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I recently adopted a poodle puppy from out of state. Because of covid, it was difficult to find a reputable breeder in my area without a very long waitlist (puppy adoption has exploded here). I wanted to be able to take home a puppy while I'm working from home, so I widened my search and found a reputable breeder from California. This breeder has been mentioned a few times on this form, always as being positive/reputable. I originally spoke to this breeder about an upcoming litter but she had a buyer fall through on one of her existing litters and reached out to me since she knew I was interested in taking a pup home sooner. I agreed, and we arranged a take home date that would end up with me taking the pup home at 12 weeks of age.

Because of the situation, I was not able to meet the pup in person before taking him home but I spoke at length with the breeder on the phone and received photos/videos. My pup's parents are each CHIC certified and are champions in conformation.

When I flew to pick up the pup, I noticed that he looked pretty small in person but I was mostly relieved that he would comfortably fit underneath my seat. However when I got him home I was a bit shocked to find that he weighed 9.5 lbs at 12 weeks, which seems abnormally small to me. He also seems skinny for his frame, but is otherwise in perfect health.

I understand that this is not the end of the world, but I felt put off that the breeder did not even mention to me that this pup was on the smaller side. I've also been feeling weirdly paranoid that his size may be indicative of an underlying health problem or general poor health. Am I being sensitive/paranoid, or is this situation shady? I was actually hoping for a spoo on the smaller end of the spectrum, so his adult size is not an issue at all to me, I'm only concerned about his healthy development.

Just to give a little more background, my pup's mother weighed about 38lbs and his father around 53lbs. He was one of a litter of 11 (which I believe may contribute to his smaller size). I was told that he was neither the largest or smallest in the litter, and that his expected adult weight will be about 50lbs.
 

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Hi and Welcome! What's your pups name?

Ok, so based on the parents weight, you have a spoo, right? Did your vet say the pup seemed unhealthy?

Growth rate and ultimate size are always going to be unpredictable. There's no reason to assume any health issues simply because the pup is smaller than you expected, at this moment. Not knowing your experience with poodles, standards in particular, they carry their weight differently than other larger dogs. What may seem skinny to you can just be a growth spurt and will look different in another week.

First, for comparison, here's a portion of an older thread, with growth charted, from peppersb about her spoo, Cammie, who came from parents sized similarly, I think, to your pups parents. Her brother finished out around 50lbs, if I remember correctly. There's a number of others and if I can find more, I'll add them or links to them for you.

At 19 weeks, my Cammie was also 19 pounds. But she was only 17 inches tall. She has a beautiful petite build -- only 35 pounds and about 21.5 inches as an adult.

From the time she was 16 weeks until 28 weeks, her age in weeks was equal to her weight in pounds.

Here's a summary of her growth.

10 weeks: 7 lbs
11 weeks: 8 lbs
12 weeks: 10 lbs
3 months: 10 lbs, 13 in
4 months: 17 lbs, 16 in
5 months: 21 lbs, 18 in
6 months: 26 lbs, 19 in
8 months: 32 lbs, 20 in
9 months: 32 lbs, 21 in
12 months: 35 lbs, 21 in
18 months: 35 lbs, 21.5 in



For reference, here's a general guideline for spoo size

From POODLE PUPPY GROWTH CHARTS

"I don't hold a lot of stock in the size charts for poodles out there but I have gotten so many requests for them I decided to post some of the better ones here. Remember though, there are NO weight restrictions on poodles only height so really weight doesn't have a lot to do with the poodle.
Toys are 10 inches in height and under.
Miniatures are over 10 inches to 15 inches.
Standards are over 15 inches.
This by the breed standards for both AKC and UKC.
NOTE: A poodles height is measured from the ground up to the top of the withers (shoulder blades).

HEIGHT CHART FOR STANDARD POODLES



AGE IN MONTHS

HEIGHT IN INCHES

8 WEEKS

12 - 13 INCHES

3 MONTHS

14 INCHES

4 MONTHS

18-19 INCHES

6 MONTHS

21+ INCHES

FULL GROWN (USUALLY 24 MONTHS)

24-27 INCHES



Standard poodles can take up to 2 years to finish growing and filling out."
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Welcome to Poodle Forum! What does your vet have to say about his size? If he's not showing signs of being underweight or malnourished (such as prominent ribs, vomiting or diarrhea, a hollow between his hip bones, etc.) and your vet is confident he's healthy, you may be able to get a pretty good estimate with this calculator:


At first it underestimated Peggy's adult weight, but that's because she was malnourished when we first brought her home. Once we got her eating and digesting her food, she quickly packed on the pounds, and by about 14 weeks, the calculator's accuracy improved.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, he is a spoo! Sorry for not mentioning that directly haha.

