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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just popped into my head due to my crit. thread that this could be a good topic!

What do you consider too thin? I mean, if you're looking at a dog, what factors make a dog too thin to you?
Lacking muscle? Ribs, hips, spine showing?

If a dog's spine and every rib are showing, yet every muscle on the dog's body is easily showing and the dog is healthy and energetic, do you think it's underweight?

Here are some examples, different breed but I don't have permission from any GSD owners to use their pics..
You can see all of his ribs, and in some pics where he's running or something, his spine.. But look at the muscle tone. To me, this is a dog in great condition.


And then this shelter pup... His ribs and spine are showing the same as the above dog... However, do you see the muscle deterioration? The dog's body is taking nutrition from the muscles. that, to me, is an underweight dog.. Same skeletal structure showing, but there are other ways to tell if a dog is underweight. Look between the ribs, there is no muscle, not is there muscle on top of the ribs.. disgusting.



And check out this lab. Ribs highly visible. and spine in some pics, but check out the muscle on that boy.
http://www1.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Rescued+Labrador+Qualified+Police+Explosives+E2QYGI_IS4ql.jpg

Again - sorry I don't have GSD pics to use :eek:

With a lean dog, one with proper muscle, he's obviously getting proper nutrition to feed those muscles and keep him fit.. A skinny, or thin dog, would have obvious signs of being underfed - like weak or underdeveloped looking muscles. Regardless of bone showing... I know a little dog with a roached back that can have a pot belly and still show her spine.

My old shepherd, Mo, was certainly underweight. His ribs showed, his waist was sunken, his hips were very easily palpable (hidden by his fur), as was his spine. His muscles were deteriorated down to nothing. If he had good muscle mass and energy obviously I wouldn't have thought him underweight... He was 16 and dying for anyone wondering.

I keep no extra weight on my dogs. It serves no good purpose as my dogs are not outdoor dogs and don't need a layer of fat in the winter...


Now that I've given my thoughts on the matter, what are yours?
 

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I think it also depends on the breed of dog. Normally, I'd say that a dog such as the second pic, where there's minimal to no muscle tone, and the ribs/spine/hips are visible, then the dog is too thin. However, breeds such as Saukis have that bony look to them, and don't have an incredible amount of muscle mass as a bully breed, but all the ones I've seen were healthy.
 

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I won't comment on the second dog because that's obvious, but I think the second dog looks a little thin... Obviously well kept and has great muscle structure but a little body fat comes in handy if they get sick or food becomes unavailable temporarily for whatever reason.
If no fat is available on their body, it takes a toll on their muscles. A tiny bit of fat also helps with their stamina and endurance.
 

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To me any dog with ALL their ribs showing is too thin, I don't care if they have good muscle tone-- I'd put a bit more weight on them. Even with greyhounds, they're not supposed to have every rib sticking out like that.
 

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IMO I think that the dog in the first picture can gain 5 pounds.

The second picture is sad and unhealthy of course.

I like my dogs lean, I want to be able to easily feel their ribs but I dont want to see them.

My GSD/Husky is 26' at the shoulder and he weighs about 70 pounds.
My GSD is 28' at the shoulder and he weighs 80 pounds.





The yellow dog is my friends
 

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I too would like to see a little more weight on the 1st dog, no matter how "tone" the body is.
The 2nd dog is without question in poor physical condition.
The 3rd dog (perhaps because of the pic), looks to have more weight for his proportions than either of the first 2.
I personally prefer a thinner, toned dog....but I do not want to be able to see most of it's body skeleton.
I think there is a fine line between being perceived "fit or actually being too thin".
JMO
 

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I honestly think that the first dog is underweight. Yes, he has good muscle, but that's way too many ribs in my opinion.
 

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I like my dogs healthy.
That first dog does look a little thin, I think it could at least use a little more body fat than the 0% it looks like it has. He does look healthy, just think there's nothing wrong with a small amount of fat on a dog.

Sobacca gets a lot of "he's chunky" comments -- he eats less than a cup of food a day, is muscular, energetic, and isn't fat...he's just a shorter, stockier dog (sort of a bully breed body, with being more stout then thin). And I can feel his ribs. And considering he can run 4-8 miles with me at 4 years old, I would say he's healthy.

Minna gets comments on how thin she is - which I agree she is, but that's just her body. You can see/feel most of her ribs. But she is healthy, she eats 4ish cups of food a day....gets a lot of exercise and has a lot of energy (sometimes I wish she had a little less energy).

I think dogs are sort of like people in this respect....they all have different body types and what's considered "healthy" for that specific person. So just because a dog may look thin to me (like the dog in that first picture) doesn't necessarily mean the dog is too thin for what's healthy for him...does that make sense?
 

