Q: My puppy is smaller than the others in her litter, will she be smaller than them as an adult?
A: Body weight at birth (relative to each other) has to do with blood supply in the uterus. The first puppy born often has the best blood supply and is sometimes bigger than his/her siblings.
Body weight at go-home (relative to each other) has to do with how food motivated they are — are they pushy at the milk bar. If they are not pushy, they will often weigh less than their pushier littermates.
Body weight at maturity (relative to each other) has EVERYTHING to do with the growth clock. When the growth clock stops, they stop growing. Tom T. didn’t stop growing UP until after 18 months — not normal by the way and he had the majority of his height by 11 months — but gained 2 inches after that. Karma was done growing up at 7 months. Maestro at 11 months. Eleven-12 months is the normal time for the growth clock to stop. They fill in, bulk up, after that. Think of an athletic 17-year-old male, and an athletic 40-year-old male… they are differences in body shape and proportion, muscle mass, etc. Even if both are athletic, there is no mistaking the silhouette of the 17yo boy from the 40yo man. Same with dogs, the chest drops and thickens, the body bulks up, the legs and head gain mass…
There are things that can interfere with the growth clock. Rori was nearly starved when I got her back at 7-8 months and her growth clock stopped around 4-5 months, never to restart again. ;< And some say that early neutering can cause the growth plates to not close in a timely fashion so the dogs get lankier — I THINK THIS IS ACCURATE and one of the reasons I pushed the neuter date back on the boys 12-24 months instead of 6 months. However, in the Nikko X Singer litter Sera and Luna are both 26″ and so is their spayed at 6m sister — the boys are all tall and lanky, but so are the intact girls…
In the normal course of things, there are also SIGNIFICANT differences in males vs females in Alaskan Malamutes. Singer is 85#/25″ and brothers Snowman is 98#/26″, Tom T is 27″/99#. 70# Maestro is the same height as his 75# sister Sunny, he also has a compact (correctly short) back and she has the more typical (and incorrect) longer back — NOT a long back, but longer than correct. Storm is 23″/73# and compactly gorgeous of course. Amak hopefully, please, Singer, will have a little sister and when they are adults, I HOPE to see… 25/85 in him and 23/75 in her…
So, when I have a puppy owner obsessing (is that too strong a word, Robin?) about body weight, I just smile. Neikko in CA was 10lbs (1 of 10 puppies and he wasn’t really pushy at the milk bar) and now he is one of the biggest puppies, if not the biggest, in that litter.
Birth weight, go-home weight, and adult weight have very LITTLE to do with each other. You can slow/stop the growth clock by starvation/illness, and you may be able to add an extra inch by early spay/neuter, but it stops when it stops.ALSO, there is a natural range of size in Malamutes, from 60lb girls to 110lb boys — these all in the same litter sometimes. Ideal is 75lbs for girls and 85lbs for boys, but that’s also relative to fitness and weight.
Sidney Helen Sachs