As a veterinary student or animal lover, it is very important to know the different body parts of a dog. Though it is a very basic topic, it is great for a veterinarian to describe a dog’s conformation. Here, I will discuss the external parts of a dog and their functions with a diagram.
Again, I will show you the different regions and subregions of a dog’s body. You will find the list of the important organs from different regions of the dog’s body at the end of this article. So, if you are interested in being familiar with the terminology of dog body parts, continue this article till the end.
Parts of a dog
Knowledge of the external anatomy or different parts of a dog is essential for recognizing the breed. Suppose anyone has a good piece of knowledge on the external features of a dog. In that case, he can provide the exact information and communication at the time of sickness, injury, and others.
It is also very important to know the external features of a dog to judge its utility. For convenience and easy understanding, the external body of a dog may be divided into five groups.
So, let’s know what these five groups of the dog’s body are –
- The head of a dog
- A neck of a dog
- The body or barrel of a dog
- A forelimb or forequarter of a dog, and
- The hindlimb or hind quarter of a dog.
You will know all the parts of a dog’s body from these five groups. Again, the body regions of a dog divide the body’s surface. All the body regions of a dog are again subdivided into subregions.
So, let’s know the body regions of dog anatomy –
- Regions of the cranium of a dog
- The face regions of a dog
- Regions of the neck of a dog
- The dorsum regions of a dog
- Pectoral regions of a dog
- The abdominal regions of a dog
- The pelvic regions of a dog
- Regions of the thoracic limb and
- The regions of the pelvic limb
Thats’ okay, later in this article, I will provide the subregions of the regions as mentioned above of the dog’s body. But, first, let’s know the different parts from the head, neck, barrel, forelimb, and hindlimb of the dogs.
In the external dog labeled diagram, I tried to show all the important features from the different regions. Please try to identify these external features from the dog’s body carefully.
External body parts of a dog
The outside appearance and the external body parts of a dog are also known as surface anatomy. Now, I will discuss the different parts from the five different areas of the dog’s body. Having a good piece of knowledge on the dog’s external anatomy helps you understand the principles of your dog’s care and management.
So, learn the following body parts with great care –
- The parts of the dog’s head
- Dog neck and its different features
- The parts of the body and barrel
- Different parts of the forelimb and
- The hindlimb, with its different parts
Okay, let’s start with the different external features from the dog’s head.
Parts of the dog’s head
In the head of a dog, you will find the cranium (skull), occiput, stop, nose, mouth, muzzle, lip, flew, and cheek. Again, you might also identify the ear, eye, foreface, jaw point, and teeth from the dog’s head area.
Now, let’s know the details of these features from the head area of a dog. Before that, I will enlist the parts from the dog’s head area to understand better.
- The cranium of the dog
- An occiput of a dog
- The nose, ear, lip, flew, cheek
- The forehead, foreface, and mouth cavity.
You know mouth is the first segment and the external opening of the digestive tract of a dog. In a dog’s mouth, you will find different structures like lip, tongue, teeth, vestibule, and oral cavity proper. If you want to learn about the anatomy of a dog’s mouth, you may read the previous article from the anatomy learner.
However, the cranium of the dog represents the skull. But, this is not the right way to explain the cranium; you may learn about the dog cranium from the skull anatomy section.
The term occiput means the back part of the dog’s cranium. Again, you will find two important terms here in the dog’s head area – stop and foreface. Near the eye of a dog, the nasal bone and skull meet. The stop measures the degree of the angle in between the nasal and skull (near the eye).
The cranial part of the skull articulates with the cranium; this part is known as the foreface.
In addition, the face is the part below the level of two eyes up to the muzzle. So, what is the muzzle; it is the projecting part of the head that includes the mouth, nose, and jaws.
Special features of dog’s head
There are two lips in the dog’s mouth anatomy – the upper and the lower lips. Generally, the lower lip has no special feature of a name. But, the upper lip of a dog is the flew; it is the pendulous, loose, hanging part of the dog’s upper lip.
“Some other important features (like stop, forehead, and occiput) from the dog’s head area has already described”
Again, the cheek is the lateral part of the dog’s face below the eyes on both sides. You may find erect to pendulous ears in different dog’s breeds.
Features of the dog neck area
The neck region of a dog comprises the larynx, trachea, esophagus, and epiglottis. So, it is your priority to identify the neck area of a dog. Now, let’s try to identify the nape, neck crest, and throat.
First, know what the nape of a dog is. Well, at the caudal part of the dog’s head, the neck joins with the base of the skull. This joining portion between the neck and base of the skull is nape. I hope you can identify the nape area from the dog’s neck.
Now, you might identify the neck crest from the dog. The neck crest is the area that starts at the nape and ends at the wither of a dog. You will get the full concept of the wither in the next section of this article.
