Dog Glossary: Alphabetical List of Dog Terms with Meanings

Are you a first-time dog owner?

There are some dog-related words that you may not be familiar with if your answer is affirmative.

Even an experienced dog parent needs constant reminders of the meanings of some dog terms they do not use daily.

Therefore, a complete dog glossary containing an alphabetical list of dog terms and their meanings will come in handy regardless of your pet parenting experience.

In this Article show

Dog Glossary – A


The body section or belly under-surface between the thorax (chest region) and the pelvis (hindquarters).


A portion of the pelvis comprises the hip bone socket hinging on the femur head. It is crucial in hip dysplasia diagnosis.


The most common form of short-limbed dwarfism. The restrained development of long bones characterizes it.


A denotation for the component functions of locomotion.

Agility trials

A competition where dogs maneuver a series of obstacles and jump in three classes of increasing difficulty. Participating dogs earn suffix titles at each level (Novice, Open and Excellent) by qualifying a predetermined number of times.


A term used to describe wild-colored Siberian Huskies; this color is the alternating strips of light and dark in each coat of fur. However, color definitions may vary from breed to breed, necessitating you always check the breed standard for a vivid color description.

AKC Direct

800 — Authorized access, toll-free telephone service

to AKC customers. It is currently being tested with specific AKC constituent groups.

AKC Reunite

A national database where any companion animal with some form of identification such as a microchip or tattoo can be registered


A generally uncommon, hereditarily recessive condition resulting in white hair and pink eyes.

All-Breed show

A conformation show where all breeds are exhibited.

Almond eyes

An elongated eye shape.


A relaxed, simple stride wherein the legs on either side move nearly, however not precisely, as a pair. Frequently seen as the progress development between the walk and other strides.

American-bred class

A typical class for all canines (albeit champions) six months old whelped in the United States due to mating inside the country.

American Kennel Club

A canine organization, laid out under the laws of New York State, whose objectives are to uphold uniform standards regulating dog shows and field trials; to monitor the conduct of people keen on displaying, running, breeding, registering, buying, and selling dogs. It inspects and curbs fraudulent practices, punishing fraudsters and safeguarding the interest of its members; to keep up with and distributes an official studbook and an authority journal; and, for the most part, does all that to propel the review, breeding, exhibiting, running, and maintenance of the virtue of purebred dogs.


The angles formed by bones at their joints.


Irregular stiffness and fusion of a joint.


The front view of the body.

Apple head

A round-shaped skull.


A coat color common to Afghans, Pugs, Mastiffs, and Poodles; it is a dull, medium-saturated orange tone. Variety definitions might change by breed; therefore, it is best always to check the breed standard for the vivid color description.


Longer strands of hair below the neck or on the chest. It is also known as the frill.


Number worn on an exhibitor’s arm, corresponding to the number in the judge’s book and event catalog. This number is the tag that links the dog in the ring to the information published in the catalog. The number is also used to attribute points, awards, or placements with the dog’s AKC registration number. It is also known as an arm card.


Where two or more bones meet.

Artificial Insemination

The man-made insertion of semen into the female reproductive tract. (source)

Assistant, Assistant handler

A person at a dog show who assists the handler care for their dogs, preparing them for the ring.



A yelping hound, when not on the trail, bawling without a need to.


The area of a dog’s body from the withers to the croup.

Back to back

Conformation/Obedience: Two event days in successive order with the AKC’s approval.

Performance: Two events held by the same club or two clubs on consecutive days in one location.


A grayish-brownish-colored Great Pyrenees or Sealyham Terrier variant blended in with a couple of dim hairs. Variety definitions might differ by breed. Please always check the breed standard for vivid color descriptions.

Bad mouth

Jagged teeth; when the mouth is shut, upper and lower teeth don’t arrange as indicated by the breed standard.


A food or item to get a dog’s attention or to make it alert in the ring.

Bait or baiting is the act of getting a dog’s attention using food or an object.


Referring to all parts of a dog in harmony, either in movement or rest while standing.


Outwardly bent legs.


A rib region that is round in a cross-section. Barrel chest.

Barrel hocks

Outwardly turned hocks, resulting in the feet toeing in. It is also called spread hocks.

Bat ear

Large, erect, and rounded-at-the-tip ears, resembling a bat’s. 


A hound’s prolonged bark or voice.


Small, round, and glittering eyes, revealing an expression unknown to the breed.


Long, thick hairs on the underjaw.

Beauty spot

A particular area, usually round, of colored hair, encompassed by the white spot of the blaze, on the top skull between the ears as you may find on Boston Terrier Blenheim Spaniel 


A combination of white, gray, brown, and black hairs. Color variety definitions might differ by breed. Please always check the breed standard for vivid color descriptions.

Bee-sting tail

A relatively short, muscular, and straight tail that narrows to a point.


Overgrowth of the hindquarters.


A standard color with the Brussels Griffon breed. It is a mix of black and reddish-brown. Color variants might differ by breed; therefore, it is best to always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.


The abdomen’s undersurface. 


A color pattern in English Setters of light or dark ticking, including blue belton (highly contrasting), lemon belton (lemon and white), orange belton (orange and white), and liver belton (liver and white). Color variants might differ according to breed.

Bench show

A dog show where dogs are kept on assigned benches when not exhibited in the competition so interested people can view and learn about them.

Best in Show

The only undefeated dog at an All-Breed show.

Best of Breed

The judge-selected dog as the best representative of a particular breed at a show.

Best of Opposite Sex

The best dog of the opposite gender to the Best of Breed winner. A male dog will be the “Best of Opposite Sex” if a female dog is the Best of the Breed.

Best of Variety

A substitute award for Best of Breed; it is conferred to breeds divided by varieties at All-Breed shows. Nine breeds are divided into varieties: Cockers, Beagles, Collies, Dachshunds, Bull Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Chihuahuas, English Toy Spaniels, and Poodles.

Best of Winners

The dog named the best between the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch.

Bird dog

A sporting dog bred and trained for game bird hunting.

Bird of prey eyes

Light yellowish eyes, usually harsh in outlook.


A color combination of yellow, light gray, and brown hues with medium brilliance and saturation (usually grayish-yellow) typical of Pekingese and Samoyeds. Color variants might differ by breed, necessitating you always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.


A female dog


Two-color coat


The coat color on the back and upper part of the sides, between the neck and the tail.


A white strip running up the center of a dog’s face, usually between the eyes.


Often referring to the color of markings of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (red and white). 


Square or cube-like head shape.


Of good breeding or pedigreed.


Usually used to describe gray. Color variants might differ by breed.

Blues, Blue form/slip

Referring to an individual Dog Registration Application. 

Blue merle

Regarding color pattern: Black blotches or stripes on a blue-gray background. 


Colored coat portions with a distinctive bluish or smoky tinge. It is associated with incredibly light or blue eyes and liver or gray nose, eye rims, and lip pigment. Color variants might differ by breed; ensure you always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.


Regarding feeding, housing, and providing care for a dog for a fee.


  1. A dog born with a short tail or without a tail. It could also be a term used to describe a dog with a tail cut short. (source)
  2. Referring to the Old English Sheepdog.

Bodied up

Mature, well-developed.

Body length

Distance between the front portion of the breastbone and the rear region of the pelvic girdle.


A rigid connective tissue that forms the canine skeleton.

Informal: Suggesting a measurable component of limb bones in ratio to a dog’s overall size.


Overgrowth of the shoulder muscles.


Two dogs of the same breed presented as a pair.

Performance: To run dogs together in certain field event disciplines.


Broad head with short muzzle typical to the Pug


Referring to coat color changes from puppyhood to adulthood.


Bounding of longish hair at the back borders of the thigh regions.


An artificial selection of domestic dog races with a shared gene pool distinguished by appearance and function.

Breed standard

A word picture illustrating a breed’s appearance, movement, and behavior. The breed standard is owned by the parent club, with full use extended to the AKC.


A person who raises dogs. The breeder owns the lessee of the dam on the date of mating that produced a litter under AKC rules.

Breeding age limits

According to AKC Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline, Chapter 3, Section 5, the dam must be between eight months and twelve years old, while the sire must be between seven months and twelve years old on the date of mating.

Breeding particulars

Details regarding the dam, sire, date of birth, color, sex, etc.


Rectangular-shaped skull.


Contours of brown or gray markings or streaks on several breeds where dark furs are layered in regions of lighter color. Great Danes, Bulldogs, and Boxers are some brindle-patterned breeds. 


Referring to the sternum or the entire thorax by some standards.


A badger.

Broken color

Major coat color broken by white or another color. 


A bristly, wiry coat.


An individual or kennel that buys and sells dogs at wholesale, and sometimes, to a per store.


