Dog Term Glossary

From Dog Body Parts to Dog People's Descriptions of Dogs ~ What Does That Word Mean?

This is an incomplete list of Dog Terms, that is, words and phrases, people that have and work with dogs use to describe the dog or about the dog...most of the ones on this list pertain to German Shepherd Dogs. I will continue to work on this list that I put together. COPYRIGHTED!


AI: Artificial Insemination
AKC: The American Kennel Club. The Mother Club of all Full Blooded Pure Bred Dogs. Where Stud Books and Registration are kept.
Achilles Tendon: The large tendon attaching the muscle of the calf to the bone below the hock. The Hamstring. Also can be term can be used about a dog in a person's Kennel that does not breed well, that is throws pups not up to Standard.
Albino: Any animal, including Humans, that have a congenital deficiency of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. Expressed with very light skin, white hair, and pink eyes. White Shepherds are NOT Albinos.
Anus: No better way to say this than....the butt hole. Where the animal eliminates solids from their digestive track.
Angulation: The angles of the bone of a dog...more the Shoulders and Upper Arm (Front Angulation), and the Stifle and the Hock (Rear Angulation).
Apple Head: Dog with a domed or rounded head shape.
Apron: Frill, that is, longer hair, along the area of the dog just below the neck
Bad Bite 1: wryness or malformation of the jaw, incorrect dentition
Bad Bite 2: when an animal is bitten badly by another animal
Bad Mouth: teeth not meeting as the Standard of the Breed calls for
Balance: If a dog is described as Balanced, it is built well and correct. No larger or smaller parts that look out of balance to the rest of the body of the animal.
Barrel: The Ribs and Body of the dog. Many times a dog will be referred to as 'a barrel', meaning too thick and rounded, looking like the body is a Barrel
Beefy: over musculation or over development of the shoulders and or hindquarter
Bench or Benched Show: Conformation Shows where the animals are set up on or inside of Benches to be viewed there by the Judges
Best Of Breed: Conformational Best Dog, of all breeds, that represents is Standard for the Breed Best that day
Best Opposite Sex: After Best of Breed is selected, then they select a dog of the Opposite Sex to Award also
Best Of Winners: at a Conformation Dog Show, the best of the Breed that day
Bitch: The correct term for a Female Dog.
Bite 1: The way the mouth is set
Bite 2: when the dog has bitten something or someone
Bite 3: used in Shcutzhund terms to describe how the dog grabs the item it is 'after' ~ mouth strength
Birdy or Birdie: Use to describe dogs that are fully focused on finding or flushing or retrieving they were bred to do.
Birdie 2: Dog of a breed not bred for birds that is either attached to them, or 'not right in the head' when it comes to focus
Blaze: A White "Line" on the face, usually from Nose to the Occiput.
Bloom: sheen of the animal's coat, showing the animal's health and lustrous condition
Blue Ribbon Winner: Dog Show/Event Top Prize per class
Bowed In: Front legs are bowed in toward one another. Could be sign of the bone disease Rickets.
Bowed In: Front legs are bowed in toward one another. In the shape of a letter C, if you can think of it like that. Usually a sign of bad breeding or the disease Rickets.
Bowed Out: Front legs are bowed out from one another. Usually a sign of bad breeding or the disease Rickets.
Butterfly Nose: A Nose that is Spotted or Speckled with Lighter Coloring.
Brace: two dogs shown together in the Conformation Show Ring with one leash, that are very similar in size, markings, color and general appearance, they are to move together in unison
Breeder: This could be the Person that Breeds 2 Dogs together. It can also mean a dog that is kept for nothing other than Breeding/Breeder.
Breed: Pure Bred Dogs of a certain line that makes up the group. Known as Race in Humans
Brisket: The Breast or Lower Part of the Chest between the front legs of the dog. Sometimes this includes that area back a ways.
Broker: Used to be Pet Stores, that is the person/people that are the middle man between the people that own the litter and the puppy buyers.
Burr: The part of the inside of the dog's ear that is formed irregularly.
Canine: The bigger family of the like animals of dogs, wolves, fox, ext.
