Free Day!
Free Night!

Pet Resources - Dog Glossary

Back to Article Index

Dog Glossary – S

Glossary of Dog Terms:


Saber Tail: Carried in a semicircle.

Sable: Coat color produced by black-tipped hairs on a background of silver, gold, gray, fawn, or brown.

Sacrum: The region of the vertebral column that consists of three fused vertebrae that articulate the pelvic girdle.

Saddle: Markings in the shape of a saddle over the back. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Saddle Back: Overlong back, with a dip behind the withers.

Saint Bernard: A breed of large strong dog developed in Switzerland, having a thick brown and white coat, originally used by monks of the hospice of Saint Bernard in the Swiss Alps to help patrol the snow-covered region.

Saline: A saline solution, especially one that is isotonic with blood and is used in medicine and surgery.

Saluki: An ancient breed of tall slender dog developed in Arabia and Egypt and having a smooth, silky, variously colored coat.

Samoyed: A breed of medium-sized dog originally developed in northern Eurasia, having a thick, long, white or cream-colored coat.

Sandy: Used to describe several breeds, this color is a dull, yellowish gray of medium saturation. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Scent: The odor left by an animal or bird on the trail (ground-scent) or wafted through the air (air-borne scent).

Scent Hound: A breed of hunting dog that tracks animals by smell.

Schipperke: A small stocky dog of a breed developed in Belgium, having dense long black fur and small pointed ears.

Scissors Bite: A bite in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors.

Sclera: The tough white fibrous outer envelope of tissue covering all of the eyeball except the cornea.

Screw Tail: A naturally short tail twisted in more or less spiral formation

Seal: Used to describe Boston Terriers, this color appears black except that it has a red cast when viewed in the sun or bright light. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Season: The cyclical period in which a female dog becomes interested in mating and capable of becoming pregnant.

Secondary Coat: The fine hairs which make up the undercoat.

Second Thigh: That part of the hindquarters from the stifle to the hock, corresponding to the human shin and calf. Lower thigh, including the tibia and fibula.

Sedge: Used to describe Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, this color is similar to deadgrass, but it is more accurately a lightening of the chocolate hue. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Seeing Eye Dog: A dog trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Selective Breeding: Intentional mating two dogs in order to achieve or eliminate a specific trait.

Self Color: One color or whole color except for lighter shadings. Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Semi-Prick Ears: Ears carried erect with just the tips leaning forward.

Senile Cataracts: Occurring in elderly animals, a lens opacity in the eye that does not interfere with vision.

Septum: The line extending vertically between the nostrils.

Service Dog: A dog trained to assist a person with a disability.

Setters: Any of several breeds of longhaired hunting dogs originally trained to indicate the presence of game by crouching in a set position.

Shar-Pei: A Chinese breed of medium-sized dog having loose wrinkled skin, a short rough coat, and a blue-black mouth and tongue. Also called Chinese Shar-Pei.

Shelly: A shallow, narrow body, lacking the correct amount of bone.

Shetland Sheepdog: A herding dog of a breed developed in the Shetland Islands, having a rough coat and resembling a small collie.

Shock: A generally temporary massive physiological reaction to severe physical or emotional trauma, usually characterized by marked loss of blood pressure and depression of vital processes.

Short Back: See Close-Coupled

Show Quality: A pedigreed dog meeting the official breed standard and thus able to compete in dog shows.

Siberian Husky: A breed of sled dog developed in northeastern Siberia and resembling the larger Alaskan malamutes.

Sickle Hocked: Inability to straighten the hock joint on the back reach of the hind leg.

Sickle Tail: A tail which is carried up and out in a semi-circle.

Sighthound: A hound that runs or courses game by sight rather than scent.

Silent Heat: An unnoticed heat period that can be due to little swelling of the vulva, little bleeding, no attraction of males or no behavior change.

Silky Coat: A topcoat composed of long, fine and soft hair.