A moderately bright, yellowish-brown color that appears as a tinge in the Newfoundland’s black coat when it is exposed to the sun.

Brood bitch

A bitch used for breeding.

Brood bitch class

Referring to judging a brood bitch with no less than two of her puppies with the upper limit stated in the premium list.


The hair ridge above the eyes.


A bushy tail.


A walking fault when parallel pasterns brush in movement because of their closeness. 


Color: off-white to gold. 

Bull neck

A heavily muscled neck.


The visible inner ear — the irregular formation within the cup.


A partially bleached nose; could be dark but spotted with flesh color.


Referring to rump or hips.

Button ear

A small, neat ear with the flap creasing forward, draping the ear’s opening.


Cafe au lait

A well-saturated light brown similar to French coffee of equal proportion with milk, which is a typical Poodle color. Color variants may differ by breed. Please always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.


An arched back.

Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)

Canada’s top kennel club and recognized national registry organization for purebred dogs; chartered under the Animal Purebred Act.


Event: The termination of an AKC event due to extreme conditions like natural disasters or public safety concerns. Dog and public welfare prompt an event’s cancellation.

Event entry: The termination of a previously submitted entry via telegram or written notice to the event’s Superintendent or Secretary before the closing date/hour.

Award: Withdrawn wins from a dog’s profile due to its ineligibility to compete.

Registration: Referring to the deletion of a dog or litter from the AKC records after an investigation, nullifying their AKC registration.


Etymology: A family (Canidae) of carnivores, including dogs, coyotes, wolves, jackals, and foxes.

Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

An outreach scheme by a club that tests a dog’s behavior.


Large, pointed teeth on the top and bottom of both sides of the dog’s mouth


A three-beat gait with the front legs moving separately and the hind legs as a diagonal pair. While it is slower than galloping, it is not as tiring and is efficient for long-distance traveling. 


A darkly shaded color pattern on some breeds’ skulls.


Some long, thick strands of hair covering the shoulders.

Care and conditions

The basic standards outlined by the AKC that people should uphold for their dogs.


Wrist bones.


To remove a male dog’s testicles.

Cat foot

Resembling a cat’s, it is a neat, round foot with compact high-arched toes.


An event booklet containing information on individual dogs registered in the event.


A document conferred to an individual whose dog has won a performance award or submitted a properly completed dog transfer application or registration. 

Chain of title

The entire process of dog ownership, including the transfer date from the recorded owner (R/O) or litter owner (L/O) to the new owner (N/O).

Champion (Ch.)

An AKC-awarded title to a dog after its victory at a competition in a series of AKC-authorized or member dog shows.


AKC: awarded title to dogs after reaching specific requirements. Examples include:

  • AFC (Amateur Field Champion)
  • HC (Herding Champion)
  • FC (Field Champion)
  • Ch (Conformation Champion)
  • OTCH (Obedience Champion)


Behavior, temperament, general appearance, and personality traits considered unique to a breed.


Notably rounded, thick, and protruding cheeks.


Rib-enclosed body part or trunk.


Deep, densely saturated, reddish brown coat color typical of Irish Setters and Pharaoh Hounds. Color variants may differ by breed..

China eye

Spotted or clear blue, light blue, or whitish eye.

Chippendale front

Like the Chippendale chair, a dog’s forelegs bent outwards at the elbows with close and outwardly turned feet. 


Clean-cut in muzzles, contrasted with rough or protruding outlines, especially underneath the eyes.


Cheeky or sagging flesh of the lips and jaw.


A convulsive jerking induced by muscle spasms (may be caused by distemper and hepatitis).


A lightly saturated, yellowish brown color typical to Chow Chows. Color variants may differ by breed. 


A clustered group of events in a particular location or region on consecutive days.


Coat trimming in some breeds.


Referring to gait, of the back foot striking the front foot.


Low, chunky, relatively heavy.

Close mating

Less than four months and fifteen days between:

  • The mating date of a previously registered litter and the mating date of a recently tendered litter application form of a particular dam.
  • The whelping date of a formally registered litter and of a newly submitted litter application from the same dam. 


  1. Relatively short from the last rib to the beginning of the hindquarters
  2. Describing relative shortness from withers to hip bones.


AKC-approved organizations holding events under the AKC’s guidelines and principles. Could be sanctioned (new), licensed, or member.


Four All-Breed shows held on four successive days at the exact location.


One or more people listed in the AKC records as a dog’s owners.


Rough, knotty, hard, gritty, or ragged.


A dog’s fur covering. Most breeds are double-coated, having an outer and undercoat.


Compact, with a short body.


  1. Usually, white markings around the neck.
  2. A nylon, leather, or chain neck band for leading or restraining a dog when a leash is attached.


  1. Referring to the solid joining of various body parts.
  2. A short or medium-length coat with a dense undercoat and smooth outline.


A client who calls or writes in about an issue or disparity.


Health as revealed by behavior, skin, coat, or general appearance.


The biological and physical form and structure, make and shape, and the arrangement of parts according to breed standards.

Conformation show

  1. Dog show where the participating dogs are assessed on correspondence to breed standard. It is also known as
  2. All-Breed, group, or specialty shows.


  1. A behavioral trait or condition present at birth.
  2. Relating to genetic or environmental causes.


A bright, brownish red color typical of Siberian Huskies. Color variants may differ by breed.


Coat with intertwined hairs identified by its mop-like appearance. 


Lively, active, alert.

Corresponding date

A day assigned to an event. The traditional day and month matching the numbered weekend in a year. For instance, the corresponding date of a show held on the 25th weekend of the year is the day and month matching that weekend on the calendar.


Two hounds.


The loin; between the ribs and the pelvis/hindquarters. 


Sport: Chasing prey with Sighthounds.

Covering ground

The distance covered by a dog per stride as it gaits.


Inwardly turned hocks and toeing out of rear feet.


Referring to a dog moving with its body angled to the line of travel. It is also called sidewinding.

Crank tail

A crank-resembling tail; tail carried down.


A container for shipping, transporting, or housing dogs. 


A lowly saturated, light-to-medium yellow typical to several breeds. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Upper, hunched portion of the neck.

Cropping, Crop

An act of trimming or cutting the ear leather, enabling it to stand erect. (source)


The product of two different sire and dam breeds. 

Crossing over

A defective gait characterized by twisting elbows and crisscrossing and toeing out. Also called weaving or knitting and purling


The pelvic girdle region formed by the sacrum and surrounding tissues.


The top skull; the uppermost part of the head.


A conviction or confirmation in a court or council, resulting from a finding by a government or state regulatory office, by which an individual was found to have participated in conduct that would cause undue suffering or endanger an animal’s life or health.


A hound’s bay or music


A male dog suffering from cryptorchidism.


A condition where an adult male dog’s testicles are bizarrely contained in the abdominal cavity.

They are of two types:

  • Bilateral cryptorchidism (involving both sides); both testicles remain in the abdominal cavity.
  • Unilateral cryptorchidism (monorchid); It involves one side as one testicle remains or hides in the abdominal cavity while the other descends to the scrotum.


The lengthier hair on the back of the thighs.




Upper lips thickness or fullness.

Customer number

An identification number allotted to an individual or firm after using the AKC’s registration or fulfillment system for the first time.


Canine study.


The fear of dogs.



The female dog parent.


A spotted or blotched coat pattern resembling the merle effect in breeds like Sheltie and Collies. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Date of mating

Sexual coupling date of the dog and bitch.

Date of whelping

Birth date.


Dull or tan straw color. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Member club representative to the AKC.


A dog’s set of teeth; forty-two adult teeth, including molars, premolars, canines, and incisors.

Depth of chest

  1. A measure of the space for the heart and lungs.
  2. A common reference to the elbow (above, on par, or below).


Field trial for young, novice sporting dogs around two years.


Extra claw in the inner leg; a primal fifth toe, removed from most breeds.


Vague, bobbing skin under the throat and neck.


Movement: right front and left hind legs harmonize on the right diagonal; left front and right hind legs harmonize at the left diagonal. Diagonals move together as a dog trots. 


Nose bending upwards due to a higher nasal bone at the tip than at the stop.


Scottish Terrier nickname.




Bleached color. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Suspending an individual from all AKC privileges after failing to observe rules and regulations.




Conformation/Obedience: The exclusion of a dog from participating in an event following a finding that a dog is ineligible for any competition under the breed standard, dog show rules, obedience regulations, or due to a condition or unsatisfactory feature. 

Distemper teeth

Pitted or discolored teeth due to deficiencies, distemper, or other diseases.

Divergent hocks

Outwardly turned hocks; barrel hocks.


Deoxyribonucleic Acid; a unique genetic configuration.

