Head Terminology


This section covers important head terminology including the basic construction of the head, different head shapes, mouths, teeth and ears. Although these components were originally bred for a purpose, today the essentials have been preserved to form the basis of breed type.

For variations in skin covering the head, please see the skin terminology page.

Terminology Head Components

Dog Head Components

Dogs' heads have four separate components each of which can vary considerably. These four components of dogs' heads underpin the variations in the head shapes. So it is imperative to understand the different components that make up the head before we can discuss variations which set the breed type of each particular pure breed of dog. »» Read more...

Head Shape Tenterfield Terrier

Head Shapes and Outlines

This section considers the overall shape or outline of a dog's head. Some of these variations are quite distinctive whilst others are quite subtle, each having been developed to perform a particular function. Understanding these different shapes and outlines and their variations are vital to recognizing breed type of each pure breed of dog. »» Read more...

Mouth Wide Open

Dog Mouth (Bite) Terminology

The mouth (usually called the dog's bite) is the terminology used to ascertain how the teeth in the upper and lower jaws meet when the mouth is closed. This depends on two factors - the length of the actual jaws relative to one another, and the position of the teeth themselves. Dog Show Judges usually assess the bite by just ... »» Read more...

Ears German Shepherd

Dog Ear Terminology

A dog's ear consists of the anatomical structures within the inside of the ear (orifice) that facilitate hearing. But for dog judges, breeders and fanciers, the ear leather (also sometimes called the lobe) varies enormously from breed to another in size, shape, thickness, carriage and mobility. The 'set on' or where the ear is attached to the skull is also ... »» Read more...