Obesity in show dogs

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2013 Oct;97(5):904-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2012.01336.x. Epub 2012 Aug 11.


Obesity is an important disease with a growing incidence. Because obesity is related to several other diseases, and decreases life span, it is important to identify the population at risk. Several risk factors for obesity have been described in the literature. A higher incidence of obesity in certain breeds is often suggested. The aim of this study was to determine whether obesity occurs more often in certain breeds. The second aim was to relate the increased prevalence of obesity in certain breeds to the official standards of that breed. To this end, we investigated 1379 dogs of 128 different breeds by determining their body condition score (BCS). Overall, 18.6% of the show dogs had a BCS >5, and 1.1% of the show dogs had a BCS>7. There were significant differences between breeds, which could be correlated to the breed standards. It warrants firm discussions with breeders and judges in order to come to different interpretations of the standards to prevent overweight conditions from being the standard of beauty.

Keywords: growth; metabolism; nutrition; pets; physiology.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Breeding / standards
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dogs
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / veterinary*