Is My Dog Overweight? Learning the Ideal Weight For Your Dog

Health & Wellness | Dog
Dogs, even more than people, come in all different shapes and sizes: there are tiny chihuahuas and huge mastiffs, skinny greyhounds and stout bull dogs. With such a range, it can be difficult to judge if your fine, furred friend is at a healthy, optimal weight. It is, however, worth the trouble to educate yourself on the signs of dog obesity, and what you can do about it.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 54% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. That means if you’re not sure, your dog has a 1 in 2 chance of being outside it’s optimal weight range. According to recent studies, dogs which are kept at their ideal body weight live 1.8 years longer. And that’s good news.

Chances are you don’t specialize in pet nutrition, and you probably don’t have the time to become an expert. The good news is a simple inspection using touch, sight and a general awareness of how your dog acts should give you enough knowledge to make a good diagnosis on whether or not your little (or big) friend needs to lose a few pounds. You don't have to wait until you wait up one morning and say, "

This inspection helps you to determine your dogs Body Conditioning Score, or BCS. The picture below is a small scale version, but the typical BCS is rated on a 9 point scale, 1 being severely underweight, and 9 being morbidly obese. The goal for weight management is to fall around a 4 or 5 on the 9-point BCS. That is ideal weight. 



Sight Test

Dogs have a certain shape, and for the most part that isn’t reminiscent of a barrel. Take a look at your dog in profile – look for folds around the neck or obvious fat deposits at the base of the neck. Next, check from above. If your dog is getting a little extra mass, chances are it will settle between its hips and its rib cage, giving your dog that unwanted ‘barrel’ look.

Instead, your dog should have a discernible waist between the end of her ribs and the beginning of her hips. Now, step back and make sure the tummy tucks upwards after the ribs. Puppies have a cute little tummy, but a full-grown dog should have a more svelte look.

Sight Test

Touch Test

Your dog loves to be touched, whether it’s a loving pet, a scratch behind her ears, or a simple pat on his head. And chances are, good pet owner that you are, you spend a portion of the day giving your dog the attention she desires.

So, next time your pet your dog, pay attention to what you’re feeling. Give his side a bit of a scratch and see if you can feel some ribs there, or if there’s a layer of fat between your fingers and the rib-cage. Give her a little belly rub and watch how much jiggle there is down there.

Finally, end of with a good neck scratch – see if you can get that back leg going. Are there folds of flesh (of course, if your dog is a sharpei…) and fat hanging around the neck, or rolling over the collar?

Stamina Test/Condition

A healthy dog should be able to move around with ease. This ease has a lot to do with your dog breed and goes from Bulldog to Collie. But, within reason, your dog should be able to keep up with you. If he’s always panting and out of breath, and doesn’t have the stamina you remember him having, it could be because he’s packing around more weight than he used to be.

Check out his gait as well, if his legs are bowing out (and he’s not a bulldog or other bow-legged breed) it could be a sign of obesity.


With all the different breeds, and all the different cross-breeds, it’s impossible to give a one-size fits all diagnosis, or a one-size fits all solution. But you know your dog best, so do it a favour and stop comparing it to the perfectly-groomed poodles in the dog shows (it’s so hard on their confidence).

Instead, compare her to her past self, and see how she stacks up. And, if her waist is disappearing, or her stamina seems to be sinking, it’s time to rethink her diet or exercise – or both. It may be time to start looking at calories in her snacks too. Check out the treats in our Low Fat Dog Treats vs. Low Calorie Dog Treats blog. 

If you are concerned that your pet is overweight, check out our blog, Weight Loss Dog Food: Managing Your Dog's Weight to find out what you can do to get your dog back on the right track.

With that said, for your reference, we have put together a chart of the top 50 dog breeds so that you have a general reference. Remember, every dog is different, so make sure you don't simply rely on the weights listed below, but you also perform the sight, touch, and stamina tests above.

Ideal Weights for Top 50 Dog Breeds 

Dog Breed Ideal Weight for Males Ideal Weight for Females
Labrador Retriever   65-80 lbs 55-70 lbs 
German Shepherd  75-95 lbs 75-95 lbs 
Golden Retriever   65-75 lbs 55-65 lbs 
Bulldog   50 lbs 40 lbs 
Beagle   22-24 lbs 20-22 lbs 
French Bulldog  under 28lbs under 28 lbs 
Poodle (standard)  60-70 lbs 40-50 lbs 
Poodle (miniature 10-15 lbs 10-15 lbs
Poodle (toy) 4-6 lbs 4-6 lbs
Rottweilers  110-130 lbs 77-110 lbs 
Yorkshire Terrier  7 lbs 7 lbs 
Boxer  65-80 lbs 50-65 lbs 
German Short-haired Pointer  55-70 lbs 45-60 lbs 
Siberian Husky  44-60 lbs 35-51 lbs
Dachshund (standard) 16-32 lbs 16-32 lbs
Dachshund (miniature) less than 11 lbs less than 11 lbs
Great Dane  120-200 lbs 99-130 lbs 
Doberman Pinscher  75-100 lbs 60-90 lbs 
Australian Shepherd  55-70 lbs 35-55 lbs 
Miniature Schnauzer  11-20 lbs 11-20lbs 
Pembroke Welsh Corgi   27 lbs 25 lbs 
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel  13-18 lbs 13-18 lbs 
Shih Tzu  9-16 lbs 9-16 lbs 
Boston Terrier  10-25 lbs 10-25 lbs 
Pomeranian  3-7 lbs 3-7 lbs 
Havanese  7-13 lbs 7-13 lbs 
Shetland Sheep Dog   20 lbs 20 lbs 
Brittany   30-40 lbs 30-40 lbs 
English Springer Spaniel   50 lbs 40 lbs 
Bernese Mountain Dog  86-110 lbs 79-110 lbs 
English Mastiff 160-230 lbs 120-170 lbs 
Cocker Spaniel   25-30 lbs 20-25 lbs 
Chihuahua  3-6 lbs 3-6 lbs 
Vizla   55-60 lbs 45-55 lbs 
Pug  14-18 lbs 14-18 lbs 
Maltese  6-8 lbs 6-8 lbs 
Weimeraner  70-90 lbs 55-75 lbs 
Newfoundland   130-150 lbs 100-120 lbs 
Miniature American Shepherd   20-40 lbs 20-40 lbs 
Collie   60-70 lbs 50-65 lbs 
Border Collie  30-45 lbs 27-42 lbs 
Basset Hound  40-65 lbs 40-66 lbs 
Cane Corso  99-110 lbs  88-99 lbs
West Highland White Terrier  15-22 lbs 13-16 lbs 
Rhodesian Ridgeback   85 lbs 70 lbs 
Chesapeake Bay Retriever   65-80 lbs 55-70 lbs 
Shiba Inu  18-24 lbs 15-20 lbs 
Bishon Frise  12-18 lbs 12-18 lbs 
Akita  100-130 lbs 70-100 lbs 
Belgian Malinois  60-80 lbs 40-60 lbs 
Bullmastiff   110-130 lbs 100-120 lbs 
St. Bernard   140-180 lbs 12-140 lbs 
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier   35-40 lbs 30-35 lbs 

Source: American Kennel Club



Posted by Homes Alive Pets

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