Silky Terrier: A toy terrier of a breed developed from a cross between the Australian terrier and the Yorkshire terrier, characterized by long, silky, bluish-gray hair, tan markings, and erect ears.

Single Coat: A dog with only one type of coat, typically the topcoat or guard hairs, without the downy undercoat.

Single Tracking: All footprints falling on a single line of travel. When a dog breaks into a trot, his body is supported by only two legs at a time, which move as alternating diagonal pairs. To achieve balance, his legs angle inward toward a center line beneath his body, and the greater the speed, the closer they come to tracking on a single line.

Sire: The male parent.

Skeleton: Descriptively divided into axial (skull, vertebrae column, chest) and appendicular (forequarters, hindquarters) portions or the hard framework of the body; the bones of the body collectively.

Skull: The bony or cartilaginous framework of the head of vertebrates, made up of the bones of the braincase and face; cranium.

Skully: Thick and course through the skull.

Slab-Sided: Flat ribs with too little spring from the spinal column.

Sled Dogs: Dogs worked, usually in teams, to pull sleds.

Slew Feet: Feet turned out.

Sloping Shoulder: The shoulder blade set obliquely or laid back.

Smooth Coat: Short, close-lying hair.

Snatching Hocks: A gait fault indicated by a quick outward snatching of the hock as it passes the supporting leg and twists the rear pastern far in beneath the body. The action causes noticeable rocking in the rear quarters.

Snippy: A pointed, weak muzzle, lacking breadth and depth.

Snow Nose: Nose normally solid black, but acquires pink streak in winter. Also called winter nose.

Solid: A dog of only one color.

Soundness: The state of mental and physical health when all organs and faculties are complete and functioning normally, each in its rightful relation to the other.

Spaniels: Any of several breeds of small-sized to medium-sized dogs, usually having drooping ears, short legs, and a wavy, silky coat.

Spay: To remove a bitch’s ovaries to prevent conception.

Speak: To bark.

Spectacles: Shadings or dark markings over or around the eyes or from eyes to ears.

Spike Tail: Straight, short tail that tapers rapidly along its length.

Splashed: Irregularly patched, color on white or white on color.

Splayfoot: A flat foot with toes spreading. Open foot, open-toed.

Spontaneous Mutation: A genetic accident which permanently alters certain genetic characteristics.

Sporting Group: Group of dogs who were originally bred to assist the hunter to hunt game birds, both on land and in the water.

Spread: Width between the forelegs when accentuated.

Spread Hocks: Hocks pointing outward.

Spring: See Flush

Spring of Ribs: Curvature of ribs for heart and lung capacity.

Square Body: A dog whose measurements from withers to ground equals that from forechest to rump.

Squirrel Tail: Carried up and curving more or less forward.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: A small, stocky, powerful dog of a breed developed in England by crossing bulldogs and terriers, having a short, variously colored coat, a broad head with dropped ears, a short muscular neck, and widely set forelegs.

Stag Red: Deep red (almost brown) with intermingling of black hairs (Miniature Pinscher). Color definitions may vary by breed. Always check the breed standard for the definitive color description.

Stance: Manner of standing.

Standard: See Breed Standard

Stand Away Coat: See Standoff Coat

Standing Heat: The point during which a female in heat will accept breeding and can become pregnant.

Standoff Coat: A long or heavy coat that stands off from the body. Also called stand away coat.

Staring Coat: The hair dry, harsh, and sometimes curling at the tips.

Station: Comparative height from the ground, as high-stationed, low-stationed.

Steep: Used to denote incorrect angles of articulation. For example, a steep front describes a more upright shoulder placement than is preferred.

Stern: Tail.

Stern Tail: A tail found in a sporting dog or hound that is generally carried straight out.

Sternum: A row of eight bones that form the floor of the chest.

Stifle: The joint of the hind leg between the thigh and the second thigh. The dog’s knee.

Stilted: The choppy, up-and-down gait of the straight-hocked dog.