Intelligent Choice of the Right Pet Dog (A Case Study)
Abdomen: The belly or undersurface between the chest and hindquarters.
Abdomen, paunchy: Loose, flabby abdominal walls, and especially a pendulous underline which, in extreme cases, combine to create a potbellied appearance, in contrast to a tucked-up abdomen.
Abdomen, tucked-up: See Abdomen, paunchy; Tuck-up.
Acetabulum: The cup-shaped portion of the sacrum that articulates with the head (proximal portion) of the femur. Anatomically important in evaluating hip dysplasia.
Achilles tendon: The longest and strongest tendon in the dog. Easily discernible in shorthaired breeds, such as the Greyhound and Whippet, the Achilles tendon forms an extension of the rearmost thigh muscle groups and anchors these muscles onto the fibular tarsal bone at the point of the hock.
Achondroplasia: A form of genetic dwarfism specifically characterized by arrested development of the long bones. A defect in most breeds and a requisite in others (e.g., Dachshund, Basset Hound).
Action: A term used to describe component functions of locomotion (e.g., “action of the hocks”); a synonym for gait in some standards.
Agility trials: An organized competition at which dogs negotiate a series of obstacles and jumps in three classes of increasing difficulty. Titles are earned at each level (Novice, Open, and Excellent) by qualifying a predetermined number of times.
Agouti: Used in the description of Huskies. This is the alternating bands of light and dark color along each hair in the coat.
Aitches: Taken from cattle terminology and interpreted to mean pelvic tubers.
Albino: A relatively rare, genetically recessive condition characterized by the inability to synthesize melanin, resulting in white hair and pink eyes.
Almond eyes: An elongated eye shape describing the tissue surrounding the eye itself. Illustration p. 807.
Amble: A relaxed, easy gait in which the legs on either side move almost, but not quite, as a pair. Often seen as the transition movement between the walk and other gaits.
American-bred class: A regular class for all dogs (except champions) six months of age whelped in the United States as a result of a mating that took place within the United States.
Anal sacs: Two sacs, located on each side of the rectum, just inside the rim of the anal sphincter.
Anatomy, muscular: The examination of the special structure of muscles, characterized by their power to contract when stimulated. There are three types of muscles: striated or skeletal muscles, smooth or visceral muscles, and specialized cardiac muscles.
Anatomy, skeletal: The examination of the skeleton, which is divided into two sections: the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton consists of mainly flat and irregular bones in the skull, spine, ribs, and pelvis; their purpose is to protect the vital organs. The appendicular skeleton consists of the fore and hind limbs; these bones provide support for the body and are used for locomotion.
Anatomy, topographical: The examination of the outward appearance and identification of the various regions of the dog’s anatomy.
Angulation: The angles formed by the appendicular skeleton, including the forequarters [shoulders (scapula), upper arm (humerus), forearm (radius, ulna), wrist (carpus), pastern (metacarpus), toes (phalanges)], and hindquarters [hip, pelvis, thigh (femur), second thigh (tibia, fibula), hock (tarsus), rear pastern (metatarus), and toes (phalanges)].
Ankle: See Hock.
Ankylosis: The abnormal immobility and fusion of a joint.
Anterior: The front assembly of the body.
Apex: The occiput or the rear of the skull.
Appearance, hard-bitten: Giving a rugged and tough outward impression, such as that imparted by the Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Terrier.
Appearance, Thoroughbred: Resembling a high-quality, aristocratic-looking purebred animal in all respects.
Apple head: A domed topskull, rounded in all directions.
Apron: The longer hair below the neck on the chest; frill.
Aquiline: Curving like an eagle’s beak.
Arched loin: Muscular development over the spine, not a roach.
Arched skull: Arches either from side to side or lengthwise from stop to occiput, as opposed to a domed skull.
Arched toes: Strong, well knuckled-up feet; cat feet.
Arm: The anatomical region between the shoulder and the elbow, including the humerus and associated tissues. Sometimes called the upper arm.
Articulation: The junction between two or more bones, typically held together by ligaments.
Artificial insemination: The introduction of semen into the female reproductive tract by artificial means.
Axis: The second vertebra of the neck. Also the center of rotation.
Babbler: A hound that gives tongue when not on the trail.
Back: The dorsal surface (topline) of the dog, usually extending from the withers.
Back dropping through withers: A topline similar to a hollow back but affecting only the front section immediately behind the withers.
Back to back: (1) Conformation/Obedience: Two events held by the same club on consecutive days with AKC approval. (2) Performance: Two events held on consecutive days at the same location, either by the same club or by two clubs.
Backbone: The spinal column.
Backline: See Topline.
Badger: A mixture of white, gray, brown, and black hairs.
Bad mouth: Crooked or misaligned teeth; bite overshot or undershot to a greater degree than the standard allows.
Bait: The food or object that an exhibitor uses to get a dog’s attention or to have it look alert in the ring. The term bait or baiting can also be used to describe the action of getting the dog’s attention using food or an object.
Balance: A condition wherein all proportions of a dog are in static and dynamic harmony.
Banded hairs: A type of hair evident only in the hard, wiry, outer coat. The top coat should be plucked, because clipping will remove the end color bands on each hair, resulting in a solid undesired mixture.
Bandy legs: Having a bend of leg outward. Illustration p. 826.
Bar: The arm or humerus.
Bar on face: See Muzzle band.
Bare pastern: A pastern devoid of long hair, as in the Afghan Hound.
Barrel: A rib (thoracic) region that is circular in cross section.
Barrel hocks: Hocks that turn out, causing the feet to toe in. Also called spread hocks.
Barrelled vent: A protruding anal sphincter.
Basewide: A wide footfall, caused by paddling movement, with the result that the body rocks from side to side. See Paddling.
Bat ear: An erect ear, rather broad at the base, rounded in outline at the top and with the orifice directed to the front (e.g., French Bulldog).
Bay: The prolonged bark or voice of the hunting hound.
Bear ear: A very rounded-tipped ear.
Bearlike coat: A double coat consisting of a harsh outer jacket coupled with a soft, dense, woolly undercoat.
Beard: Thick, long hair growth on the underjaw.
Beauty spot: A distinct spot, usually round, of colored hair, surrounded by the white blaze, on the topskull between the ears (e.g., Blenheim Spaniel, Boston Terrier). See Lozenge.
Beaver: See Badger.
Bee-sting tail: A tail relatively short, strong, straight, and tapering to a point.
Beefy: An overheavy development of the hindquarters.
Belge: A coat color of black and reddish brown mixture (e.g., Brussels Griffon).
Belly: The ventral (under) surface of the abdomen.
Bell ear: A big, wide ear.
Belton: A color pattern in English Setters (named after a village in Northumberland) characterized by either light or dark ticking or roaning, and including blue belton (black and white), tricolor (blue belton with tan patches), orange belton (orange and white), lemon belton (lemon and white), and liver belton (liver and white).
Benched show: A dog show at which the dogs are kept on assigned benches when not being shown in competition, thus facilitating the viewing and discussion of the breeds by attendees, exhibitors, and breeders.
Best in Show: The dog judged best of all breeds at a dog show.
Best of Breed: The dog selected by the judge as the best representative of a particular breed on that day.
Best of Opposite Sex: The best dog that is of the opposite sex to the Best of Breed winner.
Best of Variety: At an all-breed show, the award that is given in lieu of Best of Breed for those breeds divided by varieties. At specialty shows, the Best of Variety winners are judged in the Best of Breed competition. See Variety.
Best of Winners: The dog judged as best between the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch.
Bevy: A flock of birds.
Bi-color: Composed of two colors.
Biddable: Easily taught or controlled.
Bilateral cryptorchid: See Cryptorchid.
Bird dog: A sporting dog bred and trained to hunt game birds.
Bird of prey eyes: Light, yellowish eyes, usually harsh in outlook.
Biscuit: Grayish yellow color.
Bitch: A female canine.
Bite: The relative position of the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are closed, including scissors, level, undershot, or overshot. Illustration p. 807.
Blade-bone, blade: The shoulder blade or scapula.
Blaireau: See Badger.
Blanket: The color of the coat on the back and upper part of the sides, between the neck and the tail.
Blaze: A white stripe running up the center of the face, usually between the eyes.
Blenheim: Used to define the color markings of a variety of the English Toy Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (red and white).
Blinker: A dog that points a bird and then leaves it, or upon finding a bird avoids making a definite point.
Blocky: Square or cubelike shape of the head or body.
Blooded: A dog of good breeding; pedigreed.
Bloom: Prime condition. Often used to describe a dog’s coat.
Blue: A genetic dilution of black coat color, due to the recessive dilution (dd) color locus, i.e., Bbdd or bbdd dogs will be blue.
Blue merle: A color pattern involving black blotches or streaks on a blue-gray background. See Merle.
Bluies: Colored portions of the coat with a distinct bluish or smoky cast. This coloring is associated with extremely light or blue eyes and liver or gray eye rims, nose, and lip pigment.
Blunt muzzle: The opposite of a pointed muzzle, cut off square, forming a right angle with the top of the muzzle.
Blunt-tip ears: A rounded-tip ear shape.
Blunt triangle head: A V-shaped head with square or rounded ends.
Bobtail: A naturally tailless dog or a dog with a tail docked very short. Often used as a nickname for the Old English Sheepdog.
Bodied up: Mature, well-developed.
Body: The anatomical section between the fore and hindquarters.
Body, deep through the heart: Good depth of chest.
Body length: Distance from the prosternum (anterior portion of the breastbone) to the posterior portion of the pelvic girdle, i.e., the ischial tuberosities.
Body spots: Patches of color, usually black, on the skin but not on the coat of dogs.
Bone: A type of connective tissue that forms the canine skeleton. Informally used to suggest the substance of limb bones in proportion to the overall size of a dog.
Bone, good composition: Clean, healthy, sound, and strong bone.
Bone shape: Reference to the shape of bone in cross section as taken through the forearm. The three types are flat, round, and oval.
Bone, sound: Properly structured bone of correct chemical composition, shape, strength, and density.
Bossy: The overdevelopment of the shoulder muscles.
Bounce: Movement characterized by a greater degree of buoyancy, elasticity, and springiness than usual.
Bowed legs: See Barrel hocks (rear); Fiddle front (front).
Brace: (1) Two of the same breed presented together as a pair. (2) To run dogs together in certain types of field events.
Bracelets: The name given to the rings of hair on the hind legs of the Poodle.
Brachycephalic skull: A broad skull base and short length, as in the Pug and Pekingese.
Break: The term used to describe changing coat color from puppies to adult stages. Also used to indicate the opposite of a continuous, smooth line (e.g., “a break in the topline”).
Break in ear: The line of crease of the fold in a semidrop ear.
Breastbone: Also Sternum; a row of eight bones that form the floor of the chest.
Bred-by-exhibitor class: A regular class for dogs that are:
Whelped in the U.S. or, if individually registered in the AKC Stud Book, whelped out of the U.S.
Six months of age and over
Owned or co-owned by one of its breeders (or the spouse of the breeder)
Handled by one of its breeders or one of the breeder’s immediate family (husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or sister)
The breeder who handles the dog does not necessarily have to be the one who owns it.
Breech: The area designated by the inner thigh muscle groups around the buttocks.
Breeching: A fringe of longish hair at the posterior borders of the thigh regions.
