Looking after your golden retriever’s health in the development stages is not only desirable, it’s necessary too. By so doing, you’re actually ensuring that your puppy will live a longer life and more importantly with a healthy mindset. Maybe you’re aware of overfeeding or accelerated stunt growth which can make your dog look unusually big but tell you what these are all dangerous for your retriever’s health. Let us find out when do golden retrievers stop growing and what’s the maximum size at what age. We’ll also guide you how you can tell that your puppy is weak or it’s on track. Nearly all retrievers undergo similar growth and development stages. Let us discuss each one of these stages in detail.

When Do Golden Retrievers Stop Growing?


Just to let you know that each and every golden retriever puppy undergoes five main stages of development. We’ll also be discussing the minimum and average weights of male and female retrievers. Here you’ll also get to know the precise weight range your dogs should attain. At the end, you’ll know how you must avoid your puppy being either underweight or overweight. 

Development and Growth Stages of a Puppy

While puppies undergo similar growth stages in the initial months after birth, they do however show unique behaviors at each stage. Therefore, you’ll need different types of care at each stage.

when do golden retrievers stop growing

A 4-month old golden retriever puppy looking at the camera.

Neonatal Stage ONE (0 to 21 days)

  • The neonatal stage begins at birth and ends on the 20th day.
  • At this stage, the puppy is all too helpless and vulnerable that you can barely look after it. It’s better to leave it to its mother for feeding as well as keeping it warm during cold. 
  • The neonatal stage will develop newborn golden’s eyes and ears. You can even see your puppy’s teeth growing slowly.
  • At this stage the retriever will give its best to walk properly but the walk would probably be less steady.
  • During the neonatal stage, the baby golden will weigh as little as five pounds but it might vary with breeds.
  • The neonatal stage is probably a difficult one if a mother gives birth to several pups. All these puppies will compete for food–eventually leaving one of them redundant. Therefore, you should keep watching if one of the babies is slightly underweight. However the case may be, do not feed it by hand. Let the mother do the job!
  • Golden retrievers are known to lay as many as 4 – 12 pups. While it’s way too hard to raise all those puppies at once the mother might possibly reject a few pups as part of the natural selection.

Socialization Stage TWO (21 to 84 days)

  • Obviously the socialization stage begins at a three-week period. As the name suggests, the puppy will move around to see the world. It’s important in the life of a retriever.
  • Unlike the neonatal stage, the socialization stage isn’t that hard. During this period the puppy will spend most of its time with mother while playing. He might not rely on mother’s milk all the time because the mom’s milk will dry up with time. Therefore, you must feed the puppy with some solid foods as well.
  • You can teach the little tic independently and teach him how he must socialize with humans or even other dogs. You may take your puppy for a free ride.
  • Your dog will be aware of important habits. For instance, you should teach him not to bite. Teach him that playing is more important than fighting. This might annoy him but don’t worry he’ll learn quickly.
  • During this stage, the puppy will also learn to control the bowel movements. He is big enough to know that he should relieve himself somewhere outside instead of let’s say on a bed. The socialization stage will be tough for both owner and the dog. You can start your house training during this stage of life.
  • The baby golden retriever will probably experience fear for the very first time. You are required to keep your puppy away from any probable dangerous situations. The pup might not be able to live with fear at this stage, so it’ll have dangerous consequences on the years to come.
  • You’ll need to vaccinate the golden retriever puppy during 24 and 56 days.

Juvenile Stage THREE (90 – 180 days)

  • At this stage your puppy probably won’t grow as quickly as it did in the first two stages. It’s won’t be wrong to say that the juvenile dog is a mini version of an adult retriever.
  • The dog is no longer a puppy. It will replace its baby teeth with adult teeth.
  • You can now afford to separate the puppy from her mother (if you wish). However, we do not advise it personally but the puppy will now be able to live independently.
  • The juvenile retriever will begin to develop habits for life. He will learn to bark at other dogs.
  • During this stage, you will need to focus on home training the dog. You’ll have to be consistent with rules and patient with your new buddy. Better not to rely on negative methods as positive reinforcement is all you need.
  • The retriever will soon learn to get along with new family members.
  • You cannot and should not punish your dog because he’s still in the phase of developing a fear.

Maturity Stage FOUR (180 days to 480 days)

  • Your new buddy will now attain maturity in no time. The stage ends when the dog gets to 16 months old.
  • The young retriever will enter heat cycles and display mating behavior. 
  • He will probably try to assume a new role within the family. You shouldn’t be surprised if he takes on other young dogs or even some strangers.
  • During this stage a golden retriever will mark its territory.
  • Do not panic if you see your dog’s legs are longer than its body. This is natural and will definitely even out over time. 
  • At the maturity stage, he may have unusually large ears or nose. Both these parts grow quickly as compared to the rest of the body.
  • This stage will make sure your gold grows quickly and attain its full size. However, this will eventually cause the dog’s bones to be more susceptible to injury. You wouldn’t want your gold to jump around.

Adult Stage FIVE (16 months to…)

  • Congrats! Your newborn retriever has now entered adulthood. While some breeds might still continue to grow during this stage, others won’t. 
  • Golden retrievers generally reach their maximum size at years of age.

You might also be interested in:


Why is My Golden Retriever So Small?

Size of the Parents

Chances are that your retriever (even at adulthood) might look smaller in comparison to your neighbor’s dog. It does not mean that he or she raised his pet better than you did. Not all goldens attain the same size or weight. Prominent among factors are proper diet as well as the size of the parents. If parents are small their puppy would probably be small too. It’s better to have a naturally average-sized retriever than a stunted dog that looks more like a horse.

Lack of Proper Diet

You might not have fed your dog a proper nutritious diet. Better to consult a nearby dog center. Dogs will have smaller size because of some hookworm condition and as a result their growth will be affected too. You’ll need to visit your vet for any possible disease your dog may have because these diseases could leave its bones weaker. Maybe the immune system of your retriever isn’t good at all.