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Dog Glossary – M

Glossary of Dog Terms:


Mad Dog: A rabid dog.

Mahogany: Used to describe several breeds, this color is a medium-saturated, dull, reddish brown. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Marking: An instinctual behavior in which male dogs urinate in certain locations to establish their territory.

Making a Wheel: Term given to the circling of the tail over the back.

Mandible: The bone of the lower jaw.

Mane: Long, thick hair on top and sides of neck.

Mantle: Dark-shaded portion of the coat on shoulders, back, and sides.

Manubrium: The first sternabra of the chest.

Marcel Effect: Regular continuous waves (specified in the American Water Spaniel standard).

Markings: Contrasting color or pattern in a dog’s coat.

Mask: Dark shading on the foreface.

Mastiff: An ancient breed of large strong dogs, probably originating in Asia and having a short, often fawn-colored coat.

Mastitis: Inflammation of the breast or udder.

Mate: To breed a dog and bitch.

Maternal Immunity: A form of temporary immunity passed from a mother to her offspring while in the uterus and after birth in the colostrum and milk.

Measles: An acute, contagious viral disease, usually occurring in childhood and characterized by eruption of red spots on the skin, fever, and catarrhal symptoms. Also called rubeola.

Measure Out: Measured height at withers was determined to be outside the limits for that breed as set forth in the breed standard.

Medial: Toward the mid line of the dog.

Median Line: See Furrow

Merle: A marking pattern, used in conjunction with another color, to describe Shetland Sheepdogs, Collies, Great Danes, and Australian Shepherds. The color is characterized by a marbling effect of dark patches against a lighter background of the same color. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Metatarsus: The corresponding part of the hind foot in quadrupeds or of the foot in birds.

Microchip: A rice-sized device encoded with a unique and unalterable number. The chip is implanted just under the skin in the scruff of the neck and is read by a scanner.

Milk Teeth: The first, temporary teeth. Also called baby teeth.

Miniature Pinscher: A breed of small dogs resembling the Doberman pinscher but typically reaching a height of only 25-30 centimeters (10-12 inches).

Miscellaneous Class: Transitory class for breeds attempting to advance to full recognition by a breed association.

Mismark: (1) Coat or color. (2) A dog that has coat coloration or markings not conforming to that which is acceptable for the breed.

Mites: Any of various small or minute arachnids of the order Acarina that are often parasitic on animals and plants, infest stored food products, and in some species transmit disease.

Modified-Live Virus: A virus which has been modified to no longer produce a disease but still retain the ability to induce a protective immune response so that it can be used as a vaccine.

Molars: The posterior teeth of the dental arcade, with two on each side in the upper jaw and three on each side in the lower jaw in an adult with correct dentition.

Molera: Incomplete, imperfect, or abnormal ossification of the skull.

Mongrel: See Crossbred

Monorchid: A dog that has one testicle retained or hidden in its abdominal cavity. See Cryptorchid

Mottled: Pattern of dark roundish blotches on a lighter background. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Move:To gait a dog in a pattern prescribed by the judge.

Moving Close: When the hocks turn in and pasterns drop straight to the ground and move parallel to one another, the dog is moving close in the rear.

Moving Straight: Term descriptive of balanced gaiting in which angle of inclination begins at the shoulder, or hip joint, and limbs remain relatively straight from these points to the pads of the feet, even as legs flex or extend in reaching or thrusting.

Music: The baying of the hounds.

Mustard: Usually used to describe Dandie Dinmont Terriers, this color is like the color of the spice; i.e., a dull, highly saturated, brown-yellow. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Mutation: A change of the DNA sequence within a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the creation of a new character or trait not found in the parental type.

Mute: To run mute, to be silent on the trail; i.e., to trail without baying or barking.

Muzzle: (1)The forward, projecting part of the head of certain animals, such as dogs, including the mouth, nose, and jaws; the snout; (2)A leather or wire restraining appliance that, when fitted over an animal’s snout, prevents biting and eating.

Muzzle Band: White marking around the muzzle.

Myiasis: Infestation of tissue by fly larvae.