Breed: A domestic race of dogs (selected and maintained by humans) with a common gene pool and a characterized appearance (phenotype) and function.
Breed standards: The set of breed descriptions originally laid down by the various parent breed clubs and accepted officially by international bodies.
Breeder: A person who breeds dogs. Under AKC rules, the breeder of a dog is the owner (or, if the dam was leased, the lessee) of the dam of the dog when the dam was bred.
Breeding particulars: Sire, dam, date of birth, sex, color, etc.
Brindle: A marking pattern used to describe many breeds, usually in conjunction with another color. Layering of black hairs in regions of lighter color (usually, fawn, brown, or gray) producing a tiger-striped pattern. Brindle is often used to describe Great Danes, Bulldogs, and Boxers. In Boxers, Reverse Brindle may occur, i.e., there is such a heavy concentration of black striping that the fawn background color barely, although clearly, shows through (appears black with fawn stripes). Color definitions may vary by breed.
Brisket: Usually refers to the sternum, but in some standards it refers to the entire thorax.
Brisket, deep in brisket: A reference to a chest well developed in depth.
Bristle coat: A coat that is short, bristly, wirehaired, and stiff.
Broken coat: A wiry, harsh, crisp coat, consisting of a harsh, wiry outer jacket plus a dense, softer undercoat.
Broken color: Self-color broken by white and another color.
Broken down pastern: See Down in pastern.
Broken ear: A deformed, misshapen ear caused by an injury or abnormal construction of the ear cartilage.
Broken-haired: A rough wire coat.
Broken-up face: A receding nose, together with a deep stop, wrinkle, and undershot jaw (e.g., Bulldog, Pekingese).
Bronzing: Tan coloration intermingled with black hairs.
Brood bitch: A female used for breeding.
Brows: The ridges formed above the eyes by frontal bone contours.
Brush: A bushy tail; a tail heavy with hair.
Brush coat: A natural, short coat, less than an inch, straight and off-standing, but lying flatter on the limbs.
Brushing: A gaiting fault occurring when parallel pasterns are so close that the legs brush in passing.
Buff: A color ranging from Irish Setter red to a light cream.
Bulging eyes: See Protruding eyes.
Bullbaiting: An ancient sport in which the dog baited or tormented the bull.
Bull neck: A heavy neck, well muscled.
Burr: The inside of the ear; the irregular formation visible within the cup.
Butterfly nose: A partially unpigmented nose; dark, spotted with flesh color.
Buttocks: The rump or hips.
Button ear: The ear flap folding forward, the tip lying close to the skull so as to cover the orifice.
Bye: At field trials, an odd dog remaining after the dogs entered in a stake have been paired in braces by a random drawing.
Cabriole front: See Fiddle front.
Cafe au lait: Usually used to describe Poodles, this color is typical of the French beverage of the same name, which is about equal parts of coffee and milk. It may be described as rich, well-saturated light brown.
Calcaneus: The uppermost extension of the large fibular tarsal bone in the hock joint. See Achilles tendon.
Camel back: An arched back.
Canid: A family (Canidae) of carnivorous animals, including dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and jackals.
Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF): CERF maintains a registry of genetic eye diseases in dogs by cooperating with canine eye specialists, who certify that dogs are free of specific eye problems for one year from the date of the examination.
Canines: The two upper and two lower large, conical, pointed teeth behind the incisors and before the premolars. Illustration p. 824.
Canker: An infection of the external ear canal.
Cannon bone: From horse terminology, synonymous with the pastern or metacarpus.
Canter: A gait with three beats to each stride, two legs moving separately and two as a diagonal pair. Slower than the gallop and not as tiring.
Canthus: The usually well-developed third eyelid located at the inner angle of the palpebral fissure.
Cap: A darkly shaded color pattern on the skull of some breeds.
Cape: Profuse hair enveloping the shoulder region.
Carnassial teeth: The last or fourth premolars in the lower jaw, as well as the first molar in the upper jaw.
Carpals, carpal joint: The bones of the wrist.
Carp back: Another kind of roach back, similar to a camel back but with little or no initial drop behind the shoulders, and the arch tends to be not as high.
Carpus: See Carpals.
Carrot tail: A short, strong tail, thick at the root and tapering to the tip, carried straight up.
Cat foot: A round, compact foot, with well-arched toes, tightly bunched or close-cupped. Illustration p. 820.
Caudal (coccygeal) vertebrae: The only regionally variable number of vertebrae among breeds in the axial skeleton, lying posterior to the sacrum and defining the tail region.
Cervical vertebrae: The seven vertebrae of the neck, articulating anteriorly with the cranium and the thoracic vertebrae.
Champion (Ch): A prefix used with the name of a dog that has been recorded a Champion by the AKC as a result of defeating a specified number of dogs in specified competition at a series of AKC-licensed or member dog shows.
Character: The expression, individuality, and general appearance and deportment as considered typical of a breed.
Cheeks: The fleshy regions at the sides of the head.
Cheek bumps: Bulging or prominent cheek areas caused by incorrect bone formation and/or excessive muscle development.
Cheeky: Cheeks prominently rounded, thick, and protruding.
Cherry nose: See Dudley nose.
Chest: The part of the body or trunk that is enclosed by the ribs; the thoracic cavity.
Chestnut: Usually used to describe Irish Setters and Pharaoh Hounds, the color may be described as deep, heavily saturated, reddish brown (like the nut of the same name).
Chevron pattern: V-shaped markings.
Chewing muscles: The condyloid process at the top of each ramus that articulates with the temporal bones at the side of the skull to form the temporomandibular joint.
Chin: The lower portion of the muzzle.
China eye: A clear, flecked or spotted blue, light blue, or whitish eye.
Chippendale front: Named after the Chippendale chair. Forelegs out at elbows, pasterns close and feet turned out. See Fiddle front. Illustration p. 821.
Chiseled: Clean-cut in head, without bumpy or bulging outlines, particularly beneath the eyes.
Choke collar: A leather or chain collar fitted to the dog’s neck in such a manner that the degree of tension exerted tightens or loosens it; slip collar.
Chops: Jowls or pendulous flesh of the lips and jaw.
Choppy: See Mincing gait.
Chorea: A nervous jerking caused by involuntary contractions of the muscles (may be caused by distemper or hepatitis).
Clean: Smooth, without excessive muscular or fleshy development.
Clearing: See Break.
Cleft palate: When the two bony halves of the hard palate fail to unite completely along the centerline, leaving a gap between them.
Clip: The method of trimming the coat in some breeds, notably the Poodle.
Clipped keel: Term used to describe an abnormally short sternum.
Clipped tail: See Dock.
Clipping: When pertaining to gait, the back foot striking the front foot.
Cloddy: Low, thickset, comparatively heavy.
Close-coupled: Comparatively short from last rib to the commencement of the hindquarters; occasionally used to characterize a comparative shortness from withers to hip bones.
Close-knit foot: See Cat foot.
Close-lying coat: A short, smooth-lying coat.
Closed skull: The complete formation of the bones in the center of the skull.
Closed toe: See Cat foot.
Clown face: Black/white and tan/white markings symmetrically divided by a longitudinal line down the center of the skull and foreface.
Coach dog: A dog that accompanies carriages as an ornamental appendage (e.g., Dalmatian).
Coarse: Lacking refinement.
Coarse skull: Excessive skull width, especially around the cheek area.
Coat: The dog’s hair covering. Most breeds possess an outer coat and an undercoat.
Cobby: Short-bodied, compact.
Coccygeal bone: The tailbones.
Cocked ears: Semidrop, semiprick erect ears on which only the tip is bent forward.
Cocked-up tail: A tail raised at right angles to the backline, in terrier fashion, instead of being carried level with the back.
Coconut matting: A texture like the outside of a coconut; also the texture of the harsh, durable doormats used to scrape mud off shoes.
Collar: The markings around the neck, usually white; also a leather strap or chain for restraining or leading the dog, when the leash is attached.
Collarette: The slight ruff formation around the neck.
Commisures: The lip corners.
Communal pad: The metacarpal pad.
Compact: A term used to describe the firmly joined union of various body parts. Also used to describe a short- to medium-length coat, very close-lying, with a dense undercoat and giving a smooth outline.
Compact toes: See Cat foot.
Concave neck: See Ewe neck.
Condition: Health as shown by the coat, state of flesh, general appearance, and deportment.
Cone-shaped head: A triangular outline when viewed both from above and from the side.
Conformation: The form and structure, make, shape, and arrangement of the parts of the dog, as they conform to the breed standard.
Congenital: Present at birth; may have genetic or environmental causes.
Conjunctiva: The mucous membrane lining of both upper and lower eyelids.
Corded coat: A coat that hangs in even strands of varying length that is allowed and encouraged to grow into ringlets or dreadlocks.
Corkscrew tail: A spiral, curled tail.
Corky: Active, lively, alert.
Corns: The hard, horny, and callous material that forms on the soles of the foot.
Couple: Two hounds.
Coupling: The part of the body between the ribs and pelvis/hindquarters; the loin.
Coursing: The sport of chasing prey, with sighthounds, used to describe racing while chasing a target. See Lure coursing.
Covering ground: The distance traveled by a dog with each stride as it gaits.
Cow-hocked: Hocks turning in, accompanied by toeing out of the rear feet. Illustration p. 826.
Cowlick: A tuft, whirl, or twist of hair sticking up and facing in a direction different from that of the surrounding coat.
Crabbing: When a dog moves with his body at an angle to the line of travel. Also referred to as sidewinding.
Cramped teeth: An irregular, crowded alignment of teeth.
Cranium: The skull.
Crank tail: A tail carried down and resembling a crank in shape.
Creaseless: The absence of wrinkles and skin folds about the head.
Crest: The upper, arched portion of the neck.
Crested neck: A well-arched, well-developed neck.
Crinkling coat: A slightly wavy, harsh coat.
Crisp coat: A coat that is close and stiff.
Crook: Used to describe the forequarters assembly of some short-legged breeds with inward inclination of pasterns.
Crook tail: A malformed tail or crank tail.
Cropping: The cutting or trimming of ear leather to permit it to stand erect.
Crossbreed: A dog whose sire and dam are representatives of two different breeds.
Crossing over: An unsound gaiting action that starts with twisting elbows and ends with crisscrossing and toeing out. Also called knitting and purling, or weaving.
Crouch: An unnatural gathering up of the hindquarters due to excessive hind-limb angulation.
Croup: The region of the pelvic girdle, formed by the sacrum and surrounding tissue.
Crown: The dorsal (top) part of the head; topskull.
Cryptorchid: The adult male whose testicles are abnormally retained in the abdominal cavity. Bilateral cryptorchidism involves both sides—that is, neither testicle has descended into the scrotum. Unilateral cryptorchidism involves one side only—that is, one testicle is retained or hidden, and one descended.
Cuffs: The shorthaired pastern regions.
Culotte: The longer hair on the back of the upper thighs.
Cup handle tail: See Pot-hook tail.
Cur: A mongrel.
Curled tail: A tail that comes up and over the back. It can be a tight curl over the back only (Lhasa Apso or Norwegian Elkhound), a single curl falling over the loin with the tip toward the thigh (Finnish Spitz), or curled to one side (Samoyed). Illustration p. 847.
Curly coat: A coat in a mass of thick, tight curls.
