Your What should a dogs body look like? Expert Advice

Measuring your dog’s body condition score

Watch Head Vet Sean show you how to check your dog’s body condition score. Featuring our office dogs Monty, Bambi and Socks.

Body Condition Scoring is a really useful way to assess whether your dog is a healthy weight for their breed and size. By getting hands-on and assessing three key areas on your dog, you can work out if they are underweight, overweight or in ideal condition. The three areas to examine and feel are:

Once you’ve assessed these three areas, you give them a score on a five-point scale:

BCS 1 = Severely underweight

BCS 2 = Underweight

BCS 3 = Ideal condition

BCS 4 = Overweight

BCS 5 = Obese

Here’s how to score your dog’s ribs, belly and waist to find out their Body Condition Score:

You love your dog just the way they are, so you probably won’t worry too much if they seem to put on just a few extra pounds. But from a health point of view, size really does matter!

Although weighing your dog and monitoring their weight regularly is a good idea, this can be tricky as there is a lot of variation between breeds and it’s not always easy to know what is right for your pet. That’s where dog body condition scoring can make things easier.

Dog Weight Chart: Where Is Your Pup on the Scale?

Your dogs weight and body shape can have a big impact on their overall health. Use this dog weight chart to see what your dogs body should look like at an ideal body condition and size.

Your What should a dogs body look like?

Credit: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

  • Your dog looks bony from a distance.
  • Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, and pelvic bones can be seen under the skin.
  • Body fat isnt discernible under the skin.
  • Loss of muscle mass is obvious.
  • Your dogs ribs are easily felt and may be visible under the skin.
  • Body fat may not be felt under the skin.
  • Some other bony spots may be seen under the skin.
  • Waist and abdominal tuck are obvious.
  • Your dogs ribs are easily felt without excess fat covering them.
  • From above, the waist can be seen behind the ribs.
  • From the side, the abdomen is tucked up, rather than running straight back to the legs.
  • Your dogs ribs can be felt with difficulty with fat covering them.
  • Noticeable fat deposits over the base of the tail and lumbar area (between pelvic bone and ribs on back).
  • Your dogs waist is absent or barely visible.
  • Abdominal tuck may be present.
  • Your dog has massive fat deposits over the thorax (from the neck to the abdomen), the spine, and the base of the tail.
  • Waist and abdominal tuck are absent.
  • Fat deposits are visible or can be felt under the skin on your dogs neck and legs.
  • Your dogs abdomen is obviously distended and hanging.
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