Dog Dictionary and Common Language Jargon

Action --- Gait of dog, the way it walks, trots or runs.

AFC --- Amateur Field Champion; dog has won a trial handled by an amateur.

Agility --- tests a dogs physical ability and speed going over a course with elevated walks, A-frames, teeter toters, tunnels, jumps, and more. The canine version of the US Marine obstacle course! Loads of fun for man and dog. A great way to introduce young dogs to obedience; control and responsiveness to commands and attention to detain, balanced by to great fun with the obstacles. My personal favorite type of field/obedience activity.

All-Breed Show --- Show given by an all-breed kennel club.

American Bred --- The dog was born in the United States.

Angulation --- The angle at which the bones meet at the joint; applied especially to the shoulder, hip, stifle and hock joints.

Apple head --- Round or dome-shaped skull.

Apron --- Long hair on the chest of dog.

Arm band --- A stiff paper band bearing the number of your entry, worn around the left arm.

Articles --- Cotton gloves and metal objects (often dumbbells) which are used in the scent discrimination exercises in utility level obedience.

AX --- Agility Excellent

Back --- The vertebrae between the shoulder and the tail.

Bad mouth --- Crooked or unaligned teeth; jaw over or undershot in excess of what is required by the standard for particular breed.

Bait --- Goodies used to keep a dog alert in the ring. Usually cooked liver.

Baiting --- Tantalizing a dog with a tidbit to make him "show."

Balance --- Over-all proportion of the dog, indicating the symmetry of its conformation.

Barrel ribs --- Ribs that follow a circular line of approximately the same arc from the brisket back along the spinal column; barrel-shaped.

Bat ears --- Large, erect ears, such as those of a French Bulldog.

Beard --- The profuse whisker growth on the muzzle and chin.

Beefy --- Grossly overdeveloped.

Belton --- Intermingling of colored and white hairs; blue, lemon or orange

Benched show --- Show where all the dogs entered are assigned space in a given area on the "benching" and are required to stay there for the day, so that spectators can find an example of the breed any time during the day, not just at the breed's scheduled ring time. Benched shows have become quite rare.

Benched --- Type of dog show where all entries must remain on display on their predesignated benches during the hours of the show.

Bite --- Relation between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are closed.

Blaze --- White or colored streak down center of head between the eyes.

Blocky --- Square formation of head.

Bloom --- Coat in healthy, lustrous condition.

Blue merle --- Blue and gray mixed with black coat

Bobtail --- Naturally tailless.

Bodied up --- Mature; well developed.

Brace --- Brace competition, two dogs of the same breed are shown at one time by one handler; this pair is judged on overall quality as well as similarity to each other.

Brace --- Two dogs of the same breed; a matched pair. Also means to stand firm.

Bracelets --- Bands of long hair left around the legs in certain poodle show clips, as prescribed in the breed standard.

Bred By Exhibitor --- owned and handled by the breeder.

Breeching --- Tan-colored hair inside the thighs.

Brindle --- Irregular black-striped coat markings on a lighter-colored background, usually fawn, red or brown.

Brisket --- Lower part of the rib cage between the forelegs, the depth or shallowness of which is usually judged in relation to the elbows.

Burr --- Inner formation of ear.

Buttocks --- Fleshy part of rump.

Button ear --- Ear folding forward, tip close to skull, leather short.

Campaign --- A dog which is a champion, which is being shown at the Best of Breed and Group level is called a 'special'; he is being 'specialed'. A dog being 'heavily specialed' is being 'campaigned'.

Canadian Bred --- The dog was born in Canada.

Canines --- Two upper and two lower fang-like teeth just behind incisors.

Cat-foot --- Short, round, compact, highly-arched foot.

CD --- Companion Dog, the lowest obedience competition title. Includes sitting, heeling, lying down, come, stay, stand exercises.

CDX --- the intermediate obedience title, Companion Dog Excellent; includes the former plus jumping over hurdles and broad jumps, and retrieving over jumps.

CGC --- Canine Good Citizen; a certificate and title given to dogs who pass minimal standards for "good behavior".

