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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Overweight in Swedish show dogs-prevalence and association with performance in competition

Lindase, Sanna; Feltenmark, Tilda; Krantz, Malin; Soder, Josefin


Background The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing in companion dogs, but little is known of these conditions in show dogs. This study assessed body condition score (BCS) of show dogs of six selected popular breeds at a major Swedish dog show event and examined the association between BCS and performance in competition. Results At one of Sweden's largest dog shows, BCS of 120 dogs of six different breeds was assessed by trained animal healthcare personnel, using a 9-point BCS scale with conditional cut-off for overweight set to BCS >= 6. Prevalence of overweight in the cohort was 32% but all overweight dogs except one displayed only slight overweight (BCS 6) and no dog was assessed as obese (BCS 8-9). Prevalence of overweight differed significantly between breeds (P < 0.0001) with Labrador retrievers, Golden retrievers and French bulldogs showing the highest mean BCS (5.6-5.7) and highest prevalence of overweight (50-67%). Lean and overweight dogs received awards and higher show awards (certificates) to the same extent, and no significant association between slight overweight and performance in competition was found. Conclusions Prevalence of overweight in Swedish show dogs was relatively high and in the same range as in the Swedish dog population as a whole. Dog owners, breeders and judges should be made aware of canine obesity problems and trained in BCS assessment, to better prevent canine overweight and associated health risks. This is particularly important for retriever and brachycephalic breeds, which showed high prevalence of slight overweight and have breed-specific health problems exacerbated by overweight. Owners and breeders of traditionally sturdy dog breeds should be informed that overweight dogs do not outperform lean dogs in competition.


Body condition score; BCS; BCS assessment; Canine; Dog show competition; Obesity; Overweight prevalence; Show dogs

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2021, volume: 63, number: 1, article number: 17
Publisher: BMC

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Feltenmark, Tilda
No organisation
Krantz, Malin
No organisation
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

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