Curtain: Portion of a dog’s forelock hanging straight down over the eyes and at least partially covering them.
Cushion: Fullness or thickness of the upper lips, as in the Pekingese.
Cut-up: See Tuck-up.
Cynology: The study of canines.
Dam: The female parent of a dog.
Dapple: A mottled or variegated coat-color pattern. Dachshunds are dapple and Collies are merle, both determined by the dominant m gene or the m series of multiple alleles.
Dead ear: A sluggish, immobile ear poorly responsive to external stimuli, houndlike in appearance.
Deadgrass: Tan or dull straw color.
Deep eyes: See Sunken eyes.
Dentition: Forty-two adult teeth, including incisors (I), canines (C), premolars (P), and molars (M). Formula for dogs is: upper jaw—6I/2C/8P/4M; lower jaw—6I/2C/8P/6M.
Depth of chest: An indication of the volume of space for heart and lungs, commonly referenced to the elbow, i.e., above, at the level of, or below.
Derby: A field trial competition for young, novice sporting dogs, usually between one and two years of age.
Dewclaw: An extra claw or functionless (vestigial) digit on the inside of the leg; a rudimentary fifth toe.
Dewlap: Loose, pendulous skin under the throat and neck.
Diagonals: The right front and left rear legs constitute the right diagonal; the left front and right rear constitute the left diagonal. In the trot, the diagonals move together.
Diaphragm: A muscular sheet that separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities.
Digging terrier legs: Correct shoulders, with short, sturdy, and well-boned legs, able to dig into the earth.
Digit: A synonym for toe.
Dippy back: See Swayback.
Dish-faced: A slight concavity of foreface when viewed in profile.
Dishing: A weaving gait.
Disqualification: A decision made by a judge or benched show committee following a determination that a dog has a condition that makes it ineligible for any further competition under the dog show rules or under the standard for its breed; an undesirable feature of a dog that results in such action.
Distal bone: A bone far away from the main structure of the dog, as in the end of the tail.
Distemper teeth: Teeth discolored or pitted as a result of distemper or other disease or deficiency.
Distended pastern: Knobby appearance when viewed from the front of the pastern joint.
Distichiasis: An extra row of eyelashes on the inner lid.
Divergent hocks: Hocks that turn out; barrel hocks.
Dock: To shorten the tail by cutting.
Dog: A male dog; also collectively to designate both male and female.
Dog show: A competitive exhibition for dogs at which the dogs are judged in accordance with an established standard of perfection for each breed.
Dog show, conformation (licensed): An event held under AKC rules at which championship points are awarded. May be for all breeds or groups or for a single breed (specialty show).
Dolichocephalic: A narrow skull base, coupled with great length, as in the Borzoi and Collie.
Domed: Evenly rounded in topskull; convex instead of flat.
Domino: A reverse facial mask pattern on some breeds.
Dorsal: The portion of the dog carried farthest from the substratum during normal locomotion, i.e., away from the ground.
Double coat: An outer coat resistant to weather and protective against brush and brambles, together with an inner coat of softer hair for warmth and waterproofing.
Double-curl tail: A tail curling over the back in a whirlpool shape. Illustration p.847.
Double-jointed: Having joints capable of movement outside the normal parameters.
Double-tracking: Usually designates a wider pattern of movement. Having two distinct lines of travel: one for limbs on the left side, one for limbs on the right side.
Down-faced: Describes a muzzle inclining downward from the skull to the tip of the nose. Planes on top of the skull and planes on top of the muzzle are not parallel.
Down in pastern: A weak or faulty pastern (metacarpus) set at an incorrect angle. Illustration p. 820, 821.
Draft: The act of weight pulling; hauling.
Drag: A trail prepared by dragging a bag along the ground, usually impregnated with animal scent.
Drawing: The selection by lot of dogs to be run in pairs in a field trial stake.
Drive: A solid thrusting of the hindquarters, denoting sound locomotion.
Droop: Unusually excessive slope of the croup.
Drop ear: One of more than thirty terms used to characterize ears, wherein the leather is folded at least to some degree, contrasting with erect or prick ears.
Dropped teeth: A dental problem that usually affects the lower incisors, where they are set deeper into the gums.
Dropper: A bird dog cross.
Drooping coat: Coat that lacks body and undercoat.
Drooping hindquarters: Excessive slope of the croup region.
Dry head: See Dry neck.
Dry neck: The skin taut, neither loose nor wrinkled.
Dual champion: A dog that has won both a conformation show and a field trial championship.
Dudley nose: Flesh-colored nose.
Ear: The auditory organ consisting of three regions: inner ear, middle ear, and the pinna (or leather), which is supported by cartilage and which affects the expression of all breeds. Illustration p. 824.
Ear carriage: The combined visual effects of ear placement and position on the skull, coupled with usage.
Ear flap: Ear leather.
Ears flare obliquely: Ears that spread outward at the base.
Ear leather: The flap of the ear.
Ears, set on: The junction of the earlobe base and the skull, usually related to eye level and/or skull width. Can be set on high (ears joining the skull above the eye rim) or low set (ears joining below the eye level).
East-west feet: An incorrect positioning that causes the feet to turn outward.
Eastern expression: An Oriental expression caused by the combined effects of head structure, eye shape (slanted) and placement.
Ectropion: An inherited condition in which the lower eyelid rolls away from the eyeball. The opposite of entropion.
Elastic pads: Thick toe pads furnished with adequate amounts of cushioned elastic tissue to provide appropriate cushioning during movement.
Elbow: The joint in the front leg where the upper arm (humerus) meets the forearm (ulna).
Elbows out: Turning out or off from the body; not held close.
Elliptical eyes: Oblong eyes.
Entire: A dog whose reproductive system is complete and unaltered.
Entropion: A complex genetic condition that results in the turning in of the upper and lower eyelid, potentially resulting in corneal ulceration.
Estrus: Season; heat; part of the reproductive cycle during which ovulation occurs.
Even bite: The meeting of the upper and lower incisors with no overlap; level bite.
Event: A structured activity testing the conformation, training, or instinctive abilities of purebred dogs.
Ewe neck: A neck in which the topline is concave rather than convex.
Expression: The general appearance of all features of the head.
Eyeteeth: The upper canines.
Eyes open: Clear and distinct eyes.
Face: The front part of the head; the combination of nose, eyes, mouth, cheeks, and lips.
Fall: Hair overhanging the face.
Fallow: Pale cream to light fawn color, pale yellow, yellow-red.
False rib: The eleventh and twelfth ribs.
Fancier: A person especially interested and usually active in some phase of the sport of purebred dogs.
Fangs: See Canines.
Farseeing eyes: An expression dependent on the position, shape, and angle, the color of the iris is dark, and the eyes should be small.
Fawn: A brown, red-yellow with hue of medium brilliance.
Feathering: Longer fringe of hair on ears, legs, tail, or body.
Femur: The thighbone, extends from the hip to stifle.
Ferret feet: Similar to hare feet but with flatter toes.
Fetlock: The wrist or pastern area.
Fibula: One of the two bones of the leg (also the lower thigh, second thigh, or lower leg).
Fiddle front: Forelegs out at the elbows, pasterns close and feet turned out; French front. Illustration p. 821.
Field trial: A competition for certain Hounds and Sporting Breeds in which dogs are judged on their ability and style in finding or retrieving game or following a game trail.
Filbert-shaped ear: An ear in the shape of the hazelnut or filbert.
Filled-up face: Smooth facial contours, free of excessive muscular development.
Fin: A colloquial term for too profuse an arrangement of hair on the feet, as in the longhaired Dachshund.
Fine bone: Relating to the thickness, quality, and strength of the bone, which is slender and lightly constructed.
Fisheye: See Walleye.
Flag: Hair on tail that hangs down and forms a flag.
Flag tail: A long tail carried high; feathering on the tail.
Flanged rib: A ridge at or near the bottom on one or both sides, resulting from an inward curve in the downward slope. The result is a ridge or flange in all or part of the rib cage.
Flank: The side of the body between the last rib and the hip; the coupling.
Flanks, drawn up: Tucked-up flanks.
Flare: A blaze that widens as it approaches the topskull.
Flared nostrils: Wide, open nostrils, designed for maximum air intake.
Flashings: The white markings on the chest, neck, face, feet, or tail tip.
Flat back: A back that is horizontal as well as straight, without a dip or rise. See Level back.
Flat croup: A condition in which the area above and around the set-on of the tail is straight, has a high tailset, and no fall of the topline.
Flat foot: Toes that are straight and flat when viewed in profile, lacking arch. Illustration p. 820.
Flat muscling: Smooth, tight-lying muscle.
Flat rib: The opposite of barrel ribs. See Slab-sided.
Flat skull: In contrast to round or domed, flat in both directions across from ear to ear as well as from stop to occiput.
Flat-sided: Ribs insufficiently rounded as they approach the sternum or breastbone.
Flat tail: Broadening slightly in the center and tapering to a point.
Flecking: Spots or spotted markings of irregular shape.
Flesh-colored nose: An evenly colored nose, similar to the dudley nose. “Dudley” is used to describe a fault, whereas “flesh” is used in breed standards where pigmentation is acceptable.
Fleshy cheeks: A greater degree of cheek muscle than is desired.
Fleshy ears: Ears covered with thicker cartilage than is desired.
Flews: The pendulous lateral part of the upper lip, particularly at the inner corners. Illustration p. 824.
Floating rib: The last, or thirteenth, rib, which is not attached to the other ribs.
Flop ear: Normally erect ears that have flopped or dropped or fail to stand erect.
Fluffy: A coat of extreme length with exaggerated feathering on ears, chest, legs, and feet, underparts, and hindquarters. When this is a fault, trimming such a coat does not make it any more acceptable.
Flush: To drive birds from cover, to force them to take flight; to spring.
Flying ears: Any characteristic drop or semiprick ears that stand or “fly.”
Flying trot: A fast gait in which all four feet are off the ground for a brief second during each half stride. Because of the long reach, the oncoming hind feet step beyond the imprint left by the front. Also called suspension trot.
Folding ear: A long, pendulous ear where the leading edge folds or rolls to give a draped appearance, as in the Otterhound standard.
Foot: The digits or toes, each consisting of three bones (phalanges) and a toenail or claw. The ventral surface is cushioned by pads of connective tissue. Illustration p. 820.
Forearm: The portion of the forelimb between the upper arm (humerus) and the wrist (carpus), including the radius and the ulna.
Forechest: A part of chest assembly in front of the forelegs.
Forefeet: Wrists, pasterns of the front feet, phalanges.
Forelegs: The front legs.
Forepaw: See Forefeet.
Forequarters: The combined front assembly from its uppermost component, the shoulder blade, down to the feet. Illustration p. 821.
Forequarter angulation: The angle formed by the shoulder blade (scapula) meeting the upper arm (humerus).
Foreribs: The front of the rib area.
Foster mother: A bitch used to nurse puppies that are not her own.
Foul color: A color or marking not characteristic of the breed.
Fox brush: See Brush.
Foxlike feet: Close and compact, with well-arched toes. The center toes are longer but not as long as on the hare foot.
Foxy: Sharp expression; pointed nose with short foreface.
Free action: Uninhibited, easy, elastic, strong, and untiring movement.
Freighting size: Built with power, the ability to draw a loaded sled.
Frictionless gait: Free, effortless, easy gait.
Frill: See Apron.
