Why Is My German Shepherd So Small? Here’s 8 Reasons

As a compassionate dog lover, it’s important to understand the factors that contribute to the size of our beloved German Shepherds. Sometimes, we might notice that they are smaller than expected. This can lead to concerns about their health and well-being.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind a smaller German Shepherd, when to be worried, and what can be done to ensure their optimal growth and development.


Why Is My German Shepherd So Small?

While there is no one size fits all answer to this, here are several reasons why your German Shepherd may be smaller than you expected:

Inherited Smallness

Your German Shepherd’s genetic background plays a significant role in their size. If their parents or ancestors were smaller than average, it’s likely that your dog has inherited those traits, resulting in a smaller Shepherd size.

Underlying Medical Illness

Certain medical conditions can impact your German Shepherd’s growth rate and overall size.

Health issues such as joint disorders, thyroid problems, and other health concerns can lead to a slower rate of growth. It’s essential to schedule regular veterinary check-ups to detect and treat any health conditions early on.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites, like worms, can hinder your German Shepherd’s growth by affecting their capacity for nutrient absorption. Regular deworming and veterinary care can help prevent and treat any parasites, ensuring your dog receives the adequate nutrients they need to grow.

Poor Nutrition for a Large Breed Dog

Providing proper nutrition is crucial for German Shepherd dogs. A diet lacking in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can lead to stunted growth and an unhealthy weight.

Feeding them a high-quality diet designed specifically for large breed dogs can promote a healthy growth rate.

Too Few Calories

To reach their full growth potential, German Shepherds require an appropriate caloric intake. Underfeeding your dog can result in slower growth, weight loss, and an overall unhealthy weight.

Make sure to consult your veterinarian about the correct caloric requirements for your dog’s age, weight, and activity levels.

Small German Shepherd Mix

If your German Shepherd is a mix, their smaller size may be a result of inheriting traits from another breed. Understanding your dog’s genetic background can provide insight into their unique size and appearance.


Anxiety and stress can have a significant impact on your German Shepherd’s growth and development. A dog experiencing anxiety might have a loss of appetite, leading to insufficient calorie intake and slower growth.

It’s essential to address any anxiety issues and provide a safe, comfortable environment for your dog.


Lastly, your German Shepherd’s age may be a factor in their smaller size. Puppies have different growth rates and may not have reached their full adult size yet.

Comparing your dog’s size to a German Shepherd growth chart can help determine if their growth is within the normal range for their age.

Is My German Shepherd Really Too Small?

Why is my German Shepherd so small

Determining whether your German Shepherd is genuinely too small depends on various factors, including their age, genetic background, and overall health. Here are some tips to help you assess your dog’s size and growth:

Compare with Breed Standard

First, compare your dog’s size to the breed standard for German Shepherds. Adult males typically stand between 24 to 26 inches tall, while adult females range between 22 to 24 inches.

However, keep in mind that some variation is normal, and not all dogs will fall within the standard size range.

Use a Growth Chart

Refer to a German Shepherd growth chart to track your dog’s growth over time. This can help you ensure that their growth rate is within the normal range for their age. Be aware that puppies grow at different rates, and it might take time for them to reach their adult size.

Consider Their Overall Health

Assess your German Shepherd’s overall health and well-being. A dog in good health, with a shiny coat, strong muscle mass, and a good appetite, is likely growing at a healthy pace. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Related Post: Do German Shepherds Like to Cuddle?

German Shepherd Calories Per Day

Providing your German Shepherd with the correct caloric intake is crucial for their growth, health, and well-being. The number of calories your dog needs will vary depending on their age, weight, activity levels, and overall health.

Here are some guidelines to help you determine the appropriate caloric intake for your German Shepherd:

Puppy Calories

During the first few months of life, German Shepherd puppies require a higher calorie intake to support their rapid growth and development.

As a general rule, puppies between 8 to 12 weeks of age need approximately 500 calories per day, while puppies between 3 to 6 months require around 800-1,000 calories daily.

Adult Calories

As your German Shepherd reaches adulthood, their caloric needs will change. Adult dogs typically require fewer calories than puppies, as their growth rate slows down.

A moderately active adult German Shepherd weighing around 70 pounds needs approximately 1,500-1,700 calories per day to maintain a healthy weight.

Senior Calories

As German Shepherds age, their metabolism slows down, and their activity levels decrease. This means that senior dogs often require fewer calories than their younger counterparts.

Adjust your dog’s diet to reflect their changing nutritional needs and consult with your veterinarian to ensure they’re receiving the proper nutrients for their age and health status.

Adjusting for Activity Levels

It’s essential to consider your dog’s activity levels when determining their caloric needs. A highly active dog may require more calories to support their energy expenditure, while a less active dog needs fewer calories to prevent weight gain.

Be sure to adjust your German Shepherd’s diet accordingly to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related health issues.

Remember, always consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate calorie intake for your German Shepherd. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your dog’s specific needs and lifestyle.


Several factors can contribute to your German Shepherd’s size, including genetics, age, medical conditions, and nutrition. It’s crucial to monitor your dog’s growth and overall health to ensure they’re developing at a healthy rate.

To help your German Shepherd reach their full growth potential and enjoy a happy, healthy life, it is important to provide proper nutrition, regular veterinary care, and address any underlying issues.

Remember to consult with your veterinarian for personalized guidance on your dog’s growth and caloric requirements.

Related Post: German Shepherd Stacking

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