Canine Terminology – S

SABRE TAIL Tail carried like a sabre; semi-circle; German Shepherd Dog tail at rest is carried like a sabre.
SABLE Black outer hairs over a light-coloured coat. (Usually brown to light brown.)
SADDLE A dark (usually black) marking over the back; from the location of a saddle as placed on a horse.
SCAPULA The shoulder blade.
SCREW TAIL A naturally occurring short tail that twists.
SECOND THIGH Lower thigh; from stifle to hock joint.
SEPTUM Line between nostrils.
SHALLOW BRISKET Lack of depth of ribs.
SHORT-BODIED Short between front of chest and rear of dog.
SHORT-COUPLED Short space between last rib and pelvis.
SHOULDERS Shoulder blade and supporting muscles.
SHOULDER HEIGHT Height of a dog measured from the withers to the ground.
SICKLE-HOCKED Inability to straighten the hock joint on the back reach of the hind leg; dog moves with a permanent angle in hock joint.
SICKLE TAIL Tip of tail vertically above root, but tail bent as a semi-circle; tail carried out and up in a semi-circle (shaped like a sickle).
SINEW A tendon; that which transmits strength of power from muscle to bone.
SINEWY Having sinews, especially of marked development; strong; tough; firm.
SINGLE TRACKING The tendency of a dog on the move to travel with the paw prints in a nearly straight line.
SLAB-SIDED Ribs too flat for the given breed of dog; flat ribs with too little spring from the spinal column for the given breed.
SLED DOG A dog used to pull sleds over snow, usually an Arctic breed.
SMOOTH COAT A dog with a short, non-curly coat.
SNIPY Muzzle pointed and weak; no fill under the eyes with narrow thin jaws.
SOUND Free from flaw, defect or decay; perfect for the kind; undamaged or unimpaired; healthy; robust; not diseased.
SOUNDNESS A dog is sound or unsound. Soundness refers to health or structural perfection for the breed. A barrel chest would be sound for a Bulldog, unsound for a Greyhound. Unsound is usually equivalent to faulty.
SPECTACLES Darker or shaded marking around the eyes, as on a Keeshond.
SPLAYED FEET Toes spread out; open feet; usually with a ‘down in the arch’.
SPREAD HOCKS Hocks pointing outwards; opposite of cow hocks.
SPRING OF RIBS Spring of the ribs from the backbone; well sprung ribs have plenty of lung and heart room; well-sprung ribs slant backwards at about 45 degrees to the spine so that when they rotate they increase breathing capacity.
SQUIRREL TAIL Tail carried up and curved too far forwards.
STANCE A dog’s stance; manner of standing.
STANDARD The official KC-recognized Breed Standard that describes the ideal dog of the breed.
STAND-OFF COAT Coat that stands out from the body as on a Pomeranian; stiff hair supported by a dense undercoat creates a stand-off coat.
STERN Rear end; tail; to the rear.
STENUM The breast bone; the brisket.
STIFLE The stifle joint is between the upper and lower thigh; stifle includes the area on each side of the stifle joint. A well-bent stifle has a marked angle at the stifle joint.
STILTED Without bend at the rear leg joints; usually used as a ‘stilted gait’; or moving without flexing straight joints.
STOP The change in profile line between the muzzle and skull; the ‘break‘ between muzzle and skull.
STRAIGHT-HOCKED Insufficient bend in the hock joint for the breed.
STRAIGHT SHOULDERS Shoulder blade nearly vertical as opposed to well laid back.
STRIDE A complete action of one limb prior to repeating the action.
SUBSTANCE Plenty of bone; refers more to heaviness of bone rather than fat. A well-muscled dog also has substance, but a well-muscled small – boned dog is not referred to as having substance.
SWAYBACK The back with downward bow in it; concave curvature of back from withers to pelvis.
SYMMETRY A general term to express a pleasing agreement between all parts of the dog; the head, neck, body, legs and tail form a symmetrical picture; balanced.