20 Dog Breeds Most Prone to Obesity

Obesity is a serious disease that can affect our four legged friends as seriously as the human masters. The disease is defined by chronic excess of weight of more than 10% over the breed’s optimum weight. Some dog breeds are especially prone to weight gain and obesity however humans are of course the leading cause of obesity in canines. All dogs are vulnerable to excessive weight gain if they are overfed and under exercised by indulgent owners. Neutered and older dogs, which live mostly indoors, are particularly prone to obesity. A dog’s metabolism will slow as he gets older, much like our own. If the owner continues to feed an aging dog the same amount as when he was a younger and more active the dog the pet will inevitably gain weight. Owners of certain breeds need to be especially cautious to protect their pet against the dangers of obesity. This is because some breeds are genetically predisposed to weigh gain and retention. Here’s our list of the top 20 dogs breeds prone to obesity.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a friendly and alert little dog. They are impossible not to spoil and for this reason can easily gain excess weight. They are not at all fond of going outdoors and content to avoid exercise if they are allowed to develop the habit. They’re also too cute for words and very clever. If the owner succumbs, in a moment of weakness, to giving their Shih Tzu a high calorie treat the sharp little dogs won’t forget and will pester their owners for more of the same. Because of their size, Shih Tzu do not require a lot of food in an individual sitting and can develop grazing habits easily if indulged. Human food contains many more calories than the tiny Shih Tzu needs. Owners must avoid developing problems with weight gain by keeping the balance right between calories in and calories expended in exercise.


Yorkshire Terriers

Like many small dogs, Yorkies are prone to becoming overweight and developing problems with obesity. It’s easy for owners to fall into the trap of over feeding and literally loving their beloved fur-ball to death. Yorkshire Terriers can also be sneaky and have been known to steal food and treats if given half a chance. It’s vital for owners to remember that obesity causes a domino effect of negative health consequences for Yorkshire Terriers. Giving your Yorkie a well balanced diet, plenty of affection and adequate exercise is the best way to return the devotion he shows to you. One small cookie is the calorific equivalent of one whole hamburger for a human. You’d expect to pile on the pounds too if you were nibbling a few hamburgers between meals.


Bulldogs are especially prone to becoming obese because many owners do not know what the appropriate weight for a Bulldog is. The popular image of a Bulldog is of a chubby hound and this has caused many owners to confuse fat pets with happy pets. The Bulldog also has a vociferous appetite and will eat pretty much any food that he’s given. They gain weight fairly quickly and like many humans struggle to shed the extra pounds once they’ve gained them. Bulldogs are not predisposed to do very strenuous exercise because they tend towards breathing problems. For all of these reasons owners should take preventative action rather than waiting until a problem has developed. With a calorie controlled diet and a healthy regime of regular exercise Bulldogs will not gain the fat that they struggle so desperately to shed.


Boxers can develop a hormonal condition known as Hyperthyroidism which in turn can lead to unhealthy weight gain. A Boxer with a well balanced diet and a good exercise routine can develop this condition. Owners should have their pet tested once a year to rule out the condition but should be especially vigilant if their pooch has unexplained weight gain. Apart from the risks of the underlying thyroid condition Boxers need a lot more exercise than many other breeds. They are a naturally muscular breed and if not given sufficient opportunity to exercise, their muscle will quickly turn to flab. In order to maintain an optimum weight, Boxers need long walks and good jog or run off the leash.


Dachshunds are also prone to becoming fat and obese. The comical little sausage dog can develop really serious health effects from excess fat very quickly. Because of their long bodies and shorter legs they are at risk of spinal trouble. Dachshunds are a naturally lazy breed and if they are permitted will enjoy an inactive lifestyle. As with all dogs, who are prone to obesity, however, the main cause and the main culprit are the human owners. The Dachshund’s diet needs to be regulated and they should not be permitted to overeat and they should not be overfed. A regular exercise routine which includes a brisk walk and playing with a ball will keep a Dachshund from becoming obese. Because of their propensity to spinal injury the exercise routine should not include high impact activities.

Golden Retriever

The latest figures suggest that approximately 60% of Golden Retrievers in America are overweight. The breed is especially skillful at begging for tidbits and treats and careless owners give in too easily with dire consequences for their pets. The only way to avoid developing obesity is for owners to maintain strict discipline with food intake from when the time when their Retriever is a puppy. Table scraps should be avoided completely to avoid developing life shortening weight problems. Obesity can cause many adverse health conditions in Golden Retrievers including high blood pressure, heart and respiratory diseases, kidney and liver disease, diabetes, digestive disorders and many different types of cancer. But the problems don’t stop there. Retrievers are prone to joint and hip issues which can be exacerbate by excessive fat. This in turn makes exercise more challenging which will inevitably lead to further weight gain.