CH --- Champion of Record - a dog which has earned a championship in conformation.

Chalking --- Altering the natural color or texture of a dog's coat by means of chemicals or dyes, or by using any foreign substance such as chalk, hence the name.

Champion of Record --- A dog having won the prescribed number of championship points, whose title has been verified by the American Kennel Club.

Character --- A dog's personality and disposition, as identified with its breed.

Cheek --- Fleshy part of side of head below eyes, back and above mouth.

Cheeky --- Round, protruding cheeks.

Chest --- The rib cage; the forepart of the body between the shoulder blades, extending to the last rib.

Chipped --- Micro chipped; bionic dogs identified with an electronic id chip.

Chiseled --- Clean-cut in head, particularly beneath eyes.

Choke --- Kind of collar; tension tightens the collar so the dog cannot back out and get loose; may be metal or nylon.

Chops --- Pendulous jaws.

Classes --- those categories in conformation showing which dogs which are not Champions enter.

Clip --- Method of trimming the coat of certain breeds.

Cloddy --- Thickset or overly heavy.

Close-coupled --- Short from last rib to hip bone.

Close behind --- Moving with hocks close together, but not necessarily cow-hocked.

Closing date --- the date after which entries for a show will no longer be accepted. Usually 3 weeks before the show date; in 'limited' entry shows - usually due to space at the show site - shows may close earlier, once the 'limit' of entries is reached. Limited shows should be entered early.

Coarse --- Lacking in refinement; cloddy.

Cobby --- Short bodied; compact

Collar --- Marking around neck, usually white.

Common --- Lacking elegance; not typical; coarse.

Conformation --- Physical make-up.

Conformation --- competition in structure to determine soundness and degree to which the dog conforms to the Breed Standard. No rigorous training required, basically good manners and a few special tricks of the trade to help the dog look his best.

Coupling --- Length of body, long or short, best indicated by the distance between the last rib and the hip bones.

Cow-hocked --- Weak hock joints turned toward each other, causing feet to turn out.

Crabbing --- Same as side wheeling.

Crate --- cage.

Crated --- A dog confined to its crate.

Crest --- Upper arched portion of neck.

Cropped --- The ear leather trimmed to a point and standing erect.

Croup --- The rear portion of the back above the tail.

Crown --- Highest part of the skull.

Culotte --- Longer hair on back of thighs.

Cushion --- Fullness of upper lips.

DC --- Dual Champion (FC and CH).

Dew claws --- Extra claws inside of legs.

Dewlap --- Loose skin under throat.

Dish-faced --- Nose higher at tip than at stop, with slight concave line between.

Disqualification --- Disciplinary action taken against an exhibitor, either to bar him from future competition or to nullify an award made at a show where an infraction was committed.

Dock --- To surgically shorten a dog's tail.

Domed --- Evenly rounded top skull.

Double handling --- Keeping the dog alert during the judging by having someone attract its attention from outside the ring.

Down-faced --- Muzzle tilting downward, Roman nose.

Down in pastern --- Weak or faulty pastern joints; flat-footed.

Drive --- A solid thrusting action of the hind quarters, denoting sound locomotion.

Drop ears --- Long, soft, pendulous ears that hang flat and close to head.

Dry neck --- Skin taut, neither loose nor wrinkled.

Dudley nose --- Flesh- or liver-colored nose.

Dumped --- Applied to a favored dog that has not placed, usually competing in Best of Breed or Variety, or Group competition.

Ear fringes --- Long silky hair on edges of ears.

Elbow --- Joint between upper arm and forearm.

Elbowing out --- Turning elbows out from body; not held close to sides.

Entire --- Having two testicles descended in the scrotum.

Even bite --- Meeting of front teeth at edges with no overlap of upper or lower teeth.

Ewe-necked --- Concave curvature of the neck line; weak neck.

Ex -- not a former spouse; short for exercise, a euphemism for taking the dog out to perform its eliminatory functions.

Expression --- General appearance of the head, eyes and ears denoting alertness and intelligence.

Fall --- Hair overhanging face.

Fault --- Any characteristic that deviates from the "ideal" as expressed in the breed standard.

