Previous studies suggest that owners often wrongly perceive overweight dogs to be in normal condition. The body shape of dogs attending shows might influence owners’ perceptions, with online images of overweight show winners having a negative effect. This was an observational in silico study of canine body condition. 14 obese-prone breeds and 14 matched non-obese-probe breeds were first selected, and one operator then used an online search engine to identify 40 images, per breed, of dogs that had appeared at a major national UK show (Crufts). After images were anonymised and coded, a second observer subjectively assessed body condition, in a single sitting, using a previously validated method. Of 1120 photographs initially identified, 960 were suitable for assessing body condition, with all unsuitable images being from longhaired breeds. None of the dogs (0 per cent) were underweight, 708 (74 per cent) were in ideal condition and 252 (26 per cent) were overweight. Pugs, basset hounds and Labrador retrievers were most likely to be overweight, while standard poodles, Rhodesian ridgebacks, Hungarian vizslas and Dobermanns were least likely to be overweight. Given the proportion of show dogs from some breeds that are overweight, breed standards should be redefined to be consistent with a dog in optimal body condition.
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