Keeping weight on a working dog can be difficult, especially as the shooting seasons start.

A dog’s weight will vary on a number of factors. Some are hereditary, their type, their age, and their lifestyle.  It’s common for people to believe if you can feel a dog’s rib cage, it’s too skinny, but this is not always the case.

It’s sensible to keep a diary of your dog’s weight so that you are able to track any weight loss through the working season and weight gain during their off-season. By monitoring, you can adjust appropriately.

At Afonfelin, we use to record our dog’s weights. I’m terrible with paper, so an online system suits me. 

What Should My Working Dog Weigh?

On the JAMES WELLBELOVED site they have a sliding scale that you can match to how your dog looks and feels to give you an approximate idea of whats appropriate for your dog. Alongside weight, think about the dogs fitness levels. A very fit dog can look skinny but be in incredibly good shape and condition.

We have also included at the bottom of this post a list of most dog breeds and their suggested weight in KG for both dogs and bitches.

Ruling Out Disease

Before we make changes to our dogs diet to increase weight, the possibility that disease or injury may be present and affecting their condition,  must always be considered.

If your adult dog normally has no issue holding weight, and suddenly loses condition for no obvious reason, such as a large increase in exercises levels, seek veterinary advice before looking at adjusting their diet.

Parasitic infestations can also affect a dogs weight. All dogs need to receive regular worming and check for ticks, fleas and other parasites as an infected dog can and will lose condition rapidly.

Frequency Of Feeding

When trying to add weight to a working dog, it is a good idea to provide additional little amounts of food often. Large meals with smaller frequency can be passed through without getting the optimum nutrition absorption. If your commitments such as work make it hard to add more meals, you could ask a neighbour or friend to pop food in for them or pay a dog sitter or walker. There are also automatic feeders available on the market to help you.

Different Types Of Food

Working Dogs tend to have a variety of diets depending on what their owners have found to give them the most success.

For your dog work out what suits them best and your lifestyle the best. There isn’t one answer to increasing a working dogs weight through feeding, so don’t be scared to make gradual changes and see what gives them the best results.

Raw Feeding

When you mention raw feeding, people naturally think about raw meat. Whilst this plays a part, there are also many other raw ingredients you can use in your dog’s diet. Oily fish, berries, eggs, cheese and veg, can all be included to add calories to your dog’s daily intake.

Raw Food can be purchased from many canine raw food providers or can be sourced from your local supermarket. If you are looking for suggestions for companies to use, head over to the LADIES WORKING DOG GROUP – FREE COMMUNITY and type ‘Feeding’ into the group search bar.

Green Tripe

The History of Tripe  recipe book explains tripe as “the edible lining from the stomachs of various farm animals”.

Green Tripe, is the most natural form of tripe that has not been bleached or dressed in any way. It has all the goodness of tripe including additional calories from the fat and protein, the good bacteria and other good stuff to benefit your dog.

Depending on from where, and in what state you receive the tripe can massively affect its smell and how you feed it, but there’s no doubting it can be a great way to add weight to your dog.

Additional Complete Dog Food Meals

Most canine food companies have weight loss products, but fewer have bespoke weight gain products.

Speak to the company you are using for your dog’s normal feeds and ask if there’s a product they suggest. Sometimes just adding an additional meal into the day, and after a long day’s work, can be enough to hold or increase their weight.

High Fat and High Protein Treats

When you’re trying to put weight on a dog, high-fat and high-protein treats can be an excellent source of additional calories. Natural peanut butter is loved by most dogs and is a great addition to a skinny dog’s diet, as are sardines and fat off your steak.

Canine Weight Chart

This table gives a general idea of the weight your dog should be. Keep in mind that a fit dog carrying muscle may show as being overweight due to muscle mass. Make sure to take into account your dogs appearance as well as weight.