Fringes: See Feathering.
Frogface: An extending nose accompanied by a receding jaw, usually overshot.
Front: The forepart of the body as viewed head-on, i.e., forelegs, chest, brisket, and shoulder line. Illustration p. 821.
Frontal bones: The anterior bones of the cranium, forming the forehead.
Frosting: A process similar to graying at the temples, usually occurring about the muzzle.
Furnishings: The long hair on the extremities (including head and tail) of certain breeds.
Furrow: A slight indentation of the median line down the center of the skull to the stop.
Fused toes: Toes that are blended, joined together.
Futurity Stakes: A competition at dog shows or field trials for young dogs that have been nominated at or before birth.
Gait: The pattern of footsteps at various rates of speed, each pattern distinguished by a particular rhythm and footfall.
Gallantly carried: A tail carried in a brave fashion.
Gallop: The fastest of the dog gaits, has a four-beat rhythm and often an extra period of suspension during which the body is propelled through the air with all four feet off the ground.
Galloping hound: The long-legged sighthounds; reflects the fact that their natural gait in the field is a gallop.
Game: Wild birds or animals that are hunted; the desire to hunt.
Gaskin: The lower or second thigh.
Gaunt head: Emaciated, abnormally lean.
Gay tail: A tail carried above the horizontal level of the back. Illustration p. 847.
Gazehound: A Greyhound or other sight-hunting hound.
Genealogy: Recorded family descent; pedigree.
Gestation: A period of sixty-three days in the dog, from fertilization to whelping.
Giant breeds: Classification of dog breeds, such as Great Dane, Mastiff, etc.; the much larger and heavier-than-average breeds.
Girth: The maximum measurement of the circumference just behind the withers.
Giving tongue: A sound made usually by hounds or terriers when working.
Glass eye: A fixed, blank, and uncomprehending expression.
Glaucous: Grayish blue.
Glossy coat: A shiny, lustrous coat, denoting health.
Gnarled tail: A badly twisted, malformed tail with enlarged joints.
Go to ground: When the quarry (prey) takes refuge below the ground; when dogs pursue their quarry underground.
Goggle eyes: See Protruding eyes.
Gooseberry eye: Light, hazel-colored eyes with a greenish tint.
Goose neck: An elongated, tubular-shaped neck. Also called swan neck.
Goose rump: A too steep or sloping croup.
Goose step: An accentuated lift of the forelimbs.
Grizzle: A mixture of black or red hairs with white hairs. Roan, frequently, a bluish gray or an iron gray.
Groom: To brush, comb, trim, or otherwise make a dog’s coat neat.
Groups: The breeds as grouped into seven divisions by the AKC.
Gruff expression: A tough, hard-bitten appearance.
Guard hairs: The longer, smoother, stiffer hairs that grow through and normally conceal the undercoat.
Gun-barrel front: A true or straight front when viewed head-on.
Gundog: A dog trained to work with its master in finding live game and retrieving game that has been shot.
Gun-shyness: Fear of the sight or sound of a gun.
Hackles: Hairs on neck and back raised involuntarily in fright or anger.
Hackney action: A high lifting of the front feet accompanied by flexing of the wrist like that of a hackney horse.
Hallmark: A distinguishing breed characteristic, such as Keeshond spectacles.
Halo: The narrow circular ring of black pigment surrounding the eyes, as in the Bichon Frise standard.
Hams: The muscular development of the upper thigh.
Hand-stripped: When the hair is pulled out from the root by hand.
Handler: A person who handles a dog in the show ring, at a field trial, or obedience trial. See Professional handler.
Hanging tongue: A tongue that protrudes when the mouth is closed.
Hard-driving action: A powerful, jerky, rather exaggerated, and energy-consuming gait.
Hard-mouthed: Biting or leaving teeth marks on game that is retrieved.
Hare foot: A foot in which the two center digits are appreciably longer than the outside and inside toes of the foot and the arching of the toes is less marked, making the foot appear longer overall. Illustration p. 820.
Harelip: A congenital abnormality, resulting in irregular fissure formation at the junction of the two upper lip halves.
Harlequin: A patched or pied coloration, usually black or gray on white, as in Great Danes.
Haunch bones: The anterior-dorsal portion of the pelvic girdle (crest of the ilium); the hip bones.
Haw: A third eyelid or nictitating membrane on the medial (inside) corner of the eye.
Head: The anterior portion of the dog, including the muzzle and the cranium. Illustration p. 824.
Head planes: Viewed in profile, the contours of the dorsal (top) portion of the skull from the occiput to stop, and of the foreface from stop to tip of nose. Usually used in relation to one another, i.e., parallel, diverging, converging.
External features of the dog’s head
Bones of the skull and dentition
Headfall: See Fall.
Heart-shaped ear: Ear leather shaped like a heart.
Heat: The seasonal period of the female; estrus.
Heavy-boned: Relating to the thickness, quality, and strength of the bone; large, thick, and powerful.
Heavy pads: Thick toe pads on the bottom of the feet, with more than adequate amounts of elastic tissue to provide appropriate cushioning during movement.
Hedge hunter: A terrier that moves along the hedges and underbrush, as opposed to hunting in the holes or rocks.
Heel: See Hock. Also, a command to the dog to keep close behind its handler.
Height: The vertical measurement from the withers to the ground, also referred to as shoulder height. See Withers.
Herding breeds: A group of dogs whose main duty is to drive livestock from one place to another.
Hie on: A command to urge the dog on, used in hunting or in field trials.
High-set ears: Ears placed near the top of the skull above the level of the eye.
High-standing: Tall and upstanding, with plenty of leg.
High-stationed: A dog that has ground-to-brisket height greater than withers-to-brisket.
High-stepping: See Hackney action.
Hindquarters: The rear assembly of the dog (pelvis, thighs, hocks, pasterns, and rear feet). Illustration p. 826.
Hindquarter angulation: The angle formed by the upper thigh meeting the lower thigh. In most breeds, rear angulation should match front angulation.
Hip: The hip joint, located between the femoral head and the pelvic acetabulum.
Hip dysplasia: A developmental disease of the canine hip joint, occurring primarily in larger breeds.
Hitching: Moving in jerks, usually in the hindquarters.
Hock: The tarsus or collection of bones of the hind leg forming the joint between the second thigh and the metatarsus. This is the ankle in man. Illustration p. 826.
Hock joint: The joint on the hind limb located between the lower thigh and the rear pastern.
Hocking out: See Spread hocks.
Hocks well let down: Hock joints close to the ground; short hocks.
Holders: See Canines.
Hollow back: See Saddle back.
Holt: The lair of the fox or other animal in tree roots, banks, drains, or similar hideouts; lodge.
Honorable scars: Scars from injuries suffered as a result of work.
Hooded ears: Smallish ears with both lobe edges curving forward. The tips are directed more forward than at the base.
Hook tail: A tail that hangs down with an upward hook or swirl at the tip.
Hindquarters and Hocks
Horizontal tail: See Bee-sting tail.
Horn: The toenail.
Horny pads: Tough soles of the feet.
Horse coat: Extremely short in length, harsh, absolutely straight and off-standing on the body, and generally lying flatter on the limbs.
Hound Breeds: A group of dogs commonly used for hunting by scent or sight.
Hound coat: A coat that is hard, close, and medium in length, providing protection from the brush and brambles.
Hound-fashion tail carriage: A tail carried at approximately 90 degrees to the backline when the dog is in motion.
Hound-marked: A coloration composed of white, tan, and black. The ground color is usually white and may be marked with tan and/or black patches on the head, back, leg, and tail. The extent and the exact location of such markings, however, differ in breeds and individuals.
Hucklebones: The top of the hip bones.
Humerus: The bone of the upper arm.
Hump back: See Camel back.
Hunter: A dog with the ideal anatomical construction and proportions to hunt, consisting of a relatively short body coupled with a maximum length of stride.
Hunting tests: Noncompetitive field events for flushing breeds, retrieving breeds, and pointing breeds.
Hydrocephalus: Water on the brain.
Hyperextension of the hocks: To extend so that the angle between the bones of a joint (hock) is greater than normal.
Ilium: One of the three bony components of the pelvic girdle.
Inbreeding: The mating of closely related dogs of the same breed.
Incisors: The six upper and six lower front teeth between the canines. Their point of contact forms the bite. Illustration p. 824.
Indented stop: See Stop.
Inner thigh: The portion of the upper thigh muscles located on the inside of the thighbone.
Interbreeding: The breeding together of dogs of different breeds.
Interdigital: Spaces between the toes.
Inverted cross: A color marking in the form of an upside-down cross.
Intervertebral disks: Soft cartilaginous structures located between the individual spinal vertebrae that allow smooth movement.
Iris: The colored membrane surrounding the pupil of the eye.
Irregular bite: A bite in which some or occasionally all the incisors have erupted abnormally.
Isabella: A fawn or light bay color, as in Doberman Pinschers.
Ischial tuberosity: The rearmost part of the pelvis.
Ischium: The rearmost extremity of the pelvic bone.
Jabot: The apron of the Schipperke; the area between the front legs.
Jacket: See Coat.
Jasper: Used as an alternative description of color patches; an opaque, usually red, brown, or yellow variety of quartz.
Jewel eye: See Walleye.
Jowls: The flesh of lips and jaws.
Judge: An official approved by the AKC to judge dogs in conformation, companion, or performance events.
Junior Showmanship: An AKC-sponsored class that evaluates the abilities of the young handler, not the quality of the dog.
Keel: The rounded outline of the lower chest, between the prosternum and the breastbone.
Kink tail: A deformity of the caudal vertebrae, producing a bent tail.
Kiss marks: Tan spots on the cheeks and over the eyes.
Kissing spot: The name given to the lozenge mark on the head of the Blenheim variety of the English Toy Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Knee: See Stifle.
Kneecap: The patella bone. In a dog, part of the stifle.
Knitting: See Crossing over.
Knuckled-up: Strongly arched.
Knuckling over: Faulty structure of carpal (wrist) joint, incorrectly allowing it to flex forward. Illustration p. 821.
Lachrymal gland: The tear gland located at the inner corner of the eye.
Landseer: The black-and-white Newfoundland dog, so named in honor of artist Edwin Landseer, who painted such dogs.
Languishing eyes: An expression of appealing for sympathy.
Lashing tail: An active, powerful, moving tail.
Lateral: Pertaining to the side.
Layback: The angle of the shoulder blade, when viewed from the side (laterally).
Lay-on: The angle of the shoulder blade, when viewed from the front (medially).
Lead: A strap, cord, or chain attached to the collar or harness, used for restraining or for leading a dog; leash.
Leather: The flap of the ear; the outer ear supported by cartilage and surrounding tissue.
Leggy: Tall, not necessarily rangy, giving the appearance of being high off the ground.
Lemon: Used to describe Pointers, this color is a brilliant medium-saturated yellow.
Leonine: A term applied to the Chow Chow, meaning lionlike.
Level back: When the height at the withers is the same as the height over the top of the loins.
Level bite: When the front teeth (incisors) of the upper and lower jaws meet exactly edge to edge; pincher bite. Illustration p. 807.
Level gait: Moving without a rise or fall of the withers.
License: Formal permission granted by the AKC to a nonmember club to hold a dog show, obedience trial, or field trial.
Ligament: A fibrous tissue that connects bones.