Rottweilers are a large breed of dog. Owners frequently favor larger dogs within the breed as they are perceived to be stronger and more intimidating. Like all dogs however excess weight carries far reaching health risks for Rottweilers who can develop internal organ conditions, cancers and hip and elbow dysplasia if they become too fat. In common with the Boxer this breed is also prone to developing hyperthyroidism which can cause obesity in dogs with a calorie controlled diet and adequate exercise. Owners should always investigate unexplained excess weight gain and should have an annual screening to check for the underlying condition. Rottweiler were originally bred as an active, working dog and they relish all the physical activity that they are given.

Cocker Spaniel

Unfortunately Cocker Spaniels are prone to obesity especially if they have been neutered or as they mature. Activity levels normally decrease as a dog gets older but Spaniels are especially inclined to lethargy as they mature. Owners need to adjust their food and calorie intake to take account of the expected reduction in energy.


The Chihuahua is a much loved breed of small dog. Because of the tiny pooch’s considerable charms they are easy to indulge. They require very limited calories daily to maintain a healthy weight. A small increase in food will have a disproportionate impact on the Chihuahua’s mass. Human biscuits and treats are especially dangerous as they pack a massive calorie load for such a tiny animal. An owner’s own body size, lifestyle and activity level are indicators that a pet might become obese. Chihuahuas are well known to require minimal exercise but that does not mean they should be totally sedentary. They are inclined towards playfulness and they should be encouraged to play indoors and outdoors. Indulgent owners need to show their love by providing their pets with ample exercise rather than addition edible treats.

Scottish Terrier

In order to maintain an ideal body condition a Scottish Terrier need a proper routine of exercise and a well balanced diet. They have a tendency to become plump as they become older and this can lead to further weight gain if left unchecked. Conscientious owners need to keep them healthy and avoid chronic health problems that inevitably arise with obesity. This is achieved by avoiding overfeeding and maintaining good levels of physical activity as appropriate for their age. The breed carries an additional inherent risk factor. Scotties are prone to hyperthyroidism which can be a root cause of chronic weight gain. It is important to check with the vet if a Scottish Terrier has become unexpectedly fatter.


Corgis are such intelligent little people pleasers. They take their cues from the humans in their lives. This means if their owners are sedentary and sit around the house the Corgi will follow suit. Corgis need to be stimulated as they are very dependent on humans and become anxious if left alone for long periods. This can also aggravate weight gain. Like all dogs Corgis need to have an equilibrium between a healthy and balanced diet and adequate exercise for their needs. They don’t require a strenuous workout but do need to say active and have a regular walk. Corgis that become overweight and develop obesity are liable to develop a range of diseases of the heart, liver and kidneys. The additional weight also puts strain on joints.

Rough Collie

Rough Collies are bred as working dogs and should maintain a very active life style. Because they crave so much physical activity it is hard to match their exercise needs with modern human lifestyles. If they are not getting sufficient exercise they rapidly begin to put on extra pounds. Weight gain can very quickly become obesity if not kept in check. It’s easy to ignore a few pounds of extra fat but this inevitably leads to problematic weight accumulation that adversely affects the dog’s healthy and life expectancy. To keep your Collie looking and feeling its best owners should indulge their canine companions in oodles of long walks and extended treks.

German Shepherd

One breed which is very inclined to develop issues with excess weight is the German Shepherd. The breed requires plenty of strenuous exercise and mental stimulation to stay in top condition. Like many other breeds that were originally selected as working animals they may carry the so called “thrifty gene”. Where stores of reserves of nutrients were required in the past for dogs that labored in adverse and cold conditions the breed developed a gene to preserve and slow their metabolisms. It is a breed which is not suited to a small urban environment but is better suited to open living with a large yard in which to roam as well as plenty of brisk long walks. When German Shepherds expand they rapidly develop stiffness in their joints which inhibits how active they can be. The result is an animal that is unable to work out sufficiently which in turn leads to an under stimulated dog. A serious adverse consequence as well as all the impacts to the animal’s physical health is a dog that may become unreliable. Responsible pet owners can avoid developing trouble by a program of vigorous and continuous exercise.

Bichon Frise

Obesity is the number one nutritional disease which affects Bichons and many other dog breeds. They are vulnerable to becoming fat if they are overfed with supplementary human food in addition to their own regular meals as they need very few calories per day to be healthy. These diminutive little dogs require high quality tailored diet which crams the correct range of minerals and vitamins into a small amount of food. It is important to stick closely to the recommended ration for the Bichon FrIse at its particular life stage. An elderly Bichon will only need between 300 and 500 calories daily while a younger dog can need up to 650. Because Bichons are so fluffy, their coats may mask early weight gain. Owners can determine whether their pet is at a healthy weight by feeling their dog’s ribs. If they can’t readily feel individual ribs it is time to cut back

English Mastiff

English Mastiffs have a well known reputation for being slow and lazy. They are not famed for their abundance of energy. Mastiffs need plenty of encouragement and a regular disciplined walk at least once a day. They don’t like to run and will resist more strenuous exercise. Mastiffs are also the victims of owner misconception. The popular image of an English Mastiff is of a pudgy and drooling Mastiff. This can lead owners to incorrectly believe that their overweight pet is in ideal condition. Mastiffs are also prone to bloating and gassiness if they are obese which in turn can lead to serious digestive conditions. They are also prone to hereditary heart disease which is made significantly worse if they have chronic problems with excessive fat.