DNA test

An identity-determining test for a better understanding of a dog’s genetics. Breeders must seek the AKC Board’s permission before testing, and an AKC-approved facility must conduct the test.


To shorten the tail.


A narrow head with long muzzle typical to the collie


  1. Generally referring to all dogs, male or female.
  2. Male Dog

Dog Registration Application

A form used to register a dog or litter. It is also called blue slip, blue form, or blues.


An equably rounded top skull.


Grizzle coat color – reverse facial mask pattern on some breeds like the Afghan Hound. 


The part of a dog’s body farthest from the ground during movement.

Double coat

Outer coat and undercoat. A dog with both coats.

Double dapple

Differing amounts of white coloring over the body blending with a spotted or blotched coat pattern. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Double groups

Assessing two groups simultaneously at a conformation show.

Double handling

The act of someone, albeit the handler, getting a dog’s attention in the ring to help the dog look or perform better.

Down in pastern

Frail or defective pastern set at a wrong angle.


The muzzle inclined southwards from the skull to the nose tip.


A trail readied by pulling a bag aromatized with animal scent along the ground.


Selecting several dogs to run in pairs in a field trial stake.


A solid muscling of the pelvic region indicating sound movement.

Drop ear

An ear with folding leather.


A bird dog cross.

Dry skin

Dense skin, neither pliable nor wrinkled.

Dual champion

A title conferred to a dog with a conformation and a field trial championship.

Dudley nose

Flesh-colored nose.



The organ for hearing consisting of three parts: the inner ear, middle ear, and the outer (leather).

Ear canal

The hole leading the outer ear to the eardrum.

Ear canker

External ear infection or sore.

Ear carriage

  1. Ear positioning suggesting a dog’s mood.
  2. Degree of angulation and positioning of a dog’s ear on its head.

Ear clamps

Attached patterns to a sedated dog’s ears to trace a potential surgical cropping cut.

Ear clip

To cut off and round a hound’s drooping ears for a truncated, uniform appearance, reducing the risk of tearing the ear leather in the field.

Ear feather

Long hair on an ear leather as seen on Cocker Spaniel and some other breeds.

Ear foreign bodies

Grains, seeds, sand, and other unwanted materials found in a dog’s outer ear or ear canal.

Ear fringe

Long hair on the ear tips typical of Bedlington Terriers.

Ear guide dog

A dog trained specially trained to assist deaf persons.

Ear hematoma

A pouch of blood in the outer ear and its surrounding skin resulting from shaking the head and whipping the ears due to ear mites or foreign materials in the external ear and ear canal

Ear leather

Outer ear or earflap.

Ear mange

Ear redness and irritability usually resulting from ear mite (Otodectes cynotis) infestation.


A tattoo inked in the ear leather for identification purposes.

Ear mites

Otodectes cynotis, a tiny mite that inserts the ear canal, causing intense irritation and itching.

Ear notch

In foxhunting, one or more small indentations in the entire pack’s ear margin for easy identification. 

Ear ossicles

Three middle ear bones —malleus, incus , and stapes that transmit sound waves from the eardrum to the otic nerve cells.

Ear set

The point of attachment between the head and ear.

Ears set high

Ears attached in an elevated position on the crown of the head.

Ears set low

Ears attached in a sunken position on the crown of the head.

Ears set wide

Ears attached in the extreme opposite distance on the crown of the head.

Earth Dog events

A non-competitive test that assesses a Dachshund’s or terrier’s natural trailing abilities.

East-west front

Outwardly bent feet due to incorrect positioning.


The rearward region of the arm and forearm joint.

Electronic collar

An electrically powered dog collar equipped with a warning sound and/or an electric spur. It is used as a training device as the dog receives an impulse after the user sends an electronic signal. 

Electronic transmission of event results

The process of electronically transmitting every result from an event to the AKC by the superintendent.


A dog with a complete reproductive system.


A complicated hereditary condition that may result in corneal ulceration due to the inward turn of the upper or lower eyelid.

Entry (submittal) service

A service that submits its clients’ entries to a show secretary.


  1. A noticeable span of soreness on the skin. 
  2. A normal dental condition as the teeth breaks through the gums.

Even bite

Also called level bite — where the upper and lower incisors do not overlap.


An organized and ordered activity assessing purebred dogs’ conformation, instinctive abilities, or training.

Event Chairman

An event-organizing club’s delegate or member responsible for the event’s proper planning, conducting, and reporting. While some of these responsibilities may be designated to other individuals or organizations, the Event Chairman is supremely accountable for these tasks.

Event Committee hearing

A provision that enables the Event Committee to deal with allegations regarding conduct considered unfair to purebred dogs.

Event hours

Officially open event hours.

Event Registration Number (ERN)

An AKC-assigned number allotted to a registered, American-owned dog, allowing it to compete in events in Canada.

Event Secretary

Person who receives entries for an event.

Ewe neck

A neck with a concave-shaped topline.

Excuse (dog)

Referring to an exhibitor removing a dog from an event for any reason in the competition’s rules and regulations. Such a dog is considered absent in points computation in conformance or performance events.

Exercise pen, ex-pen

A portable section for dogs to exercise at dog shows.


  1. One who owns or co-owns an entry.
  2. An agent, or professional handler for an entry or at a dog show.


Referring to performing at a show 

Expired blues

An expired AKC dog registration a year from issue date. 


The general appearance of a dog’s facial features.


  1. An AKC-granted period for an owner to enter a dog in an event before it eventually becomes registered.
  2. A dog’s reach (front) and drive (rear) during motion.


The upper canines.


Failure to receive papers

Inability to receive AKC registration papers from a breeder, pet shop, broker, or another dog owner.


Overhanging hair on the face.


Light cream to light fawn color; pale yellow; yellowish red. Color variants may differ by breed. 


An interested or partially active person in purebred dog shows.


A brown, reddish yellow color with a tint of moderate brilliance. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Edges of longer hair strands on a dog’s legs, body, ears, or tail. Also known as fringes.


Thigh bone, extending from hip to stifle.

Feral dog

A completely wild dog.


  1. To retrieve a game or object by a dog.
  2. The command to retrieve.


One of the two leg bones — the lower leg or thigh or the second thigh.

Fiddle front

Forelegs outwardly bent at elbows, pasterns close, and feet turned out. Also called the French front.

Field Champion (FC)

An AKC-conferred title to a dog for winning a specified competition at a series of AKC-member or licensed field trials.

Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB)

A document by the American Field Publishing Company. You can register some dogs with the FDSB and the AKC.

Field trial

A competition for a specific hound or sporting breed where dogs are assessed on their ability and style in tracking, locating, coursing, or retrieving games.

Field trial class

Referring to dogs and bitches in an AKC licensed or member field trials. 

Filled-up face

Smooth facial outlines with moderate muscular development.


Referring to a dog that has completed its title requirements.


A surgical procedure that permanently alters tail or ear posture. However, such dogs are ineligible to compete in AKC Conformation events.


An elevated long tail. Tail feathering.


The side of a dog’s body between the hip and last rib.


A streak that expands towards the top skull.


Partly rounded ribs towards the breastbone or sternum.


Bobbing upper lip, especially at the inner corners.

Floating rib

The last (thirteenth) rib unattached to the other ribs.


  1. Livestock (usually sheep) used in a herding trial.
  2. Livestock or farm birds gathered together.


An extremely long coat with excessively lengthy hair fringes on the chest, ears, feet, legs, underparts, and hindquarters. 


Referring to dogs driving birds from cover or forcing them to fly.

Flushing breeds

The typical term for spaniel breeds that flush.

Flying ears

Distinctive drop ears or semi-prick ears are erect or flying.

Flying trot

A fast movement where all the dog’s feet are briefly off the ground per each half stride. The approaching hind feet land beyond the footprint left by the front. It is also called the suspension trot.


The part of a dog’s forelimb between the arm and wrist.


The front section of a dog’s skull that hinges on the cranium.

Foreign Dog Registries

Registry organizations whose breeds are approved by AKC registration for imported dogs.


The turf of hair growing from the front of a dog’s head.


The front articulation of the shoulder blade, upper arm, and forearm.

Former owner (F/O)

An owner who hands over their dog.

Foster mother

A bitch used to care for puppies that are not hers.

Foul color

A color or marking not typical to a breed. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Foundation stock

A breed’s maiden generation registered with the AKC.

Foundation Stock Service®

An optional record-keeping service for all pure breeds not currently eligible for AKC registration.


Sharp expression characterized by a pointed nose and short foreface.

French choke, martingale

A kind of choke collar. 

Fresh extended (chilled) semen

Extracted semen by a licensed veterinarian. According to AKC rules, the semen must be extracted from a dog within the United States and shipped to a location within the country. However, this type of semen must be used within a limited period.


