How heavy should my dog be? Ideal dog weight guide


Every dog is perfect in our eyes – but are they the perfect weight? Here are the easiest ways to size up your dog, backed by vets

Ideal dog weight guide


Quick takeaways on dog weight

  • It’s not easy to realise if your dog is overweight, but around half of dogs are too heavy.
  • You can check your dog’s body composition score just by feeling and looking at them.
  • The difference between working and show breeds’ weight can be big.


Vets agree that obesity in dogs is on the rise, with 1 in 2 dogs in the UK being overweight or obese, according to the 2023 PDSA pet wellbeing survey.

The thing is, it’s not always easy to tell if your pooch is the ideal dog weight. The same survey suggests only 1 in 5 dog owners are aware that their dog is overweight.

It can take a little time to understand if your dog is a healthy size, but it’s worth it. A healthy dog is a happy dog. Plus, it can mean enjoying a longer life together!

For chunkier dogs, getting in shape helps them:

  • Avoid painful health problems like arthritis, back pain and breathing problems
  • Lower their risk of cancer, injury and heatstroke
  • Have a more active and comfortable life

As for underweight dogs, putting on some pounds can help protect them from skin and fur problems, diseases, and muscle loss.


How much should my dog weigh?

The best way to know if your dog is a healthy size is to look at their shape and the scales. Each breed has an ideal weight range, and breeds carry their weight differently.

You’ll need to know:

  • The ideal body shape for their breed, measured as a body condition score
  • Their ideal body weight for their breed and sex

And if, by the end of this article, you find out you have an underweight dog or one on the bigger side, don’t put yourself in the doghouse.

There’s so much you can do to get your dog back on track, and we’re here to help.


Measuring your dog’s body condition score

Body composition is a visual way to tell if your dog is in shape, and it’s easy to check.

The best part is that most dogs love the special attention and patting. Here’s how to check body composition.

  1. Run your hands gently over their back and sides. You should be able to feel their spine, ribs and hips, but not see them sticking out.
  2. Gently feel their tail where it connects to the body. There should be no fat.
  3. Feel their tummy. See if it goes inwards, bulges out or is neutral.
  4. Look at your dog from the side, and from above. Their waist should go inwards.

Compare what you find to the chart below.

Weight guide

The ideal weight is in the middle, with underweight and overweight animals scoring lower or higher.

A healthy dog has a slight hourglass shape – when you look at them from above. From the side, your dog’s torso should angle upwards towards their hind legs.


Body composition for different breeds

Dog breeds have slight differences in their ideal body composition. Next time you visit the vet, ask them if there’s anything special you should know about your dog’s breed.

Certain breeds are naturally more trim, so it’s normal to see their ribs (but not their hips or spine). This includes whippets, greyhounds and some sighthounds like Salukis and Borzoi.

Other breeds carry more muscle. Corgis can look a little chunky when they’re just right. In general, you should still see some waist definition.

Coat length is another challenge. The best time to pat your fluffy dog down would be after a haircut or when they’re wet, but it can still be tricky.

A longer coat can also hide an underweight dog, so be sure to make haircuts a regular thing and keep checking your dog’s body composition score.


Dog breed weight chart

When it comes to stepping on the scales, knowing the average healthy weight range is a good place to start.

Your dog might be above or below these ranges and still be healthy (we’ll cover why in the next section), but the range provides an easy benchmark.

Here’s a list of ideal weights for some of the most common dog breeds.

