This is a question that is often discussed among GSD owners in person and around the internet. Unfortunately there are many overweight and obese dogs today and many people have become used to that look. Then when these people see a dog that is actually in good weight, they claim the dog is too thin.
Even more unfortunate is that veterinarians are not immune to this. While you should always consult with your vet if you have a concern about your dog’s health, it is important to remember that not all vets know everything. It is always a good idea to research and educate yourself on a topic so that you can discuss it with the veterinarian. Different vets have different experiences and have concentrated on different areas. Just because a person is a vet, this does not mean that they are experts on every aspect of pet care. A good vet will openly admit this and be willing to learn and research on topics he or she is not well versed in. The point is that even if your vet says your dog is in good weight, it is your responsibility to make sure this is true and that you do in fact keep your dog in a proper weight. Along the same lines, even if your vet does not mention that your dog is overweight, it is your job to recognize this and work on fixing it.
There are many side effects to keeping your dog overweight or allowing him or her to become obese. When you have a GSD as a companion, you want them to be with you as long as possible. Allowing him or her to become overweight will only cause more complications and possibly shorter their life span.
So the question remains, what does a German Shepherd Dog that is a correct weight look like? If you spread your hands out, with the thumbs touching on the dog’s spine, you can lay one hand over each side of the dogs rib cage. You should be able to “easily” feel the dog’s ribs without pushing through a layer of fat. You will also want to see a well defined waistline on the dog when looking at them from above. When looking at them from the side, you want to see a tuck up behind their rib cage. When the dog is running very hard or panting very heavily, you may also see the last rib or two, depending on the type of coat your GSD has.
When your dog is at a good correct weight, you may receive comments from others about how thin your dog is. Do not let this bother you or cause you to question your knowledge. Remember, your dog of correct weight will be overall healthier and live a longer life than your friend’s overweight or obese dog.