Characterized by a protruding nose and receding jaw, usually overshot.


The forepart of a dog’s body viewed from the head. The chest, forelegs, brisket, and shoulder line are usually in view.

Frontal bones

The anterior bones between the cranium and the face.

Frozen semen

Extracted and frozen semen, stored for future use by a licensed veterinarian. The procedure must be AKC-apprised and conducted in an AKC-approved facility in compliance with AKC record-keeping policies.


Failure to Receive Papers.


Foundation Stock Service®.


The long hair on the edges, including some breeds’ heads and tails.


A gentle indentation line down the center of the skull to the end.


An occasional competition at specialty field trials or shows for young dogs that requires nominations and associated fees before the event date. These nomination series include nomination of the bitch after breeding, nomination of the litter after whelping, or nomination of individual puppies from the litter. The club holding the competition determines the number of nomination stages, fees, and other conditions.


Term to describe a first-generation cross between a sire and dam of different breeds. 


F1 crossed with a purebred parent,


Crossing two F1 parents.



The sequence of strides at different paces; each pattern is recognized by a specific throb and footfall.


The fastest dog gait; all four feet are simultaneously involved in the movement with more moments of suspension. Therefore, the body is flung into the air with all the feet off the ground.


Hunted wild birds or animals.


The second or lower thigh.

Gay tail

An erect tail on par with the horizontal level of the back.


Recorded family ancestry; pedigree.

Gestation Period

The time between conception and birth; a 63-day average in dogs. 




A long, tube-shaped neck. Also called swan neck.

Goose rump

Referring to a dog dipping its hindquarters, resulting in a downward tail set.

Goose step

Beefed up forelimbs.

Gray form

Referring to the Supplemental Transfer Statement.


A combination of dark or red hairs with white hairs. Oftentimes, a bluish-gray or iron-gray color. Color variants may differ by breed. 


The act of brushing, combing, and trimming a dog’s coat to make it neat.

Grooming area

Space within the premises of a dog show designated for grooming dogs.

Group class

A class of selected Best of Breed or Best of Variety for a specific group. 

Group show

A conformation dog show of breeds exclusive to an individual group. Examples include the all-terrier show and toy show.


All breeds are sorted into seven divisions by the AKC to facilitate judging, including the sporting, Hound, working, toy, terrier, non-sporting, and herding.

Guard hairs

The stiffer, lengthier, and smoother hairs that grow through and conceal the undercoat.

Gun dog

Type of hunting dogs trained to assist hunters in finding and retrieving game, usually birds.



Involuntarily raised neck and back hairs due to fear or anger.

Hackney action

An act of highly lifting the front feet and flexing its wrist resembling a hackney horse.


A unique characteristic.


One who is 18 years or older, albeit an entered dog’s owner or co-owner assigned by them to be responsible for the dog at the event.


A dog that crushes or renders a game unsuitable for consumption by standing over or chewing it instead of picking and carrying it. 

Hare foot

Paw with two longer central toes that makes the paw appear longer all-around. 


Blotched or dappled color pattern, usually black or gray on white. Color variants may differ by breed. 


A leather or fabric belt forged around a dog’s shoulders and chest and equipped with a ring at its top for the lead.

Haunch bones

The hip bones.


A membrane or third eyelid on the inside corner of a dog’s eye that lubricates and protects the eye.


A dog’s front section, including the muzzle and cranium.

Head planes

  1. An outline that runs down a skull when it is viewed in profile.
  2. A contour on the nose bridge that extends from the nose stop to the tip.


  1. A seasonal period of fertility and readiness to breed in female dogs. Also called estrus.
  2. Performance: A competitive running of dogs.


Command: To keep close beside its handler.


The upright measurement from the highest point of a dog’s shoulder blades to the ground; usually called shoulder height.

Herding group

Group of dogs bred and trained to herd or work livestock.

Herring gutted

The gentle slope from a moderately shallow chest to the noticeable dip at the loin.

Hie on

Command: To urge a dog on; used mainly in hunting or field trials.

High standing

Tall and upstanding in a full vertical stretch. High stationed. 

High in rear

A dog with a more-elevated hindquarter than front quarters.


A dog’s rear section consisting of the pelvis, thighs, hocks, and paws.


Ball and socket joint that joins the thighbone and pelvis. 

Hip Dysplasia

A genetic condition affecting a dog’s hip joint. It is characterized by pain and movement difficulty due to loosening of the hip joint.


The articulation of the hind leg bones that forms the joint between the second thigh and the bone connecting the ankles to the toes.

Hocking out

Outwardly turned hocks, resulting in the feet toeing in. It is also called barrel hocks or spread hocks.

Hocks well let down

Referring to hock joints in close proximity to the ground.


A fox or another animal’s burrow in drains, banks, tree roots, or similar hideouts.


A microchip brand distributed by Schering Plough to veterinarians for permanent identification of companion animals.

Honorable scars

Scars from injuries suffered while working.

Hound group

A dog group for hunting game by scent or sight.


A combination of white, tan, or black colors. The background color, usually white, is blotched with tan or black on the head, back, legs, and tail. However, each breed and individual dog have differing sizes and locations of such markings. Color variants may differ by breed. 


The highly noticeable top of the hipbones.


The upper arm bone.

Hunting tests

Non-competitive field events for flushing, retrieving and pointing breeds.



A device or tag on the dog that links it to a record; microchips and tattoos are examples.

Imported semen

Frozen semen received from another country.

Impure breeding

The product of two different sire and dam breeds. Crossbreed.

In whelp



The mating of two dogs of the same breed that have common relatives. (source)


The inability of a recorded owner to sign AKC documents due to an illness or disability.

Incapacitation form

A form completed by someone on behalf of an incapacitated person. Such a form must be attested as it will not contain the signature of the incapacitated person.


Six front teeth located between the canines at the top and bottom of a dog’s mouth. The interception forms the bite.

Individual registration

The AKC registration of a particular dog.

Inspection (American Kennel Club)

  1. An AKC on-site examination of an individual’s ownership, breeding, and litter records.
  2. An AKC assessment of identification practices and kennel conditions.

Inspection report

A document used by AKC Inspectors as they assess an individual’s records, kennel conditions, and identification practices.


Breeding dogs of different breeds. Crossbreeding.


Individuals in the chain of ownership between the litter owner(s) and the final recorded owner.


The colored membrane around the pupil of the eye.


Color similar to fawn, but more saturated and brilliant, typical to Doberman Pinschers. Color variants may differ by breed. 


  1. AKC: Information Systems Department.
  2. Institute for Shelter Dogs



The longer strands of hair below the neck or on the chest of the Schipperke breed; the part situated between the front legs.


A Terrier’s tight body coat


An AKC term used as a synonym for ‘dog broker.’


The lip and jaw flesh.


An AKC-approved official to evaluate dogs in specific AKC events.

Judge’s book

Book where the judge records the results from an officiated event.

Judging schedule

A printed material that lists the time scheduled for assessing each breed or group in obedience and other classes in that day’s event. Also called “Judging program.”



The curved outline of a dog’s lower chest.


  1. A dog’s shelter.
  2. Building or property within which dogs are bred, raised or housed.

Kennel name

Name used to identify a kennel and dogs from the kennel. 

Kennel report

A form that an AKC Inspector fills out during an on-site inspection, logging any inadequacies in the dogs or facilities.

Kink tail

A caudal vertebrae deformity resulting in a bent tail.

Kiss marks

Tan smudge on the cheeks and over the eyes. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Hind leg joint between the upper and lower thigh. 

Knee joint

Articulation thigh bone and lower leg bones; located at the hind legs.


A bony structure that sits in a slot at the lower end of the thigh bone with vertical movements as the knee contracts and protracts.

Knuckling over

A defect in the wrist joint allowing it to bend forward under a standing dog’s weight.



Referring to abnormality or impairment in movement.


The black and white Newfoundland breed, coined from the name of the famous painter who used such dogs as models.


Referring to the side.


The reclined shoulder blade angle.


The shoulder blade angle as opposed to the vertical plane via the front view.


A leather, fabric, or metal strap, cord, or chain attached to a collar or harness, or around the neck to restrain or lead the dog. Also called leash.


The deputation of breeding rights by the AKC-recorded owner of a dog to another person for a specified period. Only bitches may be leased.

Lease form (AKC)

A must-fill form by the recorded owner and lessee to complete the leasing process. The form is sent to the AKC before or along with the litter application to ensure the lessee is recorded on the litter.


The ear flap; the cartilage-supported outer ear and its surrounding tissue.

Legal ownership

A law-approved ownership.


A brilliant, medium-saturated yellow color typical to pointers. Color variants may differ by breed. 


One who leases a dam.


