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Fat Or Fluffy? Researchers Say ¼ Crufts Show Dogs Are Overweight

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While we all know the camera adds 10 pounds, concerns have been raised that recent pix of chunky champions at famed Crufts dog show may tell a different story.

It seems U.K. based Crufts may be earning the moniker of world’s largest dog show for reasons other than its global exposure and expansive number of entrants. Yes, photos have surfaced and they tell a “tail” that suggests the internationally acclaimed and highly discriminating organization may have let their standards slide a little as porkier pooches seem to be taking the podium more frequently.

Related: How To Tell If Your Dog Is Overweight

Researchers raised the red flag in a recent article that was published online in Veterinary Record, after a review of 960 online images of dogs that had placed first through fifth between 2001 and 2013.The dogs showed they were heftier than expected for the breed. In fact, of the 28 breeds reviewed, approximately half are already known to have weight issues, which is why the concerns were raised publicly. Similar to humans, overweight dogs suffer maladies that range from orthopaedic issues, diabetes, respiratory disease and even certain types of cancer so suggesting this was an ideal, made no sense. And because the extra pounds impact the dog’s quality and length of life researchers felt it was time to raise awareness that not all of these champions are an ideal that pet parents of similar breeds should be striving for.

As a matter of fact, Veterinary Record was so concerned that they published the images online; stating that “normalizing” obesity in dogs sends the wrong message at a time when pudgy pups are becoming a serious issue. Apparently one in four dogs strutting his stuff at Crufts was over his ideal weight in spite of the perception he was a model specimen for his breed.

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The images were graded based on the dog’s body condition and using previously validated methods.  Their findings include:

  • One in four show dogs (252; 26%) was overweight.
  • Pugs, Basset Hounds, and Labrador Retrievers were the breeds most likely to be assessed as being overweight.
  • Of the Pug images, 80% were overweight.
  • For Basset Hounds, 68% were overweight.
  • Of the Labrador photos, (63%) were overweight.
  • Three of the breeds that were noted to be overweight in the images are known to be prone to carrying excess weight.
  • Breeds least likely to be overweight include Standard Poodles, Border Terriers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Hungarian Vizlas and Dobermans.

It was reported that the Kennel Club recently introduced changes in judging criteria that would put greater emphasis on characteristics that promote good health in dogs.  So the term “a little more meat on the bone” will remain associated with our little guy’s dinner versus our little guy himself!  With a global audience taking their cue from a dog show considered to be “best in class”, I see the perfect platform to educate owners, breeders and show judges to the dangers of obesity.

[Source: Science Daily]


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