Pitbulls stop growing significantly once they are 1 year old. However, growth still continues until they are 2 to 3 years of age. The majority of fast and noticeable growth takes place during the first year.
The exact time depends on several factors ranging from age to gender and diet. When you get a new Pitbull puppy, one of the main concerns you will have is how big he/she will get.
Pitbulls can be very aggressive, so it's good to know if your dog will be manageable at full size depending on where you live, if you have kids, etc.
Pitbull Growth Process
Like all puppies, a Pitbull puppy’s growth process begins in the bones. The process is similar to that of growing children i.e., it is centered in growth plates. These plates (characterized by cartilage) are present at the end of long bones. This is where new growth tissues are created.
During growth, the flexible and pliable tissues will continue extending from birth to the second year of life. When the bone reaches full size, the tissue hardens into an adult calcified bone. For this process to take place uninterrupted, puppies should be subjected to moderate activity. Strenuous activity such as long jumps and vigorous exercise can strain and damage a puppy's growth plates, hindering their development.
How Big Do Pitbulls Get?
Before getting into why they stop growing, it's important to discuss how big they should get. First and foremost, Pitbulls are medium-sized dogs meaning they'll not be small or too large.
However, there are many types of Pitbulls ranging from bully pits to pocket Pitbulls and standard Pitbulls. These types all vary in size, making it challenging to know how big Pitbulls as a whole can get. For this reason, it's important to get into different types of Pitbulls.
1. Type Of Pitbull
Pocket Pitbulls: As the name suggests, this is the smallest of all Pitbulls. They grow up to 12 to 16 inches in height and weigh between 11 and 22 pounds when fully grown.
Hulk-sized XL Pitbulls: These are the largest of all Pitbulls with sizes varying depending on the parents.
2. Formula For Calculating Growth
There's a general formula for estimating how big pit bull puppies get when they become adult dogs.
Typically, Pitbulls double their four-month weight. This is just an estimate. However, it gives you a rough idea of how big a Pitbull puppy will become as an adult.
3. Standard Growth
A full grown adult Pitbull usually weighs 35 to 60 pounds and measures 18 – 21 inches tall.
4. Growth Based On Gender
The gender of your Pitbull will also affect how big or small he/she gets as an adult. Male dogs tend to be bigger than female dogs regardless of the breed.
Female Pitbull size ranges from 30 to 50 pounds in weight and up to 20 inches tall.
Male Pitbull size ranges from 35 to 60 pounds in weight and up to 21 inches tall.
This obviously varies depending on the type. For instance, pocket Pitbulls will be smaller than this. However, male Pitbulls are generally bigger than female ones.
5. The Parent Factor
One of the easiest ways of knowing how big your Pitbull will be is by looking at his/her parents. This applies mostly when your Pitbull is a cross between different dog breeds. While the averages can give accurate estimates, looking at the parents will help you predict a lot about the future with accuracy.
If you don't know your Pitbull's history, you can estimate their size in other ways, like using the formula for calculating growth above i.e., doubling his/her weight at 4 months to get his/her final adult weight.
When Will My Pit Bull Stop Growing?
Having understood the factors affecting the size of Pitbulls, we can turn our attention to how big he/she will grow. If you have a standard Pitbull that qualifies as a medium-large dog, you should expect your dog to grow rapidly over a short time span.
In typical circumstances, you'll notice changes in weight and height on a weekly basis until he/she reaches adult size.
Pitbulls finish growing significantly once they are 1 year old. However, growth still continues until they are 2 to 3 years old. The majority of fast and noticeable growth takes place during the first year. He/she will show massive physical changes over this period. However, you can expect some variations.
It's important to consider the differences in growth from one dog to another. Most Pitbulls will still grow after age two. However, Pitbulls tend to attain full height within a year or 1.5 years and adult weight within 2-3 years.
If you have a Pitbull puppy, expect him/her to grow very fast between 4 to 9 months of age. The growth will continue beyond 9 months but won’t be as rapid.
The slowest growth phase starts after he/she is 1 to 1.5 years old. Once Pitbulls reach full height, they continue growing in muscle until they are 2 to 3 years old.
Other Factors Affecting How Big Pitbulls Grow
Besides the factors discussed above, there are other things that will determine how your Pitbull grows and how big they become.
These factors include;
1. Major Health Conditions
If your dog has major health conditions that have an effect on factors like hormonal balance when he/she is below 2 to 3 years, he/she will have growth problems.
In most cases, your dog will grow slower when faced with hormonal problems. He/she may compensate with even faster growth periods when such problems are solved. However, they will usually be disadvantaged if growth-affecting factors aren't addressed.
What you feed your Pitbull up to ages 2 to 3 will also determine if he grows perfectly or not. Just like humans, dogs need healthy food to grow. The nutritional needs of puppies are more pronounced because they need adequate amounts of nutrients to support growth.
Pitbulls develop at a high rate during the first year, highlighting the need for extra calories, vitamins, and minerals. If you don't find nutritious puppy food meant specifically for Pitbull puppies, he/she will have a hard time reaching their growth potential. A poor diet also makes Pitbull puppies susceptible to injuries and diseases.
While different types of Pitbulls have different adult sizes, the genes play a critical role, as discussed above. Over the decades, dogs have been genetically modified to enhance so many characteristics.
This makes it challenging to estimate adult size without having knowledge of the parent's physical characteristics. If you don't know how big your Pitbull's parents are, your vet can do a test.
Injuries also hinder growth. This is common among energetic dogs like Pitbulls, which love all kinds of physical activities that most dogs would avoid. If your Pitbull gets injured, he/she may experience stunted growth.
Pitbull's growth plates are usually fragile when he/she is less than 2 years old. The fragility is worse when he is a few months old.
To ensure he/she grows perfectly to full size, regulate his physical activities, ensuring he exercises but doesn't do too much to get injured.
5. Spaying And Neutering
Your Pitbull’s final size will also be affected by spaying or neutering. Desexing dogs at a young age has been proven to accelerate their growth i.e., extend their growth period. The process makes growth plates open to growth for a longer time. Your Pitbull's chances of growing taller than normal are higher when he/she is neutered or spayed.
While some dog owners believe desexing also results in increased body mass, there's a need for more research on such growth. If you want your Pitbull to be bulkier, you should consider putting him/her under a strict exercise regimen once he attains adult size. Alternatively, you can neuter or spay your Pitbull after he/she is a year old to get more body mass.
How Do I Make Sure My Pitbull Grows Healthy To Size?
If your focus is having a healthy Pitbull that grows to size, you should:
Offer nutritious dog food: Pitbulls need specific diets packed with all the minerals, vitamins, and adequate amounts of calories to grow. Anything short of a healthy diet will result in poor growth and other problems like increased susceptibility to injuries and disease.
Avoid too much activity: As discussed above, Pitbulls are active dogs. They are bound to be hyperactive as puppies. However, that doesn't mean you should subject them to too much exercise. You should avoid specific exercises like jumping off high ground or furniture as this affects their growth plates more than other dogs.
Vaccinate him/her: Nutrition alone won’t be enough. All dogs should be vaccinated at an early stage to protect them from common diseases. A healthy diet can’t protect your Pitbull puppy from infectious diseases.
It depends on factors like age, diet, spaying, neutering, disease, breed, etc. You can expect your Pitbull to grow according to the average growth rate of Pitbulls in general or according to the size of his/her parents.
If you want him/her to grow bigger, you can consider some exercise after he attains adult size or other alternatives like spaying and neutering.
However, the importance of good nutrition, vaccinations, and moderate exercise/activity can't be overlooked.