The recorded owner of a dam at the leasing time.

Level bite

The exact point of interception of the incisors. Also called equal bite, pincer bite, or even bite.

Level gait

A gait without the rise or fall of the shoulder blade’s highest point.


Formal AKC permission for a non-member club to hold an event.

Licensed club

AKC-approved Clubs that hold events where championships and/or titles may be won.


The right to seize and sell or acquire a debtor’s property as security or debt payment.


The forelegs or hind legs. 

Limited registration

Restricted participation in conformation events and AKC registration of puppies produced by a dog. Such a restriction can only be indicted and removed by its dog’s breeder on its Dog Registration Application.

Line breeding

A mating technique of breeding a dog with another of an earlier generation of the same bloodline.


Bobbing or loose lips.

List of Foreign Registries

A list of registries with AKC-approved documentation eligible for registering dogs whelped outside the United States. The AKC Special Registry Services for Imported and Domestic Dogs has an updated list.


The puppies of one whelping.

Litter application

Litter registration form.

Litter complement

The amount of puppies in a litter, usually expressed in the number by sex; for example, 3M2F (three males, two females).

Litter kit

A set of Dog Registration Applications handed out to the litter owner.

Litter owner (L/O)

The dam’s registered owner(s) or lessee on the whelping date.


A deep, reddish brown color with various shades of chocolate brown typical to several breeds. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Loaded shoulders

Excessive muscle development around the shoulder blades.


The region between the floating rib and the beginning of the pelvic girdle.

Loose slung

A condition of loose muscle and shoulder attachment.

Lower thigh

Hind leg section between the knee and hock.

Lumbar vertebrae

The loin region’s seven vertebrae.


An uncoordinated gait.


A crossbred hound.

Lure coursing

Coordinated events for Sighthounds where they are made to chase an artificial bait over a course.


Dislocation of an anatomical structure; for example, luxating patella — a condition where the kneecap moves out of its usual location.


Mad dog

A rabid dog.


A medium-saturated, dull, reddish-brown color typical to several breeds. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Major win

A win consisting of three, four, or five points in conformation and some performance events.

Making a wheel

The act of circling l the tail over the back.

Management Discipline Committee

AKC delegates who review discipline files and set of suspension terms within the board-directed protocols.


The lower jaw bone.


Long, thick hair on either side and top of the neck.


A dark-shaded part of the coat on the back, shoulders, and sides giving the appearance of a covering or cloak.


The strongest portion of the sternum beyond the first set of ribs.

Marcel effect

Regular, continuous waves (particularly in the American Water Spaniel breed).


Varying colors or patterns in a dog’s coat.


A dark-shaded portion on the foreface.

Match show

An informal dog show without championship points.


The act of bringing a dog and bitch together to breed.

Measure out

A dog’s shoulder height beyond breed limits as outlined in the breed standard.


Toward a dog’s mid-line.

Median line

A gentle indentation line down the center of the skull to the end.

Member clubs

Qualified clubs that have satisfied all of the sanctioned and licensing requirements; these clubs are eligible to select AKC delegates to attend the AKC’s quarterly meetings.


A marking pattern defined by a marbling effect of dark patches on a lighter shade of the same background color. With another color, it is used as a descriptive term for Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, and Great Danes. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Moderately wide head with a moderately long muzzle. 


Flat-footed hyperextension of the rear joint connecting the ankles to the toes.


A tiny device encrypted with a distinctive and unalterable number and implanted a plank length into the loose skin around your dog’s neck. It is read by a scanner.


A film upon which printed materials are photographed and significantly reduced in size. AKC applications and correspondence undergo microfilming when processed.

Milk teeth

First set of teeth. It is also called baby teeth.

Miscellaneous class

A transitory class for breeds aspiring to advance to full AKC recognition.


A dog whose coat coloration or markings do not conform to breed standards.

Mode I (event results)

An event’s printed or written results submitted by a club’s superintendent and entered by the AKC.

Mode II (event results)

An event’s electronically transmitted results requiring AKC manual placement entry and clean-up


The hindmost set of teeth with two on both sides of the upper jaw and three on the two sides of the lower jaw in an adult dog with a healthy dentition.


Incomplete, imperfect, or abnormal skull fusion, resulting in an opening in the top of the dog’s skull.


  1. Thick with hair on the paws. 
  2. German name for the Pug.


A dog that has one testicle withheld or sheltered in its abdominal cavity. See cryptorchid.


Pattern of dark, round blotches on a lighter background. Color variants may vary by breed. 


Gait a dog in a judge-assigned pattern.


  1. Events: Dogs that earn an AKC-authorized transfer from a regular class to the Best of Breed or Variety competition after entries have closed for the show and their owners’ records reveal they have completed the requirements for a championship even though their championships are unconfirmed by the AKC.
  2. Event Records: The awarding of an award to a dog judged in the next order of merit if any of the awards in the regular classes is canceled. The award’s result will be counted the same as the original.

Moving close

Inwardly turned hocks and ground-dipping pasterns with parallel movements, causing the dog to move close in the rear.

Moving straight

A balanced gait with an angle of inclination beginning at the shoulder, hip joint, and limbs and remaining fairly straight from these areas to the paws, regardless of the legs’ reach or thrust.

Multum in Parvo

A Latin phrase translated to “much in little” mentioned in the Pug standard.


A hound’s bay.


A dull, highly saturated, brown-yellow color typical of Dandie Dinmont Terriers. Color variants may differ by breed. 


To trail without baying or barking.


  1. The part of the head below the eyes consisting of the nasal bone, nostrils, and jaws. The foreface.
  2. Device: A strap or wire cage fastened to a dog’s foreface to prevent it from biting or picking up food.

Muzzle band

A white-colored marking around the muzzle.


National Specialty

Event held by the parent club.

National Amateur Field Championship

An annual field trial event that rules out professional handlers.

National Field Championship

An annual field trial event 

Neck well set-on

An excellent neckline, merging evenly with the withers and transitioning softly into the topline.


To castrate or spay, removing some sexual reproductive organs, including a dog’s testicles or a bitch’s ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.

New owner (N/O)

One who applies to register or record a dog’s transfer of ownership.


A breeding process that produces desired puppies.


Performance competition for Coonhounds.

Nonbreeding contract (Canada)

A breeder-authorized constraint sometimes put on a Canadian dog to limit breeding, rendering it ineligible to compete in AKC events. The breeder can lift the restriction.


A lower score than the designated qualifying score.

Non-slip retriever

Descriptive term for off-lead retriever field trials.

Non-sporting group

Dog breeds formerly bred for work or show, but are now bred for show, including the Boston Terrier, Bull Dog, and Dalmatian, among others.


  1. Organ for smell.
  2. The ability to detect by scent.

Novice class

A regular class for dogs six months or over that have not, before the closing of entries for the show, won three first prizes in the Bred-by-Exhibitor class, American-Bred class, or Open class, nor have one or more points toward their championship.


Obedience trial (licensed)

An event governed by AKC rules where a dog can get a shot at an obedience degree.

Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH)

A prefix given to a dog for winning the requisite number of points and First Place wins in the current Obedience Regulations.

Oblique shoulders

Well-laid-back shoulders.

Obliquely placed eyes

Eyes with more elevated outer corners than inner ones.

Occipital protuberance

A noticeably raised occiput in some sporting and hound breeds.


A pronounced bump behind the skull in some breeds like the Bloodhound and English Setter.

On-dog identification

A process that involves tagging, tattooing, or microchipping a dog for unique identification.

One-time disqualification

Conformation: Permanent disqualification by a judge for reasons including deafness, blindness, vicious behavior, castration, or artificial modifications. Such a disqualification renders a dog ineligible to compete in shows until official notification from the AKC stating otherwise. 

Open class

A regular class for dogs over six months old.

Orange belton

An orange and white color pattern in English Setters of light or dark ticking. Color variants might differ by breed.

Organized competition

A competitive event governed by a club’s or society’s rules, like the AKC, organized to promote purebred dogs’ interests.

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)

An organization founded in 1966, that maintains a database of hip dysplasia in dogs. The OFA has expanded its database to include elbow and eye data.

Otter tail

Thick, rounded tail with tapering and parted hair at the underside.

Out at the elbows

Outwardly turned elbows from the body.

Out at the shoulders

Loosely attached shoulder blades, leaving the shoulders bulging at rest with increased breadth at the front.


Mating of unrelated dogs of the same breed.

Oval chest

An egg-shaped chest wide at the top and narrow at the lower end, with an oval-tapered appearance. 

Overage dam

A dam over 12 years old on the date of mating.

Overage sire

A sire over 12 years old on the date of mating.


A heavy or pronounced brow.


