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Glossary

The alphabetical navigation bar below will help you find definitions of unfamiliar words or terms quickly and easily.


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Acquired immunity: Comes from a vaccination or from overcoming a previous attack of the illness. Results in resistance to further infection.

Acute disease: An illness that manifests rapidly.

Afterbirth: Expelled after the delivery of each newborn puppy, this matter consists of fluids and membranes that surround puppies in the uterus.

Agility trials: A modern competitive sport in which a handler directs his dog over a timed obstacle course. Events are held for both purebred and mixed breed dogs.

Agouti: A type of coat color that results from each individual hair follicle having contrasting bands of color.

American Kennel Club (AKC): An official registry for purebred dogs in the United States. The organization publishes and maintains the Stud Book and handles all litter and individual registrations. It keeps all US dog show, field trial and obedience trial records; issues championship and other titles.

Albino: An animal that is white because it lacks melanin pigmentation.

Allele: One of a group of genes that occur at a given place on a chromosome strand and determine physical characteristics.

Allergen: An element that causes an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.

Allergy: A specific reaction that results from exposure to a certain allergen.

Almond eye: An elongated eye shape that resembles the shape of an almond.

Alopecia: Absence of hair from an area that normally has hair.

Alpha: Term used to describe the leader of a pack or herd of animals.

Alter: To surgically remove the reproductive ability of animals either through spaying (females) or through neutering (males).

Amino acids: The molecular building blocks of proteins that are essential for good nutrition.

Anal glands: Gland located near the anus that secretes a substance that is used by a dog to mark its territory.

Anestrus: The time when a female dog is not in heat.

Antibiotic: A substance, such as penicillin, that is derived from a living organism and is used to inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Antibodies: Specialized proteins produced by cells of the immune system in response to the presence of foreign material such as bacteria, viruses and toxins).

Antidote: A compound that neutralizes a poison.

Antigen: A foreign "enemy" substance, such as germs, that enter the body and lead to the formation of antibodies by the white blood cells. This "enemy" can also be a usually innocuous substance such as pollen or dander.

Apple head: A very rounded, domelike head as seen in the Chihuahua.

Apricot: Term used to describe a reddish yellow coat color.

ASCOB: An abbreviation meaning a coat of Any Solid Color Other than Black, although a small amount of white on the chest or throat, or tan points are allowable.

Asthma: A condition of the respiratory system that causes restricted, difficult breathing.

Asymptomatic: Exhibiting no symptoms for a disease.

Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC): The principal dog registry for purebred dogs in Australia. It recognizes the same breeds as the Kennel Club of Great Britain and adopts the same standards except for the Australian national breeds such as the Australian Kelpie.

Auto-immune disease: A disease in which the body's own defense mechanisms attack normal tissues.

Awn hairs: The coarser part of the undercoat that is longer than the downy undercoat but shorter than the primary guard coat.



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Back crossing: A type of inbreeding where a dog is mated to its parent.

Backyard breeder: Term used to describe a person who breeds purebred dogs in a casual manner with no particular regard to the breed standard, genetically linked defects or temperament.

Barring: Striped markings.

Base coat: The primary coat color.

Bat Ears: An erect ear that is broad at the base and rounded on the top.

Bay: The extended bark of a hound, usually heard when hunting.

Beard: Long, thick hair on the underjaw of a dog.

Belton: The color pattern seen in English Setters that is characterized by light or dark ticking on a white base color. Varieties include blue belton (black and white), tricolor (blue belton with tan patches), orange belton (orange and white), lemon belton (yellow and white) and liver belton (reddish brown and white).

Benched show: Dog show where competing dogs are kept on assigned benches when not in the show ring.

Best in Show: The dog with the most points and wins earned during a championship conformation show.

Best of Breed: The dog, which in the judge's opinion, comes closest to meeting the breed standard among the competing dogs of that breed.

Bi-color: Color of dog that is basically white with large patches of one other solid color.

Bird dog: A sporting dog bred and trained to hunt game birds.

Bitch: A female canine.

Bite: The position of the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are closed.

Blaze: A stripe or splash of white color on a dog's forehead or nose.

Bloat: Also known as gastric dilation. Usually seen in deep-chested dogs. Caused by an obstruction in the gastro-intestinal system. Can quickly lead to death if not promptly treated.

Blocky head: A squarish, cube like head as seen on the Boston Terrier.

Bloodline: The pedigree for a given dog usually referred to in the sense of a specific kennel.

Blue: A color of coat that is gray with a bluish cast.