The vet was a bit cryptic about it to be honest. With covid protocols we had limited time to talk. She said he was small and she would like to see more weight on him - I believe he is technically classified as underweight, but otherwise healthy. She did mention that if he doesn't grow we should check his kidneys and liver function, which made me feel concerned but maybe I was being sensitive about it. Overall it was not the health stamp of approval I was hoping for, but she did not say it was a major issue. He does not have vomiting or diarrhea. He is pretty boney, which I understand is normal for a spoo, but I believe a bit more than average in his case.

Is it weird for this to not be mentioned by the breeder? Or growth patterns are so unpredictable that it is really nothing special and not critical to discuss?
 

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Sorry for not saying this in my previous post, but thank you for the detailed information! It's comforting to see Cammie's growth pattern since I had not yet seen any spoos reported to be his size at 12 weeks. 35 lbs seems like an awfully small finished weight for a male spoo, but I'm honestly not picky on finished size.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I'd love a dog Cammie's size! Peggy was 16.8 lbs at 12 weeks. She is now 45.2 lbs at 17 months, and she measures 22.5" at the withers. She's a nice size, but I found her much easier to lift about 10 lbs ago.

@okwatercress, reading that feedback from your vet, I'm a little more concerned. Definitely don't panic! As Rose said, he may have just had a major growth spurt and his weight needs to catch up. But that's what my breeder told me about Peggy, and the reality was that she was vomiting her kibble. It was so bad I took her off it, cold turkey, and the vomiting immediately stopped.

How's your boy's eating habits? How long have you had him now? And what's his temperament like?

Peggy was a little shutdown when she wasn't digesting her food, and then she blossomed rapidly when she finally had a full belly. It's clear to me now that she really wasn't feeling well those first few days with us.
 

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How long have you had him? Is he eating and eliminating normally? It's not unusual for pups to be quite stressed over the complete and total change in their life, but they usually rebound pretty quickly.

Counterpointing PTP, I'm actually not overly concerned about your vets comments. Do you know how much experience your vet has with poodles? Absolutely not trying to shake your faith here, but it's not unusual for vets (and groomers for that matter) to not be as familiar with spoos as the years of experienced owners here.


This is a quote from one of our members, also a spoo owner, who is a biology professor:

"height is a polygenically inherited trait with heavy environmental influence (for poodles, other dogs and for people). That is to say that several gene loci contribute to the potential maximum height. It is not sex linked. Whether one attains the potential maximum depends on nutrition while growing in addition to the genetic potential."

This explains to me why my two mini boys are noticeably taller than their parents. I fed them better than their parents had been fed.

the breeder did not even mention to me that this pup was on the smaller side.
I'm confused then. Who told you this?
I was told that he was neither the largest or smallest in the litter,
Would you consider adding a photo? If you have one of your pup standing, and a side or 3/4 view, that might help us. Plus, we looooove puppies :)
 

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PTP, we're doing it again lol
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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PTP, we're doing it again lol
Lol!

And I agree re: vets and poodles. To be honest, I don't think our vet even likes poodles. But she backed up her assessment of Peggy's weight, pointing out the hollow between her hip bones. And that hollow ended up filling in rapidly once we got Peggy's diet back on track.

To be honest, she felt an awful lot like a bird when we first brought her home.
 

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:)

A really rough way to gauge is to take the fingers of one hand and run them over the knuckles of the other, with that hand held straight. you should feel the knuckles but not prominently. That's good.
Do the same with the hand bent and the knuckles will be very prominent. That's not so good.
Straighten your hand again and run your fingers over the palm side of the knuckles. That's going to the other direction of not so good.

Here's the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) chart

471148
 

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And with 11 in the litter, I wouldn't think it would be possible to have very much range in size, That's a pretty small area to have 11 pups in.
 

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At that age my boy Galen was around 16 pounds. At 10 months he is now somewhat over 45 (I haven't weighed him lately.)

I would keep an eye on him and follow up with your vet. In your shoes I would want to see all the naughty behavior which drives puppy owners to despair. He should be biting, chewing, jumping, exploring, and making himself impossible to ignore in between crashing hard for naps. A poodle puppy who quietly rests all day without waking up for bouts of destruction is cause for concern.
 

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Annie was one of the two smallest puppies in her litter of 12 (lots of size variation). Her brother who was the same size ended up at 40 ish lbs, Annie is 55 lbs! Her breeder had to be very careful to feed the two smallest pups separately to keep the other puppies from pushing them away from the dish, but Annie was still HUNGRY when I got her home. I ended up switching from the food her breeder had her on to one that was more calorie dense and she grew like a weed.