Fault in the trot due to an obtuse angulation and transcending stride from behind forcing the rear feet to step to either side of the forefeet to avoid clipping or interfering.


The over-protraction of the upper jaw incisors beyond the lower jaw incisors, resulting in an opening between the inner and outer surfaces.


A surge in the number of applications to register puppies (completed Dog Registration Applications) from a specific litter over the total number of puppies by sex specified on the Litter Application.

Ownership dispute

A disagreement involving one of more parties regarding the recorded ownership of a dog or litter.



A sidewards gait that tends to stimulate a rotatory motion of the body. Both legs of the same sides advance in unison.


A kennel of hounds. A mixture of male and female hounds is a mixed pack.


A neutralizing action to counterbalance constant collision when a forward movement is overdriven from the rear; the front feet upturn in a split second, delaying a step to harmonize the forelegs’ stride with a extensive stride from behind.


A gaiting defect, similar to the swinging and dipping action of paddling a canoe. Clutching at the elbow and shoulder joints induces a forward swing in the front legs on an outward arc. It is also called “tied at the elbows.”


  1. Tough, shock-absorbing tissues made of fat and elastic underneath the feet.
  2. Soles.

Paper foot

A flat foot with thin pads.

Parent club

A federal AKC-designated organization to represent a specific breed.

Pariah dog

General term for relatively wild dogs with human connection. 


White and one or more definite, well-broken colors. For example, Cream Parti-color would be cream and white. Color variants may differ by breed. 


The written record of a dog’s ancestry of no less than three generations.

Pelvic Girdle

The hip bones (anterior ilium, ventral pubis, and posterior ischium) with the sacrum.


Part of a dog’s body between the abdomen and lower thighs

Pen breeding

Unplanned and unnoticed mating resulting from confining a dog and bitch in the same area.

Penalty fees

Board-authorized fine for disciplinary action or tendering of late forms.


Black lines parting the tan on the toes.

Pending discipline

The period between the Management Discipline Committee’s decision to push charges and the AKC Board of Directors’ actual suspension of an individual.

Pending hearing

The period between one’s request for a formal hearing and  the hearing date, where the attorneys are setting the hearing in motion.

Pendulous or Pendant

Hanging down


A method of evaluating hip dysplasia in dogs established in 1993 that involves calculating hip laxity. Breeders can select dogs with the smallest laxity (best hips) for future breeding as the results provide within-breed ratings.


A lowly saturated, medium brilliant black typical to several breeds. It defines the alternating black and white hairs of the Schnauzer breeds when mixed with Salt. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Permanent disqualification

  1. Referring to a dog banned from competing in AKC events. Permanent disqualification occurs if:
    1. A dog is ruled out thrice by three different judges under its breed standard or when a male has been eliminated for not having two normal testicles.
    2. A dog, from the judge’s viewpoint, attacks anyone in the ring.
  2. In performance events: A dog is reported for attacking another dog (more than two times, depending on the event).

Permanent post/referral

Placing a dog or litter indefinite suspension based on an AKC inquiry outcome.


Covered with two-color patches, predominantly black and white. Color variants may differ by breed. 


White patches mixed with another color. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Pig eyes

Eyes in close proximity.

Pig jaw

The over-protraction of the upper jaw incisors beyond the lower jaw incisors, resulting in an opening between the inner and outer surfaces. Overshot.


A chest bone and rib defect characterized by a narrow chest with a protruding breastbone and resulting in the chest bowing outwards into a point as opposed a curve.


An angular limb disfigurement characterized by the toes pointing in toward the dog’s body.


Dense soft hair undercoat.

Pincer bite

The exact point of interception of the incisors. Level bite. 


White markings with some other color (usually color patches on a white coat). Color variants may differ by breed. 


  1. An outline that runs down a skull when it is viewed in profile.
  2. A contour on the nose bridge that extends from the nose stop to the tip. Head planes


A long hair fringe on the tail.


The realistic, artificial perspective of the hunting dog used to indicate the presence and position of the game.

Pointing breeds

Descriptive term for sporting breeds that point birds by aiming their muzzle towards the game.


  1. Markings, usually black, white, or tan on face, ears, legs, and tail.
  2. Event: Credits toward championship status.


The act of stretching the neck forward in an abnormally low, awkward position, usually when moving.

Police dog

A police-trained dog.


A spherical cluster of hair on the end of the tail when the coat is trimmed.


The part of the dog edging toward the rear during regular movement.


Gaiting fault from a dog’s stride characterized by the forefeet striking the ground hard before the rear stride is completed resulting in a shorter stride in the front than in the rear.

Power of attorney

An act that allows an individual to sign AKC documents on the recorded owner’s behalf.

Power of attorney form

A form filled out by the recorded owner granting another person the authority to sign AKC documents on their behalf.

Premium List

The official announcement of a club’s event forwarded to potential participants, containing the event’s details.

Pre-Trial tested (Herding)

A suffix title given to dogs for passing the requisite number of Pre-Trial tests at AKC herding tests.

Prick ear

Erect ear, usually pointed at the tip.

Primary class

  1. Regular eligible class divisions:
    1. Puppy 
    2. Twelve-to-Eighteen month olds
    3. Novice
    4. Amateur-Owner-Handler
    5. Bred-by-Exhibitor
    6. American-bred
    7. Open
    8. Winners
  2. Also called regular class.


Eligibility to use AKC services, including the ability to register dogs and enter them in AKC events.

Processed application

Any AKC-received document warranting a change on a dog or litter record.

Professional handler

One who exhibits dogs for a fee in shows.

Professional trainer

  1. One who trains hunting dogs.
  2. One who handles dogs in field events.

Prong collar

A collar with metal pieces on it that pinch a dog and used for their training. The AKC forbids using this type of collar in shows. Also called pinch collar.

Provisional Judge

A title given to judges during the evaluation of their knowledge of designated breed(s) and/or obedience class level according to the current AKC judging approval system.

Pump handle

Long tail, carried high; unsatisfactory in many breeds like the Dachshund.


A dog under one year old.

Puppy class

A regular class for non-champion dogs between six and twelve months. Puppy classes may be divided into the six to nine months and nine to twelve months classes.

Puppy mill

A kennel where puppies are bred and sold in unsuitable conditions.


A dog whose sire and dam come from an unmixed ancestry, belonging to the same breed.

Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP)

An AKC-assigned number that allows a dog belonging to one of the AKC-recognized breeds (registerable or miscellaneous), to participate in some performance events, regardless of the reason it was not registered. However, the dog must be spayed or neutered, rendering it ineligible for conformation events.


Qualifying score

  1. Obedience: Scores of over 50% of the available points in each activity and a final score of 170 or more points, amassed in a single regular class at a licensed or member obedience trial or sanctioned match.
  2. Performance: A general term used for a dog that has met, at least, the minimum standard crucial to qualify in a class or test level at lure herding, coursing, earthdog, or hunting tests.


A degree of excellence.



Tall and slim; a relatively slight build. A dog with long legs, light bones, and narrow sides


One of the two forearm bones.


Rough muscles.


Tall, thin, lanky, or awkwardly built dog; gangly.

Rat tail

Tail with bushy and thick root covered with soft curls and tip with little or no hair.

Reach of front

Range of forward stride covered by forelegs.

Rear pastern

The metatarsus; the hindquarters area between the hock and the foot.

Record-keeping requirements

The AKC Board of Directors’ rule that everyone with AKC registered or registerable dogs maintain the mandatory records except individuals that own only one or two dogs without an intention to breed or sell. 

Record reconstruction

An AKC- provided service for individuals with lost or destroyed records attracting a $50 per hour fee until the records are retrieved. The recipient’s physical presence is required as they must sign a statement. 

Recorded owner (R/O)

The individual logged on AKC records as a dog’s owner.

Red sesame

The mixture of red with a scattered black overlay typical of the Shiba Inu breed. Color variants may differ by breed. 


To document a dog’s breeding particulars with the AKC.

Registered name

A dog’s name selected by the owner at the time its Registration Application is processed.

Registration certificate

An AKC-issued document to a dog owner at the time of registration or transfer.

Registration number

A unique number assigned to a dog at the time of registration. Under the current registration system, the registration of this number is the litter number plus a slash mark (/) and a two-digit number. 


Dog-related organizations that keep official records on specific subjects. There are purebred dog registeries for tracking lineage and health registries for certain conditions like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).


Rule or law composed to govern or control.


After a failed initial inspection, a breeder-requested inspection to determine whether they are complying with the AKC’s rules and regulations.


The restoration of AKC privileges to an individual or dog as they comply with AKC rules and regulations or after completing a suspension term.


Any incomplete or poorly written AKC document. The AKC issues a rejection notice, noting the errors and demanding proper correction.


