Overweight Australian Shepherd (How to tell & What to do)

If you have ever owned an Australian Shepherd, you know that they are some of the best companions that anyone can have! This is why Aussie owners become concerned when they notice that their dog is overweight.

Many reasons can cause an Australian Shepherd to become overweight or obese but thankfully there are also many ways to avoid this happening!

If you are interested in learning more about why your Aussie may be overweight, and how to help them get back to a healthy weight, keep reading to learn more!

Thank you Lorri H. for use of your photo!

Why Is My Australian Shepherd So Big?

Like all dog breeds, there is a standard height and weight for Australian Shepherds. Some owners wonder why their Aussie looks so big in comparison to other dogs of the same breed.

If you are noticing that your Aussie, in particular, is looking larger than other dogs, it is probably because your dog has reached its full height and weight faster than other dogs of the same breed, they could also be overweight.

Normally Australian Shepherds are not overweight dogs. They tend to have a leaner body type that is long and tall. Their body type can also depend on whether or not they are working dogs or show dogs.

If your Australian Shepherd is overweight, it is usually caused by a lack of exercise, poor diet, or a mixture of both. Seeing as Aussies were originally herding dogs, they are used to experiencing a lot of movement and exercise.

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Aussies must have room to move around and gain the necessary exercise to stay at a healthy weight.

NOTE: No dog should be overweight, this can affect their health, movement, and quality of life. If you are concerned about your dog’s weight, take them to the vet to find the best option for your dog, in particular!

While exercise and diet are the two main reasons for Aussie weight gain and obesity, health conditions can also cause your dog to gain weight. Here are some of the most common issues that can occur if your dog is overweight or obese:

  • Arthritis
  • Muscle tears
  • Breathing problems
  • Tumors
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Skin Diseases

Skin diseases are common for overweight or obese Australian Shepherds because excess fat causes irritation on the skin and itchiness which can lead to bacterial infections.

TIP: If you are worried your dog might be overweight, it is best to visit the vet as soon as possible. The vet will be able to help you determine the next steps to ensure your dog stays happy and healthy!

What Is a Healthy Weight for An Australian Shepherd?

If you are familiar with Australian Shepherds, you know that they are a medium-sized dog breed. As mentioned above, there are specific height and weight ranges that Australian Shepherds should meet.

Chess Dog 300 x 600

All Australian Shepherds grow at different rates; the standard weight for adult female Aussies is between 35–45 lbs. and for adult male Aussies, between 55–70 lbs.

Male Aussies are normally heavier and taller than female Aussies; although, male Aussies shouldn’t weigh more than 70 lbs.

TIP: If you notice your Aussie is above the standard weight limits, they may be overweight, or they may not be a purebred Australian Shepherd.

Australian Shepherds tend to become fully grown around 16 months of age. Although, some Aussies keep growing for a while and don’t reach their full height and weight until two years of age!

It is usually easy to tell if your Aussie still has growing left to do solely because of their paw size. If their paws look very big in comparison to their bodies, they are probably not through growing yet!

Here are the standard weight ranges for both male and female Australian Shepherds and what they should weigh around each month of their lives:





Don’t worry if your Aussie puppy isn’t growing as quickly as other Aussies, they may just be taking more time to reach their full height and weight!

Height plays an important role in how much an Australian Shepherd will weigh. Female Aussies typically have slimmer bodies than the males and range between 18–21 inches in height, male Aussies tend to range between 20–23 inches.

NOTE: If your Aussie is smaller than the standard height and weight ranges for Aussies, they could be a miniature Aussie!

Overweight Mini-Aussie

People are oftentimes confused when their Australian Shepherd doesn’t meet the height and weight ranges of the breed, this is probably because they are a miniature Aussie!

Mini-Aussies typically grow differently than the Australian Shepherd breed. They tend to grow faster and reach their full height and weight much more quickly. The ideal height and weight for these pups also vary.

Here are the standard weights that miniature Aussies should be at during different points of their life:

3 lbs.
19 lbs.
27 lbs.

An adult mini-Aussie should weigh between 30–40 lbs. Although, since these dogs do grow differently, some may be bigger, and some may be smaller!

NOTE: Mini Aussies are very small when they are born, so don’t be alarmed if they don’t gain a lot of weight right from the start, it takes them a little while before they start growing!

It is important that mini-Aussies don’t become overweight. Because their body type is petite and smaller in weight and height (typically around 13–18 inches in height), having extra weight can cause strain on their bodies which can result in health problems.

How To Tell If My Australian Shepherd Is Overweight?

Some Aussie owners struggle to determine if their dog is overweight. It is sometimes hard to know, especially if the dog doesn’t necessarily look overweight. Thankfully, there are many ways to determine if your dog is overweight!