I would probably ask the vet if you can take the puppy in for weekly weight checks at the beginning to make sure he is gaining weight steadily, and possibly offer food 3-4 times per day, and, if he eats it, slightly more than what is recommended on the package. Annie ate 4 meals a day for the first month or so, as she couldnt fit much down in a single serving and was still HUNGRY even after eating. If he is otherwise bright and active and healthy, I wouldn't worry about it. I honestly wish Annie was in the 30-40lb size range, it was a really convenient size and when she hit it I wished she would stop growing!
 

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Does he have a puppy belly?

My human insecurities lead me to be too cautious feeding Basil (female, Spoo) as a puppy from 8-9 weeks, and my vet assured me she should be eating more. My vet loves SPOOs.

Week 8: 8.1#
Week 9: 9.2#
Week 11: 12.4#
Week 13: 16.8#
Week 14: 18.6#
Week 15: 20.1#

Puppies get plump, then lanky, then plump, then lanky as they grow. Basil's Mom is 50-53#s, so it's not necessarily apples to apples.. however I think it might help to see Basil's #'s because she came underweight and I wasn't feeding her enough, so I had to shift my mindset.
 

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Galen was the runt of his litter. Being the runt, he tended to get pushed out of the food bowl by his bigger siblings. That situation can be hard for the breeder to manage. The puppy may get distressed and not eat if removed from the siblings for special meals, but he can't compete if left with them. Galen arrived at barely over 6 pounds. He gained 10 pounds in the following 3 weeks. He slowed after that, only gaining 4 pounds over the next 3 weeks. During this period I offered him meals 4-5 times a day, as much as I thought he could hold without vomiting, and definitely more than bag suggested. He ate everything I offered and dove into Pogo's bowl for more.
 

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When Misha was young he went through periods where he was very skinny. 12 weeks was one of them. Even as an adult now he is still very lean. He still has a bit of a dip between hips and his last ribs poke out a bit. For him it just seems normal. Vet has no issue with his weight. Poodles can be very light framed. I would not worry at all at this point. Just feed him and check his weight weekly.
 

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Thanks for all of the really helpful replies! I'm pleasantly surprised by the amount of input I've gotten here, and overall feel much better about his growth seeing the range everyone else has experienced.

Okay, so to give some additional information, I have actually had him for 6 weeks so he is 18 weeks old now. Apologies for not saying all of this in the original post - I considered it but thought no one would want to read a huge wall of text about my puppy's development! Here's some information about his progress in the last few weeks.

Growth:
12 weeks: 9.4 lbs
13 weeks: 10.6 lbs
14 weeks: 13.6 lbs
15: weeks: 16 lbs
16 weeks: 17.8 lbs
17 weeks: 20 lbs
18 weeks: 22 lbs

Other info:
  • At his 16 week appointment, the vet rated him a 4 on the 1-9 body scale, so still under the ideal but within healthy weight. Based on this, I'm guessing he was a 3 or maybe 2 when I got him.
  • He tested negative for parasites in his 12 week check up, but recently tested positive for roundworms! (Just found out this morning actually.) Is it possible his previous test was wrong and he has had roundworms this whole time, contributing to his small size? Or more likely he recently picked up roundworms and this is unrelated.
  • Initially his appetite seemed OK but not amazing. I basically had to mix broth, other food in with his kibble to get him to eat and was constantly trying to hand feed etc. Recently I bought a few foods and did a taste test with him to find what he considers more palatable. We switched to Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages (salmon flavor) which is very calorie dense and he seems to be eating much better, so that's great.
  • He is a pretty calm easy-going puppy and has been from the start. As others mentioned, I have wondered if this is cause for concern but he is not lethargic. He really enjoys playing with both humans and dogs and does sometimes get zoomies in small bursts.

As you can see, he's been catching up but it still seems like a stretch for him to reach the communicated adult weight of 50 lbs. Overall I feel like he is okay, but I've pretty much been stressing about his weight/eating habits since I got him and felt a bit blindsided by this. I intend to get another spoo in a couple of years and have been considering whether I would use this breeder again because of this experience, even though everything else was positive. This is the main reason I posted here - to try and understand if this was a "reasonable" customer experience or not, if that makes sense.

This is also the reason I'm leaving out some specific details like names, because I don't want the breeder to see this and feel attacked. I'd like to maintain a positive relationship while sorting out how I feel about the situation.
 

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I found this calculator pretty bang on for Annie's adult weight, she tracked it pretty closely.

Based on your 18 week (22 lbs )/ 0.5 = 44 lbs adult

12 weeks (9.4lbs) /0.25 = 38 lbs adult

Looks like he is catching up on his growth, I would be annoyed if a puppy was severely underweight when I got it, especially if I flew across country to get it. I was told explicitly that Annie was one of the smallest in her litter.
 
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