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Education > Glossary of Terms

Here are some of the terms that are often not understood or commonly used within the Aussie community. These definitions are not out of a dictionary, they are as close to laymens terms as I could think of. If something is still not clear, send me an e-mail and ask. 

Acronyms are on a separate page, because this page is long enough already.

Agility: a judged competitive timed event for dogs and their handlers.
Allele: One member of a pair or series of genes that occupy a specific position on a specific chromosome.
Alpha: Term used to describe the highest ranked or most dominant individual of the pack. Term can be used for a human and/or dog.
Alter: To spay or neuter

Bi-color: a coat of two distinct colors.
Bidable:  Able to be trained or trainable
Bite: occlusion; relationship of the upper and lower jaws when the mouth is closed.
Bobtail: very short, almost stump-like tail.
Bowed front: forelegs that curve out between the elbows and pasterns.
Brindle: an even mixture of dark colors with lighter colors, usually as a striped, tiger-like coat.
Brisket: chest or sternum area.
Butterfly nose: spotted or partially un-pigmented nose.
Balance: overall proportion and symmetry of conformation.
Bitch: female dog.

Coefficient of inbreeding (COI): The amount of inbreeding, common ancestors, in a pedigree
Conformation: physical make-up, based on a breed standard.
Canine tooth: the first premolar; long grasping tooth or a dog's fang.
Close behind: moving with hocks close together.
Cow-hocked: viewed from behind, the point of hocks point toward each other, resulting in the rear feet pointing outward.
Crest: Arched area near the top of the neck. 
Crossing-over: when viewed from the front (or rarely, the rear), the legs converge beyond the midline.
Cull: To put down, euthanize.

Dam
: female parent.
Dentition: canine tooth development and eruption. A full dentition is 42 teeth when the dog reaches adulthood.
Dew claws: extra toes on the insides of the front, and sometimes, rear legs.
Docked tail: tail cut to a shorter length.
Dominance: assertive characteristics of a dog and its influence over other dogs or people.
Dominant: alpha dog of a pack that displays a behavior superiority or dominance over other dogs of the pack, and exerts a rule influence.
Double Coat: fine undercoat of some dogs that is combined with a harsher outer guard coat.
Down: Command to have the dog lay down
Down in pastern: weak, overly sloping pastern.
Drive:
1. Strong thrust from the hindquarters.
2. Desire to work livestock.
Dudley nose: flesh-colored nose.

Ear Canal: external duct leading from the tympanic membrane (eardrum) to the outside.
Ear Canker: external ear ulceration and infection.
Ear foreign bodies: Any matter that finds its way into the external ear canals of dogs.
Ear Hematoma: pocket of blood that occurs between the layers of the ear pinna cartilage and skin. It is often caused by shaking head and whipping the ears due to ear mites or foreign bodies in the external ear canals.
Ear Leather: pinna or flap of the ear.
Ear Mange: redness and crustiness of the ear that is usually caused by ear mites, (Otodectes cynotis)
Earmark: tattoo that is impregnated in the ear leather as a means of permanent identification.
Ear Mites: Otodectes cynotis, a tiny mite that lives as a parasite in ear canals and causes intense itching and irritation.
Ear Ossicles: three bones of the middle ear: malleus, incus, and stapes. They transmit sound waves from the eardrum to the otic nerve.
Ear Set: describing where on the head the ears are attached.
Ears Set High: placement of ears high on the crown of the head.
Ears Set Low: placement of the ears set low on the head.
Ears Set wide: placement of the ears on the head at the maximum distance apart.
Eruption:
1. breaking out of a visible, circumscribed lesion of the skin.
2. normal activity of the teeth as they break through the gums.

Feathers: long hair on the back of front legs
Flews: upper lips.
Flock:
1. collected group of livestock that are used in a herding trial.
2. farm birds or livestock that are gathered or herded together.
Flyball:
1. in agility trails, a competition that involves a course of jumping and ends with a treadle that the dog steps on to cause a ball to pop out of a box. The dog must catch the ball and return it to the handler.
2. Competition in which a dog steps on a release on a box allowing a ball to pop out to be caught.
Full dentition: no missing teeth - 42 teeth.

Gait: Left and right side views - back and front feet meet but don’t clip each other excessively

Harlequin: normally seen on merles, patches of light and dark fur, often confused with dilute spots.
High in rear: a dog that is higher over its rear quarters than over its front quarters.
Hip dysplasia: a very common and debilitating genetic disease of the hips, where the junction of the femur head (large bone in the leg) and the hip socket do not fit as they should. Surgery can be performed to correct the problem.
Hock: Tarsus: joint on the hind limb between lower thigh and pastern.

Inbred: descriptive of offspring of mated dogs that are closely related to each other.
Inbreeding: practice of mating siblings to each other: father to daughter, mother to son, or other animals closely related to each other.
Incisors: any one of the "biting off" or "cutting" teeth directly in the front of the mouth. There are six incisors in the upper jaw, six in the lower. They are named central, intermediate, and corner.
Knuckled over: steep pastern, or with a reverse slope.

