Canine Terminology Medical

By July 2, 2012October 18th, 2021General, Medical and Psychological

Information about canine terms and names from Stan Rawlinson Doglistener The Professional dog behaviourist and trainer. Covering London Surrey and Middlesex.

Terminology and Glossary

Action – Movement

Anal Glands – Sacs located on each side of the rectum

Apron – Longer hair on the chest below the neck

Back – Arched over the loins – a level back which then arches over the loins

Level back – height at the withers is the same as height at the loins

Long back – Distance from withers to rump is much longer than height of dog to the withers (e.g. Dachshund)

Roach back – slight arch over the loin

Sloping back – height at withers is greater than height at the loins (e.g. German Shepherd Dog)

Straight back – no dip between withers and loins (e.g. English Toy Terrier)

Wheel back – continuous arch from withers to tail (e.g. Bedlington)

Bay – Cry of a hunting dog, in particular the hound.

Beard – Long hair under jaw and on muzzle

Belton – Coloured hair mingled with white

Bitch – female dog

Blenheim – Particular chestnut and white colour of King Charles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Bi-coloured – Two colours in coat

Blaze – White strip running down the centre of the face

Bowed front – forelegs curving out from elbows then in to wrist (e.g. Pekingese)

Brindle – Fine strips of black hair evenly dispersed on lighter colour on coat

Canines – long, stabbing teeth placed either side of the incisors

Castration – neutering of male dog (removal of testicles)

Cat feet – round, compact feet with well arched and tightly bunched toes. Deeply cushioned, thick skinned pads.

Cobby – a dog which is strong but compact (e.g. Pug)

Couple – two hounds

Crooked front – forelegs inclining inwards and slightly curved (e.g. Basset hound)

Cross breeding – Breeding bitch of one breed with male dog of another breed

Dam – mother dog

Dew Claws – Fifth digits, found on the inside of the leg – often removed from puppies

Dewlap – Loose skin under throat

Dock – amputation of whole or part of the tail

Domino – a reverse facial mask.

Double coat – Weather-resistant outer coat with softer, insulating undercoat.

Ears Bat ears – fully erect, wide, forward facing and broad at base (e.g. Cardigan Corgi)

Blunt tipped ears – Round tipped as opposed to pointed ears (e.g. Chow Chow)

Button ears – Semi erect, folded ears

Candle flame ears – large, wide, erect and pointed ears specific to the English Toy Terrier

Cocked ears – Semi erect, similar to button ears but with just the tip folded

Cropped ears – surgical removal of part of the ear, practiced in the USA but, thankfully, forbidden in the UK

Drop ears – ears which hand down from the junction with the head

Filbert shaped ears – particularly used to describe the unusual shape of the Bedlington Terrier’s ears

Flying ears – ears which stick out from the side of the head

Folded ears – pendant ears which hang in downward folds rather than lying flat (i.e Bloodhound)

Heart shaped ears – (e.g. Pekingese)

High set ears – ears set high to the top of the skull

Hooded ears – small ears with both edges curving forward (e.g. basenji)

Lobe shaped ears – (e.g. cocker spaniel)

Low set ears – ears set low on the skull (e.g. bloodhound)

Prick ears – Stiff, erect ears either with rounded or pointed tips

Rolled ears – long, pendant and folding ears with lower tip and edge curling in

Rose ears – Small, drop ears which fold over and back exposing inside of ear canal

Triangular ears – ears which form an equilateral triangle, pricked or dropped (e.g. Siberian Husky)

Tulip ears – Rose or semi-drop ears which are erect.

V shaped ears – long, triangular ears, usually dropped (e.g. Hungarian Vizla)

Eyes Almond eyes – oval and bluntly pointed at both corners (e.g. Borzoi)

Deep set eyes – (e.g. Chow Chow)

Globular eyes – round and prominant but not bulging in profile

Haw eyes – eyes where the inner of the lower eyelid is visible (e.g. bloodhound)

Obliquely placed eyes – where the outer corners are situated higher than the inner corners (e.g. Bull Terrier)

Oval eyes – (e.g. Dachshund)

Round eyes – circular in shape (e.g. French Bulldog)

Triangular eyes – more angular than oval (e.g. Afghan Hound)

Wall eye – incomplete flecked or spotted melanin markings on a blue iris (often found in merle coated dogs)

Feathering – Long hair on ears and/or body, legs and tail.

Femur – Thigh bone

Flecking – coat ticked with another colour

Floating ribs – unattached thirteenth and last rib

Gait – movement at various speed

Game – Wild animals and birds hunted by dogs

Gestation – period between conception and birth – average 63 days.

Giving tongue – baying of a hound pack

Guard hairs – Longer, thicker hairs which grow through the undercoat.

Gun barrel front – forelegs and pasterns straight, parallel and vertical to the ground

Hare foot – elongated foot

Harlequin – Black on white or blue on white patched or pied coat.

