The influence of masticatory loading stimulus on mandibular development is not fully clear. In this paper, experimental alterations in the daily muscle use, caused by a changed diet consistency, were continuously monitored, while adaptations in bone and cartilage were examined. It is hypothesised that decreased muscular loading will result in a decrease in the growth factor expression and mandible growth. Fourteen 21-day-old Wistar strain male rats were randomly divided into two groups and fed on either a hard or soft diet for 14 weeks. An implanted radio-telemetric device recorded continuously muscle activity of the superficial masseter muscle. Chondroblast proliferation in the condylar cartilage was identified by insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1r) immunostaining. Furthermore, an X-ray was taken for cephalometric analysis. In the soft-diet group, the duty time of the superficial masseter muscle at higher activity levels was significantly lower than that in the hard-diet group. This decrease in muscular loading of the jaw system was accompanied by: a significant reduction in (i) articular cartilage thickness, (ii) expression of IGF-1r immunopositive cells and (iii) mandible ramus height. In conclusion, a decrease in masticatory demand during the growth period leads to insufficient mandibular development.