Genetically predisposed to laziness the Pug is very prone to developing obesity. A happy Pug is a sleeping Pug. Therefore it’s really tough to keep a Pug in shape because of their natural idleness and lethargy. The breed is a good example of the dangers of selective breeding as over the years Pugs’ breathing problems have become more and more pronounced. This leads to significant difficulties for Pugs in managing even gentle exercise routines. They frequently become over heated with mild exertion which leads owners to carry the cute little pooches rather than walking off some of those extra pounds. They are also a misunderstood breed with many owners believing them to be naturally fat. If a Pug becomes obese their health problems are especially pronounced because of their breathing problems. Fatter Pugs will live shorter lives. In addition they can develop skin irritations if they have excessive skin folds. To keep your Pug healthy, maintain a restrictive diet and a mild exercise routine. Pugs don’t need, nor are they able for, long walks but a regular easy going walk is essential.


The massive Newfoundland typically weighs in at approximately 150 pounds. Sadly overweight Newfoundlands are the norm rather than an exception to the norm. It is surprising that this gentle giant can easily become a victim of overfeeding. The Newfoundland has a massive appetite and will constantly seek more. Because of their size it’s easy for the weight to creep up on their pet before the owner has fully realized. Like so many other breeds once a Newfoundland dog has gained weight it is very tricky to shift. They are predisposed to be lazy if owners tolerate this. The Newfie was bred as fisherman’s working dog and they are characterized by great endurance. Because of this and their susceptible and injury prone joint high impact exercise doesn’t suit them. They benefit instead from longer walks and hikes and rise to the challenge of strenuous terrain.

Bassett Hound

Bassetts will naturally overeat if their owner allows gives them the chance. They are ravenous and tend to eat very rapidly. It’s better to give them a few smaller meals than one larger one as the Bassett Hound will be hungry again before the end of the day. They are not naturally enthusiastic about exercise and if let will sleep curled up on the couch without stirring. As the weight begins to creep up, the Bassett becomes less motivated to do any exercise which creates a vicious cycle of weight gain and decreasing ability to exercise. Another factor that can add to the Bassett’s obesity risk factors is their propensity to develop Cushings disease and hyperthyroidism. Both diseases can cause obesity in dogs.


Labradors are one of the most popular dog breeds for families. They are wonderful, intelligent companions but they are also relentlessly greedy. A Labrador, as any Lab owner, knows will eat literally anything they can. Even well behaved Labs have been known to steal unattended food. Labradors will transfix their owners with their big brown eyes and are experts in imploring for a little extra and an additional treat. For this reason obese Labradors are becoming the norm rather than unusual Owners need to be consistent in managing their Labrador’s diet. If they start to gain weight the owner should cut back on dry food a little and ensure that there are no table scraps augmenting the Labrador’s daily calorie intake. The breed thrives with plenty of outdoor activities and if owners live near water their Labrador will enjoy and thrive on a daily swim. This especially benefits the dog’s hips and joints which are prone to arthritis as they get older.


One of the breeds most susceptible to weight gain is the Beagle. These mid-size dogs have heaps of energy and tend towards flab if they don’t get sufficient exercise. They do tend to slow down as they get older which can also contribute to weight gain. Beagles have hearty appetites and will never turn food down. They are also known to scavenge so take care with trash and garbage. It falls to responsible owners to manage their intake with a well balanced diet. Beagles are also genetically predisposed to developing benign fatty tumors or lipomas in addition to becoming over fat. Owners should have any lumps checked out by a vet to rule out anything serious. Fatter Beagles, like all overweight animals are at serious risk for injury and complicated diseases.

Obesity affects how dogs look but more importantly can have devastating long term health consequences for your beloved pooch. When a dog is over nourished and lacks the ability to sufficiently exercise their condition can deteriorate very quickly. Many diseases are linked to or caused by obesity. These include heart, lung, liver and kidney disease. Obese dogs are also prone to many kinds of cancer and less likely to survive surgery. In addition they are at risk of developing mobility reducing ailments such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. In short obesity will reduce a dog’s life expectancy and quality of life. Owners need to avoid killing their pets with kindness by overfeeding and under stimulating them.

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