A serious formal warning issued to individuals that do not comply with AKC rules.

Required records

Ownership, breeding, or litter records individuals must keep as noted in AKC regulations for record-keeping and dog identification.

Reserve Winners

A second-place award to a dog or bitch in the Winners class.


  1. Performance: A hunting term used to describe fetching back game to the handler.
  2. Obedience: An obedience class exercise.

Retrieving breeds

A descriptive term for sporting breeds that retrieve birds from water or over land.

Rib cage

The anthology of cartilage, paired ribs, sternum, and associated tissue that make up the thoracic region.

Ribbed up

Long ribs that bend backward from the spinal column. A reference to a long rib cage.


An elevated, curled tail.


A dog closely resembling another dog.

Roach back

Referring to an arc in the thoracic and lumbar regions.


Having the exact definition as the Belton color in English Setters; a term often used to describe a blue-gray or iron-gray color finely mixed with white hairs. For example, a blue roan is a blend of black and white hairs. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Rocking horse

Both front and rear legs outstretched from the body similar to an old-fashioned rocking horse.

Rolling gait

Swinging, floating action of the hindquarters when moving, characterized by a loose-jointed, sideways motion suggesting a roll. 

Roman nose

A nose with a significantly high bridge forming a gentle arch from forehead to nose tip like a ram’s nose.

Rose ear

A small ear that drops to the side to reveal the burr.


Trimming or cutting the ends of a dog’s ear leather.


A rich, mahogany red typical to the English Toy Spaniel. Color variants  may differ by breed.


The tail or stern.


Thick, lengthier hair around a dog’s neck.

Rule book(s)

The Rules Applying to Registration & Discipline, Rules Applying to Dog Shows, various sets of obedience and field trial regulations, and rule books pertaining to specific events.


The pelvic girdle region formed by the sacrum and surrounding tissues.


A medium-brilliant reddish brown typical to several breeds. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Saber tail

An elevated tail curled in a semicircle.


Coat color characterized by black-tipped hairs on a silver, gold, gray, fawn, or brown background.


Large, triangular-shaped bone at the spine end that sits in between the hip bones. It consists of three fused vertebrae that articulate the pelvic girdle.


Markings over the back in the shape of the seat fastened on a horse’s back. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Elongated back, with a dip behind the withers.

Sanctioned club

Club holding Plan A and B level matches to qualify to hold licensed events.


A dull, yellowish gray color of medium saturation typical to several breeds. Color variants may differ by breed. 


The odor an animal or bird leaves behind on the trail (ground-scent) or sniffed through the air (air-borne scent).

Scissors bite

A bite characterized by the outer side of the lower incisors touching the inner side of the upper incisors.

Screw tail

A naturally short and whirled tail.


A black-looking color-looking color except with a red overlay when viewed in the sun or bright light typical to Boston Terriers. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Second thigh

That hindquarter region between the stifle and hock similar to the human shin and calf. Lower thigh, including the tibia and fibula and the muscles surrounding them.

Secondary Class

A regular class division. The division can be breed-specific, event-specific, or have to do with appearance (color, height, weight, or coat). Examples include Open-Fawn (appearance) and Novice A or B in obedience events (even-specific). The event-holding club’s Event Committee determines whether they will offer secondary classes.


A color similar to dead grass in appearance, with a more accurate lightening of the chocolate hue typical to Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Seeing Eye Dog

A dog trained to guide the blind.


One or whole color except for lighter shadings. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Ears that bend southwards at the tip.

Semi-prick ears

Erect ears with forward-leaning tips.


The vertical cartilaginous plate between the nostrils.

Set up

Prepared to make the most of a dog’s appearance for the show ring.


A thin body lacking the proper amount of bone.

Short back

Relatively short from the last rib to the beginning of the hindquarters

Show cause hearing

A hearing similar to a trial board hearing, without a jury, and only the judge, to determine an individual’s deserving disciplinary action.

Show Chairman

A show-organizing club’s delegate or member responsible for the event’s proper planning, conducting, and reporting. While some of these responsibilities may be designated to other individuals or organizations, the show Chairman is supremely accountable for these tasks. Also event chairman.

Show hours

Officially open show hours. Also event hours.

Show Secretary

The person who receives entries for a show. Also event secretary.

Sickle hocked

A defect that affects the hock joint, making it impossible to reach full stretch. It is characterized by a dog standing with its rear pasterns slightly forward to support its weak hocks.


A hound that runs or chases prey by sight.

Signature Authorization form

A form filled out by pet shops and brokers. Also called C-21, R-77, and R-92.

Single tracking

All footprints clinching to a single line of travel due to the dog moving at high speed. When trotting, a dog’s body is supported by two legs as the other two move as alternating diagonal pairs angling inward toward a center line. 


The male parent.


Structural frame that supports the body; divided into axial (skull, vertebral column, chest) and appendicular (forequarters, hindquarters) in dogs.


Thick through the skull.

Slab sided

Flat ribs with too little or no arch and spring from the spinal column.

Sled dogs

Dogs trained and used to pull sleds, usually in teams.

Slew feet

Outwardly turned feet. Breeds like Dachshunds, Bulldogs, and Basset Hounds are prone to this condition.

Sloping shoulder

An angulation defect in the shoulder blade. The shoulder is strongly muscled, but slantingly set or laid back.

Smooth coat

Short, close-lying fur typical to several breeds, including the Dalmatian, Bulldog, Greyhound, and Boston Terrier.

Snatching hocks

A gait fault characterized by pronounced rocking in the rear quarters. At mid-range, the rear pastern twists beneath the body as the dog swings its hind leg. 


A muzzle too pointed for a dog’s breed type because it lacks breadth and depth. Such a muzzle is weak.

Snow nose

Usually black nose with a pink spot in winter. Also called winter nose.


The mental and physical health state when all organs are complete and functioning as they should in proper relation to one another.


To prevent conception by removing a bitch’s ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus. 


To bark.

Special attraction

An event or class, exclusive to purebred dogs at AKC all-breed or specialty events. However, a special request may be granted to open the event to AKC-unrecognized breeds or to a well-known dog with a celebrity. Examples of special attractions include weight pulls, best puppy in shows, agility team demonstrations, eye clinics, herding demonstrations, and tattoo clinics. The club must petition for all special attractions before listing them in their Premium List.

Special Registry Services

A department that deals with anything outside the typical domestic registrations. They handle Foreign Applications, Open Registry, and Special Litters.

Special Services

An AKC-formed department to address questions and complaints from the AKC customer show groups. The department offers a premium service to the show groups’ active participants.

Specialty club

A club established to serve and promote a specific breed’s interests.

Specialty show

Conformation shows where dogs of a specific breed or group are eligible to participate.


Dark markings or shadings over or around a dog’s eyes or from its eyes to ears.

Speedy discipline

A board suspension without the benefit of trial when an individual does not dispute their suspension.

Spike tail

A straight, short tail that narrows directly from root to tip.


A blotched color mix between white and another color.


A flat foot with separated toes, often with pronounced gaps. Open foot, open-toed.

Sporting Group

Dogs originally bred to assist in hunting land and water game birds, Setters, Spaniels, Pointers, and Retrievers.


Distance between the forelegs when stretched out.

Spread hocks

Outwardly pointed hocks.


Referring to dogs driving birds from cover or forcing them to fly. Flush.

Spring of ribs

Rip arch behind the rib cage and before the rump for heart and lung capacity.

Square body

A dog with equal measurements from withers to ground and forechest to croup.

Squirrel tail

Tail elevated above the back and outwardly curled towards the tip.

Stack (setup, pose)

A dog posturing in a natural position.

Stag red

Deep red (almost brown), admix black hairs typical to the Miniature Pinscher. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Class designation used in field trial competition.


Standing with the rear held up and front end lowered; often considered an aggressive posture.


A word picture illustrating how a breed should look, move, and behave. Breed Standard.

Standoff coat (Stand away coat)

Peculiar to breeds with double coats; long hairs or heavy outer coats that do not position horizontally on the body. 

Staring coat

The harsh, dry, or curling standoff coat at the tips.

Statement of Legal Rights

A form filled out by an individual authorized to sign for a deceased and used instead of a court document. However, the form must be validated.


Height from the ground, in full or partial stretch. 


A descriptive term for incorrect articulation angles. For example, a steep front depicts a more upright shoulder placement than outlined in the breed standard.






One responsible for the organization of a specific ring, like distributing armbands in assembling the classes, allowing the judge to focus on judging the dogs.


Corresponding to a human’s knee; the hind leg joint between the thigh and the second thigh. 


The bouncing, uneven gait of the straight-hocked dog.


The degree of angle changes from the muzzle to the back skull; the dent between the eyes where the cranium and nasal bones meet.

