Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes, their paws can indicate how big they’ll become as adults. Of course, this is a guessing game at its very best, as puppies with large paws don’t always turn into giant dogs. However, it’s fun to play, especially if you’ve got a mixed breed that you’ve recently adopted or purchased. 

While large paws aren’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to determining how big your pup will grow, they definitely play a role. Disproportionate paw size could be a precursor to your puppy growing into a massive dog. 

With purebred dogs, you’ll have a better idea of how large your dog will be when he is full-grown. In these cases, big paws may simply be just that, big paws!

In all other cases of large or swollen paws, it’s essential to determine if there is something medical going on. In short, there aren’t many reasons that your pup has big feet, but if it’s anything that isn’t growth or size-related, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the development of the issue. 

Why does my dog have big paws?

Sometimes, big paws are part of a big dog! There are a few reasons that your pup could have abnormally large feet, most of them a prevalent and expected part of growth and development. 

Indication of adult weight

The size of your pup’s paws, whether small or large compared to the rest of its body, could be an indicator of how big your dog will grow. Very often, larger paws mean a taller and heavier adult dog, but not always! So, in short, big paws are not foolproof tell of adult size. 

Your dog’s breed is a better sign of how big he will get, as you have other members of that specific breed in which to compare. Obviously, a German Shepherd puppy will have much larger paws than a Cocker Spaniel puppy. 

Still, don’t count big paws out. If you’re faced with a litter of mixed-breed pups and really want a dog that’s on the larger side, it can’t hurt to choose the one with the most oversized feet!

Paws grow slowly

Do you have a young puppy with seemingly enormous paws? Well, his giant feet could tell you that he’ll be an equally enormous adult dog. First, however, it’s important to remember that paws grow more slowly than the rest of the dog. 

If you notice that your pup stumbles and falls over his own two feet, this is why. His paws are significant, and he is not, at least in size. The stumbling will shift sooner rather than later, as his body will grow quickly, surpassing his paws with ease. 

Front paws and back paws are not equal

All paws allow our four-legged friends to jump and frolic about, but it’s commonplace for front paws to be slightly larger than their back paws. So, if you’ve noticed that your pup has front feet that have surpassed his back ones ever so slightly in size, you’re not going crazy. 

While the difference may be trivial, many dogs have front paws that are bigger than the back. Every dog is different, so don’t read too much into this. If your pup has paws of one size, don’t worry, he’s normal.

Insect bites or injuries

Bites from insects or injuries can also cause your dog’s paws to appear more prominent. But, of course, these types of things typically pop up overnight, and you’ll notice them right away, likely walking with a sudden limp or additional symptoms that indicate injury. 

Swollen paws can also indicate internal issues or a gathering of fluid, so if your pup suddenly waltzes in with giant paws where there were no giant paws before, call your vet right away. It’s crucial to address the problem, thereby taking the correct healing route. 

Why does my puppy have big paws?

Your puppy likely has big paws because he’s going to grow into a big adult dog! Any potential medical issues aside, it’s typical for puppies to have massive feet and then grow into them quickly. Remember, big paws as a puppy don’t guarantee a large adult dog, but they can play a part. 

Do big paws on a puppy mean it will be a big adult dog?

Technically, no. Big paws on a puppy do not ensure that you’ll have a big adult dog on your hands. However, it’s something to consider when discussing potential size with breeders or rescues. 

Because puppies grow into their paws quickly, you’ll get a better idea around the 16-week mark regarding how big your pup might be. At this point, your new puppy will have grown substantially from the time you brought him home, and his body will be more in sync with his paws. 

In all honesty, big paws as a puppy can be a surefire telltale sign that he will be a good-sized adult dog. However, this isn’t true across the board, and therefore cannot be the primary determiner of how big a dog will be. The best way to judge is by sex and breed, not paw size. 

Are dog’s front paws bigger?

In some dogs, yes, they are! The fact that your dog has rather enormous front paws than his back doesn’t mean anything about his health or growth. 

Many dogs have bigger front paws, and there really isn’t a rhyme or reason as to why. The difference is slight, but if you take the time to examine your pup, you’ll notice it’s there. 

But, of course, some dogs don’thave bigger front paws than their back paws. This paw synchronicity is not a cause for concern. Dogs all over the world develop just as well when their paws are all the same size!

How to tell if a puppy will be big?

There are various factors to look at when trying to decipher if you’re going to have a large adult dog when you bring home your new puppy. First, acknowledge the breed you’re bringing home and do the necessary research regarding how big it gets. 

There is almost always a difference between male and female dogs within every breed when it comes to size. If you’ve adopted a puppy from a shelter and you’re not sure what type of dog it is, consider the shelter’s best guess. A breed will give you the best idea of how big your puppy will become, and if you have access to the size of its parents, even better!

If you’re lost on breed, then it’s time to observe the little nuances like the amount of extra skin and paw size your pup has. Lots of skin to grow into could mean that your puppy will be more prominent on the adult dog spectrum. However, for wrinkly breeds that have loose skin to begin with (think Shar Peis and Bloodhounds), that extra skin might not mean anything at all. 

You can weigh paw size if you have no idea concerning how big your pup will be. You can use it as an indicator, but not in the very early stages of your puppy’s life. It might be a shot in the dark, but it doesn’t hurt to take it into consideration when choosing a puppy to bring into your home. 

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.