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How To Measure A Dog’s Height The Right Way

How To Measure A Dog’s Height The Right Way

Knowing your dog’s height is useful when purchasing items like collars, crates, and winter clothing as well as for entering them in competitions. Because of that, it’s important that you know how to measure a dog’s height properly.

A lot of people, even some experienced dog owners, frequently have the misconception that dogs of the same breed would have similar measurements, but this is often untrue. Dogs of the same breed can occasionally vary in size and shape.

For instance, while some dogs are quite slim and have less muscle mass than others, some of them are well-built and have a lot of muscle mass.

Because you can’t assume that two dogs of the same breed will be the same size and weight, you should measure your dog using a tape measure in order to get the exact data.

What You Need To Measure A Dog

tape measure

There are no complicated methods or fancy tools that you need to measure your dog. Depending on the way you choose to do it, all you really need is a tape measure (or a piece of string), a pencil, and a flat surface.

And a dog, of course. You definitely need a dog.

You might also want to have a notebook close at hand in order to jot down your dog’s measurements.

Step-By-Step Guide To Measure Your Dog’s Height

dog measurements

Okay, let us now finally get into the most important part of the article. In the following section, we will explain, in a step-by-step guide, how to measure a dog’s height in a very simple, but precise, way.

There are four important steps that you need to stick by.

1. Gather All The Tools You Will Be Using

This might go without saying, but it’s important to remember. You don’t want to be in the middle of the process and remember that you left your tape measure in another room.

We’ve mentioned the tools and equipment you will need in a previous part of the article, so make sure you have everything nearby before you start the process. Get your tape measure and pencil ready.

2. Position Your Dog Correctly

Most measurements must be taken with your dog standing. If possible, get a friend to hold your dog while it is standing so you can measure without having to worry about it moving.

One of the ways you can do it is to position your dog next to a wall or a doorframe so as to have a solid point of reference.

Once you’ve positioned the dog where you want it, ensure that it is standing completely upright and that all of its paws are firmly on the ground, spaced out evenly. The dog’s legs should be perpendicular to the ground and standing shoulder-width apart.

3. Find The Dog’s Withers

dog photographed from the back

Every dog’s height is measured from the bottom of its paws to the top of its withers. That is considered the official height of the dog.

Find your dog’s withers by using your fingers. It is the highest point of your dog’s shoulder blades, placed right behind the base of the its neck. Find the bony point of the dog’s shoulder by feeling around this region.

If you have, for example, a German Shepherd with a short coat, the withers are simple to find. You might even be able to spot them just by looking at the dog. However, it’s a bit more complicated with long-haired dogs as the coat will obscure its frame significantly.

That’s just one of the differences between short-haired and long-haired German Shepherds.

4. Take The Measurements

After ensuring that your dog is positioned correctly and standing still, you can finally start taking the measurements.

There are generally two ways you can go about doing this. You can either take the tape measure and spread it out from the floor up to the dog’s withers.

Make sure that the tape measure is completely upright and perpendicular to the floor, and that there is no slack.

The other way to measure your dog’s height is to simply take a pencil and make a mark of its withers on the wall or doorframe behind it. Then you can move your dog and use the tape measure to check the distance from the pencil mark down to the floor.

Reasons To Measure A Dog’s Height

woman hugging her french bulldog puppy

Before we get into how, let’s first talk about why you should learn how to measure a dog’s height properly.

In a nutshell, knowing your dog’s exact height is a preventative measure that will save you from a lot of the hassle of buying products that are either too big or too small for it.

A harness, for example, will fit your dog more securely and comfortably if you know your dog’s exact measurements before you buy them. While there are size guides and charts for various dog breeds, measuring your dog yourself will result in a better fit.

Related: Weighted Dog Harness: Top 10 Dog Vests For Your Pet

Dog’s Growth And Development

This is perhaps the most important reason, or at least, the one that can potentially cause the most serious issues if things aren’t right.

