I was just reading my friend Helene's Blog wherein she writes about puppy growth patterns. Helene has Finn who is a sibling to Fern. Like Helene, I have been very happy with how Fern is growing. She's remained extremely balanced and coordinated her whole life. Like Finn, she hasn't had any growth spurts and still looks like a puppy. When I compare her to her sister Pyro who is kibble fed, I see a huge difference in their movement and how they have grown. Pyro is almost as tall as Gel (who is almost 23" tall). Pyro's caregiver has told me on numerous occasions he thinks she no longer looks like a puppy, which I agree with.
I noticed a similar pattern in my purebred cats when I was breeding and showing them. As kittens, my raw-weaned cats did very well in the show ring. Once they hit was the age the Cat Fanciers' Association considered "adult": eight months old, they lost ground to their kibble-fed competition. My cats still looked like kittens at eight months old (which I think they should have). While I know they weighed more than the cats of the same age, they didn't look as full, they were much, much leaner, which hurt them. If I was working with a breed that was supposed to be lean and sleak, like an Oriental Shorthair, I'd probably do very well, but American Shorthairs are supposed to be fuller.
When I was showing cats I used to brag that I didn't need to bathe my cats prior to a show and I didn't. I could just clip their nails, put them in a carrier and off I'd go. It's the same with my dogs, I rarely have to bathe them, their coats are soft, shiny and they smell good. Pyro is going to stay with me for the weekend next week. It will be interesting to see if I notice an odor to her given that she's fed kibble. While she's with me, I won't feed her kibble, her caregivers know that. Luckily, she's able to continue to digest raw meat even though she's fed kibble on a regular basis.