Canines or Canine Tooth or Teeth: The Fangs. The longer teeth on either side of the shorter front teeth. Used for tearing meat....and or toys.
Castrate: Surgically remove sexual organs from an animal
Cat Paws: Dog Front Feet that are shaped as Cat Paws are, that is Tight and High.
Chiseled: refers to the dog's muzzle, 'cut away' modeled or delicately in the front to conform to the Standard for the Breed ~ GSD, males are to look masculine, females, feminine
Courage Test: This is a series of tests to test the dog's courage. The tests are the very type that the CGC is set up around. It includes, but is not limited to, gun shooting, umbrella opening, a person walking up to the dog on a leash quickly
Character: Refers to the combination of appearance, behavior, and disposition of an animal.
Cheeky: A dog that has rounded muscular padding on the sides of the skull giving the dogs a 'cheeky' look to their face.
Chiseled: Clean cut appearance below the eyes
Chops: An animals mouth, jaws, lips, and inside the mouth cushion
Cloddy: Thickset, and or overly heavily built and low to the ground in build.
Close Coupled: dog' body is short through the loins
Cobby: compact, like a breed of horse, Cobs; Stout, Stocky, Short-Bodied, compactly built
Color and Markings: The dog's hair/coat coloring and patterns within it
Coupling: the loin, the flank; the part of the body that joins the hindquarters to the front of the animal
Condition: General Health. Also the 'frame work' of the dog's body.
Conformation: The build of a dog, usually accessed with a sideways view
Coat: The hair on an animal's body
Course: A dog that is lacking in refinement or elegance.
Cow Hocked: Back Legs Elbows/Knees turned in toward one another
Crabbing: you can see this best from the front as the animal moves toward you; the animal is not straight, the front is moving at an angel from the back; sidewinding, side-wheeling, like a vehicle out of alinment
Crate: Usually now, plastic or metal cage like box, for the dog. Not only a great training devise, but also dogs love the area of their own to retreat to and rest in. Sometimes wrongly called a "kennel"
Croup: the line of the dog, sideways, from the pelvis (just behind back from the last rib) to where the tail is set on the dog
Cryptorchid: Male dog with testicles that did not descend to the correct placement of the body. Not to be confused with a male dog that has been Neutered, that is, had their testicles removed surgically.
Courage Test: All GSD Puppies SHOULD be, but no longer are, tested for this before being sold to new owners. It is a series of tests to see how courageous the puppy or dog is. One of the tests is Gun Shots, very important if the dog is going into any sort of Service Work.
Dentition: the number of, kind, form, and arrangement of the animal's teeth
Deron Kazmaier: Von Kazmaier Kennel Owner; Keeper of all things Internet for the Kennel and other businesses. The one that you will deal with if you copy and paste this list put together by us to your own website
Dew Claws or Dewclaws: extra toes up and above the foot. Removed for safety and working purposes from puppies 2 days old while only attached by skin
Distemper Teeth: discolored and pitted teeth as a result from some febrile disease called Distemper
Distemper Teeth: discolored and pitted teeth the result from the awful diseases, distemper
Dry or Dry Mouthed: Heard a lot around Saint Bernard or Newfoundland owners, but refers to all breeds. Free from surplus skin around the mouth, lips, and or throat that can cause drooling.
Dog Bootie or Booties: Mostly used for Sled Dogs. Actual Booties for the dog's feet. Should always be worn on both feet front or back or all fours.
Dog Coat: How used? Could be the hair on the dog; but can also be the actual item of clothing, Dog Coat, cute and or functional
Dog Box: Usually Wooden (best for weather conditions) or Metal (can be hot and or cold) boxes on the back of a truck for the dog(s) to ride inside of. Safer for dogs than riding inside free in the vehicle
Dog House: A Wooden or Plastic little house made for the dogs side for times spent outside in a Kennel
Dog Truck: The vehicles used to transport dogs to events. Could be, used to be, an actual truck with boxes on the back for safe transportation of the animals
Down in/on the Paterns: Paterns bent too much, too much angle, for dog's legs or breed