Dog Breed Female Weight Male Weight
Afghan Hound 22.7-27.2 kg 22.7-27.2 kg
Airedale Terrier 18.2-23.1 kg 20-31.8 kg
Alaskan Malamute 32.2-38.1 kg 35.6-43.1 kg
Australian Shepherd 18.1-25 kg 22.7-29.5 kg
Basenji 9.1-10.9 kg 10-11.8 kg
Basset Hound 18.1-29.5 kg 25-34 kg
Beagle 9.1-10 kg 9.1-10 kg
Bearded Collie 7.7-25 kg 22.7-27.2 kg
Bedlington Terrier 7.7-10.4 kg 7.7-10.4 kg
Belgian Malinois 18.1-27.2 kg 27.2-36.3 kg
Belgian Sheepdog 20.4-27.2 kg 25-34 kg
Bernese Mountain Dog 31.8-43.1 kg 36.3-52.1 kg
Bichons Frise 5.4-8.2 kg 5.4-8.2 kg
Bloodhound 36.3-45.4 kg 40.8-49.9 kg
Border Collie 13.6-19.1 kg 13.6-20.4 kg
Border Terrier 5.2-6.4 kg 5.9-7 kg
Boxer 25-29.5 kg 29.5-36.3 kg
Brussels Griffons 3.6-4.5 kg 3.6-4.5 kg
Bull Terrier 20.4-25 kg 25-29.5 kg
Bulldog 18.1-20 kg 22.7-25 kg
Bullmastiff 45.4-54.4 kg 49.9-59 kg
Cairn Terrier 5.9-7.3 kg 6.4-7.4 kg
Cane Corso 38.6-45.4 kg 40.8-49.9 kg
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 5.9-8.2 kg 5.9-8.2 kg
Chihuahua 2.3-3.2 kg 2.7-3.6 kg
Chinese Crested 2.3-5.4 kg 2.3-5.4 kg
Chow Chow 20.4-31.8 kg 20.4-31.8 kg
Collie 22.7-29.5 kg 27.2-34 kg
Dachshund Miniature less than 5 kg less than 5 kg
Dachshund Standard 7.3-14.5 kg 7.3-14.5 kg
Dalmation 20.4-27.2 kg 20.4-27.2 kg
Doberman Pinscher 27.2-40.8 kg 34-45.4 kg
Dogues de Bordeaux 54.4-63.5 kg 54.4-63.5 kg
English Foxhound 22.7-31.8 kg 27.2-34kg
English Toy Spaniel 3.6-6.4 kg 3.6-6.4 kg
Fox Terrier Smooth/Wire 6.8-7.7 kg 7.2-8.2 kg
French Bulldog 7.3-10.9 kg 9.1-12.7 kg
German Pinscher 11.3-20.4 kg 11.3-20.4 kg
German Shepherd 22.6-31.8 kg 29.5-40.8 kg
Giant Schnauzer 25-34 kg 27.2-38.6 kg
Great Dane 49.9-63.5 kg 63.5-79.4 kg
Great Pyrenees 38.6-45.4 kg 45.4-49.9 kg
Greyhound 27.2-29.5 kg 29.5-31.8 kg
Ibizan Hound 18.1-22.7 kg 20.4-25 kg
Irish Terrier 11.3-12.2 kg 11.3-12.2 kg
Irish Wolfhound 47.6-61.2 kg 54.4-74.8 kg
Italian Greyhound 3.2-6.4 kg 3.2-6.4 kg
Japanese Chin 3.2-5 kg 3.2-5 kg
Maltese 2.7-4.1 kg 2.7-4.1 kg
Manchester Terrier 5.4-10 kg 5.4-10 kg
Mastiff 54.4-77.1 kg 72.6-104.3 kg
