What is an Average Dog’s Weight?
Pet obesity is a growing concern for veterinarians, with more than 56%* of dogs being overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to many health concerns, like arthritis, diabetes or cancer. So, what is average dog weight and how can you identify a healthy weight goal for your dog?
Identifying an “average” dog weight
Most people turn to resources on the internet that provide average dog weights and ranges. However, all dogs are different, so figuring out an average dog weight isn’t so simple. Because of all the different breeds and sizes of dogs, it’s impossible to identify an average weight for all dogs.
Weight can also depend on your dog’s sex and whether or not they have been spayed or neutered. For instance, a typical weight range you may see for a Labrador Retriever is 55 to 80 pounds. This is a large range, and doesn’t account for the fact that most female Labs should not weigh 80 pounds.
Weight ranges also don’t account for mixed breed dogs. In this case, because the typical range for a Lab is 55 to 80 pounds, this doesn’t necessarily mean your Lab mix will or even should fall into that range. It will be dependent on which breeds he’s mixed with. Weight ranges are also not helpful if you don’t know the exact breeds your mixed-breed dog is.
A better solution for determining healthy dog weight
Averages can be grossly inaccurate. Instead, we recommend using Body Condition Scoring (BCS). This system uses physical and visual observations of your dog to assess his current body condition and whether he’s over or underweight. Here’s how to do a BCS check:
- Rib check: Place both of your thumbs on your dog's backbone and spread both hands across his rib cage. You want to be able to feel his ribs. Make sure you’re actually feeling your dog, as the coat of many dogs will make a visual check difficult.
- Profile check: Examine your dog's profile – it’s best if you are level with your dog. Look for the abdomen to be tucked up behind his rib cage – this is ideal
- Overhead check: Looking at your dog from overhead, identify whether you can see a waist behind his ribs. Most dogs at a healthy weight should have an hourglass figure.
What if my dog is overweight?
If you’ve used the BCS system or your veterinarian has said your dog is overweight, it’s time to make some changes. Your veterinarian may recommend switching to a weight management dog food to help your dog achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
For more tips on dog weight loss, like exercises for your dog, read our article on helping your dog lose weight.
What if my dog is underweight?
Most people are so concerned about their dog being overweight, that they fail to think about or check if their dog may be underweight. If your veterinarian says your dog is too thin, they may recommend high-calorie dog food to help him gain weight. Once he’s at a healthy weight, weight management formulas can help him maintain it in the long-term.
While it may be tempting to give your dog lots of treats or table scraps at this time, it’s important to not over-indulge your dog. Even if your dog is underweight, treats should only make up 10% of his daily caloric intake. Treats might make him put on too much fat and not enough muscle, which is not ideal.
You should also not overlook exercise during this time, as it’s important for building muscle. Read our article to learn more about how to help your dog gain weight.
Average dog weight is a myth
There’s no “average” because there are no average dogs. Each dog is unique and their ideal weight will vary based on several factors.
To learn more about dog weight and overall health, check out our dog health articles. Browse all of our weight management foods to find the right formula for your dog.
* Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 2017 Pet Obesity Survey Results,