Blue-cream: A color of coat that combines blue with cream.

Blue merle: Color pattern that is characterized by dark blotches against a lighter bluish-gray background.

Blunt muzzle: A square muzzle typical of many breeds such as the Mastiff and Pointers.

Booster vaccination: Injections that are given periodically after the primary injection to continue immunity to a specific disease.

Bordetellosis: Bacterial infection that affects the respiratory system.

Borreliosis: Commonly referred to as Lyme disease. An infectious arthritis caused by a spirochete bacterium.

Brace: A pair of dogs that are put together to work as a team in field trials, sled-dog races, obedience trials and some conformation classes.

Break: Term to describe the coat color change between puppyhood and adulthood.

Breech birth: A birth in which the hind end of the puppy comes out first rather than the head.

Breeches: In long-coated dogs, the breeches are the longer fringe-like hair on the upper and sometimes lower thighs. The term is used interchangeably with culottes, pants and trousers.

Breed: Dogs that share common ancestors and have similar physical characteristics.

Breed club: Organization made up of dog fanciers dedicated to the promotion and improvement of a particular breed of dog.

Breed council: A council made up of dog association members who are actively involved in exhibiting and breeding dogs of a specific breed. This council makes proposals to the main association about changes for the official breed and judging standards that they believe are necessary in order to make improvements in their breed.

Breeder: A person who breeds dogs.

Breed rescue: An organization dedicated to finding good homes for unwanted or abandoned purebred dogs.

Breed ribbon: Award given to the Best of Breed in each ring.

Breed Standard: A written description of how an ideal specimen of a given breed should appear. Each dog registry association adopts a standard of perfection for each breed it recognizes.

Brindle: The random mixture of different colored hairs in a dog's coat producing a tiger-striped pattern.

Britches: Longer hair found on the upper rear area of the legs.

Broken-up face: A receding nose with a deep stop, wrinkle and undershot jaw as seen in such breeds as Bulldogs and Pekingese.

Broken coat: The crinkly, coat most often seen in terrier breeds. It consists of a harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat.

Bronze: Color of dog that is characterized by a base color that is a rich warm red.

Brucellosis: A chronic disease caused by the bacterium Brucella canis and characterized by prolonged disorders of the genital tract, including infertility.

Brush: A bushy tail.

Bullbaiting: Ancient practice in which a dog would torment a bull for sport.

Butterfly Ears: Large erect ears that resemble butterfly wings.

Button Ears: A type of ear in which the earflap folds forward, the tip lying close to the skull.

By-products: Animal products which are not of a sufficient quality to be used for human consumption



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Canine distemper: The most important viral infectious disease in dogs, caused by canine distemper virus and characterized by acute upper respiratory disease symptoms and fever and later by more serious respiratory symptoms as well as fever, vomiting, diarrhea and neurologic signs.

Candle Flame Ears: A type of dog-ear that is large and erect with uneven edges.

Canine teeth: The large, sharp, curved teeth that are located on each side of the mouth. (Also referred to as eye teeth.)

Carbohydrates: Nutrients, including sugar and starches, which are used as an energy source by the body.

Cardiomyopathy: A progressive, genetically linked heart defect that causes heart failure.

Carnivore: An animal whose diet consists primarily of meat.

Carrier: A dog with a genetic defect or disease-causing organism, which does not show any indication of being affected, but has the ability to pass the defect or disease to other animals.

Carry: Possessing a recessive gene for a certain physical characteristic that is not visible to the eye but can appear in future generations.

Castration: The removal of the testicles in a male dog. (Also referred to as altering or neutering.)

Catalog: A publication distributed at dog shows that lists dog show entries, together with the dog's age, date of birth, titles, color, sex, parents, breeder and owner. May also contain advertising and additional information.

Cataract: A clouding growth on the lens of the eyeball.

Companion Dog Excellent (C.D.X.): A suffix after a dogšs name that signifies that, after first acquiring a C.D. title, the dog has completed three tests in the Open A or Open B classes of obedience trials, under at least two judges, and with six dogs in competition, has made scores of 170 or better out of the possible 200, and in each case has received at least 50% of the value of each individual exercise.

Ch.: A prefix used with the name of a dog or bitch that has been recorded as a champion by its registering association.

Champion: A title that is earned by a dog after accumulating a certain number of winner's points in dog shows.

Championship status: Point at which dogs of a certain breed become eligible to compete for championship titles.

Cheeks: The skin region below the eyes that begins at the lips and reaches back to the area in front of the ears. A term often used in breed standard descriptions.

