Dog Withers – Everything You Need to Know

Dog Withers is the most precise measurement of your dog’s height and the highest point of your dog’s body, excluding the neck and head. Dog withers are the ridge found between your canine’s shoulder blades and at the back of the neck. However, it is essential to note that a dog should be standing to take an accurate measurement of the withers. In addition, it is challenging to measure withers for dogs with long coats. 

What Are Withers on A Dog?

Dog withers is the tallest point on your canine’s body. It is a vital part of calculating your canine’s height. You will get a precise and standard measurement by measuring the withers. 

Steps to Measure Withers


Measure from the chest’s front to the pet’s posterior end.


Measure from the floor to the top of the pet’s back.

Where is the Withers Located?

The withers are a muscle band that sits directly above the shoulder blade and is the tallest point in an animal. Since every dog’s withers is located in the same place, it is considered the best way to find an accurate measurement, as mentioned. The primary function of withers is to help move the neck, spine, and shoulders intricately. 

Why is Withers Important for Dogs?

Measuring your canine by its withers is vital to gain accurate measurement; calculating your dog by his head can be challenging as he may move his head. Also, measuring by the withers is a fixed point that may not change. You require a measuring tape for this:

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Why is Measuring Dog Withers Important?

Measuring dog withers serves many purposes. Some of them are listed below:

Dog Shows

Your canine’s withers is essential for him to qualify for an event. If you are unaware of your dog’s height, you risk getting your dog disqualified at the show not meeting the requirements.  


Your vet may ask about your dog’s withers to resolve his health. If your vet has to treat your dog, which includes medicines and anesthetics based on height and weight, your dog’s size may help him predict your dog’s development. It especially helps when taller dogs develop leg problems, and your vet can implement some preventive measures to help your dog. An interesting fact is even horses are measured by their withers. Some dogs, like Poodles and Boxers, are called “square dogs.” You need to measure their height the same as the body from the withers to their tail, just like a square shape. 


Pet parents use these measurements to ensure they aren’t under or overworking their dogs. They need ample exercise to keep them in good condition. Withers determines the dog’s capability to jump, run and train. In canine sports, a dog has to jump hurdles. According to the American Kennel Club’s regulation, the size for a dog to jump hurdles is as follows:

  1. Dogs 11 inches and under – to jump above 8 inches
  2. Dogs 14 inches and under – to jump above 12 inches
  3. Dogs 18 inches and under – to jump above 16 inches
  4. Dogs 22 inches and under – to jump above 20 inches
  5. Dogs 22 inches and above – the owner can enter their dog at their choice.


Measuring your dog’s height is also important when you buy accessories like dog jackets, a collar or harness, a bed, and a flapper. A well-fitting outfit is vital to keep your dog healthy and happy. While if you want your dog to be in his crate, measuring height before buying a crate is essential as he may find it uncomfortable.

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Diet and Nutrition

Many dog foods are made according to their size. Therefore knowing your dog’s height can help you sort the choices. They have been tailor-made to ensure your dog receives the correct nutrition. This is why measuring your dog from the withers would be vital to choose the right food. 

It is also essential to place a dog feeder at the proper ground level as per your canine’s lower chest range. If the dog feeder is not placed at your canine’s fixed height, it can end in your dog suffering from decreased blood flow and bloating. It can even lead to shock or death. A dog feeder kept at the correct height can ensure the proper growth of your dog.

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Mixed Breed Standards

Due to cross-breeding or hybrid breeding, it can be challenging to categorize your dog’s breed. Recognizing your canine’s height and characteristic features like the coat, color, head, and the tail is crucial. It will be helpful when you compare your dog’s height according to the standard size of its breed to ensure its health and physical conditions.

Adopting Dogs

While you are breeding dogs to sell them or for adoption, measuring withers plays an essential role since the buyers of dogs can plan to buy dogs suitable to their needs.

How To Measure Withers on a Dog? Step by Step Guide

Now we know what withers are and why it is vital to measure your canine. Here is a stepwise guide to follow while measuring withers on your dog to acquire the perfect sizes for your furry friends:

Step 1

First, you will need someone to assist you in holding your furry friend before you start measuring. Let him have your dog gently at his waist to stop him from moving. The floor should be flat, and your dog should be in the standing position while measuring. Make your dog stand beside a wall or door frame for the most accurate measurement. Your dog should not stretch his legs while measuring. Ensure that he has stood squarely with his head in a neutral posture.

Step 2

Gently feel your dog’s withers. Remember, it should be the place where the neck and the shoulders of your dog meet. You must access this part carefully if your dog has a long coat.

Step 3

You can use a carpenter’s level, ruler, or book to gently place it on his withers. Make a mark on the door frame using a pencil showing your dog’s height. After this, you can measure the distance from the floor to the spot on your door frame or wall to get your dog’s size. You can also make your dog stand beside the refrigerator and place a magnet on it. You would not require to mark your walls with pencils.

Step 4

You can also measure by making your dog stand, extending the tape from his paws to his withers, and taking the measurement without marking the door frame or wall.

Step 5

Upon measuring your dog, you can treat your dog with rewards for completing his exercise, and you can praise your dog.

Two measurements are used along with this:

The measurement from the withers to the chest

While you measure this with tape, it will tell you how prominent your dog’s withers are and if your dog is powerful enough to pull a sled or do other work. The size from withers to the chest will help you know your dog’s ability. 

The measurement of the height at withers

Measuring the height of his withers is the official one. This checks for genetic abnormalities or conditions in certain purebred dogs. 

Measuring Your Dog by the Wicket

A wicket is the best tool worth the investment if you want an accurate measurement. It is a U-shaped device that is rested on the ground and resembles a limbo stick. While it can be expensive, it is an authorized device that gives precise measurements and is recognized worldwide in standard dog shows. While some dogs may resist standing under the wicket, others may not cooperate with the owners. Therefore, ensure your canine is comfortable standing under the wicket before measuring. If you can measure your dog with his help, you will get the most accurate measurement.

If you have a wicket, you can measure it this way:

  1. Securely place the wicket on the floor.
  2. Place your dog under the wicket
  3. Measure while your dog is under the wicket.
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Dog withers is the tallest point on your dog’s body when he lowers his head. That spot between your canine’s shoulder blades determines your canine’s height. They give definitive measurements that can be useful for many objectives. Measuring your dog’s height is also crucial to know how much it has grown over a period. It determines if your dog serves the breed standards. Finally, your dog’s height can predict your dog’s behavior. Always praise and reward your dog when you measure him to make him feel comfortable and lessen his anxiety. 

Summing up, it is all that you wanted to know about dog withers. By now, you should have understood how to measure it. Haven’t you measured your dog’s height? So what are you waiting for? You know well what to do to find his withers. Go ahead!

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