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How to Measure a Dog’s Height: 3 Key Tips

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

cute fat pug sits wrapped in a yellow measuring tape near a white brick wall

How to Measure a Dog’s Height: 3 Key Tips

Measuring a dog’s height is a bit different than measuring human height, but it’s essential if you want to order your dog custom-fit jackets, harnesses, sweaters, clothing, or other size-sensitive accessories. Tall dogs fare poorly in undersized crates, too, so it’s important for correctly sizing your dog’s private space and giving them lots of room to lounge.

If you’re confused about how you’re actually supposed to go about measuring your dog’s height, look no further. We’ll let you know everything you need, where to measure, and all that good stuff. Read on for the details to get started measuring today!

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Before You Begin

Assuming you’re measuring your dog to get their size for clothes, you have to first ask yourself: will my dog wear clothes? Not all do, and some dogs take lengthy training to acclimate to the idea of wearing clothing. Before you take their size to order clothing, we suggest fashioning your own dog garments out of old clothing first. It doesn’t have to be custom-fit; you just need to get your dog used to the idea of wearing clothes in general.

If your dog’s already familiar with wearing clothes but they’ve grown a lot since last winter, things get easier. You don’t need much to get started measuring your dog. A soft measuring tape/measuring stick and bag of treats should do the trick for quick measuring sessions, but especially hyper dogs might call for an assistant to help you keep them still.

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1. Position Your Dog

It’s a rookie mistake to assume you can just measure your dog’s height anywhere. To get accurate results, you need to find a plain wall where you can make a mark with a pencil or marker. If you’d like to keep a visual record of how your dog grows over time, plan to use this wall to measure how your dog grows over their life. It’s an amazing reminder of how far you and your pup have come, but it’s not mandatory by any means.

First, have your dog stand upright next to your wall on a flat surface. Their chest, neck, and legs should be upright but relaxed. You also want to make sure that their legs are evenly spaced and not bent or crooked in any weird positions. If your dog has a hard time staying still or standing upright, you may wish to have your assistant hold your dog in the correct position. You may also opt to use a leash to accomplish the same effect, but it may be a little trickier.

2. Locate the Withers

A dog’s withers are the highest midway point between their shoulder blades, located just a bit behind the base of their neck. If you’re unsure you have the right spot, feel for a bony protrusion jutting upward behind their neck. It’s harder to find the withers of a shaggy dog, while you may have a slightly easier time with a short-haired breed.

If you have a level handy, you can hold that across their withers to see if they’re even. If not, you may need to make some minor adjustments to the way your dog is standing.  Once you have the withers and your dog is in the right position, mark that spot on the wall with your pencil/marker. If you’d rather avoid marking up your wall, stick a piece of masking tape at the spot and make your mark there—just carefully remove it later once you’ve recorded the height elsewhere.

Now you can give your good boy or girl a well-deserved treat for being so patient during this process and letting them go on their way.

cute brown dog being measured by owner
Image Credit: SvetikovaV, Shutterstock

3. Measure!

Assuming you’ve done everything right so far, the mark on your wall is your dog’s height. Simply take your measuring tape or other tool and measure from the ground up to the mark, then write their height down for later reference. Before writing it down, double-check that your measuring tool is perfectly straight. Deviating even a little can mess up your whole measurement, so it’s key to do it right the first time.

Depending on exactly what you need the height for, you might want to write it down in both inches and centimeters since some international retailers might use metric measurements rather than imperial.

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Dogs don’t grow as tall as humans or stay still nearly as well, which makes measuring them awkward at times. However, with a handy bag of treats and perhaps an assistant at your side, you can make short work of this task in just a few minutes.

Featured Image Credit: Tanya Dol, Shutterstock

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