Dry or Dry Mouthed: Tighter skin around the mouth, lips and throat
Dudly Nose: Brown or light colored nose, usually the dog has the same coloration around their eyes and light colored eyes Very incorrect for GSD
Easty Westy: Front Feet either turned in our out
Ewe Neck or Ewe Necked: Sheep like, thin, and upright neck with concave arch
Expression: More than just the look on the face. The combination of various features of the head and face; particularly the size, shape, placement of and color of eyes, coming together to complete the look of the dog's face. Important to Standard of the Breed(s)
Fangs: Canine Teeth
Fennel: Live plant used by dog owners to keep fleas away. There used to be a poem...."Fennel Around Your Kennel, Not A Flea You Will See"
Femur: The Heavy Bone of the True Thigh
Fetch: command to send the dog to pick something up: also what it is called when the dog goes and gets the item sent for
Fetlock or Fetlock Joint: incorrectly sometimes called "knee", the joint between the pattern and the lower arm
Fiddle Front: old breeders/competitors terms for animals with bent in and out fronts and front legs, can or not be bent bones, weak muscles and tendons involved
Flank: side of the animal's body through the loin area
Flews: the area of the dog's mouth, the lateral parts of the dog's upper lips: the 'chops'
Forearm: front leg of the animal, the area between the elbow and the pastern
Foxy 1: Fox like, sleek, moves smooth, full coat
Foxy 2: Very Clever, Very Cunning, Always Thinking
Foxy 3: Term for beauty
Front: all of the dog, except the head, when looking at it as the body is facing you
GSD: German Shepherd Dog
Guard Hairs: the longer, stiffer hairs that are between the undercoat of an animal
Gee: Used for Driving Dogs (sled dogs) and equine (horses, mules...) it means Right, or when command given to the animals, it means to 'Turn Right'. It is pronounced, Gee, like Gee Whiz.
German Shepherd: The INCORRECT name of the breed of the German Shepherd Dog. The word DOG is in the proper name of the Breed
Gun Shy: Dogs afraid of the sound of a gun going off and or other loud noises. GSD are tested for this before they can become Service or Police or Military Dogs.
Hackney Action: Refers to the dog's gait. A Hackney Action refers to a horse breed that has a very high front step. It is a waist of energy in a dog.
Haw 1: third eyelid also called, Nictitating Membrane
Haw 2: "Go Left" command for Sled Dogs or Mule Team
Hare Foot/Feet: long, narrow, close toed front feet; front feed that look like Hare's Feet (hares usually have longer, more narrow feet than rabbits)
Heat Season: When a Bitch is in her Breeding Cycle.
Height: vertical distance from ground to the top of the animal's withers
Hock: Like a human's ankle, on the back leg of the dog, the lower joint
Hound Ears: Ears that hang from each side of the top of the dogs head. Correct in a Hound Dog, incorrect in dog's with ears that are to become erect.
Humerus: the upper 'arm' (front leg) bone
Incisors: front teeth
Kennel (1): A Breeder or Trainer's Group Of Dogs, or the Business of Dogs. Reputable HAVE a Kennel Name. Usually refers to three or more dogs.
Kennel (2): The correct name for the larger cages dogs are kept in. Many times only used during Bitches Heat Seasons when dogs need to be separated so that their breedings can be controlled and correct.
Kennel Blind: People who do not see their own dog's faults. Usually a Breeder who's puppies do not "measure up" to the Standard for the Breed.
Leader: In sled dog terms a dog that has the sense and strength of temperament to lead the pack/team
Leather: skin of the dog's ears
Lippy: A dog that has too much, that is too thick or too large of lips for it's breed.
Lions: Part of the body that is either side of the animal's spinal column between the hipbone and the last small rib
Markings: Pattern within the coat of the dog, such as a black saddle or black markings on the brown face
Marna: owner of VonKazmaier as well as writer and copyrighter of this list
Minus 20: This is said about the Breeder or Owner of Large Dogs that adds 20 pounds to their real weight when talking about them. Somehow they think it makes them sound better than their actual weights. So every time they mention their dog's weight, you 'Minus 20 (pounds)'.
Molar Tooth: The teeth, on each side of the animal's mouth made for grinding food, set at the back of the mouth
