Having an accurate measurement of your dog’s height is vital. For one, it helps you buy the right accessories and equipment for your dog. Second, your dog’s height can help you predict their behavior and thus enable you to plan accordingly.
Besides, if you’re into dog shows, you’ve likely seen cases where dogs fail to get into competitions and exhibitions because owners inaccurately measured their heights.
Unlike measuring weight, which is pretty straightforward, measuring height requires particular tools and skills, and the process can be testy. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to measure your dog’s height:
Dog Height Measuring Equipment
Here are the tools you will need:
A tape measure will give you a precise reading because it has the imperial units, i.e., feet and inches, and metrics like centimeters and meters. Besides, the units are divided further into smaller measurements for much more precise reading. A folding rule works great too.
For accurate measurement, the carpenter’s level is pressed firmly into your canine friend’s shoulder. A common height-measuring mistake is that folks place the level on the dog’s neck and thus get an imprecise reading.
You’ll need to get your dog in an upright position to get an accurate height reading. The door frame will ensure the dog isn’t constantly moving. Alternatively, you can get a similar effect by positioning your dog next to a wall.
Marking Tool (Pencil)
A marking tool will help you create a spot on the frame or wall that marks your dog’s height. You should ideally use a pencil, which makes an erasable mark.
A step to Step Guide to Measuring a Dog’s height
A dog’s height is measured, starting from the highest point on the shoulders to the paws. The technical name for that part is ‘the dog’s withers.’ It’s where the shoulder blades and neck intersect.
Note that you shouldn’t include the head and neck in height measurements. You should also exclude the hair and ensure the dog is standing upright.
Step 1: Position Your Dog Next To A Door Frame or Wall.
To get a precise reading, you should have your dog stand straight. They shouldn’t lean downwards or shrink. Their head should be in its normal position (not looking upwards or downwards). Besides, they should be standing on a flat surface, ideally your house floor.
A wall or frame provides you with a fixed point of reference to avoid the parallax error. You also need to be close to your dog while measuring.
French bulldogs, Chihuahuas, puppies, and other small dogs can be quite jokey, so getting them to stand straight on the floor can be quite a hassle. It might be ideal to measure these types of dogs while they are on the table.
Note that dogs feel quite uncomfortable when compelled to stand still and straight. Instead of strong-arming your dog, have someone hold a treat while their hand is closed; this will get the dog to stand straight without being forced. Then, measure while they’re standing upright. You should then reward your canine buddy with the treat for their cooperation.
Step 2: Find the Withers
Finding the withers is vital, especially for dogs with long hair. It’s on the withers that you should position your carpenter’s level. Feel your dog find the highest bony part of their shoulder blades. As we pointed out earlier, this is the point at which the shoulders and neck converge.
Step 3: Position Your Carpenter’s Level Across Your Dog’s Withers
Place the level across the withers and ensure that one end of your carpenter’s level touches the wall or frame. Besides, ensure the bubbles in the level are inside their markings.
You should then mark the point at which your level touches the wall or frame. That point marks the height of your dog.
Step 4: Measure
At this point, you’ve tested your dog’s patience enough, and you’ve got all the information needed. Measure the distance between the floor and the mark you made. Your tape should fall to the floor vertically and be parallel to the frame or wall. Now read the measurement and document it for future reference.
Other Effective Ways of Measuring Dog Height
You may lack the tools used in the above method, like a carpenter’s level. However, you shouldn’t worry; there are alternative methods you can use to measure your dog’s height:
Without a Level
Like in the above method, make your dog stand straight on an even surface, like a table or floor. If your dog is overly excited, you should help them calm down. Or, you can get someone to help you keep the dog upright and still.
Find the withers and then run your tape starting from the floor/table to the withers. To get a precise measurement, ensure the tape runs vertically and in a straight line.
With a Dog Height Measuring Sticks
If you want a specialized tool for measuring your dog’s height, then you should consider these sticks. They are light and sturdy, and so you can use them on both grown dogs and puppies. On one side, they have measurements in inches, and the other side is calibrated in centimeters. But before you buy one, ensure that it can accommodate your dog’s maximum height.
- Get your dog to stand straight on the floor or any other flat surface, just like in the above methods.
- Position the measuring stick on the floor and perpendicular to your dog.
- Turn the stick’s arm so that it rests on your canine friend’s withers.
- Read and record your dog’s height.
The above methods show you how to measure dogs’ height at home. But can you use these methods in professional dog-show settings? Let’s take a look.
In dog shows, a precise measurement of height is vital. Your dog must fit into their breed’s set height if they’re to be allowed to participate in the show. Judges take these measurements fast using a wicket.
A wicket comes with two legs placed on the ground and a movable bar set on the dog’s withers. The judges only ‘wicket’ dogs once, so you should train your dog to cooperate during height measurements.
Sometimes dogs in shows object to having the wicket on their back. When this happens, judges can brand your dog “unable to measure.” With that, your dog can be eliminated from the competition.
