This starving Sloughi won the St Petersburg Sighthound competition in Russia earlier this week. It's clearly emaciated and way, way under weight, even for a sighthound.
How can you tell if a dog is too thin? Use this simple "hand gauge".
When your dog is too fat (and 40% of American dogs are obese!) you can feel a layer of fat over the ribs.
If you want to know what a FAT dog feels like, run your fingers over the underside of your knuckles with your hand open, palm up. Some dogs are actually so fat, their flesh feels like the padded base where the thumb meets the palm!
When your dog is the proper weight, you should be able to easily feel the ribs just under the skin, but there should be some muscling on top. To get an idea of what that feels like, run your fingertips over the top of the knuckles of your flattened hand.
When your dog is too thin, as in the pictured Sloughi, you can feel the ribs, which will be quite pronounced. On a smooth-coated dog, four or more ribs will be visible even when the dog is not breathing heavily. To get an idea of what a too thin dog feels like, run your fingertips over the knuckles of your fist. If you see a ridge like this -- and that's what we see in the Sloughi -- the dog is far too thin.
Most dogs should be run a little on the thin side, and most dogs deemed to be in proper weight are actually too fat. In my experience, veterinarians are part of the problem; they are so used to seeing profoundly obese dogs that they have forgotten what proper weight looks like (if they ever knew) and do not talk with their clients about canine weight when dogs are merely fat and out of tone and not yet morbidly obese.
And, in this instance, we have the rare case of a dog being shown that is far too thin. This is deemed a winner in Russia? Anywhere else, it would get the gate, and its owner would likely be visited by animal control.