Cherry eye: Prolapsed gland of the third eyelid.

Chestnut: A solid warm brown color of dog.

China eye: A clear, light blue or whitish eye that is flecked or spotted with blue.

Chocolate: A color of dog that is a medium chocolate brown.

Choke collar: A collar fitted to the dog's neck in a manner that allows for tension to be exerted by the hand that tightens or loosens it.

Chromosomes: Elements in a cell that control inherited characteristics.

Chronic disease: A disease that lasts indefinitely.

Cinnamon: Color of dog that is a rich dark brownish red.

Circular eye: A round eye such as seen in the Smooth Fox Terrier.

Cleft palate: A birth defect in which the two halves of the mouth do not fuse together properly.

Closing date: The final date that a dog show entry clerk may receive a completed dog show entry form.

Coarse: A dog not refined or harmonious in conformation. Considered a negative term.

Coat: The hair covering a dog's skin. Most breeds have coats, with the majority of those being double coats (possessing both an outer coat and an undercoat).

Colitis: Inflammation of the large intestine.

Color class: Divisions created by dog associations to classify certain types of coat colors or patterns, such as Parti-color.

Color ribbon: A ribbon given by a judge to the best dog in a specific coat color class, such as best Tri-Color Collie.

Colostrum: The milk secreted by the mother during the first few days following birth that provides the puppies with immunity to some diseases.

Companion Dog (C.D.): Suffix after a dog's name that signifies that it has completed three tests in the Novice A or B classes of obedience trials under at least two judges, with at least six dogs in competition, has made scores of 170 or better out of a possible 200, and in each instance has received at least 50% of the allowable score for each individual exercise.

Concaveation: When a spayed female dog produces milk in response to the suckling of a puppy.

Condition: A dog's overall well being, including muscle tone, grooming and apparent good health.

Conformation: The structure of a dog's body, legs and tail.

Congenital: An imperfection existing at birth that is not acquired genetically.

Corded: A type of coat that grows in long cord-like strings. Seen on the Komondor and Pulli breeds.

Coronavirus: Disease characterized by vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.

Coursing: The sport of chasing prey with sight hounds.

Crank tail: A downward carried tail that resembles the shape of a crank.

Cream: Dog color that is a dilute version of red and that appears as a pale beige color.

Cropping: The practice of cutting a dog's ear leather to permit it to stand erect.

Crossbred: A dog whose sire and dam are of different breeds.

Cross: To mate or breed one dog with another.

Cryptorchid: A male with one or both testicles undescended.

Curled tail: A tightly curled tail held close to the back.

Cyst: A swelling that contains fluid other than pus.

Cystitis: Inflammation of the bladder.



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Dam: The female parent of a litter of puppies.

Dander: Small scales of dead skin that when shed can cause an allergic reaction in some humans.

Deadline date: The closing date to receive entries for a dog show.

Deep-chested: Breed of dog such as German Shepherds, Great Danes and Irish Setters which have this type of rib cage structure. Dogs that are deep-chested are more likely to develop stomach dilatation, also referred to as bloat.

Dehydration: Loss of water from the tissues.

Demodex: A type of mite that causes mange.

Dermatitis: Any inflammation of the skin.

Dewclaws: The first digit found on the inside of the leg above the front paws.

DHLPP: Vaccine that will immunize a dog for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus

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

Digit: A synonym for toe.

Dilute: A paler version of a primary color. The dilute of black is blue and the dilute of red is cream.

Dish-faced: A muzzle that inclines downwards from the skull to the tip of the nose.

Distemper: The most important viral infectious disease in dogs. It is caused by the canine distemper virus and characterized by acute upper respiratory disease symptoms and fever and later by more serious respiratory symptoms as well as fever, vomiting, diarrhea and neurological signs.

Division: A dog show term that signifies a subdivision consisting of two or more color classes.

Division ribbon: The award a judge gives to the best dog from each breed color subdivision, such as the parti-color division of Cocker Spaniels.

DNA: The chemical substance that makes up chromosomes.

Dock: To shorten a tail by cutting.

Dog: A male dog, or used collectively to designate both male and female.

Dog fancy: Term used to describe the aggregate of people who are especially interested and active in some phase of the promotion of purebred dogs.

Dog show: A competitive exhibition in which dogs are judged in accordance with an established standard of perfection for each breed.

Domed head: A convex evenly rounded top skull such as seen in the American Cocker Spaniel.

Domesticated: A term used to describe an animal that has been conditioned through training and through selective breeding to be tamed by man.