FC --- Field Champion; Field Trial (sporting) or Lure Coursing (sight hounds).

Feathering --- Longer hair fringe on ears, legs, tail.

Fiddle face --- Long, thin, snipey, pinched foreface.

Fill --- Fullness beneath the eyes; not chiseled out.

Finish --- in obedience, a command which sends the dog to sit at the exhibitor's side; otherwise, to finish a Championship or other title. "Is he finished?".

Finished --- A dog that has gained the necessary number of points for its championship (a champion).

Flag --- Long fringe on the tail, usually trimmed to a point.

Flank --- The lower part of the body between the last rib and the hips.

Flat-sided --- Flat in ribs; lacking proper roundness through the ribs, chest.

Flews --- Lips which are pendulous, particularly at inner corners.

Flexi --- a popular type of spring loaded leash for exercising dogs.

Flicking pasterns --- An extremely loose movement of the lower forelegs, considered a fault in all breeds.

Forearm --- Foreleg between elbow and pastern.

Foreface --- Muzzle in front of eyes.

French front --- Forelegs close together at the pasterns and sticking out at the elbows, with the feet turned out at a 45-degree angle, a bad fault in most breeds.

Frill --- Long hair on chest.

Fringes --- Longer hair on ears, tail, legs.

Front --- Forepart of body, forelegs, chest, brisket, shoulders.

Full eye --- Round, slightly protruding eye.

Fun Match --- A popular misnomer for an AKC Sanctioned Match.

Futurity --- Another non-regular set of classes (similar to sweepstakes) which do not contribute to point totals or make a dog eligible for the 'winners' class. For futurities, the mother of a litter is nominated and a fee paid before she whelps a litter, the litter is entered in it's first 6 months of life, and individuals are entered at the normal time for show entries; builds up a sum of money - virtually the only way in dogs that money can occasionally be won!

Gait --- Leg action when a dog is moving in any designated manner.

Gay tail --- Tail carried over back line.

Greyhound - A breed of dog and a kind of metal comb

Grizzle --- Intermingling of white hairs with a base coat.

Hackney --- An abnormally high action of the front legs, usually indicating lack of drive. Although it is a desired gate in some breeds.

Handler --- person who shows dogs for other people; professional handler. May also board, train and groom their charges, or may pick the dog up at the ringside from the owner.

Harefoot --- Long, close-toed, narrow foot.

Harlequin --- Large, irregular black patches on a solid white background.

Harsh coat --- Stiff, wiry coat.

Haw --- Third eyelid inside the inner corner of the eye.

Height --- Measurement from withers to ground.

Herding --- dogs are tested on instinct and training; ability to gather, contain and drive sheep. Months to years of training working with sheep. Travel usually required just for sheep access and training.

HI --- Herding Intermediate - the above at a somewhat higher level, with part of the course being run with the handler at a moderate distance from the dog.

High stationed --- Tall and upstanding with plenty of leg.

Hip Dysplasia --- Hip dysplasia and subluxation refer to a wide aspects of congenital abnormalities of the hip joint, such as a deformed head of femur, or an enlargement or shallowing of the acetabulum, creating a loosely fitting joint and resulting in varying degrees of lameness and immobility.

Hocks --- The area between the hock joint and the front foot.

Hound ears -- Long, pendulous leathers.

Hound mark --- Tri-color; white, tan and black.

HS --- Herding Started- ability to gather and move sheep through gates and chutes, handler working close to dog.

HT --- Herding Tested; involves the dog's ability to move sheep and change their direction, while being responsive to the handlers control.

Huckle bones --- Top of hipbones.

Hunting --- Dogs are tested on retrieving, pointing, flushing, quartering and general steadiness, involving the sound of a starter's pistol and retrieving on land and in water. Different breeds - setters, pointers, retrievers, etc. specialize in one or more of the above skills. Months or years of training. A very large time commitment.

HX --- Herding excellent - the dog works well away from the handler at all times.

Jacket --- The tight body coat of a terrier.

JC - Junior Courser.

JE --- Junior Earthdog.

JH --- Junior Hunter; 4 qualifying legs at the beginning level.