Light in loin: Limited, not excessive loin development, creating a “waist.”
Line breeding: Mating related dogs of the same breed, within the same line or family, to a common ancestor (e.g., a dog to his granddam or a bitch to her grandsire).
Linty coat: An unusually soft, downy texture.
Lion color: Tawny.
Lippy: Pendulous lip or lips that do not fit tightly.
Lips: The fleshy portions of the upper and lower jaws covering the teeth. Illustration p. 824.
Lips tight and clean: Lips fitting close to the jaw without any flew.
Lithe body: A supple, graceful form.
Litter: The puppy or puppies of one whelping.
Liver: A deep reddish brown color, produced by recessive (bb) alleles gene of the b (black) locus.
Loaded shoulders: An excessive development of the muscles associated with the shoulder blades (scapulae).
Lobular ear: See Pendulous ear.
Loin: The region of the body associated with the lumbar portion of the vertebrae (behind the ribs and before the pelvic girdle).
Lolling tongue: An overlong tongue; one that protrudes.
Long back: When the distance from the withers to the rump exceeds the height at the withers.
Long in hock: Also high in hock; when the rear pastern is greater in length than desired, the hock joints are far from the ground.
Loose elbow: See Out at the elbows.
Loose shoulder: See Loose slung.
Loose slung: A construction in which the attachment of the muscles at the shoulders is looser than is desirable.
Loose tail: A tail not fitted tightly over the back.
Loosely coupled: Having a weak and unusually long loin.
Low at shoulders: Flat withers, low in withers, set lower than rest of backline.
Low-stationed: A ground-to-brisket height less than that of withers-to-brisket.
Lower arm: The region encompassing the radius and ulna bones.
Lower thigh: See Second thigh.
Lozenge: The thumbprint spot situated on the skull between the ears, as in the English Toy Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel standard; a diamond shape, as in the Bloodhound standard.
Lumbar: An excessive amount of flesh.
Lumbar vertebrae: The seven vertebrae of the loin region, between the thoracic vertebrae and the sacrum.
Lumbering: An awkward gait.
Lumpy shoulders: See Loaded shoulders.
Lung room: Inferring chest dimensions sufficient to permit optimum lung and heart development.
Lurcher: A crossbred hound.
Lure coursing: Organized events for sight hounds, which chase an artificial lure over a course.
Luxation: The dislocation of an anatomical structure, i.e., lens or patella.
Mahogany: Used to describe several breeds, this color is a medium-saturated, dull, reddish brown.
Major win: A win that consists of 3, 4, or 5 points in conformation events and some performance events.
Making a wheel: The circling of the tail over the back that is characteristic of the Great Pyrenees when alerted.
Malar bone: See Zygomatic arch.
Malocclusion: An abnormality in the way the teeth come together.
Mandible: The lower jaw. Illustration p. 824.
Mane: Long and profuse hair on the top and sides of the neck.
Mantle: Dark-shaded portion of the coat on the shoulders, back, and sides.
Manubrium: The first sternebra of the chest; prosternum.
Marble eye: See Walleye.
Marcel effect: Regular, continuous waves in the coat, as in the American Water Spaniel.
Marked flag: Hair on the tail that hangs and forms a flag.
Marked stop: A noticeable stop.
Markings: Generally used in reference to white areas distributed on a colored background.
Mask: Dark shading on the foreface.
Master hair: Guard hair.
Master of the hounds: The person responsible for a pack of foxhounds and its affairs.
Match show: Usually an informal dog show at which no championship points or Obedience title legs are awarded.
Mate: To breed a dog and bitch.
Measure out: When the measured height at withers is determined to be outside the limits for that breed as set forth in the breed standard.
Medial: Toward the midline of the dog.
Median line: See Furrow.
Melon pips: See Pips.
Merle: A color pattern involving a dominant gene (the M or Merling Series) and characterized by dark blotches against a lighter background of the same pigment (e.g., blue merle in Collies and red dapple in Dachshunds).
Merry tail: A constantly wagging tail.
Mesaticephalic: A skull type with medium proportions of base width to overall skull length.
Metacarpal pad: The large communal pad located on the bottom rear of the front foot.
Miscellaneous class: Transitory class for breeds attempting to advance to full AKC recognition.
Mismark: (1) Coat or color. (2) A dog that has coat coloration or markings contrary to those described in a breed standard.
Mobile ears: Ears that can move. The ears can rest on the side of the head and when alert can rise upward to set on top of the skull.
Modelling: See Chiseled.
Molars: The posterior teeth of the dental arcade, with two on each side in the upper jaw and three on each side in the lower jaw in an adult with correct dentition (42 teeth). Illustration p. 824.
Molera: The incomplete, imperfect, or abnormal closure of the skull.
Moles: Markings on the cheeks. Also, a color ranging from dark gray to blue.
Mongolian eyes: See Obliquely placed eyes.
Mongrel: A dog whose parents are of two different breeds.
Monorchid: A dog that has one testicle retained or hidden in its abdominal cavity. See Cryptorchid.
Mottled: A pattern of dark roundish blotches superimposed on a lighter background.
Moving close: A gait in which the pasterns drop straight to the ground and move parallel to one another with little or no space between them; it is therefore said the dog is moving close in the rear. This type of action places severe strain on ligaments and muscles.
Moving straight: A balanced gaiting in which the angle of inclination begins at the shoulder, or hip joint, and the limbs remain relatively straight from these points to the pads of the feet, even as the legs flex or extend in reaching or thrusting.
Muscle-bound: Having excessive development of individual muscle groups, resulting in lumbering and cumbersome movement.
Muscle tone: The quality of muscular development.
Musculature: The disposition, development, and arrangement of muscles.
Musculature wiry: Referring to slender, strong, and sinewy muscular development.
Music: The baying of the hounds.
Mustache: Longish hair of varying texture arising from the lips and sides of the face, creating the appearance of a mustache.
Mustard: Usually used to describe Dandie Dinmont Terriers, this color is like the color of the spice, i.e., a dull, highly saturated, brown-yellow.
Mute: To run mute, to be silent on the trail; to trail without baying or barking.
Muzzle: The head in front of the eyes—nasal bones, nostrils, and jaws; foreface. Also, a strap or wire cage attached to the foreface to prevent the dog from biting or from picking up food. Illustration p. 824.
Muzzle band: White marking around the muzzle.
Nape: The junction of the base of the skull and the top of the neck.
Narrow front: A front in which the forearms, when seen head-on, stand closer to each other than is desired. Illustration p. 821.
Narrow shoulder: See Narrow front.
Narrow thigh: Insufficiently strong muscular development of the thigh regions.
Nasal bone: The bony section of the foreface forming the edge of the muzzle.
Nasal septum: The bony partition dividing the right and left nasal cavities.
Naso-labial line: The groove at the junction of the left and right upper lip halves.
Natural ears: Uncropped ears.
Neck well set on: Good neckline, merging gradually with the withers, forming a pleasing transition into topline.
Neuter: To castrate or spay.
Nick: A breeding that produces desirable puppies.
Nictitating membrane: See Third eyelid.
Night blindness: Poor sight at dusk or dawn, an early symptom of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Nite hunt: Performance competition for coonhounds.
Nonslip retriever: A dog that walks at heel, marks the fall, and retrieves game on command; not expected to find or flush.
Non-Sporting breeds: A diverse group of multifunctional dogs not generally regarded to be game hunters.
Nose: Organ of olfaction. Also, the ability to detect by scent.
Novice class: (conformation) A regular class for dogs six months of age or over that have not, prior to the closing of entries for the show, won three first prizes in the Novice class, a first prize in Bred-by-Exhibitor, American-Bred, or Open classes, nor have one or more points toward their championship. (obedience) A class for dogs not less than six months that have not won the title Companion Dog (CD).
Nuchal crest: The top of the occiput.
Obedience trial (licensed): An event held under AKC rules at which a “leg” toward an obedience degree can be earned.
Obliquely placed eyes: Eyes with the outer corners higher than their inner ones.
Oblique shoulders: Shoulders well laid back.
Oblong eyes: An eye shape in which eyelid aperture appears longer than higher, with contours and corners gently rounded. See Almond eyes.
Obtuse angles: Angles exceeding 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees.
Occipital protuberance: A prominently raised occiput, characteristic of some sporting and hound breeds.
Occiput: The dorsal, posterior point of the skull. Illustration p. 824.
Occlusion: The meeting of the teeth when the mouth is closed.
Off-square: Slightly longer when measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, than height at withers.
Olfactory abilities: The sense of smell.
Olfactory nerve: One of the twelve cranial nerves of the dog.
Olecranon process: Point of elbow.
Open bitch: A bitch that can be bred.
Open class: (conformation) A class at dog shows in which all dogs of a breed, champions and imported dogs included, may compete. (obedience) A class for dogs that have won the Companion Dog title but have not won the title Companion Dog Excellent.
Open coat: A sparsely haired coat, where the fibers are usually widely separated from one another, usually off-standing and lacking in undercoat.
Open foot: See Splayfoot.
Open hock: See Barrel hocks.
Orange belton: See Belton.
Orb: The eyeball.
Orbit: The eye socket.
Orifices: The outer edges or openings.
Ornamentation: See Furnishings.
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA): An organization, established in 1966, that developed and maintains a registry of hip dysplasia in dogs. Dogs with OFA numbers are rated and certified free of canine hip dysplasia. This rating applies for the life of the dog.
Otter tail: Thick at the root, round and tapering, with the hair parted or divided on the underside. Illustration p. 847.
Otter head: A head shape resembling that of an otter.
Out at the elbows: Having elbows that turn out from the body, as opposed to being held close. Illustration p. 821.
Out at shoulders: Having shoulder blades loosely attached to the body, leaving the shoulders jutting out in relief and increasing the breadth of the front.
Out of coat: Long- and/or broken-coated dogs that have dropped their outer jackets or undercoat.
Outcrossing: The mating of unrelated individuals of the same breed.
Oval chest: A chest that is more deep than wide.
Oval eyes: See Oblong eyes. Illustration p. 807.
Oval foot: Spoon-shaped foot, similar to cat foot except both center toes are slightly longer.
Oval skull: Gentle, curving contours of the skull from ear to ear.
Overbuilt back: Having excessive development over the rump area, giving a padded appearance.
Overfill: The opposite quality of chiseling, may lack definition or elegance.
Overhang: A heavy or pronounced brow, as in the Pekingese.
Overlapping: See Crossing over.
Overlay: Mantle or blanket of dark color superimposed on a lighter background.
Overreaching: Fault in the trot caused by more angulation and drive from behind than from in front, so that the rear feet are forced to step to one side of the forefeet to avoid interfering or clipping.
Overshot: A bite in which the incisors of the upper jaw project beyond the incisors of the lower jaw, resulting in a space between the inner and outer surfaces.
Pace: A lateral gait that tends to promote a rolling motion of the body. The left foreleg and left hind leg advance in unison, then the right foreleg and right hind leg. See Amble.
Pack: Several hounds kept together in one kennel. A mixed pack is composed of dogs and bitches. Also used in reference to a Poodle with an English Saddle clip. The “pack” portion of the coat is situated over the loin and rump area.
Padding: A compensating action to offset constant concussion when a front with inadequate reach is subjected to overdrive from the rear; the front feet flip upward in a split-second delaying action to coordinate the stride of the forelegs with the longer stride from behind. Also refers to additional thickness of the lips.
