The Maltese dog is a popular family pet, known for intelligence, playfulness and fearlessness. Adult Maltese dogs are found in wide variety of sizes, but the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard specifies a height of 8 to 10 inches, and a weight under 3.18kg., with a preference for the 4- to 2.72kg. range. In a show setting, a slight deviation from the size standard is frequently overlooked if the overall quality of the dog is very good. While it is impossible to predict exactly how big a puppy will grow, combining a number of size-prediction methods can help form a pretty accurate idea.
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- Baby scale
Ask the breeder. Most Maltese breeders take size into account when planning which dogs to mate, and may be able to provide a reasonable estimate based on the adult size of previous litters from one or both of the parents.
Look at the parents. If both parents are of a similar size, the puppy will most likely grow to that size as well. If there is a big difference in the size of the two dogs, the puppy's adult size could be anywhere in that range.
Compare the puppy to its littermates. If the puppy is much smaller than its siblings, it will probably fall toward the small end of the size spectrum. Conversely, if it is much larger, it will probably grow to be a bit larger than normal.
Look at the puppy's feet. If they are large in proportion to the body, the puppy may grow to be a larger Maltese.
Pinch the puppy's "extra skin." If there seems to be more of it than usual, this means the puppy has a lot of room to grow, and will likely be a larger variety. Adult Maltese dogs "fit" their skin, with none left over for wrinkles or jowls.
Double the puppy's weight at 4 months of age. Assuming the puppy is progressing along a normal growth curve, it should be approximately 50 per cent of its adult size at this age. This is the method most often used by veterinarians.
Set up a chart. Label the x-axis "Week #" and the y-axis "weight" or "height." It is helpful to track both weight and height on the same chart, using different coloured pencils for each.
Weigh and measure the puppy's height at the shoulder, and record in the appropriate spot on the graph.
Repeat weekly, recording the results each time, and connecting the dots horizontally.
Analyse the data. From 10 weeks to 6 months of age, a Maltese puppy should be gaining approximately the same amount of height and weight weekly.
Average the weekly gain and multiply it by the number of weeks left before the puppy's first birthday. The answer will be how much weight or height the puppy will gain before it is fully grown.
Plot a Growth Curve
Tips and warnings
- Female Maltese dogs generally reach their full height by 8 months of age, but will continue to gain weight and "fill out" until they are 12 to 14 months old.
- Overfeeding the puppy can skew the results of the growth curve.
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