Monorchid: Male animal with one testicle not decented. May or may not be fertile. Can cause health problems later in life.
Muzzle: The part of an animals face that is in front of the eyes.
Neck Line: The piece of equipment that holds two or more dogs together by their collars. Used in Sled Dog Teams and for Walking more than one dog on one leash.
Neuter or Neutering: Cutting the Testicles off a male dog to render it sterile and uninterested in breeding. Should not be done to early in life, animals need those hormones to grow correctly. Neutering large dogs too soon can lead to Hip Dysplaicia.
Nictitating Membrane: a thin membrane at the inner part of the eye, or beneath the lower lid of the eye. In some breeds needs to be removed to improve appearance. When inflamed called 'Cherry Eye'.
Nice Pet: Dog that has a nice temperament/personality, but does not comply to the Standard of the Breed for the Breed it was bred into.
Olfactory: Referring to the Dog's Sense of Smell. Some dogs are keener than others.
Out At The Elbows: Elbows of the dog turned out away from the dog's body, the dog is then usually 'pigeon toed' when this is seen
Overshot: Refers to a dog's mouth set with teeth. Overshot is when the top line of teeth are forward, not forming a correct bite. Also called 'Pig Jawed'.
Pace: Gait when an animal lifts both feet from the same side at the same time
Pad: Bottom and the Leather of the bottom of the dog's paws.
Pedigree: The dog's linage. In Human Terms, Genealogy - Family Tree
Period of Gestation: the 63 days that a dog is pregnant
Pick Of The Litter: This is when a person gets to pick their puppy out of a litter first. It is a matter of opinion and just because one person's pick is made, does not make that the BEST pup in the litter.
Pigeon Toed: Foot/Toes turn in toward the other foot, as a pigeon's feet do on a perch
Pinch Collar: Training Collar for the dog's neck that is made up of links that have prongs in toward the neck. It gives the dog a 'pinch' when the dog is corrected. The collar looks much worse than it is. This collar is less sever than the Choke Collar.
Plus 5: This is said about Breeders or Owners of Small Dogs that take 5 pounds off their actual weight when describing their dogs. Somehow they think it makes their dogs sound cuter, or more desirable than the actual weight of the dogs. Every time they talk about their dog's weights, you "Plus 5 (pounds)".
Prey Drive 1: Used to describe a dog's focus on it's work
Prey Drive 2: Used for an excuse for a dog that is viscous. Usually told to people as, "Watch out, he/she has a 'high prey drive'".
Prick Ears: Ears that stand up on the head of the dog....think, like a wolf's do.
Quarters: Refers to both of the hind 'quarters', that is hip area, of the dog. Also "Hind Quarters".
Roach Back: A Deformity found in Show Ring GSD for many years. (Thank God they are working away from it!) And Arched or Convex Spine. Unattractive and takes away from ability to work.
Roman Nose: Convex Curved Top Line of an animal's or person's Nose
Runt: Smallest Puppy In A Litter. Does not reflect the size of the dogs full grown. Many times this pup is larger than most others in litter. Nutrition Matters!
Saddle: in dog terms this is the black markings in the dog's coat that sit on it's body as a saddle would upon a horse's back
Scapula: Shoulder Bone
Scissor Bite: Referring to how the dog's upper and lower teeth meet, Scissor Bite is correct, with the tops just over the bottoms.
Sickle Tail: Term used for dog's tail that curl back up over their backs.
Scoring: This is the Physical Act of running your hands down each side of the dog. A dog that is correctly built and fed, you will be able to 'feel the ribs, but not see them'.
Show Dog: Used for dogs that compete in the Conformation Show Ring. OR, a Slang Among Dog People for "Pretty but Stupid".
Slab Sides: Flat build to the sides of the dog, flatly laid rib cage
Snipey, or sometimes, Snippy: When an animal's face is narrow and or pointed and weak
Snow Nose: Dogs Noses that lightens up in color in the Winter Months. Usually more of a wide stripe down the middle of it.
Spay: Neutering of a Female Dog. A Surgery to remove her reproductive organs. Done too early in life can cause Hip Dysplacia. Animals need those hormones to grow correctly.
Specialty Show: Single Animal Breed Show. Only one defined breed competes.