Paddling: A gaiting fault, so named for its similarity to the swing and dip of a canoeist’s paddle. Pinching in at the elbows and shoulder joints causes the front legs to swing forward in a stiff outward arc. Also referred to as “tied at the elbows.”
Pads: Tough, shock-absorbing projections on the underside of the feet; soles. Illustration p. 820.
Palate: The partly bony, partly fleshy portion on the roof of the mouth separating the respiratory and digestive passages.
Parallel planes: See Head planes.
Palpebral fissure: The space between the eyelids when the eyes are open.
Pancreatic degenerative atrophy: A disease of the canine pancreas, which results in the inability to digest and absorb food.
Pants: See Breeching and Trousers.
Paper foot: A flat foot with thin pads.
Parent club: The national AKC club for a particular breed.
Parrot mouth: A much overshot bite.
Parti-color: Variegated with patches of two or more colors.
Pastern: The metacarpal bones of the front leg between the carpus and the foot and the metatarsal bones of the hind leg between the hock and the foot.
Patchy tongue: An incompletely pigmented tongue.
Patella: The kneecap.
Peak: See Occiput.
Pedigree: The written record of a dog’s genealogy of three generations or more.
Pelvic angulation: The lay of the pelvis or pelvic slope.
Pelvic girdle: Two fused halves attached to the sides of the sacral vertebrae of the spinal column in the hindquarters.
Pelvic shelf: Buttocks extending beyond the tail, as in the Lakeland Terrier standard.
Pelvis: Hip bones, each consisting of three fused bones: an anterior ilium, a ventral pubis, and a posterior ischium, combined with the sacrum, forming the pelvic girdle.
Pencilling: Black lines dividing the tan on the toes.
Pendant ear: See Drop ear.
Pendulous ear: See Drop ear.
Pendulous flews: Full, loose-hanging upper lips.
Peppering: The admixture of white and black hairs, which, in association with some entirely black and some entirely white hairs, gives the “pepper and salt” appearance of some Schnauzer breeds.
Philtrum: The junction line of left and right upper lip and nostril halves.
Pi-dog: A crossbred, mongrel-type of dog, especially one of Eastern origin.
Piebald: See Pied.
Pied: Comparatively large patches of two or more colors; piebald, parti-colored, pinto.
Pig eye: Very small, close-set eyes.
Pigeon-breast: A narrow chest with a protruding breastbone.
Pigeon-toed: Toes pointing in toward the midline.
Pigment: The depth, intensity, and extent of color or markings.
Pile: Dense undercoat of soft hair.
Pily coat: A dense and harsh outer coat, coupled with a soft, furlike, and very close inner coat, as in the Dandie Dinmont Terrier.
Pinched front: A narrow front.
Pinched muzzle: See Snipy.
Pinched together feet: Toes that are closely set together; cat feet.
Pink nose: A lightly pigmented nose, in contrast to a black or brown nose.
Pinto: See Pied.
Pipestopper tail: A very short, upright tail.
Pips: The spots above the eyes of most black and tan breeds.
Pitted teeth: See Distemper teeth.
Plaiting: A crossing-over movement, also called knitting.
Planes: See Head planes.
Pliant skin: Skin that is flexible.
Plucking: Pulling out each hair from the root. Also called stripping, as in broken-coated terriers.
Plume: A long fringe of hair on the tail, covering part of the tail or the entire tail. Illustration p. 847.
Point: The immovable stance of the hunting dog, taken to indicate the presence and position of game.
Point of shoulders: See Shoulder point.
Pointed muzzle: A wedge-shaped muzzle that acutely tapers.
Pointing breeds: A term commonly applied to those sporting breeds that typically point birds.
Points: Color on face, ears, legs, and tail when correlated, usually white, black, or tan. Also, credits toward championship status.
Poke: To carry the neck stretched forward in an abnormally low, ungainly position, usually when moving.
Pompon: Rounded tuft of hair left on the end of the tail when the coat is clipped, as in the Poodle.
Ponderous: Very heavy or clumsy in either head or movement.
Poodle clips: For show-ring presentation, all varieties of Poodle may be exhibited only in the clips described in the standard.
Poor flesh: Poor muscle condition.
Pop eye: See Protruding eyes.
Posterior: The portion of the dog carried hindmost (or toward the rear) during normal locomotion.
Posting: A stance in which the front legs are extended too far forward and the rear legs are extended too far backward, which resembles the stance of a rocking horse.
Pot-casse: A bell-like tone to the bark, as in the Old English Sheepdog.
Pot-hook tail: A tail carried in an arch up and over the back, not lying flat on the back.
Pouch: Fold or loose skin overhanging the point of hock, as in the Basset Hound.
Pounding: A gaiting fault resulting when a dog’s stride is shorter in front than in the rear, and the forefeet strike the ground hard before the rear stride is expended.
Powderpuff: The profusely haired variety of Chinese Crested.
Prance: A gait suggestive of a prancing horse; springy, bouncy.
Predatory expression: See Bird of prey eyes.
Premium list: An advance-notice brochure sent to prospective dog show exhibitors and containing details regarding a forthcoming show.
Premolars: The teeth that are located behind the canine teeth and in front of the molars. Most dogs have eight premolars on each side, four on the upper and four on the lower jaw. Illustration p. 824.
Prepotency: An unusually strong ability to transmit parental qualities to offspring.
Prick ear: Erect ear carriage, usually pointed at the tip.
Professional handler: A person who shows dogs for a fee.
Professional trainer: A person who trains hunting dogs and who handles dogs in field events.
Primary teeth: Milk teeth; puppy teeth.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): An inherited disease that causes blindness. The retina is the light-sensitive membrane at the back of the eyeball.
Prominent eyes: See Protruding eyes.
Propeller ears: Ears that stick out sideways more or less horizontally, similar to flying ears.
Propped stance: A stance indicating defiance, where the forelegs are extended farther out than normal.
Prosternum: Point of the breastbone.
Protruding eyes: Round, full, bulging eyes.
Provisional judge: Title assigned to judges while they are being evaluated on their knowledge of designated breed(s) and/or level of obedience class in accordance with the current AKC judging approval system.
Prow prominent: A protruding sternum or forechest, as in the Flat-Coated Retriever.
Puffs: The circular bands of hair left on the forelegs of a clipped dog, such as a Poodle.
Pump handle: A long tail carried high.
Put down: To prepare a dog for the show ring. Also, a dog that did not place in competition.
Puppy: A dog under twelve months of age.
Purebred: A dog whose sire and dam belong to the same breed and are themselves of unmixed descent since recognition of the breed.
Qualifying score: Obedience: A qualifying score is comprised of scores of more than 50 percent of the available points in each exercise and a final score of 170 or more points, earned in a single regular class at a licensed or member obedience trial or sanctioned match. Performance: A generic term meaning that a dog has met, at least, the minimum standard necessary for qualifying in a class or test level at lure coursing, herding, earthdog, or hunting tests.
Quality: Refinement, fineness; a degree of excellence.
Quarters: Usually applied to the upper portion only, i.e., the pelvic and thigh regions. When “fore” or “hind” is added, it describes the whole section, including the legs.
Quicksilver: Able to make the abrupt turns, springing starts, and sudden stops required of a sheepherding dog.
Racy: Tall, of comparatively slight build.
Radius: One of the two bones of the forearm.
Ram’s head: The skull and foreface contours appearing convex when viewed in profile.
Ram’s nose: See Roman nose.
Rangy: Tall, long in body, high on leg, often lightly framed.
Rat tail: A tail with a thick root covered with soft curls and a tip devoid of hair or having the appearance of being clipped, as in the Irish Water Spaniel.
Reach of front: Length of forward stride taken by forelegs. Illustration p. 839.
Rear pastern: The metatarsus, the region of the hindquarters between the hock (tarsus) and the foot (digits).
Receding skull: One with diverging planes.
Red sesame: Red with sparse black overlay (e.g., Shiba Inu).
Refinement: Having bone and muscle in perfect proportion to the size of the dog.
Register: To record a dog’s breeding particulars with the American Kennel Club.
Reserve Winners: The award given to the second place dog or bitch in the Winners class.
Retrieve: A hunting term. The act of bringing back shot game to the handler.
Reverse scissors bite: Having a somewhat longer lower jaw than upper jaw, causing the lower incisors to be positioned slightly in front of their upper counterparts.
Ribbed-up: Long ribs that angle back from the spinal column. A reference to a long rib cage.
Rib cage: The collection of paired ribs, cartilage, sternum, and associated tissue that define the thoracic region. In rib pairs 1 through 9 the cartilage articulates directly with the sternum (“true ribs”); in 10 through 12 the cartilage fuses with anterior cartilage (“false ribs”); and pair 13 is not attached ventrally (“floating ribs”).
Ridge: A coat pattern, usually relatively long and narrow, formed by hair growing in the opposite direction to that of the surrounding hair, as in the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Ring tail: A tail carried up and around almost in a circle.
Ringed eyes: An abnormal amount of clearly visible sclera surrounding the eye.
GOOD MOVEMENT SIDE VIEW Showing good reach in front and proper drive in rear
POOR MOVEMENT SIDE VIEW
Roach back: A convex curvature of the back, involving the thoracic and lumbar regions.
Roan: A fine mixture of colored hairs with white hairs: blue roan, orange roan, lemon roan, etc.
Rocking horse: Both front and rear legs extended out from body as in an old-fashioned rocking horse.
Roll: The fold of skin across the top of the nose. Also, gait caused by relative roundness of the rib cage coupled with short and bowed forearms, as in the Pekingese.
Roll a coat: A process in which the broken coat of a terrier is continually worked or plucked so that it does not have to be completely stripped.
Rolled ears: Ears that curl inward along the lower edge and tip.
Rolling gait: A swaying, ambling action of the hindquarters when moving.
Roman nose: A nose whose bridge is so comparatively high as to form a mildly convex line from forehead to nose tip; ram’s nose.
Root of muzzle: The junction between the stop and the foreface.
Root of the tail: The base of the tail or the insertion.
Ropy tail: A tail normally feathered but now more or less devoid of hair; looking gnarled.
Rose ear: A small drop ear that folds over and back so as to reveal the burr.
Rosette: (1) A small tan patch on each side of the chest above the front legs. (2) A patch of hair over the loin of a Poodle trimmed in the Continental clip. (3) A pleated ribbon to resemble a rose, awarded at AKC events.
Rotary motion: A strong and purposeful gait, coupled with great thrust, causing the hocks and stifles to appear to move in a circular or rotary motion when viewed in profile.
Round eye: Eyes set in circular-shaped apertures. Illustration p. 807.
Round foot: See Cat foot. Illustration p. 820.
Round neck: A neck that is round in cross section, in contrast to a more elliptical shape.
Rounded skull: A topskull curved or arched in both directions from stop to occiput and from ear to ear, but not as exaggerated as in the domed skull.
Rounding: Cutting or trimming the ends of the ear leather, as in the English Foxhound, denoting membership in a hunting pack.
Royal collar: A well-developed, symmetrical, and evenly placed full white collar.
Ruby: A rich, mahogany red (e.g., English Toy Spaniel).
Rudder: The tail or stern.
Ruff: Thick, longer hair growth around the neck.
Runty: Small, weedy, stunted.