Lay back: angle at which the shoulders is set on the dog's body.
Loin: region between the ribcage and croup.
Lower thigh: area from stifle to hock, also called second thigh.
Line: family of related dogs, usually bred by a single kennel.
Line-breeding: mating two dogs that have the same bloodline but are not closely related; a technique used to concentrate and fix genetic features in dog.
Lineage: genealogical decent from a common ancestor; dog's pedigree or family tree.
Loose movement: erratic movement suggestive of poor muscle development.

Mane
: profuse growth of hair on the rear of the neck.
Merle: a mottled, marbled effect
Metacarpus: referring to bones leading from the carpus (wrist) to the toes; anatomical region of the fore pastern.
Mongrel: dogs of more than one breed, also known as cur, mutt, and mixed breed.

Occiput
: highest point at the back of the skull, above where the neck joins the head; in many breeds it forms a crest and is quite prominent.
Off: to get off of something or someone
Over bite: when upper incisors overlap lower incisors, leaving a gap between the teeth.

Pacing
: moving both legs on the same side of the body in unison, as though hobbled together.
Pastern: region of the metatarsus that extends from the hock to the foot in the hind leg, and the metacarpal area of the foreleg.
Phantom Merle: Solid looking dog that was born with merle makings. May not be obviously present when older.
Premolars: smaller teeth situated just to the rear of the fangs (canines).
Pinna: the part of the ear that outside the head; flap or leather.
Prick ears: ears that stand upright. Example: border collie
Puppy Mill: place in which puppies are bred, often in unsuitable and sometimes inhumane conditions. The parents of these puppies typically have not had proper health certifications conducted, i.e. OFA and CERF.
Pure Bred: a dog who has parents of the same breed. Also, often times puppies are produced with complete disregard to the standard and health.

Reach
: length of forward stride.
Rear angulation: angles formed between the pelvis, thigh bone (femur), and  second or lower thigh bone (tibia/fibula).
Red Carrier: Carries the red color gene, if crossed with a red dog or another red carrier can produce red puppies.
Red Factored: Carries the red color gene, if crossed with a red dog or another red carrier can produce red puppies.
Rib spring: arch formed by the ribcage; more spring refers to more arch.
Roach back: an overly arched, convex topline.
Rose ears: ears folded back in repose, slightly cast out from the head.
Ruff: profuse growth of hair on the front of the neck, or that surrounds the entire neck.

Sable
: black tips on red or blue hairs.
Scissors bite: when upper incisors just overlap lower incisors, such that the rear surface of the upper incisors touches the outer surface of the lower incisors.
Shepherd Spots: Spots of copper above eyes, can be above eyes closer to stop.
Shoulder Angulation: angle formed between the scapula and humerus.
Show:
1. Conformation event where dogs are judged against their standard.
2. Any competition in which a dog is entered. Herding, agility, conformation, etc.
Sickle-hocked: viewed from the side, an over-angulated joint between the lower thigh and hock; an inability to straighten this joint when moving.
Single tracking: as viewed from the front or rear, the legs converge toward the center line of balance as the dog trots.
Sire: male parent.
Slab-sided: flat-ribbed.
Sound: good moment.
Splay foot: toes that are not close together.
Stack: To set-up in a stance to show a good side view. Also see stance
Stance: Square and level with front and rear legs/toes not tuning in or out
Standard: the official blueprint for a breed.
Stifle: knee joint; articulation between the tibia and fibula and the femur.
Stop: transition area from skull to muzzle, often demarcated by an abrupt depression.
Swayback: a sunken, concave topline.

Tarsus
: Joint on the hind limb between lower thigh and pastern. Also know as the hock
Ticked: small areas of black or other dark colors on a white background.
Timorous: Timid, afraid, not confident
Tooth Development
: In the dog, there are 12 deciduous incisors that erupt at four to five weeks of age, three on each side, six in the upper jaw and six in the lower. Behind them are four deciduous canine teeth, one on either side, in the upper and lower jaws that erupt at about the same time as the incisors. The 12 deciduous premolars erupt about a week later, and are positioned behind the canines, three on each side, in the upper and lower jaws. They complete the set of 28 deciduous or milk teeth. At about three months of age, the central incisors are replaced by permanent teeth. The four permanent canine teeth are often the last to appear, and typically are not visible until about six months of age. Permanent premolars begin to erupt about four months of age. There are four on each side, on both the upper and lower jaws, and the rearmost is usually visible by six months of age. Those 16 permanent teeth take the place of the 12 deciduous premolars. The two upper molars on each side and three lower molars on each side also begin to appear at about four months, with the last of the ten erupting at about six months.
Top-line: Head is held level with the body in a natural gait, back is straight and flat
Tracking -
1. Dog Movement - Front and rear views of movement, legs move smoothly and straight with no twisting or turning
2. Event - Competition involving a dog tracking a smell, used in search and rescue.
Trial: A competition for herding, agility, obedience, etc. A conformation show does not fall under a trial heading.
Tuck-up: area under the loin in a small waisted dog.
Tulip: ears that stand erect with a slight forward and inward curvature.
Tri-color: a coat of three distinct colors.
Typey: having a superior body conformation; meeting the breeds standard.

Undershot bite
: when lower incisors extend beyond upper incisors.

Versatility or Versatile Dog: A dog that competes, in many different areas of competition. Herding, conformation, agility, etc.

Whelp
: Giving birth

Rev. 15 January 18



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