Dog Legs and Feet
Their legs are designed to propel them forward rapidly, leaping
as necessary, to chase and overcome prey. Consequently, they
have small, tight feet, walking on their front toes; their rear
legs are fairly rigid and sturdy; the front legs are loose and
flexible, with only muscle attaching them to the torso.
Dogs are Color Blind
Dogs are dichromats and thus, by human standards, color blind.
Because the lenses of dogs' eyes are flatter than humans', they
cannot see as much detail; on the other hand, their eyes are
more sensitive to light and motion than humans' eyes. Some breeds,
particularly the best sighthounds, have a field of vision up
to 270° (compared to 100° to 120° for humans), although
broad-headed breeds with their eyes set forward have a much narrower
field of vision, as low as 180°.1, 2
The Hearing of Dogs
Dogs detect sounds as low as the 20 to 70 Hz frequency range (compared
to 16 to 20 Hz for humans) and as high as 70,000 to 100,000 Hz
(compared to 20,000 Hz for humans)2, and in addition have a degree
of ear mobility that helps them to rapidly pinpoint the exact
location of a sound. They can identify a sound's location much
faster than can a human, and they can hear sounds up to four
times the distance that humans can.
Sense of Smell
Dogs have about 220 million smell-sensitive cells (compared to
5 million for humans). Some breeds have been selectively bred
for excellence in detecting scents, even compared to their canine
All dogs have a tremendous capacity to learn complex social behavior
and to interpret varied body language and sounds, and, like many
predators, can react to and learn from novel situations.
Dog Coats, Colors, and Markings
Coat colors range from pure white to solid black and many other
variations. Dogs exhibit a diverse array of coat textures, colors,
and markings, and a specialized vocabulary has evolved to describe
Originally, dogs all had dense fur with an undercoat and long
muzzles and heads, although both of these features have been altered
in some of the more extremely modified breeds, such as the Mexican
Hairless and the English Bulldog.
One often refers to a specific dog first by
coat color rather than by breed; for example, "a blue merle Aussie" or "a
chocolate Lab". Coat colors include:
Blenheim: A combination of chestnut and white; for example, the
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Black: Usually pure black but sometimes grizzled,
particularly as dogs age and develop white hairs, usually
around the muzzle.
Black and tan: Coat has both colors but
in clearly defined and
separated areas; usually the top and sides are black and
lower legs and underside are tan, reddish, or chestnut.
A dark metallic gray, often as a blue merle or speckled
(with black). Kerry Blue Terriers, Australian Silky Terriers,
Collies, and Australian Shepherds are among many breeds
come in blue.
Brown: Includes dark mahogany, midtone brown,
gray-brown, and very dark brown. (Weimaraners are often
described as "steel-grey" but
they are in fact light brown, the colour of the powder
for instant hot chocolate.)
Cream: Depending on the breed
and individual, ranges from white through ivory and blond,
often occurring with or
yellow, and sable.
Gold: Rich reddish-yellow, as in
a Golden Retriever; often includes colors such as yellow-gold,
tawny, yellow-red, straw, mustard, and sandy.
Pale to dark gray, including silver; can be mixed with
other colors or various shades to create
blue-black gray, or silver-fawn.
Lemon: A very
pale yellow or wheaten color which is not present at birth
(the puppies are born white)
apparent, usually during the first six months
Liver: A reddish brown somewhat the color of
cinnamon or bronze; the breed often determines
whether "liver", "chocolate", "brown",
or "red" is used to describe the
color, as in a liver German Shorthaired Pointer
chocolate Labrador Retriever.
of reddish woods such as cherry or mahogany;
also tawny, chestnut, orange,
Sable: Black-tipped hairs; the
background color can be gold, silver, gray, or tan.
Consisting of three colors; usually black, tan, and white
or liver, tan, and
white; for example,
Collie or the
Wheaten: Pale yellow or fawn,
like the color of ripe wheat
White: Distinct from albino
Yellow: Yellowish-gold tan, as in a yellow
The Dalmatian's coat is one of
the more widely recognized markings.Coat
Brindle: A mixture of black with brown, tan,
or gold; usually in a "tiger stripe" pattern
Harlequin: "Torn" patches
of black on white; only the Great Dane exhibits this pattern
Merle: Marbled coat with darker patches and
spots of the specified color; for example, a blue merle is
and blue with
black and sometimes white patches; a red (or liver) merle has
deep red or brown on lighter red, often with white or
black mixed in.
Particolor: Two-colored coat with the colors
appearing in patches in roughly equal quantiles (in breeds
this is an allowed
coat color; in breeds where patches of white are considered
undesirable, a dog showing even a small patch of white
might be classified
as a particolor).
vary tremendously, so that some coats make the dogs more
cuddly and others
to cold water.
furred breeds such as most sled dogs and Spitz types can have
up to 600 hairs per inch, while fine-haired breeds such as
Terrier can have as few as 100, and the "hairless" breeds
such as the Mexican Hairless have none on parts of their bodies.
The texture of the coat often depends on the distribution and
the length of the two parts of a dog's coat, its thick, warm
(or down) and its, rougher somewhat weather-resistant outer coat
(topcoat), also referred to as guard hairs. Breeds with soft
coats often have more or longer undercoat hairs than guard hairs;
coats often have more or longer guard hairs. Textures include:
GermanWirehaired Pointer’s Coat
The German Wirehaired Pointer's coat demonstrates a rough texture.
Having a thick, warm, short undercoat (or down) that is usually
dense enough to resist penetration by water and
a stronger, rougher weather-resistant outer coat (topcoat), also
referred to as guard hairs. Most other coat types are also double
Single-coated: Lacking an undercoat.
Smooth-coated: "Smooth" to
the eye and touch.
Wire-haired: Also called broken-coated.
The harsh outer guard hairs are prominent, providing excellent
dogs such as the Border Terrier or Wirehaired Pointing
Long-haired: Hair longer than an inch or so.
Short-haired: Hair around an inch or so long.
Corded coat: for example, see Puli
The Basset Hound's ears are extremely long drop ears.Dogs ears
come in a variety of sizes, shapes, lengths, position on the head,
and amount and type of droop. Every variation has a term, including:
Bat ear: Erect, broad next to the head and
rounded at the tip.
Button ear: A smaller ear where the tip
folds forward nearly to the skull, forming a V, such as
the Jack Russell Terrier.
Cropped ear: Shaped by cutting;
Drop ear: An ear that folds and droops close
to the head, such as most scent hounds'. Also called a
Natural: Like a wolf's.
Prick ear: Erect and
pointed; also called pricked or erect.
Rose ear: A very
small drop ear that folds back; typical of many sight hounds
and the English Bulldog.
Semiprick ear: A prick ear where
the tip just begins to fold forward, such as with the Rough
The Basenji's tail is tightly curled.As with ears, tails come in
a tremendous variety of shapes, lengths, amount of fur, and tailset
(positions). Among them:
Corkscrew: Short and twisted, such as a Pug
Docked: Shortened by surgery or other method,
usually two or three days after birth; see docking
but not short. Uncommon. Tibetan Terriers have odd tails.
Saber: Carried in a slight curve like that
of a saber
Sickle: Carried out and up in a semicircle
like a sickle
Squirrel: Carried high and towards the head,
often with the tip curving even further towards the head.
Wheel: Carried up and over the back in a broad
curve, resembling a wheel.