Russet gold: Reddish brown.
Rust: Used to describe several breeds, this color is a medium-brilliant reddish brown.
Saber tail: A tail carried in a semicircle.
Sable: A coat color produced by black-tipped hairs on a background of silver, gold, gray, fawn, or brown.
Sacrum: The region of the vertebral column that consists of three fused vertebrae that articulate with the pelvic girdle.
Saddle: A black marking over the back, like a saddle for a horse.
Saddle back: An overlong back, with a dip behind the withers.
Sagback: See Swayback.
Saggy loin: A weakness due to loins that are overlong and insufficiently well-muscled, causing the backline over the coupling area to sway.
Sagittal crest: The ridge of bone at the junction of the parietal bones, situated in the outer surface of the cranium. It runs lengthwise to and ends near the base of the skull, forming the occipital protuberance. Illustration p. 824.
Sagittal suture: The fusion of the frontal bones in the center of the skull, underlying the median line or furrow.
Samoyed smile: Specific expression brought about by the lips turning slightly upward at the corners of the mouth.
Sawhorse stance: Stance in which the long bones of the forearms or rear pasterns, or both, are not vertical to the ground when viewed from all angles.
Scapula: Shoulder blade.
Scent: The odor left by an animal on the trail (ground scent) or wafted through the air (airborne scent).
Scimitar: A saber tail in a more exaggerated curve.
Scissors bite: A bite in which the outer side (anterior portion) of the lower incisors touches the inner side (posterior portion) of the upper incisors. Illustrationp. 807.
Sclera: The white membrane surrounding the cornea of the eye.
Scrambled mouth: Misaligned or scrambled incisors.
Screw tail: A naturally short tail twisted in a more or less spiral formation. Illustration p. 847.
Scrotum: The membranous pouch containing the testicles, located between the hind legs.
Seal: Used to describe Boston Terriers, this color appears black except that it has a red cast when viewed in the sun or bright light.
Second joint: The second vertebra of the tail from the point of the croup.
Second thigh: That part of the hindquarters from the stifle to the hock, corresponding to the human shin and calf. Lower thigh, including the tibia and fibula.
Sectorial teeth: The fourth premolar in the upper jaw and the first molar in the lower jaw.
Sedge: The color resembling dead grass, a dull tan.
Self-color: One color or whole color, except for lighter shadings.
Self-marked: A whole-colored dog with white or pale markings on chest, feet, and tail tip.
Semi-hare foot: Between oval and hare foot.
Semiprick ears: Ears carried erect with just the tips leaning forward.
Septum: The line extending vertically between the nostrils.
Set-on: A term applied to the junction of the skull and earlobe, or the junction of the tail and rump.
Set up: Posed so as to make the most of the dog’s appearance for the show ring.
Shagginess: Rough, rugged, and hairy coat.
Shambling walk: To walk with a shuffle; lazy, uncoordinated.
Shanks: The thigh.
Shark mouth: A much overshot bite.
Shawl: An area of longer hair covering portions of a dog’s forequarters; actually part mane, part ruff.
Shelly: A shallow, narrow body, lacking the correct amount of bone.
Shepherd’s crook tail: A kink or U-shape at the end of the tail.
Short back: See Close-coupled.
Short-coupled: When the distance between the last rib and the beginning of the hindquarters is relatively short.
Short head: A muzzle excessively shortened and a skull both broad and square.
Short stride: Little reach and drive exhibited, and no extension of the legs.
Short muzzle: A stubby muzzle, shorter than half the total length of the skull.
Shoulder blade: The scapula; the large, flat, triangular bone just below the first and second thoracic vertebral spine.
Shoulder joint: A joint in the forequarters formed by the articulation of the shoulder blade and the arm.
Shoulder point: The formation of the scapula and humerus.
Shuffling action: A lazy, foot-dragging type of movement.
Sickle-hocked: The inability to straighten the hock joint on the backward reach of the hind leg. Hocks that cannot be perpendicular to the ground when the dog is standing.
Sickle tail: A tail carried out and up in a semicircle. Illustration p. 847.
Sidewinding: See Crabbing.
Sighthound: A hound that runs or courses game by sight rather than scent.
Silver eye: See Walleye.
Sine qua non: A Latin phrase meaning an essential element that has no equal, i.e., straight elbow, English Foxhound.
Sinew: Tendon; the bands of inelastic fibrous tissues formed at the termination of a muscle and attaching it to a bone.
Sinewy: Lean, hard condition, free from excessive muscle or fat.
Single coat: A dog that has no undercoat.
Single-tracking: Having all footprints fall on a single line of travel. When a dog breaks into a trot, its body is supported by only two legs at a time, which move as alternating diagonal pairs. To achieve balance, its legs angle inward toward a centerline beneath the body; the greater the speed, the closer they come to tracking on a single line.
Sire: The male parent of a dog.
Skeleton: Descriptively divided into axial (skull, vertebrae column, chest) and appendicular (forequarters, hindquarters) portions.
Skewbald: Irregular body patches of any color other than black, superimposed upon a white ground.
Skully: Thick and coarse through the skull.
Slab-sided: Flat ribs with too little spring from the spinal column.
Slack back: See Swayback.
Slack loin: A long, poorly muscled coupling.
Slanting thighs: Correctly sloping thighs.
Sled dogs: Dogs worked, usually in teams, to draw sleds.
Slew feet: Feet turned out.
Slippage: The outcome of patellar luxation or subluxation.
Slipped hocks: Popping hocks that bend forward or sideways or both, indicating joint and ligament instability.
Slipped stifle: Abnormality of the stifle; when the trochlear lips are insufficiently well-developed, the stifle leaves its normal position and lies on either the inside of the inner lip or on the outside of the outer lip.
Slipper feet: Long, oval feet.
Sloping back: The height measured at the withers exceeds that over the loins.
Sloping pasterns: The correct pastern position, between upright and down in pasterns.
Sloping shoulder: The shoulder blade set obliquely, or “laid back.”
Smooth coat: Short hair, close-lying.
Smudge nose: See Snow nose.
Snaky body: See Weaselness.
Snap tail: Tail coming up and lying directly on the back, with the tip pointing toward the head. Illustration p. 847.
Snatching hocks: A gaiting fault indicated by a quick outward snatching of the hock as it passes the supporting leg and twists the rear pastern far in beneath the body. The action causes noticeable rocking in the rear quarters.
Snipy: A pointed, weak muzzle, lacking breadth and depth.
Snow nose: When a nose that is normally solid black acquires a pink streak in winter.
Snowshoe feet: Oval, firm, compact with well-knit, well-arched toes, and tough deeply cushioned pads. The feet are well furred, even between the toes, for protection.
Socks: White markings on colored animals from the feet and pasterns up to the wrists in the front and up to the hocks in the rear.
Soft back: See Saddle back.
Soft feet: See Down in Pastern.
Soft mouth: In hunting dogs, capable of retrieving game without causing physical damage to their prey.
Soft palate: On the roof of the mouth, a soft fleshy extension of the hard palate continuing backward toward the larynx.
Somber expression: A facial expression that occurs when the masking, instead of being restricted to the face, spreads onto the skull area, and rather than being clearly defined, blends indistinctly with the surrounding head color.
Soundness: The state of mental and physical health when all organs and faculties are complete and functioning normally, each in its rightful relation to the other.
Spar: To challenge the opposition cautiously. Often used to get some terrier breeds “on their toes.”
Spay: To surgically remove a bitch’s ovaries and uterus to prevent conception.
Speak: To bark.
Speckling: Flecking or ticking.
Spectacles: Shadings or dark markings over or around the eyes, or from eyes to ears coupled with expressive eyebrows, as in the Keeshond.
Spike tail: A straight, short tail that tapers rapidly along its length.
Spinal column: Vertebrae running from the neck to the end of the tail.
Spirally twisted tail: A tail that is carried low with a spiral longitudinal twist at the end.
Splashed: Irregularly patched, color on white or white on color.
Splashes: In Boston Terriers, pied brindle spots on a white ground.
Splayfoot: A flat foot with toes spreading; open foot, open toed. Illustration p. 820.
Split nose: A line that extends from the lip and continues between the nostrils over the top of the nose.
Split upper lip: Incomplete union of the upper lip halves at their lower borders.
Spoon ear: See Bat ear.
Spoon-shaped foot: See Oval foot.
Sporting Breeds: A group of dogs developed for the hunting of feathered game.
Spot: The kissing spot on the Blenheim variety of the English Toy Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, also a distinct patch of color on other parts of the body.
Spotted: Speckled, flecked, ticked.
Spotted nose: See Butterfly nose.
Spread: Width between the forelegs, when accentuated, as in the Bulldog.
Spread hocks: Hocks pointing outward.
Spreading toes: See Splayfoot.
Spring: See Flush.
Spring of ribs: The curvature of the ribs to create a cavity for the heart and lungs.
Springy action: A bouncing, buoyant motion.
Square body: A dog whose height from the withers to the ground equals its length from the forechest to the buttocks.
Square muzzle: See Blunt muzzle.
Squirrel tail: A tail carried up and curving more or less forward.
Stack: The posing of a dog in a natural position; pose. See Set up.
Stag red: Deep red (almost brown) with intermingling of black hairs (e.g., Miniature Pinscher).
Stake: The designation of a class, used in field trial competition.
Stance: A manner of standing.
Standard: A description of the ideal dog of each recognized breed, to serve as an ideal against which dogs are judged at shows.
Stand-off coat: A long or heavy coat that stands away from the body.
Star: A white mark on the forehead.
Staring coat: The hair dry, harsh, and sometimes curly at the tips.
Station: The comparative height from the ground, as in “high-stationed” and “low-stationed.”
Steep: Used to denote incorrect angles of articulation. For example, a steep front describes a more upright shoulder placement than is preferred.
Stern: The tail.
Sternebrae: The bony components of the sternum or breastbone.
Sternum: See Breastbone.
Stifle: The joint of the hind leg between the thigh and the second thigh; the dog’s knee.
Stilted: The choppy, up-and-down gait of a straight-hocked dog.
Stippled: A pattern of dots instead of lines, as in the harlequin Great Dane.
Stockings: An area of white covering most of the leg.
Stop: The step up from the muzzle to the back skull; indentation between the eyes where the nasal bones and cranium meet. Illustration p. 824.
Stop effect: A slight stop appearance produced by prominent eyebrows.
Stopper pad: The fleshy cushion on the front legs situated at the back of the wrist (carpus).
Straddle: A stance similar to a sawhorse position where the fore and hind limbs are extended away and out from the body’s centerline.
Straight back: A back that runs in a straight line without dip or arch from withers to loin.
Straight front: True front; viewed head-on, the forearms run perpendicular to the ground as well as parallel to each other. Illustration p. 821.
Straight-hocked: Lacking appreciable angulation at the hock joints.
Straight in pastern: Little or no bend at the wrist.
Straight shoulders: The shoulder blades are straight up and down, as opposed to sloping or “well laid back.” Illustration p. 821.
Stripe: See Blaze.
Stripping: A technique in which the hair is pulled by hand or with the aid of a stripping knife.
Stud book: A record of the breeding particulars of dogs of recognized breeds.
Stud dog: A male dog used for breeding purposes.
Stud Dog class: A class where a stud dog is shown and judged with at least two of his offspring. Judging is based on the quality of the get, not the sire. (Show-giving club may permit more offspring to be shown. The upper limit must be stated in the premium list.)