Further reading:Top Tallest Dogs
Dog Height Chart
|Extra Small dogs (XS)||6 to 9 inches||Chihuahua; Teacup Breeds|
|Small dogs (S)||8 to 12 inches||Boston Terrier; Brussels Griffon; Chihuahua; Maltese; Miniature Dachshund; Miniature Pinscher; Papillion; Pomeranian; Toy Poodle; Yorkshire Terrier|
|Medium-sized dogs (M)||14 to 18 inches||Cocker Spaniel; Corgi; Dachshund (standard size); French Bulldog; Jack Russell Terrier; Lhasa Apso; Miniature Poodle; Pekingese; Pug; Scottish Terrier; Shih Tzu; Welsh Corg|
|Large dogs (L)||20-24 inches||Smaller Bulldog; Cocker Spaniel; Corgi; French Bulldog; Golden Retriever|
|Extra Large dogs (XL)||22 to 26 inches||Airedale Terrier; American Foxhound; Australian Shepherd; Bassett Hound; Boxer; Doberman Pinscher; Greyhound; Labrador Retriever; Pitbull; Siberian Husky|
|Extra-Extra-Large dogs (XXL or 2XL)||26 plus inches||Akita; Bernese Mountain Dog; Greyhound; Labrador Retriever; Pitbull; Rottweiler; Standard Poodle; Vizsla; Weimaraner; Doberman Pinscher; German Shepherd; Golden Retriever; Great Dane;|
Why Dog Height is Important
Training and Sports
To keep your pup healthy and agile should start them on training and exercise. Depending on their breed, dogs can start agility training at one year or two years of age.
The training entails obstacle courses, so you must know your dog’s height. This allows you to set a huddle height that allows your puppy or small dog to jump without getting hurt.
Any dog’s medical records should include information and data like height, weight, length, vet visits, vaccination history, and prescribed medications. If you don’t know your dog’s height, it means you’re missing critical medical data.
Does your dog’s height make them vulnerable to certain leg conditions? Well, lameness, hind leg weakness, and dysplasia are a few common leg conditions that afflict dogs. Surprisingly, height has little effect on dogs’ vulnerability to these leg problems.
To Buy the Right Door or Crate
Knowing your dog’s precise height eliminates guesswork when you’re buying a doggy door or a kennel. The door flapper should be accommodating enough to allow your dog to walk in and out comfortably. Your dog should be able to jump through the door without getting hurt. So the door should be ideally 2 inches taller than your dog.
A suitable dog crate allows your dog to turn around, lie down, stand up, and stretch easily within the cage’s confines. If you have a puppy, you should ensure that you get a capacious kennel; they are much more jokey and restless than adult dogs.
When purchasing growing dogs, you should envisage their future height based on their breed’s average height.
When putting up a dog for adoption, as a seller, breeder, dog owner, you need to provide information that includes its height. This information helps buyers assess if your dog is suitable for them.
For Dog Shows
Dog shows have set data requirements. So knowing the precise height will inform you of your dog’s eligibility.
Dogs that don’t meet their breed’s requirements for the show are mostly disqualified. Plus, measuring your dog’s height at home accustoms them with the procedure, and thus they’ll suffer less anxiety and discomfort when their height is taken during the show.
To Confirm Breed
You can easily confirm your dog’s breed by observing their physical features like height, color, coat, ears, head, and tail. When your dog is off the average height of its breed by a wide margin, you should be concerned.
When Buying Fitting Access, Apparel, and Other Things
Accessories and apparel are designed for dogs of various heights and sizes. If you want to buy apparel and accessories that fit your dog correctly, you need an accurate measurement of their height. For instance, taller dogs require shorter training leashes, while shorter dogs require longer leashes.
Accurate height measurement is also essential when you’re buying an elevated feeder for your dog. An elevated feeder is designed to raise your dog’s drinking and feeding bowls several inches off the ground.
An elevated dog feeder needs to be at the same level as the dog’s lower chest. Not placing your dog’s feeding and drinking bowls in a high position can cause bloating. Bloating means your dog’s stomach will flip or twist, causing the exit and entry points to shut off.
The condition results in pain and decreased blood flow. It also compromises your dog’s ability to pass waste and gas. Elevated dog feeders also promote good posture, slow the eating speed, improve swallowing, and promote hygiene.
How can you tell how tall your dog will be?
You can predict the height of a dog based on their breed. But you cannot tell with precision how tall your dog will be. You can, however, use these factors to guess an approximate height:
- Genetics – For purebred puppies, you can check the American Kennel Club for the breed’s standard height.
- Growth Plates – Pups grow fast and gain most of their height in the first six-month period. They then get slightly bigger in the following six-to-14-month period. At this point, they pretty much get to, or exceedingly close to, their adult height. Growth pales start closing when puppies hit six months and are fully closed at around their first birthday. A reasonably accurate formula you can use to predict your puppies’ height is: puppy’s sixth-month height multiplied by 100, and the answer divided by 75.
- Puppies Suit – Sometimes, the scale of loose skin indicates the puppies’ ‘adult height.’ Pups grow to fill up their outfit. But this ‘loose-skin theory may not hold for dogs with bloodhound or shar-pei ancestry who maintain their baggy suits into adulthood.
- Paw size – Puppies with larger paws will likely grow up to be bigger dogs, and smaller paws likely belong to puppies that will grow up to be smaller sized dogs. This indicator is, however, affected by genes, especially in mixed-breed puppies.
When so dogs reach full height?
Different breeds grow at different speeds: small breeds get to their adult height in 6 to 8 months; medium-sized breeds take from 12 to 15 months; large breeds take up to 18 months.
Do dogs grow after the first heat?
Males dogs can reproduce at six months, but it’s until they’re 12 to 15 months old that they mature sexually. Female dogs get their first heat at 6 to 12 months of age. Dogs grow physically up to when they are 12 to 18 months old – so first heat is not indicative of physical maturity.
How can I stunt my dog’s growth?
They’re numerous things that can stunt a puppy’s growth, from worm infections to genetics. Stunted growth in puppies is mostly caused by roundworm and hookworm infection.
Besides, neutering or spaying your dog earlier won’t stunt their growth. However, studies show that early neutering/spaying delays the closure growth plates, which leads to dogs becoming taller than they would have under normal circumstances. This can make the dogs much more vulnerable to joint problems.