Where is the withers in dogs, its features and purpose


In the article I will talk about the dog withers. Let me explain where it is in the dog, how to measure it and what it is for. I will describe the possible injuries in this place. I will cite interesting facts.

Withers - place on the spine between the shoulders of the animal.

Why does a dog have withers?

For puppy neck they carry their puppies, as there is the strongest and thickest skin.

With the help of the scruff, movements of the front paws, neck, and the chest and back are controlled. Therefore, it is quite muscular, strong, developed.

When attacking each other, wild dogs always try to grab prey by the throat. The victim while trying to get away from the attack, turning his back to the enemy. Therefore, the most common bite is a nape. In the process of evolution with a protective purpose, the skin between the shoulder blades became thicker and less sensitive.

When fighting dogs can grab their relatives by the scruff of the neck, while shaking his head

Injuries to the withers

The dog may get a trauma on the back of the neck during mating or fighting with other dogs. Scratches on the skin must be treated with antiseptic.

It is also possible the formation of seals during the treatment of the dog by subcutaneous injections. Such edemas usually resolve themselves and do not require veterinary care.

The skin on the withers is thin and tender, which further simplifies the injection of drugs

Interesting Facts

The withers is the parameter by which the growth of the dog is determined relative to the breed standards.

In case of deviation from the norm, for example, in case of curvature of the back or defects of the musculoskeletal system, this parameter may not meet the breed standard. Such an animal cannot participate in exhibitions and is excluded from breeding.

The height parameter is used for:

  • standard definition in the exterior of the representative at exhibitions,
  • calculating the height of the dog jump at competitions,
  • choosing the right size of clothes, carrying and harness for the dog,
  • identify puppy maldevelopment.
Various antiparasitic drops are applied on the nape (against lice, fleas, etc.).

In most cases, in veterinary medicine, it is the neck that is used for the subcutaneous administration of vaccines and medications to a dog, since the nape is less sensitive to pain.

Antiparasitic drops are also dripped on the neck, since This is the only place on the dog's body that he cannot lick.

In the article I talked about the dog withers. Explained where it is, what is needed. Described the possible injuries on the neck. Cited interesting facts.

Capture the withers: is it permissible when training an animal?

Many cat lovers know that when raising even the most formidable and cocky cat by the collar, the animal quickly loses most of its sunk, becoming much calmer. This is due to the existence of submission reflexwhose center is located in the cerebellum of the animal. It is activated when special receptors are used, which are located just in the thickness of the skin on the neck. But what have the cats? The problem is that many animal lovers do not see any special differences in species psychology.

When it comes to dog training, breeders tend to use outdated techniques that cause severe stress in animals and show rather mediocre results. In particular, many sources recommend “to subdue a puppy to grab him by the scruff and shake him violently”. Only dogs are not cats, this number works with them, but it leads to some unexpected results. It is believed that this technique was based on the "social characteristics of the behavior of dogs." Allegedly bitches so "educate" their puppies. Surprisingly, this belief is widespread even among professional breeders. But the reality is somewhat different ...

When fighting dogs can really grab their relatives by the scruff of the neck, while shaking his head. Indeed, it makes the "motated" dog instinctively recognize the seniority of another animal, automatically submitting. Meanwhile, today, veterinarians and zoopsychologists call this technique “barbaric”, and strongly discourage its use in young animals and puppies.

Violence begets violence

Capturing the "misguided" dog by the scruff is a "positive" punishment, emphasizing the predominant role of the person, but not causing the little dog the real suffering and pain. But! When using this technique to adjust the behavior of the dog, side effects can develop, which is fraught with numerous problems. For example, the frequent use of “positive punishments” can lead to the development of defensive aggression. In the case of certain breeds (rottweilers, for example), this is fraught with the transformation of a pet into a complete "inadequate".

It happens so because the dog begins to perceive any movement of the owner’s hands as a threat. As a result - growling, barking, in advanced cases, the dog may attack the person. Moreover, dog experts have come to the conclusion that the consequences of such “education” are the impossibility or severe difficulty of the subsequent correction of the dog's behavior by normal methods.

Moreover, the forceful seizure of a nape is not a measure as effective as it is usually thought of. Thus, studies of English dog experts have shown that no more than 26% of dogs really demonstrate submission when using this method of punishment. In more than 48% of cases, there was an increase in the aggression of the “subjects”, so the use of withers for educational purposes is very reminiscent of attempts to extinguish a fire with gasoline.