Dominant: The prevailing gene member of a gene pair. For example, the short coat gene is dominant over the long coat gene. Can also refer to a personality type found in some dogs.

Doming: The rounded part of the head, in between the ears, that is seen in such breeds as the Cocker Spaniel.

Double coat: A coat that has awn hair (a type of undercoat) that is just as long as the topcoat (guard hairs).

Down-faced: A muzzle that inclines downwards from the skull to the tip of the nose.

Down hairs: The shortest hair on the dog. It is usually soft and downy and found next to the skin, under the top coat.

Drop Ears: Ear in which the leather is folded over to some degree.

Dual champion: A dog that has won both a bench show and a field trial championship.



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Ear mites: Microscopic insects that feed on the lining of the ear canal.

Eclampsia: A disease that occurs in late pregnancy or after birth that causes loss of consciousness, convulsions and can lead to sudden death. It is caused by a calcium deficiency.

Electrolyte: Essential minerals that are present in body fluids.

Embryo: An undeveloped fetus.

Enteritis: Inflammation of the intestines that is usually caused by a bacterial infection.

Enzyme: Chemical substance that is formed within living cells that allow for biochemical reactions.

Epidermis: The outer layer of the skin.

Estrus: A reoccurring period of varying length during which a female dog produces a watery bloody secretion from the genital tract and becomes sexually receptive to male dogs. Estrus is commonly referred to as "heat".

Euthanasia: The process of carrying out a human's decision to end an animal's life.

Exhibitors: The person who has entered a dog in a dog show.

External parasite: Organisms such as ticks and mites that affect the outside areas of the body.

Extreme: Term used by the dog fancy to describe pedigreed dogs that have physical characteristics that go above and beyond the breed standard.



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Fat soluble vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Fawn: A pale beige color found in some dogs.

FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale): An official international registry for purebred dogs based in Belgium.

Feathering: Long fringe of hair found on the ears, legs, tail or body.

Fetal: Relating or in regard to an animal that is developing in the uterus.

Fetus: An unborn animal that has developed to the point where it is no longer considered an embryo.

Fever: A body temperature in dogs that is over 103ƒ.

Field Champion (Field CH): A prefix used with the name of a dog that has earned a Field Championship as a result of defeating a specified number of dogs in specified competition at a series of field trials.

Field trial: A competition for certain sporting or hound breeds in which dogs are judged on their ability and style in finding and/or retrieving game.

Fillers: Chemicals and other indigestible material that is added to pet food in order to increase volume.

Flag tail: A long tail carried high.

Flush: When a dog drives birds out from their cover, forcing them to take flight.

Folded Ears: Ear stands erect at the base and folds forward. Seen in the Fox Terrier.

Follicle: The part of the skin from which hair grows.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the development of ovarian follicles in the female and sperm production in the male.

Foxtail: Grass awn, which represents the most common penetrating foreign body that affects dogs in North America.

Fracture: A break in a bone.

Free feed: The practice leaving food available for an animal on a constant basis.

Fungicidal: An agent that prevents the growth of fungi.

Fungus: A primitive form of plant life that can be parasitic (as in the case of ringworm).

Furnishings: The long hair on the head, tail or ears of certain breeds.



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Game: Hunted wild birds or animals.

Gastric: Anything to do with the stomach.

Gate: Visitors who pay to attend a dog show.

Gay tail: A tail carried above the horizontal plane of a dog's back.

Gazehound: A Greyhound or other sight hound.

Gene pool: The complete total of all the genes, both dominant and recessive, that exist in a certain breed of dog.

Genes: The hereditary units that control growth, development and the physical characteristics of a dog and are found on specific locations of a chromosome.

Genetically linked defects: Health or temperament problems that are passed to offspring by their ancestors.

Genetics: The science of heredity.

Genotype: The sum total of all the genes an individual inherits from its parents, both recessive and dominant.

Gestation: The period of pregnancy. In dogs, pregnancy lasts about sixty-three days.

Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums.

Grooming powder: A talc-like powder used in grooming to give volume and to separate the dog's hair.

Ground color: The color of the hair at the point that is closest to the body.

Groups: Divisions created by breed associations to classify breeds on the basis of their type and origin.

Guard hairs: The longest, outer hairs of the dog's coat.

Gun dogs: A dog trained to work with its bootstrap.min.css to find live game and to retrieve it once it has been shot.



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Hackles: Hair on the neck and back that are raised involuntarily in fright or anger.

Half-prick ear: Also called the semi-prick ear. Refers to ears that bend forward at one-third the distance from the tip.