Average Adult Weight (kg)
Male Female
Affenpinscher 3-5 Small
Afghan Hound 25-30 20-25 Large
Akita 40-50 30-40 Large
Alaskan Malamute 38-40 35 Large
Anatolian Shepherd Dog 40-70 Large
Australian Cattle Dog 15-20 Medium
Australian Shepherd 20-30 20-25 Medium
Australian Silky Terrier 3-5 Small
Australian Terrier 5-7 Small
Basenji 10 Small
Basset Hound 20-25 Medium
Bavarian Mountain Hound 20-25 Medium
Beagle 8-14 Small
Beauceron 30-40 Large
Bedlington Terrier 7-10 Small
Belgian Shepherd Dog 25-30 20-25 Medium
Bergamasco 32-38 26-32 Large
Bernese Mountain Dog 40-55 30-45 Large
Bichon Frise 5-7 4-7 Small
Black and Tan Coonhound 25-35 Large
Bloodhound 30-35 25-30 Large
Bolognese 2.5-4 Small
Border Terrier 5-7 Small
Borzoi 35-48 27-38 Large
Boston Terrier 4-11 Small
Boxer 30-37 22-30 Large
Bracco Italiano 25-40 Large
Briard 35-45 20-30 Large
Brittany 13-18 Medium
Bull Terrier 28-32 20-28 Medium
Bullmastiff 50-60 45-55 Large
Cairn Terrier 5-7 Small
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 5-9 Small
Cesky Terrier 7-10 Small
Chihuahua 2.5 Small
Chinese Crested 2-6 Small
Chow Chow 20-30 Medium
Collie 27-32 22-30 Medium
Coton De Tulears 4-6 3.5-5 Small
Dachshund (Miniature) 5 Small
Dachshund (Standard) 7-14 Medium
Dalmatian 20-25 Medium
Dandie Dinmont Terrier 8-11 Small
Deerhound 39-50 34-43 Large
Dobermann 30-40 Large
Dogue de Bordeaux 50 45 Large
English Setter 27-30 22-25 Large
English Toy Terrier 3.5-6.5 Small
Entlebucher Mountain Dog 20-30 Medium
Estrela Mountain Dog 40-50 30-40 Large
Eurasier 23-32 18-26 Medium
Finish Lapphund 15-24 Medium
Fox Terrier 7.5-8.5 6.5-7.5 Small
Foxhound 29-34 20-29 Large
French Bulldog 12.5 or less Small
German Longhaired Pointer 27-32 Large
German Pinscher 11-16 Medium
German Shepherd 35-45 Large
German Shorthaired Pointer 25-30 20-25 Medium
Giant Schnauzer 27-48 25-35 Large
Gordon Setter 25-35 20-30 Large
Great Dane 60-80 50-70 Large
Great Swiss Mountain Dog 50-65 40-50 Large
Greenland Dog 30-32 Large
Greyhound 29-32 27-30 Large
Griffon Bruxellois 4-5 Small
Hamiltonstovare 23-27 Medium
Havanese 3-6 Small
Hovawart 25-40 Large
Hungarian Kuvasz 45-52 35-40 Large
Hungarian Puli 13-15 10-13 Medium
Ibizan Hound 23 20 Medium
Irish Red & White Setter 25-34 Large
Irish Setter 32 27 Medium
Irish Terrier 12 11 Small
Irish Wolfhound 54 or more 47 or more Large
Italian Greyhound 3-7 Small
Italian Spinone 34-39 29-34 Large
Jack Russell Terrier 7-8 Small
Japanese Akita Inu 34-54 32-45 Large
King Charles Spaniel 4-7 Small
Komondor 36 31 Large
Kooikerhondje 9-11 Small
Korean Jindo 18-23 15-19 Medium
Korthals Griffon 23-27 Medium
Kuvasz 45-52 32-40 Large
Lagotto Romagnolo 13-16 11-14 Small
Lakeland Terrier 7.5 Small
Lancashire Heeler 2.5-6 Small
Leonburger 48-75 41-59 Large
Lhasa Apso 6-7 Small
Maltese 2-3 Small
Manchester Terrier 3-3.5 Small
Maremma Sheepdog 30-45 Large
Mastiff 80-85 Large
Miniature Schnauzer 6-6.5 Small
Munsterlander (Large) 23-32 Large
Munsterlander (Small) 18-27 Medium
Neapolitan Mastiff 60-65 50 Large
Newfoundland 60-70 50-55 Large
Norfolk Terrier 5-5.5 Small
Norwegian Buhund 14-18 11.5-15.5 Medium
Norwegian Elkhound 25 22 Medium
Norwich Terrier 5.5 Small
Old English Sheepdog 32-40 28-35 Large
Parson Russell Terrier 6-7 Small
Pekingese 6 or less Small
Pharaoh Hound 20-25 Medium
Pointer 25-35 20-30 Medium
Poodle 2-3.5 Small
Portuguese Podengo 4-6 Small
Portuguese Pointer 20-27 16-22 Medium
Portuguese Water Dog 20-27 16-22.5 Medium
Pug 6.35-8.16 Small
Pyrenean Mastiff 80-100 Large
Pyrenean Mountain Dog 50-54 36-41 Large
Pyrenean Sheepdog 20-25 14-20 Medium
Retriever (Golden) 30-34 25-32 Large
Retriever (Labrador) 29-36 25-32 Large
Rhodesian Ridgeback 38 32 Large
Rottweiler 40-60 37-45 Large
Russian Toy 2.5 or less Small
Saint Bernard 63-81 Large
Schnauzer 5.4-9.1 5.4-8.2 Medium
Scottish Terrier 8.5-10 8.5-9.5 Small
Sealyham Terrier 10.5 8-10 Small
Segugio Italiano 18-27 Large
Shar Pei 25-30 18-25 Medium
Shetland Sheepdog 9 Small
Shih Tzu 4-7 Small
Siberian Husky 20-25 16-22 Medium
Skye Terrier 16-18 12-13.5 Medium
Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer 25-35 Large
Snorkie 3-6 Small
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier 16-18 13.5-15 Medium
Spaniel (Clumber) 32-39 25-32 Large
Spaniel (Cocker) 13-16 12-15 Small
Spaniel (English Springer) 20-25 18-23 Medium
Staffordshire Bull Terrier 16-18 13.5-15 Medium
Swedish Lapphund 19-21 Medium
Tibetan Mastiff 40-70 35-50 Large
Weimaraner 25-40 Large
Welsh Corgi 10-14 10-13 Small
Welsh Terrier 9-10 Small
West Highland White Terrier 7-9.5 Small
Whippet 7-13.5 Small
White Swiss Shepherd Dog 30-40 25-35 Large
Xoloitzcuintle (Toy) 2.5-6.5 Small
Xoloitzcuintle (Miniature) 7-13.5 Small
Xoloitzcuintle (Standard) 11.5-18 Medium
Yorkshire Terrier 3 or less Small

Question Of The Week

What do you find works best for putting weight onto your working dog? Pop your comments below.

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