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Just my personal preference on what I consider healthy, but ribs easily felt but not seen is the best weight/body type if you ask me. Maybe a rib or two showing when breathing, but that's still on the thin side.

I'm all for keeping a dog lean and mean, but once a couple ribs are showing, I think a they can use a couple more pounds no matter how toned they are.

With regards to your pictures, the first dog could probably gain a good 5 pounds and still be in great shape. The second picture is just not healthy at all for obvious reasons, but you don't even need to look below the neck to know that. Just look at that face.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Before I read all the answers, the first dog was in showing shape - conditioned. Meaning top shape. For a pet I'd keep them heavier..
 

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For me, one factor is the actual weight of the dog. A ribby dog with a below average weight is skinny no matter how much muscle it has, but if the dog is ribby and the weight is average or above average, then it's fine.

But generally I like to think a perfectly healthy dog is one that can lose or gain a few pounds and still look great(minus small breeds, where a few pounds could double their weight, lol). I don't think it would be wise for the dog in the first picture to lose any weight.

Being lean and muscley is all fine and dandy, but you still need a decent amount of body fat for proper organ function.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
And the dog in the first picture, look closely, those are the actual ribs showing if you know what I mean, you can see the muscles on top of them and the sinewy lines. It's not the bones protruding, like the dog in the 2nd pic.

Since J has never been chunky, I can't use him... Dutch was always a fatty.. lol and My past dogs left me before I had a good digi camera, so I'll use my dearest Tink..

Here she is before I put weight on her.. You can see spine and hips... She was very cut, ever muscle on her bulged when she moved. She was healthy and had TOO much energy... She was 45lbs here. I would have put a few, maybe 2-3 more on her to cover her hips.


10 pounds heavier. And not overweight.



But what I want to know, is why do you feel it's bad to see ribs as long as the dog is obviously healthy and happy?
 

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If the dog is well-muscled and in good shape, I don't mind seeing the last two or three ribs at all. I'd rather have a light, ribby dog than a fat one any day. Now as far as Ronja goes, I can usually see the last two ribs, which is just fine with me. If she's turning to the opposite side you can occasionally see more ribs, but standing still I don't like to see more than two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If the dog is well-muscled and in good shape, I don't mind seeing the last two or three ribs at all. I'd rather have a light, ribby dog than a fat one any day. Now as far as Ronja goes, I can usually see the last two ribs, which is just fine with me. If she's turning to the opposite side you can occasionally see more ribs, but standing still I don't like to see more than two.
I forget, completely off topic here.. but where did you get Ronja? Maybe the wrong dog, but I remember a Ronja coming from a shelter in VA.

And as for bone showing, another thing - some dogs are built in a way that makes certain structures show.. my brother has a Lab/Pit mix, FAT. The dog could lose 10 pounds, actually has a pot belly.. But you can see his ribs when he plays or breaths heavy. And I'm not exaggerating - this dog is fat. So where a dog in top shape may not show rib at all, another might show all of them... But as said, unless the dog was working and needed to be conditioned, I would keep them with some 'padding'.
 

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This is why Minna is called "too thin" and "skinny" by EVERYONE that meets her..... people think her waist is too thin
Tail Canidae Carnivore Dog breed Fawn

Dog Canidae Grass Leash Tail


I think she looks perfectly healthy though:
Mammal Dog Vertebrate Canidae Dog breed



Her and Sobacca: -- he's been looking fat recently (he fluctuates between 45 and 50 pounds, I'm sure he's closer to 50 right now), I think I need to start running him more often.
Vertebrate Dog Canidae Mammal Dog breed
 

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OMG...not to interupt...but...I LOVE TINK!!!
I had to let you know...I think that pic of her in the snow is adorable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
She looks like a normal GSD puppy to me. J looked like a rail for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OMG...not to interupt...but...I LOVE TINK!!!
I had to let you know...I think that pic of her in the snow is adorable.
Thank you. Unfortunately she had to be put down, pretty sure she kept some of my soul and I buried it with her... She was a very special dog. That was her first snow with me, as you can see by the paw prints everywhere, she thoroughly checked out every inch of it.
 

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I forget, completely off topic here.. but where did you get Ronja? Maybe the wrong dog, but I remember a Ronja coming from a shelter in VA.
Yes, you're thinking of the correct dog, and yes, I did get Ronja from a shelter in Virginia. :) Even former police dogs wind up in shelters.
 

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She looks like a normal GSD puppy to me. J looked like a rail for a long time.
I should have put my hand around her waist for size comparison. I have a small hand....because I'm not very big (5'2"ish) -- and I can fit my hand around her waist. So when people first look at her they think she looks really thin.
She definitely is a rail. LOL She'll fill-out eventually I guess.
 
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