Head Terminology

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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

What is commonly known as a dog's ear consists of a lobe of leather cartilage covered on both sides by skin. The outer side is furry and the inner side is usually smooth. The anatomical structures within the orifice inside the ear, are responsible for the dog being able to hear. »» Read more...


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