How We Estimate Adult Size in Our Mi-Ki Puppies

You may have noticed in our Nursery that we give estimates for what a Mi-Ki puppy is charting to be at maturity. It is helpful for people to know how big their Mi-Ki puppy might end up being as an adult, particularly if they are going to function as an emotional support or medical alert dog that is regularly going to be carried. Or perhaps you have a family with young children or grandchildren visiting where a larger, sturdier Mi-Ki is going to be a better choice.

The best we can do is provide an estimate based on the parents’ size, the history of the pedigree, and use some of the tools that other toy dog breeders use as a guide. We list the parents’ sizes as a reference, but sometimes the puppies surprise us and end up maturing to be smaller or larger than their parents. Sometimes the same two parents can produce a wide range of Mi-Ki sizes within one litter.

The general rule of thumb is to triple the weight of an 8-week-old Mi-Ki and double the weight at 12 weeks.

We use two online resources to chart our Mi-Ki puppies’ sizes. For young puppies under a pound, we start by using a Yorkie Weight Chart originally found on pricelessyorkiepuppy.com, I believe.

Once our Mi-Ki puppies reach a pound, we start using the puppyweights.com online dog size predictor. Unfortunately, they don’t list the Mi-Ki as a breed. For a similar comparison, I use the Maltese as a reference since my Mi-Ki lines tend to have higher percentages of the Maltese breed, according to Embark.

Influences on Mi-Ki Size

There are several factors that can influence a Mi-Ki puppy’s birth weight and eventual size a puppy matures to. These include:

  • Genetics
  • Uterine placement
  • Litter size
  • Health of the mother
  • Environment/lifestyle

Genetics

Genetics are the single most important factor to influence a puppy’s eventual size as an adult. I’m always mystified at the variation in size of mature Mi-Kis from the same litter! I’ve had a litter of two puppies where the male ended up being 3.5 pounds as an adult, and his sister ended up being nearly 9!

It would be nice if dog DNA tests had more accurate estimates for predicting size. On the Embark DNA dog health and trait tests we use to screen our breeding dogs, we’ll often see a Mi-Ki has genetic markers to be small, intermediate, and sometimes even large because multiple genes influence size. It does explain some of the genetic diversity in sizes we’ll see in just one litter, depending on the genes each puppy inherited.

Uterine placement

Some puppies get a nice, plush spot in their mother’s uterus with plenty of available nutrients. These are the largest puppies at birth. It is thought that regardless of multiple mating dates, all puppies are the same gestational age as the eggs are all released at the same time. Very small puppies in a litter may not have had proper placenta formation to nourish the developing puppy or had less desirable uterine placement. These are known as “small-for-gestational-age puppies.”

Sometimes the smallest puppies at birth end up being the biggest dogs as adults and vice versa. This is one of the reasons we track the arc of every puppy’s growth and look for trends to give us a better prediction of how the puppy might end up developing.

Litter size

Some of our bigger Mi-Kis have 5 or even 6 puppies in a litter. With a larger litter, there has been more competition for nutrients both in utero and at the milk bar after birth. For this reason, puppies in larger litters may initially seem to be tracking smaller. Once supplemental foods are added, you can begin to see what a puppy’s true genetic programming is as far as size. This is why some puppies suddenly start trending bigger at around 4 weeks on their weekly size chart estimates.

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A healthy newborn Mi-Ki litter with fairly even-sized puppies.

Conversely, if there are only one or two puppies in a litter, they are going to have less competition for nutrients in the womb and while nursing. This means the puppies may seem larger on their weekly adult weight estimates early on. These puppies look like chubby little seals! They don’t tend to move a lot because they don’t need to. As these puppies get more active at around 4 or 5 weeks of age, their growth may start to stagnate. Once again, you’ll see where the dog’s genetics come in to play.

Genetics is definitely a bigger factor than litter size or uterine placement when influencing a puppy’s size that they will eventually mature to.

Health of the mother dog

We do our very best to make sure our dog moms get the very best care and nutrition. We also make sure they get exercise, sunlight, and regular veterinary checkups. Keeping our dog moms at an optimal weight helps them have a healthy litter.

We use Breeder’s Edge Oxy Mate prenatal vitamins as well as Oxy Momma postnatal supplements to ensure our moms are getting the extra support they need during their pregnancy, birth, and lactation.

Because our Mi-Kis have planned births, we are able to influence the health of the litters including making sure the puppies achieve their optimal growth with mothers that have plenty of milk, etc.

In contrast, rescue puppies from mothers of unplanned litters may have smaller puppies that are less healthy. This is one of the reasons it is important to research breeders and support reputable ones.

Environment and lifestyle

Dogs tend to adopt a similar lifestyle as their humans. If your family is sedentary and is centered around snacks and meals, there’s a pretty good chance your Mi-Ki will be heavier.

If your Mi-Ki goes to doggie daycare and maybe plays a little too hard and doesn’t get enough calories, he or she may end up being smaller. Active, young, Mi-Kis need to be watched closely to make sure they are eating regularly (every 4 hours) so they don’t get hypoglycemic.

Making sure your Mi-Ki puppy has a balanced diet, sunlight, fresh water, exercise/playtime, and has minimal parasites will ensure your puppy grows to their genetic potential. This sets the stage for a lifetime of good health.

I have had smaller females I’ve been trying to “fatten up” to be big enough to breed. Despite my attempts to pack on some pounds, I’ve only had moderate success, so genes still have a bigger influence over size than environment and lifestyle.

A few words about “runts”

Sometimes people refer to tiny puppies as “runts,” a term which is often used disparagingly. I’ve had specific requests for a runt from our program either because they are looking for a particularly small “purse pet” or perhaps because they are looking for a discount because the puppy is “weak.” If a puppy has a true health issue causing them to be small, we’re not going to sell it to anyone. We’re responsible for every puppy we create.

Again, if the mothers are well cared for, if a puppy is charting small, it’s often more about the size genetics the puppy inherited than a sign of weakness or ill health. As a 5-foot human who has had every caloric advantage, I can personally attest to the power of genetics!

Mi-Kis naturally come in a wide range of sizes so a puppy that is charting 3.5 – 4 pounds is not usually truly a runt. Smaller Mi-Kis are likely to be just as healthy as a 9-pound Mi-Ki. Smaller Mi-Kis may be more vulnerable to injury and will be more sensitive to veterinary procedures, however, so that is a consideration when selecting your puppy.

No matter what size your Mi-Ki puppy ends up being, we know that you’ll love your new family member. All Mi-Kis are perfectly portable and are ready to fit into your lifestyle as a steadfast companion.

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