Some of the main ways Aussie owners determine if their dog is overweight is to take them to the vet, take note of their weight over time, take notice of their body shape, and do body checks on the dog!

Visiting the vet is one of the most beneficial things an Aussie owner can do to ensure their dog is at a healthy weight. By keeping a check on your dog, either by taking note of their weight gain or by doing physical body checks, it is usually easy to tell if they have gained weight.

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It is also a good idea to keep track of your Aussie’s weight as they grow older, this can help you determine if they have packed on weight at certain times during their lives.

If you are checking to see if your Aussie is overweight by feeling their body, you should be able to feel the ribs when you rub over them but not see the ribs. If you are seeing an Aussie’s ribs, this would mean that they are underweight.

NOTE: A vet can recommend the most effective ways for your Aussie to lose weight safely while also determining which steps to take first, this is why it is always best to visit them first!

Another interesting way to determine if your Australian Shepherd is overweight is if you have noticed a change in their behavior. You may notice your dog has become lazy or is having trouble breathing, these are both signs that your dog is overweight.

There are some interesting theories that some Australian Shepherd owners have on why their Aussie has gained weight. Some owners noticed that their Aussie began gaining weight after being neutered.

A large number of owners with Aussies who have the merle gene stated that their Aussie was overweight and wondered if the gene could be the cause of the weight gain.

How To Help My Australian Shepherd Lose Weight?

For a lot of owners whose Aussies are overweight, helping their dogs reach a healthy weight is very important. Thankfully, there are many ways to help your dog get back to a weight that is healthy for their body type.

Exercise, diet, and lifestyle change are three of the most important factors in helping your Australian Shepherd lose weight.

A mixture of exercise and a proper diet usually helps overweight or obese dogs drop pounds very quickly. Removing foods that cause weight gain and having your dog eat decent portions of food is crucial.

NOTE: A lot of weight gain in Australian Shepherds is caused by the amount of food they are eating. Thankfully, a lot of dog food brands will mention portion sizes for dog breeds of different sizes and ages on the packaging.

If you are concerned about your Aussie’s weight, it is important that you visit the vet first before trying anything to help them lose weight. A vet can ensure that your dog doesn’t have a health problem that is causing the weight gain and can suggest the best methods for helping them lose weight.

Along with the more intense methods of helping your dog lose weight, there are also simple ways to help your dog shed the pounds.

Simply switching the treats and snacks they are having throughout the day can make a huge difference. Some owners tend to give their Aussies human snacks that are high in calories, this can cause weight gain very quickly.

While there are human snacks that cause Aussies to gain weight, there are some human snacks that instead can help them lose weight! Green beans, carrot slices, and cooked lean meat, are some of the most popular human snacks that dogs are given to help them lose extra weight.

There are many other ways to help your Australian Shepherd lose weight, here are some of the most common ways Aussie owners have achieved this:

  • Break up mealtimes: This not only helps your dog digest better, but if you feed them several small portions throughout the day, they won’t be as hungry and will eat less!
  • Control treat intake: Tossing your dog treats throughout the day is a quick way for them to pack on the pounds, try lessening the number of treats they are receiving throughout the day and see if they lose weight!
  • Consistent exercise: Walking is the most beneficial exercise that an overweight Aussie can achieve. They don’t need to go running or anything extravagant, simply going on a walk, or playing with other dogs at the dog park can get them up and moving which in the end, results in weight loss.
  • Make homemade food: Making homemade dog food for your Aussie can be very beneficial depending on what nutrients and ingredients they need! It is easy to make the food yourself if you know what special diet your dog is needing!
  • Lots of water: It is very important that your overweight Aussie drink lots of water, especially if they are exercising more than usual, or experiencing a diet change.

TIP: Sometimes Aussies will eat more food if they don’t have access to water and are thirsty, make sure they always have access to fresh, clean water!

Best Dog Food for An Overweight Australian Shepherd?

When Aussies become overweight, the first thing many owners think to change is their dog’s food. Thankfully, there are many options when it comes to determining the best food to help your Aussie lose weight!

Dog food that is branded for weight loss is a great option to choose when trying to get your Aussie to lose weight. Any foods that have high protein and low sodium are also great options!

Most dog foods sold for weight loss are usually easy to find and have names such as “Light and Fit,” or “Weight Management” one of the most recommended dog foods for Aussies trying to lose weight is the Blue Buffalo “Fit and Healthy” dry dog food.

TIP: It is best to talk with your vet first before switching your Aussie’s food to ensure that they are being switched to a food that benefits them the most!

Read These Next: (All About Australian Shepherd types, genes, and eating habits!)

Australian Shepherd Hair Care (Complete Grooming Guide!)

Double Merle & Mismarked Aussies (What’s The Difference?)

Why Your Australian Shepherd Eats Weird Stuff (Grass, Poop, Rocks, Sticks)

While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.