A dog’s throat is a muscular ring-like structure that starts at the caudal portion of the nose and joins with the trachea and esophagus. It is the front part of the dog’s neck. So, if you wish to know more about a dog’s throat, please read the related article from anatomy learner.
Parts of a dog body or barrel
From this body or barrel region, I will show you some of the most important parts of a dog. Here, I will show you the wither, back, loin, and croup from the body of a dog. Again, I will explain the terms backline and topline in detail.
First, let’s enlist some of the important parts from the body of the dogs –
- The wither, back, loin, and croup (including the backline and topline)
- A rib cage of a dog
- The abdominal area of a dog
- Hook and pin bones
- Hearth girth and chest of the dog
- Hollow of the flank and flap of the flank
Now, identify the parts mentioned earlier from the external dog’s labeled diagram. The wither is just behind the neck and between the two shoulder blades. Again, the term back of the dog means the area between wither and the last rib.
You will find a triangular area between the head of the last rib and two hook bones; this is the loins area of the dog. The dog’s croup is the sloppy external part of the posterior dorsum, caudal to loins and cranial to the tail.
You will find prominent tuber ischia (hook bones) on either side of the root of the dog’s tail. Again, the tail is the distinct, flexible appendage extending from the caudal end of the dog’s body.
The hollow of the flank is the depression area of the abdominal cavity between the last rib and hook bone. Again, the flap of the flank is thick skin that hangs between the hind limb and abdomen.
Now, let’s know what the backline and topline are.
Topline of the dog body
The backline is the area that extends from the back to the croup. Again, the top line of a dog’s body is the area just behind the nape to the croup or tail. Some authors describe the backline and the topline in the same way.
In a dog, you may find five types of topline – camel back, hollow back, level back, roach back, and saddle back. A camel back is the convex curvature of the dog’s body from neck to croup. Sometimes you may find a dip or concave curvature in a dog’s topline. This concave curvature of the topline is hollow back.
A level back is when the height at the wither is the same as the height over the top of the dog’s loins. Some of the dog show convex curvature at the back (especially in the thoracic and lumbar region). This is the back roach appearance in a dog.
Finally, you may find a long back with a dip or concave curvature behind the withers of a dog. This long back with concave curvature is known as the back saddle appearance.
Different parts of a dog’s forelimb
From the forelimb of a dog, you might have to identify some of the basic parts. This forelimb of the dog is used for weight-bearing activities like jumping, walking, running, and going up and downstairs.
Now, I will enlist the most important parts from the dog’s forelimb –
- Shoulder, shoulder point, and joint of the dog
- The upper arm region
- Elbow joint and point of the elbow of the dog
- The forearm of the dog
- Carpal joint and carpal pad (stopper pad)
- Forefoot and dewclaw
The parts as mentioned earlier are the most important from the dog’s forelimb. Fine, let’s try to identify these structures from the dog’s forelimb by external approach.
You know the shoulder is the area between the points of withers and the point of the shoulder. There is a prominent joint between the withers and the elbow joint. This prominent joint is the point of dog’s shoulder.
Do you know which part is dog’s arm? Well, the arm of the dog includes the part between the point of the shoulder and the point of the elbow joint.
The forearm starts from the point of the elbow joint and includes the radius and ulna bones. You will find the fetlock, pastern, and coffin joints in each forelimb and hind limb. If anyone want to learn more about these joints, they may read the article (animal joints anatomy with bone involvements) from the anatomylearner.
You will also find some other important terms like the phalangeal pad, toes, and dewclaw in a dog’s fore and hind limb. Here, I only identify these structures (phalangeal pad, toes, and dewclaw from the dog’s limbs. But, you may learn more about these structures of the dog’s leg from the anatomy learner.
Types of dog’s forelimb and feet
Do you know there is great variation in the dog’s forelimb? You will find different types of forelimb in different breeds of dogs. Mostly, you will find the straight front, down in pastern, and knuckled over types of the forelimb in the dogs.
A dog’s feet may vary from breed to breed or within the same breed. You will find four different types of feet in the dogs. These four types of feet of the dogs are – cat foot, flat foot, hare foot, and splay foot.
The different types of feet help the dog to perform better. A cat foot is a round, compact foot with short digital bones and well-arched toes. This type of cat foot is essential for endurance.
You will find the flat or straight toes in the flat feet of the dog. A slapy foot is a flat foot where the toes are spreading out. You will find the hare foot in some of the dog’s breeds. This type of foot has two center digits that are longer than the inside and outside toes of the dog’s feet.
Sometimes, you may also find the oval foot and webbed foot in some breeds of dogs. The oval foot is spoon-shaped, where the center two toes are longer than the cat foot. Again, the webbed foot is present in some water-retrieving dog breeds.
