Skin Terminology

Apart from being coated or hairless, the skin of a dog can come in many variations. It can cover the dog tightly, or be so loose in a particular area that it becomes a characteristic described by a specific term. This page explains the names of some of these loose skin formations.

Basset HoundBasset Hound


When the supple skin of the head is loose, the lower eyelid can droop or sag so the eye rim does not hug the eye. The red pouch which then becomes clearly visible is called haw. This is often seen in a breed with excessive head skin like the Basset Hound (pictured) or the Bloodhound.


Chow ChowChow Chow

Scowl is another variation in the skin covering the head. The skin of a Chow Chow's head wrinkles or contracts giving the expression is referred to as a 'scowl'. The dictionary describes a scowl as this wrinkling or contracting the brow giving an expression of anger or disapproval. In the Chow Chow, the slightly tilted, small rounded ear also adds to this scowling expression.


Basset HoundBasset Hound

The dewlap is the loose pendulous skin around the throat area, often arranged as two distinct folds as illustrated in the Basset Hound. In breeds like the Neapolitan Mastiff which were originally developed as dogs used in wars, these loose folds acted as protection for the jugular vein in the throat area.

In most breeds, excess skin in the throat area is considered a fault. When a neck has no excess loose skin, it is called a 'clean throat' or 'dry throat'. The term 'clean' meaning no excess loose skin, can also be applied to the cheeks, for example the Weimaraner.