Every individual dog has its own pace at which it grows, but there are certain height and weight ranges that a puppy should be within at any given age. Some puppies grow faster than others, but if your dog is way too big or way too small for its age, that could be an indication that something is wrong.

Reference a breed growth chart and check how big your dog should be at its age. Then measure it yourself and see if there are any unusual discrepancies. For example, here is a Tibetan Mastiff growth chart.

It could be an injury, a congenital illness, or a hormonal problem that is causing irregularities in your pup’s growth and if that’s the case you should act quickly and take it to the vet.

Crates, Beds, Kennels, Etc.

dachshund sleeping in dog bed

Things like dog crates, dog beds, and kennels are items that you normally buy once for your dog and it can use them for the rest of its life.

Which is why it’s important that you get their sizes right. Knowing the exact dimensions of your dog will help you buy, for example, a crate that is large enough for your pooch to fit in, without having to bring it into the store with you to try it out.

Related: 10 Best Dog Beds For Labradors: Reviews And Buyer’s Guide

Also, if you plan on making a dog door in your house, you need to know how big it should be.

Collars And Harnesses

Some dogs just don’t like collars and harnesses, and no dog likes when they are too tight. On the other hand, if they are too loose, then they are not serving their purpose.

You want to make sure the collar fits well so your dog is not in pain or discomfort because it will probably wear its dog collar most of the time or for extended periods, such as on a long trek or walk.

Use measurements to make sure a dog harness will fit tightly and comfortably on your dog’s body. It can even help you pick the right style of harness. Styles like a step-in harness, which features buckles and straps you can clip on and off, should fit your dog comfortably but securely.

Dog Clothes

chihuahua weaaring a raincoat

Some people buy clothes for their dogs, whether to protect them from the weather or simply to make them look stylish. If you’re one of those people, then you need to know the exact size of your dog.

When you buy clothes for yourself, you don’t just pick out random items off the racks, you always check that they have it in your size. You should do the same for your pooch.

Measure your dog carefully to ensure that the fabric will properly fit around its neck or torso when purchasing any form of dog clothing, such as dog sweaters and dog coats.

Dog Shows And Competitions

You have to be familiar with your dog’s height from the ground up if you intend to enter it in official dog competitions. There have been occasions where dogs were disqualified from shows because they were not properly measured and did not reach the required standard.

Imagine training hard for months in preparation for a show and then not getting to participate because of a technicality. It would be heartbreaking, so make sure to check in advance if your dog is within the required size range if you wish to enter.

Other Dog Measurements

fat pug sits wrapped in a yellow measuring tape

The focus of this particular article is on how to measure a dog’s height. However, there are also some other dog measurements that you should be aware of.

Aside from its height, you can also measure a dog’s body length, chest girth, and neck girth. Along with the height, those four are considered to be the four essential measurements of a dog that are extremely useful for buying the right dog apparel.

We will now explain how to perform the other three measurements.

Body Length

This is the length of your dog’s neck, measured from the top of its neck to the base of its tail.

Place the fabric tape measure at the base of the tail, where it meets the body, and then stretch it to the base of the neck, or the point at which the dog’s neck joins its back, to determine the length of the dog’s body. Read the measurement and write it down.

Chest Girth

The space directly behind your dog’s front legs or the region from the top of the dog’s shoulder down around the armpits is where the dog’s chest girth is measured.

When your dog is standing, find the area between its shoulder blades that is the widest, and wrap the tape measure around it so that it passes directly behind the dog’s forelegs. Read the measurement after wrapping the tape around the dog’s chest.

Neck Girth

The neck girth is a measurement of your dog’s neck‘s circumference. When measuring the dog’s neck, start by holding the fabric tape measure firmly at the nape of the neck.

Then, wrap the tape around the dog’s neck, going over the top of its chest and back to the nape where it started. Read the measurement and note it.

