22 facts on puppy development
Here are 22 facts about the rate at which puppies develop:
- Puppies are born blind and deaf
- Puppies vary in size and weight depending upon the breed. Dog breeds vary enormously in size and weight because of many thousands of years of selective breeding to create working dogs through to toy dogs.
- A wolf cub weighs about one pound at birth
- The average litter size based upon 506 litters is 4.92 puppies, which can be rounded up to 5.
- 90% of the time during the first days of a puppy’s life is spent sleeping.
- 10% of the time during the first days of a puppy’s life is spent at the nipple. This is called the “neonatal phase”.
- A puppy’s eyes open at thirteen days but this timeframe varies between the breeds. 90% of fox terrier puppies have their eyes open at thirteen days but only 10% of beagles achieve this.
- The eyes of all puppies, no matter what breed, are open by the age of twenty-one days.
- At about twenty days old puppies’ ears become active resulting in their first ‘startle response’.
- The first signs of tail wagging occur at three weeks of age.
- At three weeks-of-age puppies make their first special trips away from the nest to urinate and defecate.
- Puppies weigh about seven times their birthweight at the age of four weeks provided they’ve developed normally.
- At about this time they enter that time of their lives when they need to be socialised which means they become used to being around people and other animals.
- A puppy’s facial muscles are fully developed when they are five weeks old which allows them to produce their facial visual signals.
- Immature pack organisation may start to take place at the age of six weeks which may include “gang attacks” on runts by their stronger brothers and sisters.
- The mother’s (bitch’s) milk starts to dry up at seven weeks after she is given birth.
- The stage for a puppy to be adopted into a forever home is at around six-weeks-of-age. With some breeds an age of ten weeks is preferable. Some dog breeders have their own rules on this but it is essential not to allow puppies to be adopted too early.
- At about twelve weeks old a puppy’s socialisation phase draws to an end and the “juvenile phase” begins.
- At twelve weeks old a puppy is fully developed socially. In the wild they would start hunting and exploring activities.
- Permanent teeth begin to erupt at sixteen weeks and by twenty-four weeks they are all through.
- Male dogs begin to cock their legs when urinating and become sexually mature at six months.
- Between six and nine months of age both males and females have become fully sexually mature. Some will mature late and they may become completely adult between ten and twelve months-of-age.
Source: Dr Desmond Morris PhD renowned ethologist and zoologist in his book Dogwatching.