Newfoundland 45.4-54.4 kg 59-68 kg
Old English Sheepdog 27.2-36.3 kg 31.8-40.8 kg
Otterhound 29.5-52.2 kg 29.5-52.2 kg
Papillion 4.1-4.5 kg 4.1-4.5 kg
Pekingese 3.2-6.4 kg 3.2-6.4 kg
Pembroke Welsh Corgis 10-11.8 kg 11.8-13.6 kg
Pembroke Welsh Corgis 10-11.8 kg 11.8-13.6 kg
Pharaoh Hound 20.4-22.7 kg 22.7-25 kg
Pointer 20.4-29.5 kg 25-34 kg
Pomeranian 1.4-3.2 kg 1.4-3.2 kg
Poodle Miniature 4.5-6.8 kg 4.5-6.8 kg
Poodle Standard 18.1-22.7 kg 27.2-31.8 kg
Portuguese Podengo 15.9-30 kg 15.9-30 kg
Portuguese Water Dog 15.9-22.7 kg 19.1-27.2 kg
Pug 6.4-8.2 kg 6.4-8.2 kg
Retriever Flat/Curly-Coated 27.2-31.8 kg 27.2-31.8 kg
Retriever Labrador 25-31.8 kg 29.5-36.3 kg
Retreiver Golden 25-29.5 kg 29.5-36.3 kg
Retriever Nova Scotia Duck Tolling 15.9-22.7 kg 15.9-22.7 kg
Rhodesian Ridgeback 29.5-36.3 kg 36.3-40.8 kg
Rottweiler 36.3-45.4 kg 43.1-61.2 kg
Russell Terrier 4.1-6.8 kg 4.1-6.8 kg
Saluki 15.9 -29.5 kg 15.9 -29.5 kg
Samoyed 15.9-22.7 kg 20.4-29.5 kg
Scottish Terrier 8.2-9.5 kg 8.6-4.3 kg
Setter English 20.4-25 kg 29.5-36.3 kg
Setter Irish Red and White 27.2-31.8 kg 27.2-31.8 kg
Shetland Sheepdog 6.8-11.3 kg 6.8-11.3 kg
Shih Tzu 4.1-7.3 kg 4.1-7.3 kg
Siberian Husky 15.9-22.7 kg 20.4-27.2 kg
Sloughi 13.6-22.7 kg 13.6-22.7 kg
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier 13.6-15.9 kg 15.9-18.1 kg
Spaniel American Water 11.3-18.1 kg 13.6-20.4 kg
Spaniel English Cocker 11.8-14.5 kg 12.7-15.4 kg
Spaniels Welsh Springer 15.9-22.7 kg 18.1-25 kg
Spanish Water Dogs 14.1-18.1 kg 18.1-22.2 kg
Spinone Italiano 28-39 kg 28-39 kg
Saint Bernard 54.4-63.5 kg 63.5-81.7 kg
Staffordshire Bull Terrier 10.9-15.4 kg 12.7-17.2 kg
Standard Schnauzer 13.6-20.4 kg 15.9-22.7 kg
Swedish Vallhund 9.1-15.8 kg 9.1-15.8 kg
Tibetan Mastiff 31.8-54.4 kg 40.8-68 kg
Tibetan Terrier 8.2-13.6 kg 8.2-13.6 kg
Vizsla 20-25 kg 25-27 kg
Weimaraner 25-34 kg 31.8-40.8 kg
Welsh Terrier 8.6-10 kg 8.6-10 kg
West Highland White Terrier 6.8-9.1 kg 6.8-9.1 kg
Whippet 9.1-15.9 kg 11.3-18.1 kg
Yorkshire Terrier 1.8-3.2 kg 1.8-3.2 kg