Different parts of the dog hind limb
Some important parts in a dog’s hind limb are clinically important. Now, I will show you the most clinically important parts of the hind limb of a dog.
Fine, let’s enlist the important structures that you may identify by surface palpation –
- The point of the hip (greater trochanter) and rump
- A thing region of a dog with its bones and important muscles
- The stifle joint or knee joint of the dog
- Thigh region with its bone and muscles
- The hock joint and point of the hock (including the tendon)
- A front-foot, hindfoot, toes, pad, and dewclaw
- Area of the hind paw of a dog
That’s fine, let’s try to identify the parts mentioned above of a dog with the help of a hind limb labeled diagram. At each side of the loins, you will find a bony prominence which is the part of the external angle of the ileum bone. These bony prominences of the ileum bones are known as the dog’s point of hip or hook bone.
You might also identify the greater trochanter by the external surface approach. The stifle or knee joint of the dog’s leg is important in the clinical aspect. You should know every single structure of the stifle joint of the dog. There is a full guide on the stifle joint of the dog’s leg here in anatomy learner.
A dog’s thigh is another important area that includes the femur bone. It extends from the hook bone to the hock joint and divides into the upper and lower thigh. The upper thigh is the part up to the stifle joint of the dog’s leg. Again, the lower thigh is from the stifle to the hock joint.
Hock point and Achilles tendon of the dog
Do you know about the hock point of a dog? The hock point of a dog is the uppermost extremity of the hock joint. But how the hock joint is formed in a dog? The hock joint is very complex in the dog formed by the union of the tibia, fibula, tarsal, and metatarsal bones.
You will find a large tendon that attaches to the point of the hock. This is the Achilles tendon of the dogleg that prevents the kicking.
Some other structures in a dog’s body will show in the labeled pictures. Please follow that picture to get a full idea of the different body parts of the dogs.
The body regions of a dog
The body regions of a dog divide the surface of the body. These body regions of a dog again subdivide into subregions. Here, I will show you the division of the body regions and their subregions with a labeled diagram.
I already enlisted the different body regions of a dog in the first part of this article. But you should not go back to the top; here I will also show you the different divisions of the dog’s body regions.
- The cranium region of a dog
- Regions of the face of a dog
- The neck region of a dog
- Regions of the dorsum of a dog
- The pectoral region of the dog
- Abdominal region of the dog
- The pelvic regions of the dog
- Regions of the thoracic limb of a dog, and
- The regions of the pelvic or hind limb of a dog
Fine, now I will describe the subregions of the body as mentioned above regions of the external dog anatomy. Let’s know the subregions of a dog’s body in a little.
The cranium regions of a dog
I hope you have a good piece of knowledge on the different parts of a dog skull. That might help you understand the different regions of the dog’s cranium. If you want to memorize the dog skull bone anatomy, you may read the full guide from the anatomy learner.
The regions of the cranium subdivide into frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal, and auricular regions. So, what should you do now? You might go through the dog skull anatomy article and identify the frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal bones. Then you will easily identify these subregions of the cranium externally.
Or, you may get help directly from the cranium labeled diagram where I showed the different subdivisions of the dog’s cranium regions.
Regions of the face of a dog
The face is another important part of a dog. You will find different subregions in the dog’s face. The most important subregions of the face are nasal, oral, mental, and orbital regions. Again, you will also find the zygomatic, infraorbital, masseteric, buccal, maxillary, and mandibular subregions in the dog’s face.
The nasal region of a dog subdivides into dorsal and lateral nasal regions. Again, the oral subregions may divide into superior labial and inferior labial regions. In the orbital subregions of the dog face, you will find the upper palpebral and lower palpebral regions.
Regions of the dorsum of a dog
The term dorsum means the dorsal aspect of the dog’s body. The region of the dorsum of a dog extends from the thoracic vertebrae to the lumbar vertebrae. In the dorsum region, you will find three main subregions.
The subregions of the dorsum are – the thoracic vertebrae region, interscapular region, and lumbar vertebrae region. In the dog dorsum labeled diagram, I tried to show you these subregions externally.
If you want to learn the anatomy of the dorsum of a dog, you might know the bones, muscles, blood vessels (arteries and veins), and nerves from the thoracic and lumbar region. You will also find the detailed guide on bones, muscles, and vessels of a dog’s thoracic and lumbar region here in anatomy learner.
The pectoral and thoracic region of a dog
The pectoral region of a dog is the cranial surface of the chest. This pectoral region of a dog subdivides into five major subregions.
So, what are these five subregions of the pectoral region of a dog? Fine, you will find the presternal region, sternal region, scapular region, coastal region, and cardiac region in the pectoral area of a dog.