Jowls --- Flesh of lips and jaws.

Junior --- Junior handler; competitive classes in different age divisions are offered for young people who are judged on their handling skills, not on their dog.

Kink tail --- Sharply bent tail.

Knuckled over --- Bent out at the pasterns.

Layback of Shoulders --- Angle of the scapula bone in relation to the forearm.

Leather --- Ear flap.

Leggy --- Extremely long-legged.

Level bite --- Front teeth of upper and lower jaws meeting edge to edge.

Loaded shoulders --- Over development of shoulder muscles.

Loin --- Region on either side of vertebral column between last ribs and hindquarters.

Loose leash --- Dog under minimum restraint.

Loose movement --- Erratic action due to poor muscle development.

Low-slung --- Close to the ground; short-legged.

Low-set --- Base of tail not on straight line with back, set lower or below level of topline.

Low-set ears --- Ears set or attached to side of head rather than on top.

Lower thigh --- Stifle to hock.

Lumber --- Overweight.

Lumbering --- Moving in an ungainly manner.

Mane --- Profuse hair growth on back of neck.

Mantle --- Darker part of coat on shoulders, back, sides.

Martingale - type of show lead.

Mask --- The black muzzle on certain breeds.

ME --- Master Earthdog.

Merle --- Interspersed black-blue-gray coat coloring.

MH --- Master Hunter; qualifying legs at the highest level of difficulty.

Monorchid --- A male dog with only one testicle descended into the scrotum, a disqualification.

Muzzle --- The foreface below the eye, nasal bone, nostril and jaws.

MX --- Master Agility.

NA --- Novice Agility.

NAFC --- National Field Champion; dog has won a trial in competition with both amateur and professional handlers.

Nostril -- External opening of nose.

Novice --- a dog which has not won points at a dog show.

OA --- Open Agility.

Obedience --- competition involving heeling, commands such as "come", "sit", "stay", "down", jumping over hurdles, finding an article scented by the handler, and much more. May be easily mastered in steps of increasing difficulty, without special equipment or unreasonable time involvement. Many levels, may be enjoyed for years.

Objection --- A protest lodged against an exhibit for a supposed infraction.

Occiput --- Highest point of the back skull.

Official measurement ---The height of a dog as determined and recorded by the official measuring committee at a show. Done when there is any doubt as to whether an exhibit conforms to the size requirements of the breed standard. May be requested either by the judge in the ring, or by the owner before commencement of judging.

Open --- any dog eligible to show under AKC rules.

OTCH --- Obedience Trial Champion.

Otter tail --- Tail thick at root, round, and tapering, hair parted or divided on underside.

Out at shoulder --- Loosely jointed shoulder blades.

Out at elbows --- Elbows visibly turned out from the body.

Overhang --- Heavy, pronounced brow.

Overshot --- Front teeth of upper jaw overlapping front teeth of under jaw when mouth is closed.

Owner-handler --- The actual owner of the dog is the person taking him in the ring and presenting him to the judge, rather than a professional handler; breeder-owner-handler means that this person also bred the dog, didn't simply purchase it. A mark of prestige if the dog wins impressively, in that he did it without the benefit of a 'professional handler', e.g. he did it on his own. However, it is definitely the case that many owner-handlers are just as skilled as the best professional handlers.

Pacing --- Moving the legs on each side of the body simultaneously in the same direction.

Paddling --- A loose, flicking motion of the forelegs, denoting lack of reach.

Parti-color --- Variegated in patches of two or more colors.

Pastern --- Bones forming joint between radius and ulna; metacarpal between forearm and top of foot.

Penciling --- Black lines dividing tan on toe.

Phillips System --- System which allots points for wins in Group or Best in Show competition, consistent with the actual number of dogs beaten. Developed in 1956 by Mrs. Irene Castle Phillip, a prominent judge, the now famous Phillips System was copyrighted by Popular Dogs, and is compiled annually by the Editor of that magazine.

Pigeon-toed --- Toes turning in or pointing toward each other.

Pin Brush --- type of brush with straight wire teeth.

Pincer bite --- Front teeth meet edge to edge.

