Stellar English Bulldog – Canine Ideal Body Condition & Weight

This is Chubbs – Chubbs is being managed by his owner for a life-prolonging weight

The things to note are that he’s thick through the shoulders like all English Bulldogs are. That doesn’t stop him from being lean. I get a pushback from a lot of owners (on a LOT of dogs) that “he’s just thick!” that “English Bulldogs are just thick, he’s not fat!”

Honestly, a LOT of people are so used to dogs being overweight, they decline that their dog is fat. I have an owner who’s dog went from 75 pounds lean to a whopping 120 pounds! The owner LITERALLY declines that the dog is fat. “She’s just ‘big’.” And that dog’s getting surgery on it’s knees to carry that weight. Unfortunately they’re seeing a corporate Vet for the surgery (Blue Pearl GVR doesn’t require referrals anymore) they just do surgery on request, so the surgery is going to happen without so much as weight counseling to preserve the surgery. (It’s going to break down and have to be redone, I’m sure the surgeon hates that lol). The case paperwork and exam didn’t even assign a BCS (body condition score) nor any mention of the dog’s overweight status.

So people tell me that their dog’s just ‘big’ or ‘thick’ – at which point I stop talking about it. Denial is a strong thing, and it’s not my dog. I can just picture Chubbs in my mind as a glowing “ideal” and I satisfy myself that I said my peace. Dogs live a LONG time overweight. It’s just a shorter ‘long’ time and it’s more expensive getting there.

The other thing to note about Chubbs is that he has enormous muscle mass. So before people start saying “He’s WAY too thin, you’re starving him!” you have to assess that his nutrition is 100% awesome or he would not be as bulgy with muscle as he is. Note, none of his ribs are even showing!

I asked Mrs “Chubbs”, the owner if I could take a picture and post it, so folks could see what an ideal body weight looks like. And to be honest, this is a nice, lean dog with excellent body condition for ANY breed: There’s a nice taper from chest to hips, and he has plenty of muscle, and he barely has ribs showing.  (I usually say “three ribs almost showing, you should see the shadow in certain positions and lighting”) and that would be perfect.



Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.