Stuffy neck: A short, blocky, and inelegant neck. See Bull neck.
Stump tail: A tail naturally shorter than is desired.
Subluxation: A partial, incomplete, or slight dislocation.
Sunken eyes: Eyes that are well recessed into the sockets.
Sunken pastern: See Down in pastern.
Superciliary arches: The ridge, projection, or prominence of the frontal bones of the skull over the eyes; the brow; supraorbital ridges.
Superintendent: An individual licensed by the AKC and hired by a club to be responsible for the mechanics of holding an event.
Suspension trot: See Flying trot.
Swan neck: See Goose neck.
Swayback: A concave curvature of the vertebral column between the withers and the hipbones.
Sweepstakes: A nonregular competition offered in conjunction with regular classes at specialty shows for puppies or veterans. Class divisions, requirements, and conditions are established by the show-giving club. No championship points are awarded.
Swirl: A slight upward turn of the tail; hook, sweep.
Sword tail: A tail that hangs down without deviation. When carried upward, it is synonymous with a flagpole tail.
Symmetry: The pleasing balance between all parts of the dog.
Swirl tail: See Hook tail.
Tail carriage: The manner of tail deportment, i.e., gay, sickle, curl. Illustration p. 847.
Tail set: How the base of the tail sets on the rump.
Tailhead: The beginning of the tail attachment to the croup.
Tapering muzzle: A wedge-shaped, pointed muzzle.
Tapering tail: A long, short-coated tail that tapers to a point.
Tarsal bones: The seven bones that make up the hock (tarsus).
Tarsus: The hock or the ankle.
Tawny: A light fawn color. See Lion color.
Taut coat: Skin that is sleek and stretched taut without any wrinkles, folds, or creases.
Team: A group, usually of four dogs, exhibited by one handler.
Teapot curve curve tail: See Pot-hook tail.
Tear stain: A dark brown stain running from the inner corner of the eye.
Teeth eruption: The process of teeth appearing through the gums.
Temples: Area just behind and slightly above the eyes.
Tendon: A band of inelastic tissue formed at the termination of a muscle, attaching it to the bone; sinew.
Terrier breeds: A group of dogs used originally for hunting vermin.
Terrier expression: A general outward head and facial appearance resembling a terrier; eyes small and deep set.
Terrier front: A straight front, as found on Fox Terriers.
Testicles: The male gonad that produces spermatozoa. AKC regulations specify that a male that does not have two normal testicles located in the scrotum may not compete at any show and will be disqualified, except that a castrated male may be entered in obedience trials, tracking tests, field trials (except Beagles), and as a stud dog in a Stud Dog class.
Thick skull: Coarse, excessive width, especially around the cheek area, due to thick, coarse bone.
Thickset: Having a burly body construction.
Thigh: The hindquarters from hip to stifle.
Thigh bone: The femur.
Thin pads: The opposite of well-cushioned pads.
Third eyelid: A semicartilaginous structure located at the eyes’ inner corners.
Thoracic vertebrae: The thirteen vertebrae of the chest with which thirteen pairs of ribs articulate.
Thorax: The part of the body or trunk that is enclosed by the ribs.
Thoroughbred appearance: Resembling a high-quality, aristocratic-looking purebred horse.
Throatiness: An excess of loose skin under the throat.
Throat latch: The area of the head and neck junction immediately behind and below the lower jaw angles.
Thumb marks: Black spots on the region of the pastern.
Tibia: One of the two bones of the leg, i.e., the lower thigh, second thigh, or lower leg.
Ticked: Small, isolated areas of black hairs on a white ground.
Tied at the elbows: See Paddling.
Tied in shoulders: An anatomical construction that results in a firmer or more inelastic connection of the shoulder blade to the chest wall than is ideal.
Tight-fitting jacket: Taut skin and coat fitting without any sign of looseness or wrinkles.
Tight-lipped jaws: Outline created by relatively thin lips, closely following the bony jaw outline.
Timber: Colloquial expression for bone, usually leg bone.
Title: An award conferred on a dog for completing specific qualifications earned at AKC events or AKC-sponsored activities.
Toeing in: See Pigeon-toed.
Tongue: The barking or baying of hounds on the trail, as “to give tongue,” to open or speak.
Topcoat: See Coat.
Topknot: A tuft of longer hair on top of the head.
Topline: The dog’s outline from just behind the withers to the tail set.
Topskull: See Crown.
Torso: The body.
Tottering gait: A swaying, feeble, unsteady gait.
Toy Breeds: A group of dogs characterized by very small size.
Toyishness: The character of very small size.
Trace: A dark stripe down the back of the Pug.
Tractable temperament: Easily controlled. See Biddable.
Trail: To hunt by following ground scent.
Trailing tail: A tail carried straight out behind, where it is less apt to become tangled in the harness of a sled.
Triangular eyes: The eye set in surrounding tissue of triangular shape; three-cornered eye. Illustration p. 807.
Triangular ears: V-shaped ears.
Trichiasis: An abnormal direction or turning in of the eyelash.
Tri-color: Three color; white, black, and tan.
Trim: To groom the coat by plucking, clipping, or scissoring.
Trimmings: See Furnishings.
Trot: A rhythmic two-beat diagonal gait in which the feet at diagonally opposite ends of the body strike the ground together, i.e., right hind with left front and left hind with right front.
Trousers: Longish hair at the back of both the upper and lower thighs of some breeds.
True front: See Straight front.
True ribs: The first nine pairs of ribs.
Trumpet: The slight depression or hollow on either side of the skull just behind the orbit or eye socket, comparable with the temple in humans.
Tuck-up: Characterized by markedly shallower body depth at the loin; smaller waisted.
Tufted tail: A tail with a plume of hair at the end.
Tulip ear: An ear carried erect with edges curving forward and in.
Turn-up: An uplifted face.
Turned over the back tail: An exaggerated squirrel or snap tail, but making contact along the back.
Tusks: See Canines.
Twisting hocks: A gaiting fault in which the hock joints twist both ways as they flex or bear weight. Also called “rubber hocks.”
Twisted tail: See Spirally twisted tail. Also, Curled tail.
Two-angle head: Diverging head planes when viewed in profile, in contrast to the desirable parallel head planes.
Type: The characteristic qualities distinguishing a breed; the embodiment of a standard’s essentials.
Ulna: One of the two bones of the forearm.
Umbrella: Synonymous with the veil, but shorter.
Unbalanced head: Incorrect, uneven proportions of skull and foreface.
Undercoat: The short, soft, dense hair that supports the outer coat.
Underline: The combined contours of the brisket and the abdominal floor.
Undershot: The front teeth (incisors) of the lower jaw overlapping or projecting beyond the front teeth of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed. Illustration p. 807.
Undulating: To rise and fall regularly.
Unilateral cryptorchid: See Cryptorchid.
Unsound: A dog physically incapable of performing the functions for which it was bred.
Ununited anconeal process: An inherited defect at the elbow joint.
Up-curve: Referring to the shape of the underline.
Up on leg: See High-stationed.
Upfaced: The lower jaw is positioned upward.
Upper arm: The humerus or bone of the foreleg, between the shoulder blade and the forearm, and associated tissue.
Upper thigh: The area between the hip joint above and the stifle below.
Upright ear: See Prick ear.
Upright pastern: Steep pasterns; the longitudinal axis approaches the perpendicular. The opposite of “Down in pastern.”
Upright shoulders: Steep in shoulders; straight in shoulders.
Utilitarian: Meant to be useful rather than beautiful.
Utility class: An obedience class for dogs who have won the title Companion Dog Excellent (CDX).
Variety: A division within a breed, based on size or coat type, approved by the AKC. Nine AKC breeds are divided into varieties: Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Dachshunds, Bull Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Chihuahuas, English Toy Spaniels, Poodles, and Collies.
Varminty: A keen, very bright, or piercing expression.
Veil: The portion of the dog’s forelock hanging straight down over the eyes or partially covering them.
Vent: The anal opening.
Ventral: The belly; opposite of dorsal.
Vertebra: One of the bones of the spinal column.
Vertebral column: The bones of the central axis of the dog behind the skull, including cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and caudal vertebrae.
Vine leaf ears: Ear leather that is shaped to resemble a vine leaf.
Waddling: A clumsy, tottering, and restricted hindquarter motion.
Waist: The narrowing of the body over the loins.
Walk: A gaiting pattern in which three legs are supporting the body at all times, each foot lifting from the ground one at a time in regular sequence.
Walleye: An eye with a whitish iris; a blue eye, fisheye, pearl eye.
Wasted motion: An inefficient movement created by most movement faults.
Weak hocks: Hock joints that are not normal or are deformed.
Weaselness: A body shape that is long and lean, with short legs.
Weather-resistant coat: A coat that is resistant to wet, cold, freezing weather.
Weaving gait: See Crossing over.
Webbed: Connected by a membrane. Webbed feet are important for water-retrieving breeds such as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Newfoundland.
Wedge-shaped head: A V-shaped or triangular head when viewed from above or in profile.
Weedy: An insufficient amount of bone; light bone.
Well-knit: Body sections that are firmly joined by well-developed muscles.
Well knuckled-up toes: See Cat foot.
Well laid back: Well-angulated shoulders.
Well let down: The hock is well let down when the rear pasterns are short.
Well padded toes: Deeply cushioned toe pads.
Well-proportioned: Correct balance between various parts of the body.
Wet neck: Loose or superfluous skin; with dewlap.
Wheaten: Pale yellow or fawn color.
Wheel back: A marked arch of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae; roached.
Wheel tail: See Making a wheel.
Whip tail: A tail carried out stiffly straight and pointed. Illustration p. 847.
Whiskers: The vibrissae or sensory organs (hair) on the sides of the muzzle.
Whitelies: White body color with red or dark markings, as in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Whorls: A ridge of hair growing in a circular pattern, as in the Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Wide thighs: The maximum development of upper thigh muscles.
Widow’s peak: A triangular marking on the hair of the forehead.
Wildboar: A mixture of black, brown, and gray.
Wind: To catch the scent of game.
Winging: A gaiting fault where one or both front feet twist outward as the limbs swing forward.
Winners: An award given at dog shows to the best dog (Winners Dog) and best bitch (Winners Bitch) competing in regular classes.
Wirehair: A coat of hard, crisp, wiry texture.
Withers: The region defined by the dorsal portions of the spinous processes of the first two thoracic vertebrae and flanked by the dorsal (uppermost) portions of the scapulae.
Withers separation: The space palpable between the scapulas vertebral borders at the withers region.
Wolf claw: A dewclaw on the hind leg.
Work a coat: A method of rolling or plucking the broken-coated terrier.
Working breeds: A group of dogs used to pull carts, guard property, and for search and rescue.
Working condition: An animal that is firm, well muscled, lean rather than plump.
Wrinkle: Loose, folding skin on forehead and foreface.
Wrist: The carpus; the joint between forearm and pastern on the front legs.
Wry mouth: An asymmetrical alignment of upper and lower jaws; cross bite.
Xiphoid process: The cartilage process of the sternum.
Zygomatic arch: A bony ridge extending posteriorly (and laterally) from beneath the eye orbit. Anatomically consists of two processes: zygomatic process of the maxilla and the maxillary process of the zygomatic bone.