Veterinary value of nape

With the "training" use of withers, we figured out. From the veterinary point of view, the neck is a great place to put an injection. As we wrote above, there are very few nerve endings in this area, and therefore the injection of the injection needle does not give the animal pronounced discomfort. In addition, the skin here itself is quite thin and delicate, which further simplifies the injection of drugs.

The advantage of the withers is also a strong mobility of the skin in this area. With the subcutaneous administration of the drug, the latter is quickly pounded under the skin, and therefore absorbed much faster. As for oil-based products, they are generally advised to be administered exclusively in the area of ​​the neck. Being injected elsewhere, these drugs often cause the formation of abscesses. Their basis simply cannot be assimilated normally, once, for example, they fall into muscle tissue.

In addition, various antiparasitic drops are applied to the nape (against lice, fleas, etc.). Withers for this fit perfectly. This is due to the fact that the dog, with all the desire, will not be able to twist and lick the applied medicine. Given the toxicity of drugs used to destroy ectoparasites, with internal use, this fact is important.

Where is the withers

The withers, or simply nape or “skirt” is this area of ​​the back, starting after the neck, 5 vertebrae of the thoracic spine between the shoulder blades. It can be detected by external examination of the animal - it looks like a small tubercle on the back. This area is mobile, covered with elastic skin, which can be raised or gathered into folds.

The withers are the least sensitive area, so when the bitch drags the babies by the scruff, they do not feel pain or discomfort. The nape consists of the spinous processes of the vertebrae, which are in line with the tops of the shoulder blades. Withers usually high, wide, well developed, covered with developed muscles. At least, this is the back of a healthy, physically developed dog. It is thanks to the withers that the forelegs and neck are set in motion.

The formation of this area lasts more than one year, and the process is completed on average by 2-3 years. It depends on the size and breed of the pet. Since the withers - this is the highest point in the body of the dog, so it is taken as a basis, measuring the growth of the animal. But for dogs with deformations - squatted back or curvature of the spine, this parameter may differ significantly from standard data.

Why does the owner need to know the growth of the dog at the withers

When assessing the size of the animal, three main parameters are taken into account:

  • height at withers
  • oblique body length
  • circumference of the metacarpus.

In addition, you need to know where the dog is at the withers and be able to measure height in order to:

  • accurately determine the required height of the jump during sports events,
  • be able to compare pet parameters with standard requirements for the breed exterior,
  • timely detect deviations in the development of the growing individual,
  • Knowing the size of the dog, pick up accessories of the right size, clothes, carrying, bedding, etc.,
  • to carry out medical manipulations - subcutaneous injections are placed at the withers, vaccines are injected, insecticides are applied.

Since the hypodermic fatty tissue of the neck is literally penetrated by blood vessels, this allows the active substances of the drugs to be perfectly absorbed. And due to the low sensitivity of the procedure are painless and with minimal discomfort.

A large number of vessels increases the effectiveness of funds from external and internal parasites. In addition, the dog does not have the ability to lick the area on which the medication has been applied.

Rules for measuring a dog at the withers

There are several rules that allow you to make the most accurate measurements:

  • during the procedure, the dog must quietly stand on a flat surface - representatives of large and medium-sized breeds are placed on the floor, a smaller pet can be put on the table,
  • it is not recommended to feed the pet before the measurement - he will be more interested in the delicacy, which he is distracted by measuring and encouraging for good behavior,
  • if the dog is very worried, you need to give him a sniff of the instrument and time so that he can calm down,
  • it is desirable that two people deal with the measurement - the assistant will not interfere with the host.
  • The dog's limbs should stand straight, but not strain.

The greatest difficulties can be encountered when measuring a puppy, since babies are usually overly active and can not remain calm for a minute. If the owner does not have a special need to control the growth and development of a small pet and compare the puppy's data with the requirements of the standard, then the event can be postponed until it grows up.

When the dog behaves aggressively or too excitedly, breaks out and is outraged, it is recommended to choose another time to measure the growth of the pet. At first, the dog will not feel the joy of such manipulation, but over time, he will get used to it and will react more adequately.

Before the procedure it is necessary to prepare the following:

  • 2 lines,
  • spirit level (he's a building level),
  • a book
  • meter.

Depending on the measurement method, only a portion of the tools will be needed. Many owners measure a pet with a tape that tailors use, but in this case there will necessarily be an error, most often 1-3 cm upwards.

The procedure follows the following algorithm:

  • the dog is put on a flat surface and fixed,
  • by feeling the nape is revealed,
  • a flat object is placed on the area of ​​the blades; for this purpose, a book, ruler, construction meter, etc. are used.
  • using a second ruler or meter, it is recommended to measure the distance from the table or the floor to the withers of the animal,
  • for a more accurate result, measurements are made three times, with an interval of 30-60 seconds and take the average.

