Basic Anatomy of Dogs: German Shepherd Body Parts

Are you familiar with German Shepherd body parts?

Different breeds look different from each other but all dogs retained the same basic anatomical characteristics. Knowing the different German Shepherd body parts can help you accurately pinpoint your German Shepherd’s issues to a veterinarian or a dog trainer. If you’re also learning how to stack, then knowing the different German Shepherd body parts can be very helpful.

German Shepherd Head

Like all dogs, German Shepherds have two eyes, two ears, a mouth and a nose.  The German Shepherd’s muzzle includes both the upper and lower jaws, and the foreface.

The ears of the German Shepherd are upright and medium-sized. They are broad at the base and set high – forming a point at the top and are cupped facing front.

The German Shepherd’s eyes are almond-shaped. They are dark, set at an angle, and are never protruding.

German Shepherds have a scissor bite, which means their incisors close in such a way that they’re like scissors – one over the other.  Dogs also have something called the stop. It is the indentation — although sometimes faint and not obvious – between the forehead and the muzzle.  The German Shepherd’s forehead has a slight curvature.

The cheek is the skin along the GSD’s muzzle. The German Shepherd’s mouth is strong. Their flews – more commonly known as the lips – are dry, firm and close. They also have whiskers for sensory sensing.


German Shepherd Neck and Shoulders

The German Shepherd’s neck is strong and it runs from the nape to the shoulders. The nape is their neck joins the base of their skull at the back of head. The throat must not have loose skin.. The body part we call crest starts with the nape and ends at the dog’s withers – which is the top point of the shoulders. The withers is also the highest point along the dog’s back while the shoulder is the upper section of their forelegs.


German Shepherd Torso

The German Shepherd’s back is straight. It must be firm and well-muscled. It is formed by 13 vertebrae. It runs from the point of the shoulders to the end of the rib cage. But the term “back” may also be used to describe the loin, which is the back between the end of the ribcage and the pelvic bone.

The German Shepherd’s back and chest together form their torso. The entire ribcage of is called the chest. The prosternum is the top part of their sternum, which is the bone holds the ribcage together. The German Shepherd’s belly is found on the underside – stretching from end of the ribcage to the tail.

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German Shepherd Legs

The German Shepherd’s elbow is the first joint in the leg located just above the chest at the back of the foreleg. The long bone located on the foreleg – and runs after the elbow – is called the forearm.  The front legs of the German Shepherd should be straight and not facing outwards nor inwards. Below it is the wrist and the paw. German Shepherd paws have paw pads, dark nails, and sometimes dewclaws. Their paws or feet are short, round, tight, and curved.

The German Shepherd’s upper thigh is the part of the leg located above the knee on the back leg while the lower thigh found beneath the knee to the hock. The thighs of the German Shepherd must be broad and strong. The upper part of the thigh is connected to the hip joint while the lower part is connected by the knee joint (also called the stifle) to the lower leg or shank. The stifle sits on the front of the hind legs in line with the German Shepherd’s abdomen.

In German Shepherds and all dogs, the pasterns are similar to the bones in human hands and feet minus the fingers.  The oddl-shaped joint that makes a sharp angle at the back of German Shepherd’s leg is called the hock – which is equivalent to ankles in humans.


German Shepherd Rear End

The dog’s rear end is called the rump and it’s where the pelvic bone is.  The top part of the rump is called the croup.  In German Shepherds, the croup should be long. It must be sloping at about 23 degrees. This part consists of the 3 coccygeal vertebrae, sacrum, muscles and skin layers.

The tail set is where the tail attaches to the rump. The boney part of the German Shepherd’s tail, which is formed by 18 – 23 vertebrae, typically reaches the flocks. The German Shepherd’s tail should not be longer than to the middle of the back foot just below the hock.  Different dog breeds also have different shapes and types. German Shepherd have a saber tail.

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