Handler: A person who handles a dog in a show ring or at a field trial.

Harlequin: Patched coloration usually black or gray on white.

Haw eyes: As a result of a loose lower eyelid, eyes have a large amount of the conjunctival membrane visible.

Heartworm: A type of internal parasite that can infest and block the pulmonary arteries of the heart.

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

Hemorrhage: Internal bleeding.

Hepatitis: Viral infection that primarily affects the liver.

Herding Group: Breeds that were originally developed to herd livestock. Since then, many of these breeds have gone on to excel in search and rescue, police work and as aids to the handicapped. Included are the German Shepherd Collie and Old English Sheepdog.

Heterozygous: When a gene pair is composed of two different gene types for a particular trait (one dominant gene and one recessive gene).

Hip dysplasia: Genetically linked hip socket malformation that causes crippling.

Histamines: Chemicals released by the body when antibodies encounter an allergen. These chemicals cause the familiar allergic reactions such as sneezing and watery eyes.

Hock: The joint in the dog's back legs that corresponds to the human ankle.

Homeopathic: A system of veterinary practice that treats a disease by the administration of very minute doses of a remedy that in a healthy animal would produce the symptoms of the disease that is being treated.

Homozygous: When a gene pair is composed of a two identical gene types for a particular trait (two dominant genes or two recessive genes).

Hook tail: A tail that is carried down, but with the tip curled upwards.

Hormone: A substance produced in a particular region of the body that is carried by the blood and exerts influence on another area of the body that is away from the site of its production.

Hound: A dog used for hunting mammals by sight or by scent.

Hypertension: Abnormally elevated blood pressure.

Hyperthermia: Increased body temperature that can result from heat stroke.

Hypothermia: Abnormally low body temperature. Usually occurs as a result of exposure to cold environmental conditions.



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Immune response: The body's reaction to infection.

Immunization: The production of an artificial resistance to infection.

Inbreeding: The mating of closely related dogs (mother to son, sister to brother etc.). This is done to lock in certain desirable physical characteristics. Since such breeding does not result in the introduction of any new genetic material to the gene pool it requires knowledge of traits, both good and bad, in order achieve a positive result.

Incontinence: The inability to control urine or defecation.

Incubation period: The time between exposure to a disease and the time the disease shows symptoms in the infected animal.

Inflammation: The changes that occur in tissue after an injury, characterized by pain, swelling and redness.

Inherited: A characteristic that is the result of genetic influences.

Injection: The use of a hypodermic needle to give medicine.

Internal parasites: One celled protozoan, larvae and worms that survive by living off the host animal's meals or blood.

International registries: Dog associations based in North American and in Europe such as AKC, UKC and FCI that have interests in promoting dog breeds, dog welfare and dog shows.



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Jacobsens organ: A sense organ located in the roof of the dog's mouth that functions somewhere between smell and taste.

Jowls: Fullness occurring around the lower cheeks and jaw area.

Judgešs book: The log a judge uses to record his or her evaluation of each dog. The information included varies depending on the dog association.

Judging schedule: A list of show categories, by judge, that tells an exhibitor the order of judging throughout the show day.



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Kennel Club of Great Britain (KCGB): An official registry for purebred dogs in the Great Britain.

Kennel: Building where dogs are housed.

Kennel cough: A highly contagious acute inflammation of the trachea, larynx and bronchi of dogs that is characterized by a peculiar, high-pitched cough.

Killed virus vaccine (KV): A vaccine that contains dead viruses that cannot multiply when administered in an animal, but can stimulate an immune response to prevent future infection by the virus.

Kink tail: A deformity of the tail vertebrae that produces a bent tail.



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Lactation: Production of milk by the female.

Leather: The flap of the ear.

Leptospirosis: Bacterial disease characterized by kidney disease, liver disease or hemorrhages.

License: Formal permission given by the AKC to a non-member club to hold a dog show, obedience trial or field trial.

Lick granuloma: A skin condition caused by prolonged licking at a specific area, in most cases, a leg or a paw.

Line breeding: Mating related dogs that have a common ancestor appearing at least one time in the first three generations of both parentšs pedigrees.

Litter: Puppies born of the same mother at the same time.



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Litter registration: The act of recording a litter of puppies with a dog association.

Liver: A deep, reddish brown color.

Lobe ear: Ears that are lightly folded and set at the back of the head.

Luteinizing hormone (LH): Hormone that causes ovulation.

Luxating patella: Genetically transmitted problem that causes the kneecap to slip when the joint is moved. Can cause lameness.

