeletal disorders which affect the proper development of the Chihuahua. If you do detect any of them, you will need to take the puppy or puppies to the veterinarian immediately. Similarly, we suggest you also view the most common diseases in Chihuahuas to best monitor for problems.