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Is My Dog Breed Fat or Fluffy & Big-Boned?

Dog Nutrition
It’s a great question to ask, “is my dog breed fat?” Unfortunately, most people don’t actually believe their vet when told their dog is fat. Luckily, we can do our own assessment and educate ourselves. Unless there is a serious health concern, we can wait for our yearly dog exam and manage weight in a rational way.

Is My Breed Fat? A Quick & Easy Assessment

Just like people, every dog breed has a different ideal weight. The real question is, what is that ideal weight range for my breed? There are calculations we can rely on, but here are three simple ways to assess our breed’s fat without looking it up in a manual and without scheduling an expensive office visit at the vet.
  1. Check Fido’s ribs. We should be able to feel them without much pressure, but there should be a healthy layer of fat that tells us they aren’t underweight. By placing our thumbs along the spine with our finger pointed to the ground, we can feel the rib cage.
  2. Overhead profile of Fido . Standing above, looking down at our pup while he is standing still, we should be able to see an hourglass figure. He doesn’t need to have sharp curves, but a waist should be visible.
  3. Side profile of Fido . While sitting at about eye level and facing the side of our pup, we can look at their side-profile while they are standing still. Their abdomen should show a rise as it tucks up behind his rib cage. If the upward curve between the rib cage to the thigh is too sharp, they may be underweight. If it’s barely visible or non-existent, there is probably a weight problem.
Many breeds have long hair or thick hair that can mask a waistline, so this hands-on approach is important. And remember, a sudden increase or drop in weight means a trip to the vet to test for diseases, infections, and parasites is a must.

Breeds Predisposed to Being Overweight

All breeds can become overweight and are susceptible to the diseases and difficulties being overweight can cause. There are some breeds predisposed to becoming overweight, which means we need to pay special attention to their diet and activity.

Basset Hounds

dog breed fat This breed is considered big-boned and likes to remain fairly inactive. They aren’t big runners and fetch isn’t as common with this breed. They interact with the world through their nose, so following a scent is about as active as they get.


dog breed fat While these pups have a lively personality, they are one of those breeds that are always hungry. They love to follow scents, so activity isn’t hard to coax out of them, but without regular, engaged exercise, the beagle bottomless pit brings with it the risk of becoming and staying overweight.

Cocker Spaniel.

dog breed fat Spaniels are playful, friendly, fun, and love to be active. However, they can also pack it away. These little ones tend to forget that the hunger bell stops ringing once they get enough food. Plus, because they are common to family’s they also get a number of treats, which adds to the weight problem.


dog breed fat Because they are small, dachshund’s often get put in carriers, strollers, or are carried around the block. Their affectionate tendencies don’t help. Weiner dogs love to love and be loved. Being pampered and sitting on laps comes first, even though they enjoy playing and running.

English Bulldogs.

dog breed fat There are so many overweight English Bulldogs out there that many people have never actually seen what a healthy bulldog looks like. These little guys are strong and stocky but don’t need to be hefty. The fact that they like to sleep 20 hours a day doesn’t help. And because this breed is more predisposed to weight related illnesses and difficulties, it’s really important that they get the right food in the right amounts and with the right amount of exercise.


dog breed fat Labs love playtime, activity, walks, hikes, swimming and more. But they also love to eat. In fact, they will eat just about anything, and they will eat until they make themselves sick. Overeating is a common problem and because they’ve got those incredible hungry looking puppy eyes, overfeeding is the real problem.


dog breed fat These big guys were bred to be active. They love playing and working and the outdoors. Unfortunately, many people seek the adorable hefty cuddles and forget that regular exercise that keeps them mentally engaged and physically active is a big part of being a good guardian. And because they are so big, they need guardians that can join in double the exercise as many small, short-legged breeds.


dog breed fat Just another example of cuteness overload leading to pudgy not-so-goodness. Humans either love or hate the pug look. Of course, those who choose to adopt them do so because they adore the look. That often means they also can’t help but give them lots of treats. But pudgy pugs can only handle so much before they surrender to the inevitable related illnesses and other risks associated with being overweight.

Scottish Terrier.

dog breed fat Another small breed that carries big risk. These little ones love to be watchdogs. Whether watching for the mailman, our return from running errands, or the sunset, Scottish Terriers are observers. While they love to be active, without a human driving the activity, they are more likely to be still for the majority of the day.


dog breed fat Rotties are big dogs with a lot of meat on their bones. This often makes people feel like they need a lot of food. While this breed should be lean, they don’t need to be beefy. And they while they do need plenty of fuel, they don’t need to be overfed and exercise that keeps their mind and body busy is important.

There’s a lot we can do to prevent our pups from gaining unnecessary weight. And there’s even more we can do to turn around a weight problem. EcoEats is one of those solutions that can tame weight gain and place our pups on a healthy path without calorie slashing. It’s all-natural, vet-approved, free of the fillers found in commercial dog food, and delicious for dogs.

Michelle Lievense

Michelle is a writer and ghostwriter, specializing in wellness, sustainability, and global social change. She is particularly fond of serving ethical organizations who contribute to a better life for people and animals through humane and environmentally responsible missions. At Vet Organics, Michelle uses her time as a vet tech, her academic studies in animal science and behavior, and nearly a decade working on a ranch teaching animal husbandry to write on a variety of cat and canine health topics. When she isn't writing, Michelle can be found hiking in the mountains of Colorado with her dogs or snuggled up with a good book and her cats.

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*Results may vary based on factors such as age, size and physical condition of your pet.