One of the main questions people can ask when adopting a mixed-breed puppy is “What size will it grow up to be?” This may be due to space limitations at home, perhaps wanting to understand likely feeding costs as an adult, or because they would like to understand the best training and nutrition to apply from an early age. To help answer these question for your clients, Mars Veterinary™ has now developed a proprietary algorithm that uses the breeds identified on each chromosome in a mixed breed dog to predict the likely size range that a puppy will develop into when fully mature. This prediction is designed to estimate the weight range that the dog will likely reach due to its genetic breed background when fully grown and at an ideal body condition score (see below). Of course the actual mature weight of a dog can be influenced by many factors of which the genetic contribution of breeds in its background is just one, and its weight can also fluctuate over time due to variation in its health status and nutritional and exercise regimen.
Body condition score is an essential mediator of the weight a dog will eventually reach, as it is predominantly a consequence of the amount of muscle build and also fat deposition around the dog’s skeletal frame that will determine the final actual weight. A large excess or deficiency of these core body tissues can cause two dogs of the same breed with similar size dimensions and build to differ significantly in weight. Additionally, nutritional variations during key developmental stages can have an impact on a dog’s ultimate body size and weight.