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Optimeal® Blog

How Heavy Should My Dog Be?

By Optimeal Team


It can be difficult for dog owners to know if their dog is at a healthy weight because every dog breed carries weight differently. Maybe you’re worried that your pup is skipping meals and might be underweight, or you’ve seen your furry friends sneak scraps off the dining room table and think they may have put on too many pounds. 

Regardless, this article will help you determine how heavy your dog should be and what to do if they are not at a healthy weight.

How Much Should My Dog Weigh?

When we talk about a healthy dog weight, we’re talking about the ideal body weight for your dog based on their breed, metabolism, body type, and gender. It can be difficult to calculate your dog’s ideal weight, given that dog breeds vary in shape and size. 

Furthermore, mixed-breed dogs can make it even harder to determine a healthy weight. Luckily, there are several tools you can use to determine what a healthy weight range for your pup may be. 

This section will closely examine two of these tools: the Body Condition Scoring System (BCS) and the weight chart. 

How Can I Use the Body Condition Scoring System?

Most veterinary clinics use a Body Condition Scoring System to determine if a dog is underweight, healthy, or overweight. This system involves examining your furry friend’s ribs, abdomen, and waistline both visually and physically to see if they are healthy. 

This is an extremely helpful tool because sometimes it can be hard to determine if your pup is just a little chunky after winter or if they are unhealthily heavy. The Body Condition Scoring System is graded from one to nine. 

A score from one to three indicates that your dog is underweight. If they receive a score in this range, their ribs, lumbar vertebrae, or pelvic bones may be visible or easy to feel. They will also have no noticeable body fat or loss of muscle mass, and they will have an hourglass shape. 

If you can feel your dog’s ribs and can slightly see them, then your dog is likely at a healthy weight, with a score of four or five. You will also notice that they have a clearly defined waistline that seems well-portioned to the rest of their body. If your pup is at a healthy weight, you will not see any obvious body fat around their pelvic area. 

If your dog’s body condition is above a six on the BCS scale, they may be considered overweight. As you might have noticed, your dog’s ribs are a good indicator of if they’re at a healthy weight or not. 

If your dog is overweight, you will not be able to see their ribs, and you will only be able to feel them under a layer of fat. You will also notice that your dog does not have a clearly defined waistline and may even have fat rolls over their lumbar area and the base of their tail. Additionally, if your dog does not have a distinct neck, they may be overweight.

Another sign of an overweight dog is a decreased energy level and difficulty walking or going to the bathroom. Given that there are both physical and behavioral signs to look for, it can be helpful to become confident performing a Body Condition test at home and scoring your dog every now and again. 

However, given that different coat lengths and dog sizes can make this difficult, it is always a good idea to bring your pup to the vet to get an informed second option, especially if you think they are not at a healthy weight. 

How Can I Use a Weight Chart?

If you have a purebred pup, you can also use a dog weight chart to help determine if your dog is at a healthy weight. Often, these charts are arranged alphabetically by different breeds and give a range of healthy weights. Generally speaking, female dogs should fall to the lower end, while male dogs should fall to the higher end. 

Below are a few examples of healthy weight ranges for common purebred dogs:

  • Basset Hound: 40-60 pounds
  • Beagle: 18-30 pounds
  • Bulldog: 40-50 pounds
  • Chihuahua: Less than 6 pounds 
  • Collie: 50-75 pounds
  • Dachshund: 16-32 pounds
  • Doberman Pinscher: 60-95 pounds
  • German Shepherd: 50-90 pounds
  • Golden Retriever: 55-75 pounds 
  • Great Dane:110-175 pounds 
  • Greyhound: 60-70 pounds
  • Labrador Retriever: 55-80 pounds 
  • Poodle: 45-70 pounds
  • Pug: 14-18 pounds
  • Yorkshire Terrier: 4-7 pounds

Although weight charts can be a useful tool, there are a few limitations that you should be aware of if you use one as a reference point for your dog’s weight. First, they do not consider genetic health factors that may affect your furry friend’s weight. 

For example, Boxers, German shepherds, cocker spaniels, and small dogs are genetically predisposed to Cushing’s disease, which can affect their ability to regulate weight. Other breeds, such as Irish setters, miniature schnauzers, Pitbulls, and Doberman pinchers, can be susceptible to hyperthyroidism which can cause weight gain. 

Another limitation of weight charts is that they do not account for a breed’s energy level. For example, a weight chart may indicate that a bulldog and a golden retriever should be of similar weight. However, given that golden retrievers tend to be more active, they may carry the weight very differently than a bulldog would. 

Why Does My Dog Need To Be a Certain Weight?

Now that you know how to determine if your four-legged friend is a healthy weight, you may be wondering why it’s so important. Pet parents should be attentive to their pup’s weight for several reasons. 

First, if you can help your dog maintain a healthy weight, you can extend their lifespan. When dogs are at a healthy weight, they will have more energy to exercise, keeping them healthy and fit. 

Obese dogs are prone to several health issues, such as heart and liver disease, bone and joint damage, hypertension, back problems, inflammation, and endocrine disorders. Additionally, their quality of life is lower because they cannot move comfortably and exercise regularly. Eventually, obesity can shorten your dog’s lifespan by about two years. 

It is also important to know if your dog is underweight because they may suffer from an underlying health condition. When dogs lose weight suddenly, or their weight loss is inexplicable, they may have a parasite or a serious illness such as cancer or Addison’s disease. 

However, if your dog loses weight, it is not always a sign that something serious is going on. Instead, it may just indicate to you that they need more calories and nutrients in their diet. 

How Can I Help My Dog Lose Weight?

If your dog is overweight, there are several ways you can help them shed some pounds to get back to their ideal weight. You can start by putting your dog on a diet and feeding them nutritious kibble that does not contain unhealthy preservatives or artificial flavorings. There is a wide range of different quality dog food, so ensuring you choose a healthy option for your pup is important. 

Just like humans, it also helps ensure that your pup gets enough exercise. Scheduling regular walks or trips to the park is an easy way to ensure your dog is burning the calories they consume during meals. 


As a pet parent, knowing how heavy your dog should be at every stage of their life is important. You can use the Body Condition Score to determine if your dog is at a healthy weight or if you need to look into weight loss options. 

Being overweight can cause several health problems for adult dogs, so it is important to regularly assess your furry friend’s weight often. Remember that your pup’s ribs are usually a good indicator of if they are within that healthy weight range, slightly below, or slightly above. 

Regardless of how your dog scores, there are always ways to get them back to a healthy weight.  


Epidemiological study of blood pressure in domestic dogs | NIH

Multiple endocrine diseases in dogs: 35 cases (1996-2009) | NIH

Factors Affecting Canine Obesity Seem to Be Independent of the Economic Status of the Country—A Survey on Hungarian Companion Dogs | NIH

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