The Skeletal System
Before we can begin to study the movement (biomechanics) of the dog or learn the musculature we must study the framework around which they occur – the skeleton.
Skeleton of a domestic dog.
The dog is a quadruped, walks on 4 legs, so the skeleton differs considerably from the human bipedal skeleton. Notably, the pelvis is shaped less like a bowl and more like a table; and the shoulder and hip are more stable and less mobile than in the human form. It is critical to know the names and locations of the bones before learning the musculature of the dog, because it is the bones where the muscles attach and upon which they exert their influence. It is not necessary to memorize the information presented here in preparation for the practicum. Use this material as a reference as you continue to deepen your knowledge in this area. The more you review and use this new language, the sooner it will become second nature to you.
Many of the bones in the canine skeleton are the same as those found in the human skeleton and other animals. There are exceptions, however. For example, dogs do not possess a clavicle (collar bone) and they walk on their toes rather than the bones of the ankle or hock. Many bones may carry the same name and similar structure, but because of spatial placement they possess different functions. For example, the scapula lies on the sides of the dog, so movement of the shoulder does not possess the same range of motion as in humans, for instance, the dog cannot wave.