Lyme borreliosis: Also known as Lyme disease. An infectious arthritis caused by spirochete bacteria



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Marking: Instinctual behavior by which a male dog urinates in certain areas in order to establish his territorial boundaries.

Mask: A darker colored area on the face (as found in Pekingese).

Mastitis: Inflammation of one or more mammary glands.

Match show: An informal dog show at which no championship points are awarded.

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

Measles: Viral infection characterized by a high fever.

Melanin: Dark pigment produced by the body that gives color to the skin, hair and eyes.

Merle: A color pattern characterized by dark blotches against a lighter background of the same pigment.

Metabolism: All the physical and chemical processes that take place in a living entity.

Milk teeth: Temporary baby teeth.

Minerals: Chemical elements present in food and water, many of which are necessary for a healthy metabolism.

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

Mites: Microscopic eight-legged insects which can sometimes cause infection or disease.

Modified-live virus: A virus that has been modified so that it no longer produces a disease but still retains the ability to induce a protective immune response so that it can be used as a vaccine.

Monorchid: A male animal with only one descended testicle.

Mutation: A genetic accident that permanently alters certain genetic characteristics.

Muzzle: Area of a dog's face consisting of the portion in front of the brain case. Also a device used to restrain a dog from biting.

Myiasis: Infestation of body tissue by fly maggots.



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Natural breed: Breed of dog that occurred naturally, without the interference of much selective breeding -- usually as a result of geographical and environmental conditions.

Natural selection: The process by which animals that are best able to meet the challenges of their environment survive long enough to reproduce and pass those qualities on to their offspring.

Natural mutation: A genetic accident that permanently alters certain genetic characteristics.

Nausea: The desire or need to vomit, usually accompanied by a feeling ill.

Nesting behavior: Activity engaged in by a pregnant female to prepare a place to give birth and to nurture her young.

Neuter: A castrated male dog or the process of removing the testes of a male dog so it will not be able to reproduce.

Nictitating membrane: The third eyelid, which a dog can pull across its eye for additional protection.

Non-Sporting Group: A diverse group of dogs ranging greatly in size and type. Included are the Chow Chow, Dalmatian and Boston Terrier.



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Obedience Trials: An event held by a dog association in which dogs compete to earn titles signifying their abilities.

Obesity: A condition caused by excessive body fat.

Odd-eyed: When each eye is a different color, such as one blue eye and one brown eye.

Official Breed & Judging Standard: The description of the perfect specimen for a particular breed as well as a listing of disqualifying faults. Used by breeders to improve their lines and by judges to determine which dog of each breed comes closest to that standard.

Omnivore: Any organism that can survive by eating either plant and/or animal tissue.

Open bitch: A dog show class for whole adult female dogs

Open class: A class at dog shows in which all dogs of a breed, including champions and imported dogs, can compete against each other.

Ophthalmic: Pertaining to the eye.

Otter tail: A tail that is thick at the root, round and tapering, with the hair parted on the underside.

Outcross: Breeding two dogs together that do not have any ancestors in common for a minimum of three generations.

Oval Eye: An egg-shaped eye as is seen in Poodles.

Ovaries: Internal organ of the female reproduction system that manufactures eggs.

Overshot jaw: A lower jaw that protrudes abnormally.

Ovulate: To release an egg from the ovary.



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Papers: Documents proving registration of a dog with a certain dog association.

Parainfluenza: Canine disease characterized by fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Parasite: An organism that lives totally off of another one, usually either by drinking its blood or by living in its digestive tract and sharing its meals.

Parent club: A nationally recognized club that sets standards for a specific breed.

Parti-color: A color pattern characterized by varicolored patches of two or more colors.

Parvovirus: Disease with the symptoms of abdominal pain and depression that proceeds rapidly into shock and death.

Pathogen: An organism that is capable of causing disease.

Pedigree: A document that outlines the names, titles, colors and registration numbers of a dogšs ancestors. Most pedigrees include three to five generations.

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

Pericarditis: An inflammation of the membrane covering the heart.

Periodontal disease: Inflammation of the tissue surrounding the base of the teeth.

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

Pet quality: A pedigreed dog that for one reason or another does not meet the official breed standard and therefore is not a specimen to compete in dog shows.

Phenotype: The outwardly visible characteristics of a dog's genetic make-up. Can also be influenced by the environment (diet, grooming etc.).

Pheromones: An odorous secretion that elicits a specific response in another individual of the same species.

Piebald: A coat pattern that is basically white with areas of color. Usually white with black.

