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Fat Rottweiler or Big Rottie? Spot The Difference!

I’ve been there with my female Rottweiler.

At some point, there will be somebody who will have something to say about your Rottie’s body.

You’re either confronted with the misconception that every Rottie needs to be buff and bulky and thus yours must be too skinny.

Or you’ll be confronted by well-meaning dog owners who chew your ear off about how your furry pal is too fat.

Thank you very much, I know my dog’s weight.

But do you really?

Your Rottweiler may be overweight if their ribs and spine can’t be felt, there’s no tuck-up from the chest to the abdomen, or your dog experiences difficulty when breathing, grooming, or simply lacks stamina.

You’re unsure if your Rottie fits the bill?

No worries, I’ll go into detail below on how exactly you can tell if your pup carries a little too much fat.

It’s important to make sure our dogs are at a healthy weight and we shouldn’t discard concerns from others if they could help improve our dogs’ lifespan and quality of life.

My Rottweiler Amalia on a hiking trip standing in front of a green field with cows in the background.
Photo by Pawleaks

Doesn’t matter if another dog owner or vet has raised this issue, if you’re second-guessing due to symptoms, or if you’re wondering about the fat Rottweiler next door, I have some helpful tips.

Contrary to most other articles you’ll find out there, I actually own a Rottweiler and have been in your situation.

So let’s dive into why obesity is an issue and how you spot it.

Recommended Reading: Rottweiler Growth Chart (from pup to adult)

Fat Rottweiler: Why Obesity Is An Issue For Your Rottweiler

If your Rottweiler is too fat, it greatly increases their risk for various medical issues such as hip or elbow dysplasia, heart disease, diabetes, or even cancer which might cut your Rottweiler’s lifespan short.

Issues such as urinary bladder stones, less tolerance to heat, and anesthetics complications are also possibilities.

Obesity is a common contributor to many diseases in dogs, regardless of breed.

Owners of overweight Rottweilers often have a skewed perception of what a healthy Rottie should look like, partly because of the established aesthetic of barrel-shaped Rotties. I’ll go into more detail below.

On the left is my Rottweiler Amalia in front of our cabin in Hol, Norway. On the left is my Rottweiler in her orange harness on a snowy road.
Photo by Pawleaks

What can you do?

If your Rottweiler is overweight, consult a vet and introduce a proper exercise routine as well as an appropriate high-quality diet to lose weight, possibly under the supervision of a licensed pet nutritionist.

But also keep in mind that excess weight may be indicative of health problems.

If the cause of your dog’s obesity can’t be pinned down or they experience other symptoms, your vet might order blood tests and other diagnostics.

But how do you determine if your Rottweiler has excess weight in the first place?

Is My Rottweiler Overweight? 8 Signs

Your Rottweiler is overweight if he scores low on the body condition score or if symptoms arise during daily activities such as walking, playing, grooming, and breathing, or if your dog falls outside a regular growth chart.

  1. You can’t feel ribs or spine
  2. No tuck-up from abdomen to chest
  3. Unable to groom
  4. Less active
  5. Refuses walking
  6. Lacks stamina
  7. Experiences difficulties breathing
  8. Falls outside the growth chart

Most of these factors are self-explanatory and I won’t bore you with the details.

You’ve probably noticed behavior changes already if there are any.

Just keep in mind to observe your dog when they try to groom themselves, note their activity level and willingness to walk or play, and monitor if there are any behavioral or physical changes.

Your single best indicator is the body condition chart.

A search for “body condition chart” will turn up plenty of results, I like this chart. It pairs well with the muscle condition chart.

Also, keep in mind that obesity or weight gain can be indicative of underlying medical issues.

In case you have any concerns about your dog’s weight, please consult your vet.

Important: Find a vet who knows their way around large breeds and is familiar with Rotties in particular.

Another great resource is my Rottweiler growth chart to which you can compare your furry friend.

The Problem With Breed Standards & BMI Charts

I wouldn’t advise Rottweiler owners to rely on the breed standard when it comes to weight ranges or exercise recommendations. Similarly, the BMI charts are inaccurate.

The AKC notes females at 80-100 pounds (36-45 kg) and males at 95-135 pounds (43-61 kg) which is better than what others recommend but it’s not the end of the world if your dog falls below.

My female Rottweiler maxes out in height according to the breed standard.

And yet, when she barely scratched 100 pounds, I noticed it wasn’t perfect and less would be better.

If you have a small or medium-sized Rottie, they should not be on the end of the weight range.

Conversely, it can be okay for small individuals to fall below the estimated range.

I’ve seen small females at 75 pounds or males at 85 pounds who passed the body condition score.

Similarly, a dog BMI calculator would put my 4-year-old female at “normal” if she had 110 pounds.

That’s just ridiculous.

Should You Be Able To See a Rottweiler’s Ribs?

No, you should not be able to see a Rottweiler’s ribs but you should be able to feel them without a prominent fat cover.

Seeing the ribs is rather unusual for Rottweilers, considering their build and coat.

If you can see your Rottweiler’s ribs, you might want to contact your vet.

Being severely underweight can result in health issues too and may be accompanied by malnutrition.

Health issues could be the reason why a Rottweiler is underweight too so it’s important to look into it with your vet.

The body type of different breeding lines can vary drastically.

Working-line Rottweilers are usually much leaner which doesn’t mean that the dog is too skinny.

Even if your Rottie is just a pet and loves snuggling on the couch, excess weight can harm their health significantly.

You might want to evaluate whether their body shape is healthy and if there are any symptoms that may indicate your Rottie is carrying a few extra pounds.

What other Rottweiler owners are interested in:

Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

Equipped with 5+ years of expertise as a Rottweiler owner, I partner with licensed veterinarians and trainers to share research-backed and actionable advice for you and your furry friend.