Straight in pastern

Flat-footed joint hypertension characterized by little or no bend at the pastern.

Straight shoulders

Straight shoulder blades instead of sloped or laid back.


Little or no angulation at the hock joints.

Stud Book

An AKC monthly listing of sire and dams that have produced AKC-registered litters. Therefore a breeder can use Stud Book volumes to trace a dog’s lineage and produce bloodlines.

Stud dog

A male dog used for breeding.

Stud dog class

Class where a stud dog is exhibited and assessed with at least two of its offspring. Assessment is based on the quality of the puppies. While the club may allow more than two offspring to be exhibited, the upper limit must be stated in the Premium List.

Stud dog power of attorney form

A filled-out form (used mostly by handlers) that allows the AKC to accept the signature of an individual, albeit a stud dog’s actual owner. It is an annually renewed form that can only be used on litter applications for litters sired by the stud dog. 

Stud fee

Payment for a stud dog’s services.

Subcommittee of the Board

A three-member board subdivision formed for hearing appeals on AKC privileges.



Substitution of a dog

Entering a dog in an AKC event and using another dog at the event.

Superciliary arches

The extension of the skull frontal bones over the eyes equivalent to the brow in humans.


An AKC-licensed individual hired by a club to oversee the logistics of holding an event.

Supplemental Transfer Statement

The form filled out by the current and new owner when a registered dog or one eligible for registration changes ownership before a registration or registered transfer. It is attached to the original registration certificate or application. Also called the gray form.


An action that forbids an individual from using any AKC facilities or privileges.

Suspension trot

A fast movement where all the dog’s feet are briefly off the ground per each half stride. The approaching hind feet land beyond the footprint left by the front. It is also called flying trot.


Vertebral column arch between the withers and the hipbones.


A non-regular competition without championship pointsy amalgamated with regular classes at specialty shows for puppies or veterans. The club establishes class divisions, requirements, and conditions. 


Conventional balance between all parts of the dog.


Tail set

Tail base position on the rump.


A permanent on-dog identification inked at a veterinary office or by a qualified individual at a dog club or other organization.


Sandy yellow color mixed with white typical to Ibizian Hounds. Also referred to as Lion Tawny thanks to the sandy yellow color of Lions. Color variants may differ by breed. 


A group of four dogs in most cases exhibited by one handler.

Terrier front

A non-faulty front with little angulation found on fox terriers. (source)

Terrier group

A group of terrier dogs originally bred and trained for hunting vermin.


The male sexual organ that produces spermatozoa. According to the AKC, a male dog without two normal testicles in the scrotum is ineligible to compete at any show, except a neutered dog entered in tracking tests, obedience trials, field trials (except beagles), and as a stud dog in a stud dog class.


Part of the hind legs between the hip to stifle.

Thoracic vertebrae

The chest’s thirteen vertebrae where the thirteen rib pairs fuse.

Three-time disqualification

Conformation: Permanent disqualification due to being eliminated for the same reason on three different occasions by three judges for reasons including:  

  • Testicles not present
  • Undescended testicles
  • Unspecified weight  in the breed standard
  • Unspecified height in the breed standard
  • Color not as specified in the breed standard

Three-Time Win trophy

A trophy recieved by an owner or breeder for winning an award thrice. However, not all classes and awards are eligible for three-time win trophies as outlined in the Rules Applying to Dog Shows.


Excessive loose skin under the throat.

Thumb marks

Black spots in the pastern region.


One of the two leg bones.


Speckles of black or colored hairs on a white coat. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Tied at the elbows

A gaiting defect, similar to the swinging and dipping action of paddling a canoe. Clutching at the elbow and shoulder joints induces a forward swing in the front legs on an outward arc. It is also called paddling.


An honor conferred on a dog for completing specific tasks, qualifications, or reaching a requisite point at AKC or AKC-sponsored event. 


A hound’s barking or baying on the trail.


A cluster of longer hair strands on the head.


An outline after the withers to the tail set.

Toy Group

A dog group bred for companionship.


To track game by following ground scent.

Training collar

Nylon, leather, or chain collar fastened to a dog’s neck that the degree of pull and release exerted by the handler clasps or slackens it. Also called choke or slip collar.

Trial Board

The three-member panel appointed by the AKC Board of Directors to conduct a hearing on specific charges and determine an individual’s suspension.

Triangular eye

Three-cornered eye shape exclusive to Bull Terriers.


Three-colored coat. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Grooming the coat by clipping.

Triple Champion (TC)

A dog with conformation show, field trial, and obedience trial championships.


A harmonious two-beat transverse gait where each diagonal touches the ground together; (right hind with left front and vise verse).


Long turfs of hair at the back of the upper and lower thighs.


The gentle dent on either side of the skull behind the eye socket; equivalent to temple in humans.


To cut off.


The noticeable dip at the loin. Small-waisted.

Tulip ear

An erect ear with forward-curving edges.


An up-turned foreface.

Twelve-to-eighteen month class

A regular class for non-champion dogs between twelve and eighteen months.

Twisting hocks

A gaiting fault where characterized by twisted hocks as they tension or carry weight. Also called rubber hocks.


Peculiar characteristics that tell between breeds (breed type) or kennels (kennel type).



One of the two forearm bones.

Unbenched Show

Conformation shows that do not mandate dogs on specific benches for viewing.

Underage dam

Bitch under eight months old at mating time.

Underage sire

Dog under eight months old at mating time.


The dense, soft, short coat that grows closest to their skin and is concealed by a longer outer coat.


The amalgamated outlines of the brisket and abdominal floor.


The incisors of the lower jaw over-protracting beyond the incisors of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed.

Unentered dog

A dog at the show grounds but not registered at the show.

Unilateral cryptorchid

A male dog suffering from cryptorchidism.


A dog unable to execute breed-related tasks or functions it was trained for.

Upper arm

The foreleg bones, between the shoulder blade and the forearm; the humerus. 


Variable Surface Tracking (VST)

An AKC title conferred on a dog for passing a licensed or member club Variable Surface Tracking Test.


An AKC-approved breed variant. The following nine breeds have varieties: Cockers, Beagles, Collies, Dachshunds, Bull Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Chihuahuas, English Toy Spaniels, and Poodles.


A bright, incredibly brilliant expression.


The part of the dog’s forelock completely or partially covering the eyes.


The anal opening.

Vertebral column

The central axis bones of a dog’s posterior between the skull and rump, including cervical, lumbar, sacral, thoracic, and caudal vertebrae.

Veterans class

Class for dogs older than a club-established minimum age requirement.



Gaiting pattern characterized by one foot lifting from the ground one at a time in harmonious sequence.


A descriptive term for a blue or pale colored eye; eye with whitish iris; fisheye or pearl eye.

Warning letter

Any or all four letters that caution an individual of their noncompliance with AKC Rules and Regulations.


Connected by a membrane-like webbed foot typical to Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Poodles.

Webbed toes

Toes connected by a skin membrane typical to water-retrieving dogs as it is essential for swimming.


Light boned.

Well let down

A descriptive term for short hocks or metatarsals.

Wet neck

Loose or excess skin around the neck.


Pale yellow or fawn color similar to wheat. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Wheel back

A marked convex curvature of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.

Whelp date

A litter birth date.


The act of birthing puppies.

Whip tail

Stuff, straight, and pointed elevated tail to back level.


Hairs on both sides of the muzzle that serve as sensory organs.


White coat color with red or dark markings. Color variants may differ by breed. 


Height-measuring equipment used to take a dog’s height at the withers.

Wild boar

A dull gray coat intermingled with black hairs typical to Dachshunds. Color variants may differ by breed. 


To perceive game as the scent blows in the air.


A gaiting fault characterized by one or both front feet twisting outward as the forelimbs sway forward.


An award given to the best dog and bitch competing in regular classes at a dog show.

Winners class

A same-sex regular class, with each division open to previous winners in the Puppy, Twelve-to-Eighteen month, Novice, Bred-by-Exhibitor, American-Bred, or Open classes.

Winter nose

Usually black nose with a pink spot in winter. Also called snow nose.


A thick, crisp, wiry coat.


A dog’s shoulder’s highest point.


A judge’s decision not to give an award or placement in a class.

Wolf sable

Only silver or gray hairs with black tips typical to Pomeranians. Color variants may differ by breed. 

Working group

Group of dogs bred and trained to assist search and rescue teams, pull carts, and guard property. 


Slack, folding skin on foreface and forehead.

Wry mouth

Unsymmetrical arrangement of upper and lower jaws; crossbite.

Authored By

Editorial Staff

Our editorial team comprises vets, dog behaviorists, dog trainers, and nutritional and welfare experts, with years of experience. ...