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Five Fat Dog Breeds


Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Obese Beagles resting on the couch.

Obese Beagles resting on the couch.

I can understand it if you are not interested in adopting one of the five skinny dog breeds. Although they look great and run fast, they are certainly not for everyone. If you are thinking about purchasing one of the dogs in this list, however, be careful—you are in for some headaches.

You need to take great care of your dog and not let her develop into one of the pets seen in the pictures here. Fat dogs live shorter lives. It is unfortunate but true. In order to keep them thin you need to take these dogs on extra walks every day, control calories, and even watch the dog treats and other special treats you may feel like giving.

Which Five Dog Breeds Are Most Likely to Become Fat?

  • Beagle
  • Basset Hound
  • Pug
  • Dachshund
  • Labrador Retriever
A thin Beagle is a handsome dog.

A thin Beagle is a handsome dog.


This cat-loving dog breed mellows out early and enjoys hanging around the house, playing with the kids, and being an all-around great companion. They also enjoy eating, of course. Beagles are food motivated their entire lives and are famous for taking control of their household and becoming overweight.

Beagles can stay thin and in really great shape as long as they have a job. Give your dog something to do; if you are not able to give her a real job sniffing drugs at the airport, at least you can strap on a dog backpack and have her carry a load of water bottles during her walk. Keep your Beagle thin and healthy!

An obese Basset Hound reclining.

An obese Basset Hound reclining.

Basset Hound

The Basset may not be high on Dr. Coren´s intelligence rating, but he is a champion at eating. The Basset Hound is also mild, much calmer than most dogs, and is much more likely to lie around on the couch than bark and bite.

This breed is prone to obesity, unfortunately, because of his conformation and a healthy appetite. Unless you are willing to give this dog extensive exercise, he is not the best dogs to choose. If you are willing to take him for long walks, however, you can keep him thin and this is one of the best dog breeds you can choose.

This is what a fit Basset Hound should look like.

This is what a fit Basset Hound should look like.

An overweight Pug is not a happy dog.

An overweight Pug is not a happy dog.


Is a round, little body part of this dog´s cuteness? Most people think so. An overweight Pug, though, is really not cute. The poor dog has enough problems breathing even without weight problems, and excessive fat makes things that more difficult.

Weight control in the Pug is a big problem because you cannot exercise your pet as much as you would a Beagle or a Labrador. You must be especially cautious during the summer when humidity levels are high and your dog will have problems cooling herself. You can walk your dog inside, however, and if you control food consumption your dog should never become obese.

If you already have a Pug or one of the designer breeds like a Puggle, you know that weight control is a common problem. Stay on top of it before it becomes a threat to your dog's health!

An obese Doxie has more health problems.

An obese Doxie has more health problems.


This long-lived breed may keep you company for many years but they do have several problems. One of them is weight gain. Although this cute little dog has short legs, what the Doxie also has is a full-size dog stomach.

Besides the normal health problems that any overweight dog can develop, Doxies also have an added danger—their long backs make them more likely to develop intravertebral disc disease, and being overweight makes the condition that much more likely to happen. When your Dachshund slips a disc it can press on her spinal column and cause paralysis in her rear legs. She can lose the ability to urinate and defecate normally and become paraplegic. Keeping her thin is not a guarantee that this will not happen, but it reduces the chances, and isn't it worth the effort?

A Dachshund in great shape.

A Dachshund in great shape.

A fat Lab mix.

A fat Lab mix.

Labrador Retriever

Labs love to eat. Veterinarians in several countries have determined that this dog breed is more likely to be presented in a state of morbid obesity. According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), Labradors are the breed most likely to be presented already overweight.

The most popular dog breed, for several years, the Labrador is intelligent and has a great personality. So intelligent, in fact, that a Lab is likely to learn how to open your cabinets and look for something to eat. As far as garbage cans go, the Lab was probably responsible for the invention of the term, “dumpster diving.”

If you decide to get a Lab you need to be aware of this health issue from the very first day. Limit his caloric intake and be sure to provide him with plenty of exercise. Exercise does not mean a potty break around the block! Take your dog for long walks, at least thirty minutes, twice a day. Do not expect to just turn him out in the backyard and burn up those excess calories. (Since Labs are intelligent, they probably think like we do. Whenever the urge to exercise comes over your Lab he just lies down until the urge goes away.)

The more time you spend walking or training your dog, the less likely she is to develop problems with excessive weight gain. Buy a book or look up some articles and teach your dog tricks to keep her in great shape!