Pigment: The physical matter that causes coloration.

Pinking up: When nipples of a pregnant bitch turn pink, usually 18 - 20 days after mating. Useful in determining if a dog is pregnant.

Placenta: The organ that allows for the exchange of oxygen, food and waste material between a mother and a fetus.

Plume tail: A tail with a long fringe of hair involving the whole tail or only a portion, or a tail carried "plume-like" over the back.

Pointer: Breed of dog that was originally developed to aid their handlers by assuming a "pointing" position in the direction of game birds.

Points: The units of merit a dog can earn in dog shows towards championship status.

Premium list: An advance notice brochure sent to prospective exhibitors that contains information about an upcoming dog show.

Prick Ears: An ear that is carried erect and is usually pointed at the tip.

Primary coat: Also known as guard hair, this part of the dog's coat protects the skin from superficial injuries.

Proestrus: The beginning of the reproductive cycle where the female begins to show signs of coming into heat.

Professional handler: A person who shows dogs for a fee.

Progesterone: Hormone whose primary function is to prepare the uterus for pregnancy.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): An inherited, progressive degeneration of the retina.

Prominent Eyes: A big, round projecting eye such as found on pugs.

Protein: Molecules, composed of amino acids, that make up many of the components of the body and which are needed to maintain all normal body functions.

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.

Pyometra: Accumulation of pus in the uterus.



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Quarantine: A period of time in which a dog is isolated from other dogs or other animals in order to prevent the possible spread of a disease.

Quick: The vein that runs through a dog's claw.



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Rabies: An acute viral disease of the nervous system of warm-blooded animals that is usually transmitted through a bite.

Rangy: Type of body that is tall and long.

Rat tail: Thick rooted tail that is devoid of hair on the tip.

Recessive genes: Genes that are not expressed unless both members of a specific gene pair are recessive.

Red: Color of dog that is reddish orange.

Registration papers: Document issued by a dog association for a particular dog that shows proof of registration, date of birth, parents, breeder and owner.

Register: To enlist a dog, puppy or litter with a dog association.

Registry: A dog association that registers dogs, issues registration numbers, determines breed standards, licenses dog shows, licenses dog show judges etc.

Renal: Relating to the kidneys.

Retrieve: The act of bringing back shot game to the handler.

Ring: The area at a dog show where dogs are judged.

Ring tail: A tail that is carried up and around almost in a circle.

Roman nose: A nose with a bridge that is comparatively high and forms a slightly convex line from the forehead to the tip of the nose.

Rose Ears: A small drop ear which folds over and back.

Ruddy: A type of dark ginger red color.

Ruff: Collar-like fringe of hair around the neck.



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Saber tail: A tail carried in a semi-circle.

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

Saddle: A black marking over the back.

Saline: A salt solution that is used to replace body fluids.

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

Sclera: The white portion of the eyeball.

Screw tail: A tail that is naturally short with a twisted, spiral formation.

Season: Also referred to as "being in heat". The cyclical period in which a female dog becomes interested in mating and capable of becoming pregnant.

Secondary coat: Fine hairs making up the undercoat.

Selective breeding: The intentional mating of two dogs in order to achieve a trait or to eliminate a trait.

Self: Term used to describe a color that is of one solid color from the base to the tip of the hair shaft.

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

Senile cataracts: Lens opacity in the eye that occurs in elderly animals. Does not interfere with vision.

Service dogs: Any dog that is trained to assist a person with a disability.

Setters: Breed of dogs in the sporting group that creep slowly along the ground after scenting game birds.

Shock: A condition that occurs after the body has undergone severe injury that results in a shut down of the body's circulatory system.

Show quality: A pedigreed dog that meets the official breed standard and therefore is a specimen that can compete in dog shows.

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

Sight hound: Type of dog that hunts animals by sight rather than scent.

Silent heat: A heat period that goes unnoticed simply because there may be little swelling of the vulva, little bleeding, no attraction of males or no behavior change.

Silky coat: A coat composed of topcoat that is long, find and soft.

Single coat: Dog that has only one type of coat, usually the topcoat or guard hairs, without the downy undercoat.

Sire: The male parent of a puppy or litter.

Smooth coat: A coat that is made up of short, close lying fur.

Snippyface: A pointed, weak muzzle that lacks depth and breadth.

Solid: A dog of only one color.

Spaniels: Type of breed found in the sporting group that was developed to creep slow and low to the ground after scenting game birds.

Spay: A female dog that has been sterilized through a surgical procedure or the process of rendering a female dog sterile through a surgical procedure.

