It is a simple fact that more dogs in the UK today are overweight to some extent than are at a lean, healthy weight, and the canine obesity epidemic has become so pronounced that many dog owners cannot objectively recognise a healthy weight lean dog, because we have been so conditioned over time to think that slightly overweight is actually normal.
Obesity and carrying too much excess weight has large potential health implications for dogs, and can contribute to or directly cause a range of illnesses and health problems in dogs as they get a little older. This holds true for small and toy dog breeds just as much as it does for larger breeds – but it is also much harder to tell when a very small dog is overweight, as well as harder to get the balance right between feeding too much and too little.
Because the Yorkshire terrier is one such small breed and also, because they are very popular as lap dogs and pampered pets, they can be one of the most challenging breeds to feed appropriately and to match their activity levels to their diets. Additionally, given the small size of the breed as a whole, there is quite a variety of different sizes and weights of Yorkshire terriers that all fall within the normal or healthy range, depending on the general size of your dog.
If you own a Yorkshire terrier and want to know how much they should weigh, or if you are unsure how to tell if your dog’s weight and build is healthy or a little too fat or lean, this article will share some guidance to help you out. Read on to learn more.
The breed standard and breed guidance for the Yorkshire terrier states that dogs of the breed can weigh up to 7lb/3.2kg, and 4-7lb is around the average for most dogs of the breed.
However, when you consider the fact that a 7lb Yorkie will be almost twice the weight of a 4lb Yorkie, even though the numbers in question are small, that is still a significant degree of variance.
Dogs above this average weight range within the breed are not uncommon either, and taller, longer-bodied Yorkshire terriers may potentially weigh well over 7lb, approaching the 10lb range or even closer to 15lb in some cases.
However, for a pedigree Yorkshire terrier even at the taller and larger end of the size spectrum, weighing over 10lb probably means that the dog is overweight, although there will of course always be some exceptions.
An adult Yorkshire terrier should not weigh less than around 4lb, and those that weigh around 4lb are the very smallest dogs of the breed, including teacup Yorkies. Dogs that weigh under 4lb are apt to be more prone to feeling the cold and being rather more fragile in terms of their propensity to pick up minor ills and generally, not be very robust.
Determining whether or not your Yorkshire terrier’s weight is appropriate for them given the range of variance in play can be a challenge, and every dog is different. There is no standard formula of weight to height ratio to work with, which means owners have to rely upon physical examination and how the dog looks to determine their appropriate weight – which can be very subjective!
Your dog should not be obviously overweight or padded with fat, but neither should they look too scrawny either, and their ribs and other bones should not be obvious when you look at them. However, when you run your hand lightly along your dog’s flanks, you should still be able to feel their ribs very subtly, without having to place a lot of pressure.
If you can just about feel your dog’s ribs but not see them prominently, they are probably within a healthy weight range.
Even minor weight fluctuations in such a small breed can be quite acute in terms of how this affects the dog, so it is a good idea to weigh them every couple of months to look out for any changes. Dogs’ weights to fluctuate slightly throughout the year, which for a very large Yorkie might mean gaining and losing a pound or so over the year, but for a petite Yorkie, the difference may be measurable in ounces rather than pounds.
To weigh your Yorkie with the minimum amount of hassle and maximum accuracy, you can pick them up and stand on the scale with them – record the weight of you and your dog combined, then put the dog down and weigh yourself, and deduct this figure from the original one to get your dog’s own weight. Always use the same scale each time, or ask your vet to weigh them in the clinic.
Many Yorkshire terriers are fed the right amount of food for their size – but this can be hard to judge without measuring the food, as it is easy to pour a little too much food into the bowl when dealing with a very small dog. However, exercise and fitness are also integral parts of weight control and good health, and so you should ensure that your dog gets enough exercise and activity, and is not simply piling on the pounds due to a sedentary lifestyle.