Tips For Measuring A Dog

brindle corgi sitting by owner's feet

We’ve explained the basic step-by-step process on how to measure a dog’s height that anyone can use, so let us now give you some extra tips that will help the whole thing go a lot smoother.

We also wanted to provide some extra info for those who want to maybe enter their dogs into various shows and competitions, and therefore require a more detailed and precise measuring method.

Keep Your Dog Still

You must have your dog move as little as possible so that you may take an accurate measurement. This is typically simple to execute with well-trained canines, such as show dogs, but it can be a challenge for dogs that are more energetic or less disciplined.

Ask someone to assist you if your dog is unable to remain still on its own. They might be able to distract your dog long enough for you to take an accurate measurementof your dog while keeping it motionless.

Use A Carpenter’s Level

carpenter's level

The simplest approach to measure your dog’s height is to have them stand next to a wall while you lay a carpenter’s level across their withers. Mark the wall’s edge where the level meets it. You can then determine your dog’s height by measuring how high that point is above the ground.

You can buy a carpenter’s level from a supermarket or even a neighborhood shop. For an accurate reading, place it on your dog’s shoulders, but make sure it doesn’t go all the way up to its neck.

You can use a pencil to make a real mark on the wall if you don’t mind leaving a small mark on the surface. If you don’t want to leave a mark on your wall, you may just hold your finger over the area or apply a piece of removable tape there.

Another good idea is to place your dog against a fridge or another metal surface. Then you can just put a magnet to the spot where the dog’s withers are and use that to measure its height.

Use A Measuring Stick

Veterinary equipment suppliers often have measuring instruments with an adjustable arm that protrudes to the side. It is typically called a measuring stick or a yardstick.

These are great for measuring dogs because they let the stick’s bottom rest on the ground while the arm is adjusted to rest at the animal’s withers.

You have to keep the measuring stick level when using it in this way. Fortunately, a level is often built into the height measurement tool, so it makes your job a lot easier.

How To Measure A Dog For A Show

dog show

When measuring dogs for shows, use a measuring wicket. To ensure that they fall within the limits established for their breed, show dogs need to be measured in a very precise way.

They ensure that the wicket’s bottom can touch the ground before placing the rounded end over the dog at the top of its shoulder blades.

Depending on the breed’s height specifications that the official is measuring, the height of the wicket can be changed.

Spend some time teaching your dog to tolerate the wicket before employing this technique. If you’re preparing your dog for a show, you may train it to stand in the correct show stance while also getting it acquainted with the wicket.

Does Dog’s Height Affect Its Personality?

dog sitting and staring into space

It’s impossible to state that a dog’s size will determine its behavior, just like it is with people. But some generalizations are possible.

Large and tall dogs are typically calmer and cuddlier. Some of the giant breed dogs are excellent for training as guard dogs and typically excel in sports.

However, they typically live shorter lives and need more resources, including more food and water, bigger living quarters, and lots of exercise.

Small-breed puppies are typically more animated. Although they may enjoy running about, they don’t need much exercise and will usually tire easily.

The fact that small dogs have a longer average lifespan than large dogs is one reason why pet owners love them.

Smaller puppies need fewer resources and are easier to transport than larger ones. A little pet only needs a little bit of room, food, water, and exercise to meet its needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

cute dog sitting in lap

Even though we have explained quite a lot of things in this article so far, there are still some questions left unanswered.

For that reason, we’ve decided to dedicate this entire section to the most commonly asked questions about dog measurement that we could find on the internet.

So, if you still had some misconceptions or doubts about how to measure a dog’s height in your mind, this will probably clear them up.

Should I Measure My Dog’s Height At The Shoulders?

Yes, the highest point of the shoulder blades behind the head is where you should measure your dog’s height.

This part of the shoulders is commonly referred to as the dog’s withers. Finding the withers of a dog is necessary before you can accurately measure its height. The withers are situated between the shoulder blades and at the base of your dog’s neck.