Specialty: A dog show that is exclusive to a certain breed, such as an Irish Setter Specialty.

Spontaneous mutation: A genetic accident that permanently alters certain genetic characteristics.

Sporting Group: Breeds that were originally bred to help their bootstrap.min.csss hunt game birds. Included are the Irish Setter, English Springer Spaniel and German Shorthaired Pointer.

Squirrel tail: A tail that is carried up and curves forward.

Standard: The description of the perfect specimen for a particular breed as well as a listing of disqualifying faults. Used by breeders to improve their lines and by judges to determine which dog of each breed comes closest to that standard.

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

Status: A dog's title or level of achievement and qualification, such as a Champion or C.D.

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

Stomach torsion: A condition usually seen in deep-chested dogs in which the stomach becomes distended and blocked. Can cause death if not treated immediately.

Stop: An indentation on the bridge of the nose, usually between the eyes.

Stud: Siring male dog.

Stud book: A registry that lists the names, sexes, registration numbers and colors of dogs along with their birth dates.



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Tapetum lucidum: The highly reflective portion of the interior of the canine eyeball that aids in night vision.

TD (Tracking Dog): A suffix used with the name of a dog that has been recorded as a Tracking Dog as a result of having passed a certain number of certified tracking tests.

TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent): A suffix used with the name of a dog that has been recorded as a Tracking Dog as a result of having passed a certain number of certified tracking dog excellent tests.

Team: Usually four dogs exhibited by one handler.

Terrier: A breed of dog that was developed to hunt rats and other vermin.

Testicles: Paired reproductive organs of the male where the sperm is produced.

Testosterone: The principal male sex hormone produce in the testes.

Ticking: Darker tips of hair on the ends of the coat hairs. Also the alternating bands of color on each individual hair shaft.

Titles: Ranks of merit that are awarded to dogs by dog associations, such as Champion, Field Champion and Companion Dog.

Topcoat: The longer guard hairs of the dog's coat.

Topical: A medication applied to the outside of the body.

Top knot: A tuft of longer hair on the top of the head.

Toy: Breeds that are characterized by their very small size.

Triangular eyes: An eye, which because of the surrounding tissue, appears to have an upright triangular shape.

Tri-color: A type of coat that is made up of three different colors.

Triple Champion: A dog that has won conformation, obedience and field championships.

Tuck up: Characterized by a shallower body depth at the loin.

Tulip Ears: An ear that is carried erect with edges that curve forward and inward.

Type: The overall arrangement of the dog's physical attributes in accordance to the breed standard.



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UD (Utility Dog): A suffix used with the name of a dog that has won a certain score in a series Utility Dog competitions.

United Kennel Club (UKC): An official registry for purebred dogs in the United States.

Umbilical hernia: A hernia of fat and sometimes a protrusion of the intestines in the region of the naval.

Undercoat: The soft downy hair of a dog lying next to the skin.

Undershot jaw: An upper jaw that protrudes abnormally.

Urethroliths: General term for mineral deposits that form an obstruction in the urethra of male dogs.

United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA): Organization that is considered the authority and primary promoter of the sport of agility and agility competitions in the US.

Uterus: Organ in the female wherein the fertilized egg implants and develops into a fetus.



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Vaccine: A preparation of killed or altered microorganisms that is administered to produce immunity to a particular disease.

Vascular: Pertaining to the blood vessels.

Virus: Minute, infectious disease agents composed primarily of protein and nucleic acid.

Vitamin: General term for a number of substances that are required in small quantities for the normal function of the body's metabolic processes.



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Wall Eyes: An eye with a whitish iris.

Weaning: Process by which puppies learn to eat food, not depending on the milk of their mother.

Wheaten: Pale yellow or fawn color.

Whelp: When a female dog gives birth to puppies.

Whip tail: A tail that is carried out, stiff and pointed.

Whiskers: Long, thick hairs located on the muzzle and underjaw which are used as sensory organs.

White: Color of dog that lacks pigmentation.

Winners: An award given at dog shows to the best dog (Winners Dog) and the best bitch (Winners Bitch) competing in regular classes.

Wire-haired: A coat that has a crisp, hard texture.

Withers: The highest point of the shoulders, directly behind the neck.

Working Group: Breeds that were originally developed to guard homes and livestock and to perform various duties requiring strength, intelligence and stamina. Included are the Rottweiler, Siberian Husky and Great Dane.

Wry mouth: A mouth in which the bite is out of alignment.



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Zoonosis: An animal disease that can be communicated to humans.


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