I hope you have a good concept of the sternum and scapula bone anatomy.
On the other hand, the thoracic region of a dog is an important subregion of the thorax. You will find some vital organs like the lung and heart in the thoracic region of a dog.
Abdominal regions of a dog
This is the most important and larger region of the dog’s body. The abdomen region of a dog again subdivides into different subregions. All parts or organs from a dog abdomen are equally important in the clinical aspect.
So, you should learn the abdominal region of a dog with great care. But, what should you learn from the abdominal region of a dog? First, you should know the boundary of the abdominal region with its contents. Again, you might know the subdivisions of the abdominal region of a dog.
The important subregions of the abdomen are – the cranial abdominal region, middle, lateral, and caudal abdominal regions. In the cranial subregion, the most important parts are the hypochondriac and xiphoid regions.
The most important structure (paralumbar fossa) is found in the lateral abdominal subregion will be found. Again, in the middle or ventral region of the dog’s abdomen, you will find the umbilical region. The caudal abdominal region also subdivides into inguinal, pubic, and preputial regions.
The pelvic region of a dog
The pelvic region of a dog is another clinically important region of the dog’s body. You will find different subregions in the pelvic region of a dog.
The subregions of the pelvic region of a dog are – sacral, gluteal, tuber coxal, and caudal or tail region. Again, you will find the region of tuber ischium, perineal, and urogenital region (showing on diagram) in the pelvic region of dog anatomy.
Regions of the thoracic limb of a dog
Here, I will tell you the clinically important subregions from the dog’s thoracic limb region. The most important subregions from the thoracic limb region are the humeral joint region, brachial, and phalangeal subregions.
You will also find the axillary subregion, cubital, antebrachial, olecranon, carpal, and metacarpal subregions in the thoracic region of a dog.
Regions of the pelvic limb
Here, I will enlist the subregions of the pelvic limb region of a dog. Please try to identify all the subregions from a dog (external view).
- Region of the hip joint of a dog
- Thigh region of a dog
- Genual region of a dog
- The popliteal region of a dog
- Region of the dog leg
- The tarsal, calcaneal, and metatarsal regions of a dog, and
- Regions of the digits, pad (phalangeal region)
The hip joint region and the genual (knee joint) regions are the dog pelvic limb’s clinically most important subregions. You will find the detailed guide on the dog hip anatomy and knee anatomy here in anatomy learner.
Parts of a dog labeled diagram
Have you noticed if you have a basic concept of the different bones of the skeleton, then it is easy to understand the regions and subregions of the dog’s body? Here, I will provide a dog skeleton labeled diagram and the different parts of a dog diagram.
In the dog skeleton labeled diagram, I tried to show you all the bones from the body. This might help you understand the different regions of the body so quickly.
I would like to show different external features of a dog again here in a labeled picture. You will find more dog external features labeled diagrams on social media of anatomy learners.
Organs and structures of different regions of a dog
Though I have a special guide on the organs and structures from the different regions. But, again, I would like to provide a little information on the organs and structures of different regions from a dog’s body.
In the head region, the most important organ is a brain, eye, ear, salivary gland, mouth cavity, nose, and different muscles. The neck region is important as it comprises the esophagus, trachea, external jugular vein, and different lymph nodes.
The organs and structures from the dog’s thoracic and abdominal cavity are important. All the organs and structures from the thoracic and abdominal regions of a dog are shown in the picture.
You might know the bones, muscles, and peripheral nerves (courses and supply). You might also learn the major blood vessels from the dog’s thoracic and pelvic limbs.
Frequently asked questions on dog’s body parts
I will try to solve the questions on the body parts of a dog. Let’s read the following questions on dog’s body parts with their answers. If you have any inquiries on the dog’s body parts, please let me know.
What are the parts of the dog?
The major parts of the dog are the head, neck, thorax, thoracic limb, abdomen, pelvic limb, and pelvic region. Again, you will find different regions of the body’s surface that subdivide into subregions.
I have already enlisted the subregions of the different regions of the dog’s body. If you are interested to know, you may read this article from the starting part.
What are the 10 parts of a dog?
The ten parts of a dog are – the cranium, face, neck, thorax, dorsum, pectoral region, abdomen, pelvis, thoracic limb, and pelvic limb.
What is the most important part of a dog?
In my view, all the parts are important, but the most important parts of the dogs are the cranium, abdomen, and pelvic regions.
What are the features of a dog?
Knowledge of the different body parts of a dog helps you choose a structurally sound dogs and a good representative of the breed. Having this knowledge also makes it easy to understand the dog’s care and management principles. And I hope you got the basic idea of the different body parts of a dog from this article.
All the labeled diagrams will help to identify the external features of a dog’s body. Now, you should practically identify all the external features of a live dog.