Table adapted from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention


Factors affecting body weight

Just like us, every dog is different weight-wise. They might fall outside the ideal range for their breed but still be healthy, depending on their overall size and muscle mass.

Your dog’s genetics can mean they’re bigger, smaller or more muscly than a typical example of their breed. Their parents can give you a good clue as to what’s normal for them.


How to measure your dog’s weight

Scales can help you stay on top of your dog’s weight. It’s particularly helpful for breeds that are tricky to judge body composition, like super fluffy breeds.

Large floor scales are the safest way to weigh your dog. It’s the perfect excuse to visit the pet store, as large ones usually have pet-friendly scales. Your vet will also have some, generally in their reception room.

Sometimes, dogs are scared to step on the scales, especially if they aren’t used to it or get nervous from the scent of other dogs.

You can try leading them onto the scale with a treat or getting on the scales with your dog (just remember to subtract your weight from the number afterwards.)


Is dog BMI a thing and how is it measured?

BMI stands for body mass index. It’s usually used for people, but there are also BMI calculators for dogs.

If you struggle with guessing your dog’s body composition, then a BMI calculator can be a helpful alternative. It’s different from weight because it accounts for their height too.

Use a BMI calculator specific to your dog’s breed, or else it won’t be accurate.


Why do dogs gain or lose weight?

Just like you, your dog’s weight can fluctuate naturally over the seasons and across their lifespan.

For your peace of mind, it’s good to know what to be aware of (and when to take action).


A dog can lose weight because:

  • They’re getting older
  • They’ve been more active
  • It’s winter - they’re using more energy to keep warm
  • They’re not getting enough calories from their food.

A dog can gain weight because:

  • They’re exercising less, maybe due to injury or hot weather
  • They’re getting too many calories from their food (and/or treats).

If your dog is gaining or losing weight and it isn’t explained by the above, it could be an underlying illness – so take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Don’t beat yourself up if they aren’t at the ideal dog weight of their diet or exercise. Now you’ve spotted it and you can help them get back in shape!


Key signs your dog might be overweight or underweight

Your dog may be overweight if:

  • You can’t feel their ribs, hips or spine
  • They have no visible waistline
  • They have body fat around their neck, shoulders, hips and tail

Your dog could be underweight if:

  • You can see their ribs, hips or spine poking out
  • They have no body fat
  • They’re below their breed’s healthy weight range

Read more about the key signs your dog is underweight or overweight.


Tips for maintaining a healthy weight

Luckily, there’s lots you can do to help your dog maintain a healthy shape or get them back on track.

From making sure they’re getting a balanced diet to adjusting their exercise – all these small things can add up to a big difference.

When it comes to putting the plan into action, our top tips are:

  • Be consistent – a routine helps you and your dog keep healthy habits
  • Get the whole family involved – check everyone caring for your dog knows the plan and sticks to it
  • Check out our expert guides for more tips on gaining weight and losing weight for dogs.

Ideal dog weight FAQs

How does weight change as a dog gets older?

Some dogs may lose weight as they age. This can be caused by:

  • Lower appetite
  • Slower and less efficient digestion
  • Loss of muscle mass

This isn’t usually anything to worry about unless they’re losing weight quickly. In this case, it’s best to get your dog to a vet.

Dogs can also gain weight as they age, especially if they become less active due to painful conditions like arthritis.


What if my dog is a working dog?

The differences between the ideal dog weight according to working and show standards can also be pretty striking. For example, working Labradors tend to have a slighter, leaner and more athletic build than show Labradors, who can be stockier.

To keep a working dog’s weight healthy, you’ll want to aim for plenty of healthy protein, and a raw diet is perfect for this. This helps to maintain the extra muscle and energy.


How can I help my dog lose weight?

If your dog is overweight, you can help them get to a healthy size with a few simple changes.

  • Aim for 1-3 hours of activity and playtime a day
  • Try a high protein low carb diet to keep them fuller for longer
  • Cut down the treats and switch to healthier alternatives like raw treats.

Check our full guide for a step-by-step plan to help your dog lose weight safely.


How can I help my dog gain weight?

There are plenty of easy steps you can take to help them put on some healthy pounds.

  • Add healthy carbs to their meals like cooked brown rice, cooked sweet potato or a handful of our Mighty Mixer Biscuits
  • Look at more calorie-dense foods
  • Increase their portion sizes slightly
  • Try feeding them more healthy snacks

Even though you want to help your dog pad out, it’s best not to start unhealthy habits. And, if you’re upping their calories, make sure it’s from healthy sources, like a raw diet or raw treats.

Check our full guide for a step-by-step plan to help your dog gain weight the right way.

Try our personalised meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients to help keep your dog healthy and happy.