Several other breeds are known for obesity but of course, any dog will become overweight when not given enough exercise. Keeping your dog in shape only requires two things on your part: put less food down in the bowl and exercise more—you do not need to use a drug like Slentrol or hire your dog a personal trainer. Your dog has not learned how to open the refrigerator, and even a smart dog like a Lab is not able to pizza take out with extra sausage!

Start taking care of this problem now. No dog on this list has to suffer the life of a fat dog.

Selecting a Dog . . .

© 2012 Dr Mark


yuo muther on October 31, 2019:

hi i thought this was a amazing essay

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Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 05, 2012:

It is about like travelling from Pennsylvania to Texas, but most of the way (at least here in Bahia) is still two lane roads! Thanks for sending the link.

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on December 05, 2012:

Sao Paulo - that's exactly it! I understand Brazil is a rather large place, I probably should have figured it wasn't near you. And that's true about the ACD, she barely stops moving long enough to eat.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 05, 2012:

I wonder if that is in São Paulo? Certainly nowhere around here. We provide medical care around cost, but it does not seem affordable to the people making a few thousand a year.

Thanks for reading. At least you wont have to worry about an ACD becoming overweight, unless she is really, really, old!

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on December 05, 2012:

Great hub, very informative. Pinned! Fat dogs make me feel kind of bad, though :(

I saw an interesting thing on the internet recently - a man hugging his dog, who was on a strecher receiving medical care. The caption on the photo said that the man and his dog were in a facility in Brazil where low-income dog owners can receive affordable care for their dogs. I thought it was so wonderful and heartwarming, and thought of good old Dr Mark down in Brazil! I'll find the link and send it to you.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 04, 2012:

Thanks for the shares, eHealer. I appreciate your visit.

Bob, it is never their fault, but isn't it amazing how often we blame the dogs? Sad, isn´t it?

DS, I heard someone joking about Labs--they are hyper until they are about five, and then they just sit around and eat. I don't think there are many fat young ones, or skinny older Labs, for that matter.

Nettlemere, a 12 year old Lab? That is great! You must be doing something really well. I hope he keeps up on short walks with you for many years to come.

Thanks for your visit, Maria Cecilia.

wetnosedogs, I am glad to hear Jenny´s weight control is going well. With those occasional bags of stolen treats, of course! She is part Lab, after all.

Deborah from Las Vegas on December 04, 2012:

DrMark, this hub is just fantastic! They may look cute, but obese animals are so miserable and are prone to illness and short lives. Great hub DrMark, I pinned it, shared it, FB'd it, my friend FB'd it, and I voted it up!! Great job!

Bob Bamberg on December 04, 2012:

It's so sad to see dogs in that condition! I was once a morbidly obese biped and remember vividly the discomfort I felt. Imagine how it must feel to a quadruped!

What got me angry enough to say something to my customers who had morbidly obese dogs is the fact that they don't get that way by themselves; they're proactively allowed to get that way.

I am struck by how many owners of obese dogs refer to them in bemused tones i.e. "he sure is a porker, isn't he?" "He sure hasn't missed many meals!" "All he does is eat."

They seem to be oblivious to their role in the situation, and to the danger the dog is in...or they joke about it as their way of handling the guilt they feel.

And my anecdotal evidence is that very few fit adults have obese pets. If the dog or cat is obese, look at the owners, and usually their children as well. Most often the common ground is head shakingly obvious.

Important hub, DrMark. Voted up, useful and interesting.

DS Duby from United States, Illinois on December 04, 2012:

Great advice DrMark I knew most of these dogs tend to gain weight easily but I had no idea about the lab. I always assumed they were to high strung to get fat and lazy lol. Shows what I know. Voted up, interesting and useful. Thanks for the helpful info.

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on December 04, 2012:

I couldn't disagree with any of your choices - I have seen hefty individuals of all these breeds. Luckily I own one of the few labradors who doesn't seem to put on weight and despite being 12 is up for as much walking as there is on offer.

Maria Cecilia from Philippines on December 03, 2012:

Cute hubs the more I am encourage to walk my dogs as often as possible

wetnosedogs from Alabama on December 03, 2012:

I am happy to say jenny, part lab, my greedy dog, is losing weight. And sure is intelligent. She is on a pretty strict diet and has learned to be satisfied with what I give her. Jenny does have her moments -this weekend she was ready to run off with the treat package. Since she has taught me to think like she does, I caught her in time. She will try, but is willing to give it up. She just has to try. Jenny wouldn't be Jenny if she didn't have me scampering around. LOL.