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LuckyGuy's avatar

Using your physics and math skills what is your estimate for Clifford the Big Red Dog's weight?

Asked by LuckyGuy (29625 points ) June 15th, 2014

OK, I know he’s not real. So what? This is an estimation problem. Using what you know or can find on the interwebz, calculate an estimate for Clifford’s weight.
Please tell me how you reached your conclusion.

I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I worked out a number already and I want to see if anyone else agrees.

Corollary: If an elephant produces 150 pounds of poop per day, how much does Clifford make?
And where on Birdswell Island do they store it all?

(Can you tell I had some Baileys in my coffee?)

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17 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

OMG! I love Clifford! I’ll say he weighs about 18,000 pounds, because I think maybe he is even bigger than an elephant. I don’t know if dogs generally have a higher muscle to fat ratio than an elephant? That might make a difference.

GloPro's avatar

My math is very rudimentary. Here’s how it works:

Oda, my dog, is supposed to reach 30 inches at the shoulder when he is full grown. That’s 2.5 feet. His father weighs 140 pounds at that height.

According to Norman Bridwell, the author, Clifford grew to be 25 feet tall.

That’s 10 times bigger than Oda. That’s easy math. Clifford weighs 1,400 pounds. He will need to eat approximately 80–100 cups of food a day, and will still poop as many times as Oda, but 10 times more. They better buy a dumpster. And develop cars that run on dog poop and ethane.

ragingloli's avatar

Seeing that he is not leaving ANY footprints, his mass does not correspond to his volume in any way, so it is impossible to say how much he weighs.
But my guess is, not much at all.

LuckyGuy's avatar

This is good stuff: estimates and assumptions.

@JLeslie That’s a reasonable guess. Let’s throw it out there and see if anyone else makes a similar guess.
@GloPro If Clifford is 10x taller than Oda isn’t he also 10x wider? And 10x longer? Just askin’.
@ragingloli That’s a different approach for sure! Why am I not surprised? :-).

dappled_leaves's avatar

You definitely can’t simply multiply by the increase in height. This is an allometry problem. You’d need some measure to start with that scales with mass. Like, say, femur length.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@dappled_leaves How about starting with a similar looking dog species and making the assumption that everything scales up ratiometrically?.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Think @JLeslie hit it right out of the block ! ! NINE TONS.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’ll let this simmer for a while.
I’m hoping the resident mathematicians will chime in.

@Tropical_Willie Imagine the size of the pooper scooper!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Elephants have 80 pounds of poop a day, they weight 5 tons or so. Backhoe is necessary for 150 to 180 pounds a day..

LuckyGuy's avatar

I can’t stand the waiting. Here are my assumptions and my results .
Assumptions:
Clifford is a scaled up Vizsla .
His outside and internal organs are scaled up equally in all directions.
His molecular mix remains constant (mostly water) so his density remains constant.
A Vizsla is 25 inches tall and weighs 50 pounds.
Clifford is 25 ft tall.

Method:
Clifford is 12 times taller than a typical Vizsla. He is also 12 times longer and 12 wider. At constant density his mass is 12 cubed 12×12x 12 = 1728 times the mass of a normal Vizsla..
1728×50 (mass of normal Vizsla) = 86400 pounds, 43 tons

Clifford weighs 43 tons. That’s a big dog.

@GloPro ‘s method was the close except for forgetting to cube the height ratio. That would have resulted in a mass of 70 tons, an equally valid answer.

longgone's avatar

^ From a cynological angle, I have to disagree – apart from the reddish fur, Clifford looks nothing like a Vizsla. Vizslas are slender, long-legged dogs, when they’ve outgrown puppyhood. Clifford seems stockier, closer to a Beagle.

EDIT
Wikipedia says:

[Clifford’s] character was created when an editor at Harper & Row advised Bridwell to write a story to go along with one of his pictures. She picked out his sketch of a baby girl and a horse-sized bloodhound and casually said, “There might be a story in this,” Bridwell remembers.

JLeslie's avatar

43 tons?! I was way off, but I think the closest without going over. What do I win? I’ll split it with @Tropical_Willie.

That is a big dog.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@longgone Ooooo…. cynological:. matters relating to canines or domestic dogs. Thanks you for teaching me a new word!

I suppose someone could run the numbers for a beagle and bloodhound. I agree Vizslas are more slender. That would put Clifford well above the 43 tons I calculated. Let’s call that the lower bound.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@longgone Darn you!!! I couldn’t resist the bait.

I used average values for Beagle and Bloodhound and recalculated.
Beagle: 15 inches tall, 24 pounds => Clifford is 96 tons!
Bloodhound: 25 inches tall, 95 pounds => Clifford is 82 tons!

Anyone want to answer the poop question?

longgone's avatar

Aha! Successfully wasted @LuckyGuy‘s day ;)

LuckyGuy's avatar

You can tell I have something distasteful to do.

GloPro's avatar

You must, if calculating piles of poop is a preferrable endeavor.

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