How to Measure Your Dog


My Dog Is† Bigger Than Your Dog!

All recognized breeds of dogs have official Standards - a word picture of the ideal dog of that breed.†A Standard includes such things as acceptable colors, structure and size.†† The Great Pyrenees has one of the largest ranges of acceptable heights - from 25 to 29 inches for females, from 27 to 32 inches for males.† These ranges were originally set by measuring the available dogs when the Standard was first written in France and, except for small errors caused by metric translation, have remained the same ever since.

How does one accurately measure a dog?† The height in all cases is taken with the dog standing on a level surface, his front feet directly under him, his hind feet in the accepted show stack position for the breed. If a dog is measured officially at a show, a U-shaped wicket is used.†Both legs of the wicket are placed flat on the ground, and a moveable bar is adjusted to fit firmly on top of the withers.† (See illustration below.)

copyright GPCA Illustrated Standard

The vertical line below the arrow illustrates the line dropped from the point of shoulder to the floor that gives the true height of the dog.†

How to you measure your dog if you donít have a wicket? (Official wickets cost several hundred dollars.)† Well, itís a little like measuring your kids as they grow, but in the case of dogs, it pays to be a bit more accurate.† Youíll need a level surface adjoining a blank wall, a carpenterís level, a pencil and a metal measuring tape or a yardstick.† You also need a helper unless your dog is perfectly trained to hold a stand-stay. Have your helper position the dog so it is in the above position, with the dog's head level.† Place the carpenterís level across the withers, letting it rest on the bone, one end at the wall.† Move the ends of the level until the bubble is exactly in the center of the level indicator, then use your pencil to mark the wall underneath the level where it touches the wall. Move your dog away from the wall and measure the distance from the mark to the floor.† If you have been careful - and honest - you now have an accurate measurement of your dogís height.†Other methods, such as running a tape measure from the shoulder to the floor, or measuring without the use of a level, give rise to some of the bizarre claims for giant Pyrs.

- Catherine de la Cruz

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