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Chapter 1 - Skeletal Anatomy
The dog's skeleton serves as the structural framework for support
protection of the body. Along with muscles, the skeleton enables the dog to
stand, sit, run, and walk.
Bones are hollow tubes made up of hard, latticed structures
trabeculae and are filled with bone marrow. Bones are nourished by blood
vessels that enter them through small holes called nutrient foramina.
Unlike humans, dogs do not have a collarbone; their forelimbs are held
together by only the muscles. This allows dogs to have great flexibility in
All dogs have 30 true vertebrae, plus a varying number found in the
The vertebrae are arranged in 5 groups: 7 cervical, 13 thoracic, 7 lumbar,
3 sacral, and the varying number of caudal (tail) vertebrae. The spinal
cord lies within the vertebral canal in the spine for protection.
The canine skull comes in three basic shapes. The dolichocephalic
seen in the Afghan Hound, is elongated and narrow. Short, broad heads, like
that of the Bulldog, are called brachycephalic. Skulls of average length,
like that of the Siberian Husky, are classified as mesocephalic.