Morphological nomenclature of the dog

main terms

dog morphology

In this chapter we will explain the main morphological terms related to our dog friend:

  • withers : region of the body corresponding to the first dorsal vertebrae. It is the highest point of the dog's back and is made up of the first 5 dorsal vertebrae. It is important not only because it is the point where the dog's height is measured, but above all because it is one of the cornerstones of the movement. On these vertebrae the cervical muscles and the lumbar back muscles are inserted and those that are inserted on the scapula for the forelimbs. A short and low withers leads to gait defects. In very young dogs the withers are not yet well detectable.

  • height at the withers : measure of the dog from the withers to the ground.

  • nose : it is the terminal part of the nose, which is commonly and erroneously identified with the nose itself. Covered with mucosa, it is the seat of the nostrils. It is a sensory organ of great importance, through which smells are perceived. It must be well developed, well pigmented and with large nostrils. It is good that it is cold and humid. The nose is also a type character, since its shape and the position it occupies with respect to the bridge of the nose vary according to the breed

  • stifle : joint consisting of the thigh, leg and patella.

  • fold of the stifle : skin fold that extends from the joint of the stifle to the side

  • carpus : skeletal part of connection between arm and metacarpus. It must be broad and strong because the flexor tendons fit into it

  • tarsus : the bones of the tarsus are the anatomical part of the hock

  • metatarsus : region of the hind limbs that connects the tarsus to the foot, having the metatarsal bones as its anatomical basis. It must be solid, dry and perpendicular to the ground


Endocrine system of the dog


Dog skeletal system


Integumentary system of the dog


Cardiocirculatory system of the dog


Respiratory system of the dog


Digestive system of the dog

Portaombrelli design Luca Perlini

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