Plain --- Nondescript, unappealing.

Plume --- Feathery tail carried over back.

Points --- Color on face, ears, legs, tail, usually white, black, or tan; also Championship points.

Poke --- To carry the neck stretched forward in an abnormally low, ungainly position, usually when moving.

Pompon --- Rounded tuft of hair left on end of tail when coat is clipped.

Pooper Scooper --- Either the self-explanatory item of equipment or the person wielding it!

Poor --- Out of condition.

Premium List --- It the show catalog you can purchase at the show. It contains who is showing and when and where any who is judging.

Pricked ears --- Ears that are naturally erect.

PT --- Pre-Trial Tested.

Pull the stick --- To ask for an official measurement.

Punishing --- Relates to strong, powerful jaws.

Puppy --- 6 months to 1 year of age.

Put down --- To condition or prepare for the show ring; also means unplaced in competition.

Quit --- To stop "showing" before the judging of the class is finished.

Racy --- Long-legged, and of comparatively slight build.

Rangy --- Long-bodied, usually lacking depth in chest.

Rat tail --- Tail thick at the root, tapering to a fine point, the tip devoid of hair.

Reach of front --- The length of forward stride taken by the forelegs without excessive or wasted motion. Not to be confused with hackneying.

Resco --- type of show lead, manufactured of strip of Naugahide.

Rig --- anything from a mini-van with the seats out to a high top van with roof air, awning and crate Benching, to Greyhound Bus size motor homes.

Ring tail -- Tail carried up and around, almost in circle.

Ring steward --- The judge's factotum, responsible for organizing the competitors for the judge and giving out the arm bands.

Ringside --- Just what is sounds like, standing by the show ring.

Ringsiding --- Delivering your dog to a professional handler just before going into the ring. The handler does not board, groom, train, or carry this dog in their 'rig'.

Roach back --- Convex curvature of back toward loin.

Roan -- Fine mixture of colored hair with white hair.

Rocking horse --- Both the font and rear legs extended out from the body after the fashion of an old-time rocking horse.

Rolling gait --- Swaying, ambling action of the hind quarters while moving.

Roman nose --- High bridge forming slightly convex line from forehead to nose tip.

Rose ear --- A small drop ear, folding over and back to reveal the burr.

Ruff --- Thick, longer hair growth around neck.

Running sheet --- Judging schedule.

Saber tail --- Tail carried low and curving slightly at the end.

Sable --- Lacing of black hair in or over lighter base color.

Saddle --- Black marking over back.

SC --- Senior Courser.

Scapula --- Shoulder blade.

Scissors bite --- Upper teeth slightly projecting beyond lower teeth, fitting tightly like scissors.

Screw tail --- Short tail naturally twisted in spiral formation.

SE --- Senior Earthdog.

Self-color --- One color or whole color except for lighter shadings.

Semi-pricked ears Erect ears folded at tip.

Set up --- A dog that has been stacked.

SH - Senior Hunter; more qualifying legs at the intermediate level.

Shown free --- Refers to a dog being handled on a loose leash.

Sickle tail --- Tail carried out and up in semi-circle.

Side wheeling --- Moving diagonally, with the feet out of line; also referred to as "crabbing."

Skully --- Thick and coarse through skull.

Slicker --- type of brush with short bent wire teeth.

Snipey --- Weak, pointed muzzle.

Snood --- an elasticized cylinder of cloth, slips over the head of crocker, afghans, etc. to keep their ears out of food and water; often a fashion statement.

Soundness -- The state of the dog's mental and physical condition.

Sparring --- Allowing two dogs to face up to each other, to test their mettle. Usually favored by terrier judges.

Spayed --- Female whose ovaries have been removed surgically.

Special --- Champion of Record, being shown at the Best of Breed, Group, BIS level.

Special --- A champion, usually competing in Best of Breed or Variety class, which was formerly known as the "Specials" class.

Specialty --- Show given for just one breed of dog and sponsored by a "breed club".

Spectacles --- Shadings or dark markings over or around eyes, or from eyes to ears.

Spinner --- A dog that continually spins round in a tight circle.