Spring: Used to describe the roundness of rig cage
Stack (to stack) or Stacked: Conformational Trick. Stacking is when a dog is moved into place before photos to correct the natural faults the dog has. ie, if the dog is 'toed in' the owner/handler corrects that with foot movement before photos...
Stifle 1 or Stifle Joint: hind leg joint what we call 'knee' in a human
Stifle 2: for some reason, when I was a kid, 'Stifle It!' meant to shut up/quiet
Straight Shoulders: in GSD, shoulders that are more than 90 degree or in an upright position
Straight Hocks: Hocks lacking bend/correct angulation
Stop: dog's muzzle between the eyes, the depression or step up
Substance: Strength of the skeleton also the weight of solid muscles
Sway Back: spine that sags in toward the dog's body, think old horse that has carried too much weight for years ~ Sway Back is a genetic deformity, but can be caused by over loading an animals back while working, over years
Swing Dog: Sled dog term. Usually two dogs, the two right behind the leaders. These dogs need to have strong temperaments, and need to hold some independent thinking/smart to hold the spot.
Team Dog: Mostly a Sled Dog Term. This is a good working dog. But not one that is a Leader.
Therapy Dog: Certified Dogs that visit the old, the sick and the tired
Temperament: basically personality; How the dog reacts to situations
Thin Leather: dogs with thin skin on their ears. On Prick Earred Dogs this makes their ears either not stand or weak, flopping when they move about
Thorax: area on the dog's body between the neck and abdomen, supported by ribs and sternum
Throw Back: Refers to a puppy that does not measure up the the parents conformation and or temperament, usually it expresses faulty features of a dog in it's pedigree 3 generations back ~ also used to describe a dog that has 'wolf like' characteristics
Type: the characteristics it was breed for to look like the Standard of the Breed that it was bred into
Typey: Conformation term. Usually used to describe the type of dog that the judges are looking for to place in ribbons
Undercoat: short, fine hair that is covered by courser, longer hair on an animal's body
Undershot: when the upper teeth/jaw is shorter than the lower set, when the mouth is shut the lower jaw sticks out further than the upper
Upper Arm: front legs are called 'arms' on animals. Upper arm is the part from the elbow to the shoulder
VonKazmaier: GSD Breeders that own this list and this website. Marker here for copyright
Weaving: refers to an animal's gait seen best when they are coming toward you. This is when they place one front foot crossing over the other as they move forward. Usually seen in walking and trotting
Weak Pastern: The Wrist Area of the dog should be upright to different degrees of angles. A Weak Pastern is one where the pastern is down too far. It is not only unattractive, it is a weakness for the dog.
Wheel Dog: Mostly a Sled Dog Term. It can mean that hard working, strong as an ox, dog that has the position back near the sled. The dogs that work the hardest when the sled turns corners. It can also be used as a kind of a joke between those that can mean an over sized dog that would not be good for much more.
Worming or Wormed: Incorrect use of the word or term for DE-WORMING. This is when a person gives the correct medications to a dog to remove worms from their bodies. Using the terms, Wormed or Worming sounds as if they are putting worms into the dogs.
Working Dog: Dogs that have real jobs, compete, and or are certified and or titled in the job they perform

10 x 8 1/2: The German Shepherd Dog has a longer body than it is tall. It is referred to by 10 x 8 1/2. Think of a piece of paper that size turned with the 10 side sideways.

Every Breed of Dog has it's "Followers", "Fanciers". And with that, their own Terms about that particular Breed. I am not trying to have every Dog Term Here. Just terms you might run into, in general and with the Breed of The German Shepherd Dogs....and a few more to boot.

more coming soon and ever/often worked on....

The contents of this page for Dog Term Glossary is still under construction. Please check back later!

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-- The Working German Shepherd Dogs Team
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:43:10 -0500

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