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Dog Glossary – D

Glossary of Dog Terms:


Dachshund: A small dog of a breed developed in Germany for hunting badgers and having a long body, a usually shorthaired brown or black and brown coat, drooping ears, and very short legs.

Dalmatian: A dog of a breed believed to have originated in Dalmatia, having a short, smooth white coat covered with black or dark brown spots.

Dam: The female parent.

Dander: Small scales from the skin, hair, or feathers of an animal, often causing an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier: A breed of small terrier with long wiry coat and drooping ears.

Dapple: A mottled or variegated coat color pattern. Single dapple is expressed as lighter color areas contrasting with the darker base color, which may be acceptable color. Looks like the merle effect in Shelties, Collies, etc., except that it is found in Dachshunds. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Date of Whelping: Date of birth.

Deadgrass: Tan or dull straw color. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Deep-Chested: Term describing the rib cage structure of dogs like German Shepherds, Great Danes and Irish Setters. Deep-chested dogs have a greater tendency to develop stomach dilatation, also referred to as bloat.

Dehydration: Excessive loss of water from the body or from an organ or body part, as from illness or fluid deprivation.

Demodex: A mite that causes mange.

Dentition: Forty-two adult teeth, including incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.

Depth of Chest: An indication of the volume of space for heart and lungs, and commonly referenced to the elbow (i.e., above, at the level of, or below).

Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin.

Dewclaw: An extra claw on the inside of the leg; a rudimentary fifth toe, removed on most breeds.

Dewlap: Loose, pendulous skin under the throat and neck.

DHLPP: Vaccine to immunize a dog against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus

Diabetes: A disease in which the body is unable to utilize blood glucose because inadequate amounts of insulin are produced by the pancreas.

Diagonals: Right front and left rear legs constitute the right diagonal; left front and right rear legs constitute the left diagonal. In the trot, the diagonals move together.

Diehard: Nickname of the Scottish Terrier.

Digit: Toe.

Dilute: Washed out color. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Dingo: A wild dog (Canis dingo) of Australia, having a reddish-brown or yellowish-brown coat.

Dish-faced: A slight concaveness of foreface when viewed in profile.

Dishing: Weaving.

Distemper: An infectious viral disease occurring in dogs, characterized by loss of appetite, a catarrhal discharge from the eyes and nose, vomiting, fever, lethargy, partial paralysis caused by destruction of myelinated nerve tissue, and sometimes death. Also called canine distemper.

Distemper Teeth: Teeth discolored or pitted as a result of distemper or other disease or deficiency.

Divergent Hocks: Hocks that turn out. Barrel hocks.

DNA: A unique genetic makeup. DNA testing is done to prove the actual parentage and/or identity of an animal.

DNA Test: A test to determine identity and/or verify parentage. Results must be processed by an AKC-approved facility to be accepted by AKC.

Doberman Pinscher: A medium large breed of dog of German origin with a glossy black and tan coat; used as a watchdog.

Dock: To clip short or cut off an animal’s tail.

Dog: A male canine or term used to refer generically to all canines, male or female.

Dog Fancy: Term describing the group of people interested in and active in the promotion of purebred dogs.

Dog Show: Also known as a conformation show, a show in which dogs are judged on how closely they adhere to the breeds standard.

Dogue de Bordeaux: Also called the French Mastiff and the Bordeaux Bulldog, a short, stocky mastiff with a large, heavy, broad and wrinkled head.

Domed Skull: Evenly rounded in topskull; curved, not flat.

Domesticated: A term used to describe an animal that has been tamed or reclaimed from a wild state.

Dominant: exerting forcefulness or having dominance in a social hierarchy.

Doming: As seen in Cocker Spaniels, the rounded portion of the head in between the ears.

Domino: Reverse facial mask pattern on some breeds. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Dorsal: The portion of the dog carried farthest from the substratum (i.e., away from the ground) during normal locomotion or side of the body furthest from the ground.

Double Coat: An outer coat resistant to weather and protective against brush and brambles, together with an undercoat of softer hair for warmth and waterproofing. A dog with this type of coat can also be referred to as a double coat.

Double Dapple: Varying amounts of white coloring occurring over the body in addition to the dapple pattern. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Down-Faced: The muzzle inclining downwards from the skull to the tip of the nose.

Down Hairs: A term referring to the shortest hair on the dog, which is usually found next to the skin beneath the top coat and is soft and downy in texture.

Drag: A trail prepared by dragging along the ground a bag impregnated (usually) with animal scent.

Drive: A solid thrusting of the hindquarters, denoting sound locomotion.

Drop Ear: The ear leather folds over; not erect or prick ears.; Ear in which the leather is folded over to some degree.

Dropper: A bird dog cross.

Dry Neck: The skin taut, neither loose nor wrinkled.

Dudley Nose: Flesh-colored.

Dutch Shepherd Dog: A large breed of dog similar to the German Shepherd Dog and originating from the Netherlands.