Clumbers and Weight 

Obesity is a hot issue in humans and it also an issue for the dog population. The PFMA* recently reported that as many as 51% of dogs in the UK are overweight – hopefully the percentage is much less in Clumbers. Evidence suggests that obesity can lead to a shorter lifespan; heart and breathing problems; reproductive disorders; canine diabetes; and joint disease. (see references below)

We can’t rely on our dogs to ensure that they eat the right amount of food and get the right amount of exercise to maintain a healthy weight. It is up to us as their owners to keep them fit and healthy, so they avoid the potential side effects of being overweight.

Clumbers as adults come in a variety of sizes. Show bred dogs are generally accepted to be larger than the smaller working bred dogs. So relying on a dog’s actual weight and trying to make them fit into the range in the KC Breed Standard may actually lead to some Clumbers being very overweight. This does not however mean that you should not weigh your dog regularly to ensure they maintain a steady healthy weight.

The better alternative is to use the Body Condition Score which checks their status based on their side and top profiles. There are several variations on this scoring scheme which can easily be found by a web search. They are all illustrated and mostly have a 5-point scale where scale of 1 = ‘emaciated’; 2 = ‘thin’; 3= ‘ideal’; 4 = ‘overweight; and 5 = ‘obese’. This simplified table shows the top, middle and bottom of one of these scales to illustrate how they work. Others examples use a scale of 1-9

Downloadable charts can be found at:




A very simple method has been suggested which can be used alongside these charts. If the covering over the ribs feels like the thickness of a sheet then they are too thin; if the covering is like a blanket they are about right; and if it is like a duvet then they are too fat. 

Whichever you use, it is worth checking your dog on a regular basis to keep them in the ideal range.

If you conclude that your dog is overweight then you should talk to your vet; especially if your dog has been neutered which can lead to weight gain; or if they have any other health issues.

You should also check with your vet if your dog has a sudden change in weight which may have an underlying medical cause.

Sources of information:

The Kennel Club’s information guide to Managing Your Dogs Weightwhich can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/770255/managing_your_dogs_weight.pdf

*The PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturing Association) report can be found at www.pfma.org.uk/_assets/docs/White%20Papers/PFMA-Obesity-Report-2019.pdf

The Growing Problem of Obesity in Dogs and Catsby Alexander J. German (Dept of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Liverpool) published in J.Nutr. 136:1940S-1946S, 2006.

www.pdsa.org.uk  Article entitled “50 percent of UK dogs could die early due to obesity empidemic warns charity” (2009)

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