Measuring a dog’s height can be important when analyzing how much it has grown over time or when you plan to show it at dog shows. Measuring a dog’s height is done from the floor to its withers. The withers are the highest point of his shoulder blades. Thus, measuring from the withers to the ground is the standard way for all dog measuring and allows you to get an accurate measurement every time.
Measuring to the withers of the dog
Position your dog against a wall. When measuring your dog’s height, you will need to stand him up so that you can get an accurate measurement. You should also position him against a wall or door frame. This will give you a fixed point next to the dog so that you can use it during the measurement.
- Make sure the dog is standing up straight. Try to keep his posture as straight as possible, with all four paws on the ground and evenly spaced. His paws should be perpendicular to the floor and his hooves should be in line with his shoulders. The dog’s legs should be perpendicular to the floor.
Feel the dog’s withers.
A dog’s withers are the highest point of his shoulder blades. It is located behind the base of his neck. Feel around that part and find the top bony point of the shoulders. It is easier to find the withers on a dog.
- It is easier to find the withers on a dog that has a short coat. You will even be able to identify the withers by simply looking at its body.
Place a level at the height of your dog’s withers.
Use a long level (for example, a carpenter’s level) and extend it along the dog’s withers so that one end touches the wall. Make sure the leveler is really level and then mark the point where the bottom touches the wall. This way you will have passed the height measurement of the dog to the wall.
- If you don’t mind making a small mark on the wall, you can use a pencil and make an actual mark on the wall. However, if you don’t want to make a mark on the wall, you can simply put your finger on the spot on the wall or you can place a piece of removable tape in that spot.
- You can also measure your dog against the refrigerator and use a magnet to mark the spot.
Measure from the floor to the level mark.
Let your dog back away from the wall. Once the place is clear, you can easily measure from the floor to the mark you have made. This will be the height of your dog, from his withers to the floor.
A ruler or tape measure will be useful for taking this measurement.
Ensuring an accurate measurement
Keep the dog still. In order to get an accurate measurement, you should have your dog move as little as possible. With dogs that are highly trained (e.g., show dogs), this is usually easy to accomplish. With the more active ones, this can be quite a feat.
- If your dog won’t hold still on his own, find someone to help you. The other person may be able to hold him still or distract him long enough for you to get an accurate measurement.
Use a height measuring tool.
Measuring rods are available from veterinary suppliers that have an adjustable arm that sticks out to one side. They are useful for measuring dogs, as they allow the bottom of the bar to sit on the floor at the same time that the arm adjusts to rest on the dog’s withers.
- When using this type of measuring bar, you must remember to keep it level. Fortunately, many of the height measuring tools sold have a leveler attached to them.
Use a canine measuring device for show dogs.
Show dogs should be measured to ensure that they conform to the established parameters for their breed. In order to measure dogs quickly and effectively, dog show officials use a special measuring device, which is a U-shaped measuring stick. They place the rounded end on the dog at the top of the shoulder blades and make sure the bottom of the device touches the floor. If it can touch it, the dog will not be taller than the allowable height.
- The height of the canine measuring device can be adjusted according to the height parameters of the breed the official is measuring.
- Before using this method, take some time to train your dog to become accustomed to the device. If you train your dog for a show, you can get him used to the device at the same time you train him to stand in a proper posture for the event.