Square --- Height at withers equal to the length from withers to rump.

Squirrel tail --- Tail carried curving forward over the back.

Stacking --- Posing the dog in such a way as to improve his appearance.

Standard --- the description of a breed which enables breeders and judges to evaluate the quality of an individual dog; AKC Breed Standard.

Stifle --- Joint of hind leg between thigh and second thigh; the knee portion of the rear leg.

Stilted --- Choppy up-and-down gait associated with steep shoulders and straight stifles.

Stop --- Step-up from nose to skull, or indentation between eyes where nasal bone and skull meet.

Straight-hocked --- Little or no angulation at hock joints; straight behind.

Strip --- To groom by plucking the hair. Applies mainly to terriers.

Stripper --- blade for plucking the coat (terriers).

Strung up --- A dog held on an abnormally tight leash, either while moving or in a stationary position.

Subluxation --- The displacement of certain joints; dislocation. (See Hip Dysplasia.)

Substance --- Bone throughout.

Swayback --- Back sagging in the middle; a weak back .

Sweepstakes --- special classes held in conjunction with Specialty shows and some others, for 6 to 18 month old puppies and young adults; not a regular class, does not have a "winners" class, no points are awarded for competition.

Tack box --- Whatever you carry all your grooming gear in .

TC --- Triple Champion (CH, FC, OTCH) .

TD --- Tracking Dog, title involving scent discrimination in the field, i.e. outdoors over a distance.

TDX --- Tracking Dog Excellent.

Team -- Four of a kind of same breed.

Throatiness --- Excess loose skin under throat.

Thumb-marks --- Black spots on pasterns.

Ticked --- Comparatively small isolated areas of black or colored hair on white background.

Timber --- Bone, especially of legs.

To show --- To give an eye-catching performance during judging.

To get up --- To prepare for exhibition.

To pass over --- To ignore.

To put up --- To award first place to usually applied to Best of Breed or Variety, or Group, or Best in Show competition.

Top and tail --- To show a dog while holding it on a short leash with one hand, and by the tail with the other.

Topknot --- Tuft of hair on top of head.

Topline --- The back, from the withers to the tail.

Trace --- Dark stripe down back.

Tricolor --- Three-color, white, black, and tan.

Trim --- To remove surplus hair to improve the appearance.

Tuck-up --- Belly tucked up under loins; small-waisted.

Typey --- Displaying the essential distinguishing qualities of any given breed as relation to the Standard for that Breed.

UD --- Utility Dog, highest level of obedience, including all of the former and scent discrimination. Good training for drug sniffing and search and rescue dogs.(See "Articles").

UDX --- Utility Dog Excellent.

Undershot --- Front teeth of lower jaw overlapping or projecting beyond front teeth of upper jaw when mouth is closed.

Veteran --- a non - regular class, available if stated in premium list, usually at specialty shows; age varies with breed, often 7 years and older.

VST --- Variable Surface Tracker, good training for drug sniffers and search and rescue dogs.

Walleye --- Blue eye; fish or pear eye. Quite acceptable in certain breeds.

Water Hole --- water bowl designed to keep ears and whiskers dry.

Weedy --- Lacking sufficient amount of bone.

Weight to the rear --- A method of improving the appearance of a dog's action by keeping the leash so taut that the front feet barely touch the ground. When done correctly, the dog appears to have good reach of front and drive behind.

Well let down --- Having short hocks.

Wet neck --- Loose and superfluous skin; with dewlap.

Wheaten --- Pale yellow or fawn color.

Wheels --- a flat, wheeled dolly, made to transport crates, grooming tables and other gear in from your car.

Whiskers --- Long hair on chin and muzzle.

Wirehaired --- Hard, crisp coat; wiry texture.

Withers --- Peak of first dorsal vertebrae; highest part of body just behind the neck.

Wrinkle --- Loose, folding skin on forehead and/or foreface.

X- Pen --- wire panels joined to make a light weight, moveable enclosure about 4' by 4' and of varying height. Allows dogs crated for a period of time to get out and stretch their legs without a lead on.


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Rose Edwards
Ojibwa Yorkies
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