Head – Apple head – skull is rounded and domed (e.g. Chihuahua)

Arched skull – a skull which arches from side to side or sometimes lengthways

Balanced head – the skull and foreface are equal in length (e.g. Gordon Setter)

Brick shaped head – the skull and muzzle are equal in width (e.g. Wire Haired Fox Terrier)

Broad skull – wide between the ears in relation to the length (e.g. Golden Retriever)

Clean head – free from wrinkles and bony or muscled lumps

Cone shaped head – triangular in outline (e.g. dachshund)

Egg shaped head – the head tapers towards the nose (e.g. Bull Terrier)

Flat skull – flat from ear to ear and stop to occiput (e.g. Pointer)

Fox like head – Triangular and elongated head with fine foreface (e.g. Spitz)

Otter head – (e.g. Border Terrier)

Oval skull – gentle, curved contours from ear to ear

Pear shaped head – (e.g. Bedlington Terrier)

Long Head – a long, narrow head which tapers (e.g. Borzoi)

Ram’s head – convex profile (e.g. Bull Terrier and Bedlington Terrier)

Round Head – broad, square or round, short skull

Squared off head – a square muzzle or lip shape (e.g. Pointer)

Wedge shaped head – triangular profile

Heat – Seasonal fertility of bitch

Horseshoe front – straight forelegs wider apart at the chest (e.g. Bedlington Terrier)

Humerus – largest bone in front legs

Incisors – Usually six, top and bottom, front teeth

Lachrymal glands – tear producing glands in inner corner of eye

Landseer – Black & white colouring relating to Newfoundlands

Lion clip – Traditional show clip of poodle and some other breeds.

Mask – Dark shading on face

Merle – Blue-grey colouring often flecked with black.

Molars – Back teeth (two each side in the top jaw and three each side in the bottom jaw)

Mottled – Bi-coloured coat consisting of dark patches on lighter background

Moult – shedding of coat

Muzzle – foreface in front of eyes

Nose – Butterfly nose – broken pigmentation to nose colour

Flared nostrils – wide, open nostrils (Bouvier des Flandres)

Flesh coloured nose – an even but light coloured nose (e.g. Pharaoh Hound)

Liver nose – brown pigment to nose

Pinched nostrils – narrow, closed nostrils (a fault in any breed)

Ram’s Nose – straight and aquiline in profile (e.g. Deerhound)

Roman nose – convex in profile (e.g. Bull Terrier)

Self coloured nose – pigment colour the same as the coat

Winter nose – a normally black nose which in winter takes on a pinkish hue

Occiput – top point or peak of skull

Oval feet – similar to cat feet but with the two centre toes slightly longer.

Pack – number of hounds which run together

Pads – Thick skin on underside of feet

Pedigree – Proven history of dog’s breeding

Pigment – colour of skin

Pips – Spots above the eyes (often referred to as eyebrows) usually found in black & tan breeds.

Plume – long hair hanging from underside of tail

Premolars – teeth between molars and canines

Pure breed – a dog with parentage of same breeds

Ridge – Strip of hair which grows in the opposite direction to the main coat

Roan – Fine mix of white hairs alternating with coloured ones

Runt – Weakest, smallest puppy of litter (often the last born)

Sable – Black-tipped hairs over different colour main coat

Saddle – Coat of different texture or colour over the back

Self coloured – coat of one basic colour

Smooth haired – short, close-lying coat

Socks/stockings – white hair covering feet (socks) or leg (stockings)

Soft mouth – a gentle grip without “teething”

Spayed – neutering of a bitch (uterus & ovaries removed)

Spectacles – lighter, circular colouring around eyes of some breeds

Sternum – Central chest bone

Stop – depression between the eyes

Racy – a dog which is streamlined and elegant in appearance (e.g. Greyhound)

Tail – Bee sting tail – a strong, straight tail which tapers to a point

Bob tail – a dog born without a tail or one which has been docked close to the connection to the body.

Brush tail – long, thick erect hair on tail (e.g. Siberian Husky)

Carrot shaped tail – (e.g. Scottish terrier)

Cocked up tail – raised at right angles (e.g. Cocker spaniel)

Crank tail – the tail is arched out from the root then hangs down and angles out at the end

Curled tail – can be a single or double curl

Docked tail – surgical removal of end of tail (now illegal if not done by a vet)

Flagpole tail – long and carried erect (e.g. Beagle)

Gay tail – carried higher than horizontal

Hook tail – hangs down with an upward curl at the tip

Horizontal tail – (e.g. Bull Terrier)

Kinked tail – a tail with a sharp bend somewhere along it’s length

Low set tail – a tail which begins lower than the topline or from a sloping croup

Otter tail – strong, thick and tapering at tip

Plumed tail – long haired tail carried over the back (e.g. Pomeranian)

Pot hook tail – held over the back in an arc (e.g. Shih Tzu)

Rat tail – sparse or hairless tail (e.g. Irish Water Spaniel)

Ring tail – a long tail, all or part forming a ring

Sabre tail – carried upwards or downwards, it has a gentle curve

Scimitar tail – as the sabre tail but with a more pronounced curve

Screw tail – a short tail with a twist or spiral

Sickle tail – loosely carried over the back

Snap tail – carried over the back with the tip making contact

Squirrel tail – long and sharply angled forward but without making contact with the back

Stumpy tail – short

Sword tail – hanging straight down

Tapering tail – long, shorthaired and tapering at tip

Tufted tail – long or short with a plume or tuft at the end

Whip tail – pointed and carried out stiffly in line with back

Third eyelid – protective membrane at the inner corner of the eye which acts like a windscreen-wiper. Can be seen in sleeping dogs.

Top knot – Long hair on top of head

Tri coloured – Three coat colours together (black, tan & white)

Undercoat – Soft, thick shorter hair concealed by top coat.

Webbed feet – strong webbing between toes often found in breeds which retrieve from water

Wheaten – Fawn to pale yellow colour

Whelps – pups which are unweaned.

Wide front – wider than normal distance of chest between front legs

Wire haired – Crisp, harsh and wiry textured coat.

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