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Dog Glossary – P

Glossary of Dog Terms:


Pace: A lateral gait that tends to promote a rolling motion of the body. The left foreleg and left hind leg advance in unison, then the right foreleg and right hind leg.

Pack: Multiple hounds cast at one time.

Padding: A compensating action to offset constant concussion when a straight front is subjected to overdrive from the rear; the front feet flip upward in a split-second delaying action to coordinate the stride of the forelegs with the longer stride from behind.

Paddling: A gaiting fault, so named for its similarity to the swing and dip of a canoeists paddle. Pinching in at the elbows and shoulder joints causes the front legs to swing forward on a stiff outward arc. Also called tied at the elbows.

Pads: Tough, shock-absorbing projections on the underside of the feet. Soles.

Pants: See Breeches

Paper Foot: A flat foot devoid of arch to the toes.

Papillon: A breed of small dog related to the spaniel, having a long silky coat, a bushy tail that curves over its back, and large ears shaped like the wings of a butterfly.

Parainfluenza: In canines, a disease characterized by fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Parasite: An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.

Parti-Color: Two or more definite, well-broken colors, one of which must be white. For example, black parti-color would be black and white. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Parvovirus: A highly contagious febrile disease of canines and especially dogs that is caused by a parvovirus (genus Parvovirus), is spread especially by contact with infected feces, and is marked by loss of appetite, lethargy, often bloody diarrhea and vomiting, and sometimes death called also parvo.

Pathogen: An agent that causes disease, especially a living microorganism such as a bacterium or fungus.

Pedigree: The written record of a dog’s genealogy of three generations or more.

Pekingese: A breed of small dog developed in China, having a flat nose, a long-haired coat, short bowed forelegs, and a tail that curls over its back.

Pelvis: Hip bones, each consisting of three fused bones: an anterior ilium, a ventral pubis, and a posterior ischium; combined with the sacrum forming the pelvic girdle.

Pen Breeding: Unwitnessed mating that occurred because the sire and dam were confined to the same area.

Penciling: Black lines dividing the tan on the toes.

Pendant Ears: As seen in the Basset Hound, an ear with a long, hanging ear leather.

PennHIP: A method, established in 1993, of evaluating hip dysplasia in dogs by calculating hip laxity; within-breed ratings are provided, permitting breeders to select dogs with the best (smallest laxity) hips for breeding future generations.

Pepper: Used to describe several breeds, this color is a lowly saturated, medium brilliant black. When coupled with Salt, it describes the alternating black and white hairs of the Schnauzer breeds. Also referred to as Peppering. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Pericarditis: An inflammation of the membrane covering the heart.

Periodontal Disease: A disease that attacks the gum and bone and around the teeth.

Peritonitis: An inflammation of the membrane covering the abdominal cavity.

Pet Shop: A commercial organization that buys and sells dogs. Is always listed as an intermediate in the chain of title for a dog.

Pharaoh Hound: A breed of sleek, swift-running hunting dog originating in Egypt and having a short, glossy, tan coat and large, pointed ears.

Phenotype: The observable physical or biochemical characteristics of an organism, as determined by both genetic makeup and environmental influences.

Pheromones: A chemical secreted by an animal, especially an insect, that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species, often functioning as an attractant of the opposite sex.

Piebald: Covered with patches of two colors, especially black and white. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Pied: Patches of white and another color. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Pig Eyes: Eyes set too close.

Pig Jaw: See Overshot

Pigeon-Breast: A narrow chest with a protruding breastbone.

Pigeon-Toed: Toes pointing in toward the mid line.

Pigment: A substance, such as chlorophyll or melanin, that produces a characteristic color in plant or animal tissue.

Pile: Dense undercoat of soft hair.

Pincer Bite: See Level Bite

Pinking Up: In a pregnant bitch, the changing of the color of the nipples to pink. Typically occurs 18 to 20 days after mating and is useful in determining if a dog is pregnant.

Pinto: Marked with white and some other color (usually patches of color on white). Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Placenta: A membranous vascular organ that develops in female mammals during pregnancy, lining the uterine wall and partially enveloping the fetus, to which it is attached by the umbilical cord. Following birth, the placenta is expelled.

Plume: (1) A long fringe of hair on the tail. (2) Carrying the tail plume-like over the back.

Point: The intense, stylized stance of the hunting dog, taken to indicate the presence and position of game.

Pointer: Breed of hunting dogs that point game, typically having a smooth, short-haired coat that is usually white with black or brownish spots.

Pointing Breeds: Term commonly applied to those sporting breeds that typically point game.

Points: (1) Color on face, ears, legs, and tail when correlated; usually white, black, or tan. (2) In events, credits toward championship status.

Poke: To carry the neck stretched forward in an abnormally low, ungainly position, usually when moving.

Police Dog: Any dog trained for police work.

Pomeranian: A breed of small dogs having long silky hair, a foxlike face, pointed ears, and a hairy tail curling over the back.

Pompon: A rounded tuft of hair left on the end of the tail when the coat is clipped.

Poodle: A breed of dogs originally developed in Europe as hunting dogs, having thick curly hair of varying color, and classified by shoulder height into standard, miniature, and toy varieties.

Portuguese Water Dog: A breed of strong, medium-sized dog developed in Portugal that is able to swim long distances and is characterized by webbed feet and a curved tail.

Posterior: The portion of the dog carried toward the rear during normal locomotion.

Pounding: Gaiting fault resultant of a dog’s stride being shorter in the front than in the rear; forefeet strike the ground hard before the rear stride is expended.

Prick Ear: Ear carried erect, usually pointed at the tip.

Primary Coat: Also known as guard hair, the longer, smoother, stiffer hairs that grow through and normally conceal the undercoat, protecting the skin from superficial injuries.

Proestrus: The period immediately before estrus in most female mammals, characterized by development of the endometrium and ovarian follicles.

Professional Handler: A person who conditions, trains and exhibits dogs for a fee.

Professional Trainer: A person who trains hunting dogs and who handles dogs in field events.

Progesterone: A steroid hormone, C21H30O2, secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary and by the placenta, that acts to prepare the uterus for implantation of the fertilized ovum, to maintain pregnancy, and to promote development of the mammary glands.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A progressive degeneration of the retina that is inherited.

Prominent Eyes: As seen on Pugs, a big, round projecting eye.

Prong Collar: Collar used for training dogs. It has metal pieces on it that pinch a dog. It is against AKC rules to use this type of collar on the show grounds. Also called pinch collar.

Pug: A small sturdy dog of an ancient breed originating in China, having a snub nose, wrinkled face, squarish body, short smooth hair, and curled tail.

Pump Handle: Long tail, carried high.

Puppy: A dog under 12 months of age.

Puppy mills: Term used to describe a facility that breeds purebred dogs for profit with no regard for the breed standard, temperament, genetically linked defects, socialization or the dog’s overall health and welfare.

Purebred: A dog whose sire and dam belong to the same breed and who are themselves of unmixed descent since recognition of the breed.

Put Down: (1) To prepare a dog for the show ring. (2) A dog unplaced in competition. (3) To euthenize a dog.

Pyometra: An accumulation of pus in the uterine cavity.