Once you’ve located the withers, measure the distance along the leg from the floor to the withers using a measuring tape.

How Do I Measure My Dog’s Length?

Measure your pet’s length from the base of the neck to the end of the tail. This is a typical length measurement.

Place one end of the measuring tape at the base of your dog’s neck, where the collar would be worn. Go along the dog’s back and shoulders all the way to the tail’s base for the most accurate length measurement of your dog.

How Do I Measure My Dog’s Chest?

You can place a string or tape measure under your dog’s chest, just behind the armpits, and then circle it to meet at the top of the shoulders. The dog’s chest size can then be determined by measuring this distance.

What Tool Would You Use To Measure The Height Of Your Dog?

You can perform basically any measurement of your dog with just a tape measure, but there are also other tools that you can use.

Some pet stores sell yardsticks or wickets, which are quite handy and useful, particularly if you need really accurate values, for example, if you want to enter your dog into a show and need to be sure that it will qualify.

Can You Predict The Height Of A Dog?

Although it can be difficult to accurately predict how tall your puppy will be as an adult, particularly if it’s a mixed breed, comparing the height of adult dogs of the same breed is a useful approach to make an educated guess.

There are various growth and size charts that you can use as reference points.

How Does AKC Measure Dog Height?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) instructs that the height measurement on a dog is done from the ground to its withers. The withers is the highest point of a dog’s shoulder blades and it is the standard point used for measuring.

What Is The Tallest Dog Breed?

Officially, the world’s tallest dog breed is the Irish Wolfhound. Females measure up to 34.5 inches (97.6 cm) at the withers, with male dogs being even taller, at 37 inches (96.5 cm).

They are a lot taller than even Great Danes, who “only” grow to about 32 inches (81.3 cm), and they make German Shepherds look like teddy bears with their 26 inches (66 cm) of height.

If a fully-grown Irish Wolfhound were to stand upright on its hind legs, it would be around seven feet tall! They should really start considering a career in basketball.

What Is The Shortest Dog Breed?

The Chihuahua is frequently referred to as the world’s shortest dog breed.

Miracle Milly, a Chihuahua, was the smallest dog ever, standing at 3.8 inches tall, and weighing around one pound. That is significantly smaller than most dog breeds who are usually considered small, like Corgis, Pugs, or French Bulldogs. All of these are typically between ten and twelve inches tall.

Even Dachshunds get to be nine inches tall when they are fully grown, which is more than double the size of Miracle Milly.

A better comparison for this little Chihuahua is probably an average rat, whose height is around three inches and the weight is just under 1.5 pounds.

How Long Does It Take To Measure A Dog?

Depending on how calm and cooperative your dog is, it shouldn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes.

It is a really simple process, and even if you do it multiple times to iron out any potential mistakes, it will be done fairly quickly.

Of course, if your dog refuses to keep still, then it might take a bit longer and you should probably find a way to distract or bribe it until you’ve managed to finish the measuring. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to ask a friend or a family member to help you out.

What Are The Advantages Of Measuring A Dog’s Height?

Measuring a dog’s height has many advantages. It helps you buy the right supplies, including doggy doors, dog beds, crates, and kennels, but especially for carriers if you plan to take your dog with you when traveling.

It’s also important to know your dog’s height if you plan to enter it into dog shows and competitions.

Another big advantage of measuring a dog’s height is that you can use it for medical purposes. Knowing this information is especially important with breeds that tend to suffer from conditions such as hip dysplasia.

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to enter your pet into dog shows and competitions, or simply want to what size dog bed you need to buy, it’s important to know how big your dog is.

In this article, we’ve shown you a simple but effective step-by-step guide on how to measure a dog’s height, and the results will be very useful to you for the many reasons we’ve outlined.

If you were wondering how tall your dog is, this method will finally answer that question and give you a much clearer idea about your dog’s dimensions. This way you won’t have to randomly guess every time you want to buy something for it.