In the case of dimensional pets, it is convenient to use the “childish” method when placing the dog against a wall or a shoal and making a mark at the top of the shoulder blades. After the segment from the floor to the mark is measured using a ruler or meter. It is inconvenient to measure small individuals by this method.

The growth of dogs of various breeds

This parameter of purebred dogs is specifically designated by the standard. On the basis of height, all dogs are divided into the following categories:

  1. Small - their height does not exceed 28 cm, this group includes representatives of pocket breeds - Yorkies, small-spitz, Chihuahua, Toy Terriers, etc.
  2. Average - A large group of dogs, whose height varies from 28 to 56 cm.
  3. Large - The average figure is 60 cm, these are Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs, Alabai, etc.

It is necessary to take into account that the standard makes more stringent requirements for the growth of dogs of some breeds, while for others the difference can exceed 5-7 cm. The gender of a dog can also affect its growth. Most often, females are lower than males, but in some breeds this parameter is practically the same for individuals of different breeds.

Sometimes deviations from the standard of 3 cm in one direction or another are allowed. Therefore, in each case, you need to focus on the requirements of the international standard, but also take into account the growth of the parents and the characteristics of each individual.

Who can not worry about accurate measurements of the pet, so it is the owners of mongrels or mestizos. These dogs do not comply with any standards, do not participate in exhibitions, and their parameters remain secret until the puppies become an adult.

What measurements are needed for the selection of accessories?

Before you buy a harness, overalls or carrying, you must measure your pet, and not only his height at the withers. Additionally, the following parameters are required:

  • length from the neck to the base of the tail,
  • chest girth in the widest place - right behind the forelimbs, it is recommended to add a couple of centimeters to the data,
  • neck girth.

In addition, when selecting a carrier, it is important to know the length of the dog from neck to tail, body weight. Convenient and comfortable clothing will be only if it will sit well on your pet. And for this, additional measurements should be made:

  • circumference of the sternum and neck
  • back lengths
  • the size of the metacarpus,
  • waist volume.

If you miss with the size, the ammunition or clothing can sit on the pet too tightly, causing pain and discomfort, rubbing and crushing. In tight clothes, the pet will not be able to move freely, he feels constrained and tense. But a free landing will not be convenient - things will turn out to be baggy, and the tapes will hang loose without performing their functions.

If you use the harness of the wrong size, you can ruin the posture of the animal, its belts can squeeze the sternum, spine. Particular attention should be paid to the exact parameters, selecting the ammunition for the working dog or pet participating in the competition.

When the owner is worried that his four-legged friend has stopped growing or if it is too slow, he can measure it by comparing data with standard requirements. In some cases, there is indeed a lag in animal growth. But a timely visit to the vet will help correct the situation.

Withers - an important area of ​​the dog's body, through which you can learn the growth of a pet, correctly put a shot or select the necessary accessories. Therefore, the owner is desirable to know where it is and how to measure the four-legged friend.

Why measure

Almost from the first moment of appearance of the puppy in the house, it is important for the owner to know exactly where the withers are. By changing its level, the development of a puppy and its compliance with breed standards are monitored. This parameter is important in order to properly choose the animal carrier, in which the dog should be able not only to lie or sit, but also to stand in full growth. This information is also useful when buying or sewing ammunition.

If the withers of an animal are not clearly marked, this means that developmental defects are possible, which are expressed in a curved or sagging back. It is important that the withers be sufficiently muscular, broad and developed, as thanks to it the neck and front legs are set in motion.

Height at withers is an important parameter for show dogs. It is one of the three key exterior standards: the circumference of the metacarpus, the length of the body along the oblique and directly the height of the animal.

At competitions to overcome the obstacle course, it is necessary to measure the growth of the animal, this is necessary to determine the jumping potential.

Know the location of the withers is important to those owners who are forced to make injections to a pet at home or apply special protective preparations against fleas, ticks and other parasites. This is the optimal area on the back for these manipulations, since there are a large number of blood vessels here. Good blood circulation and slightly elevated body temperatures in this place ensure good absorption of drugs. The withers is also an area with reduced sensitivity, so the animal will experience less discomfort when the needle is inserted under the skin.

Note! Maximum relaxation of the muscles can be obtained if the animal does not rely on its front paws; in this position, the injection of drugs will be completely painless.

How to measure

К измерению высоты в холке щенка необходимо приучать с самого раннего возраста, но окончательный рост собаки оканчивается к 2-3 годам. Чтобы правильно этот параметр, необходимо выполнить такие действия:

  • Животное надо поставить на ровную поверхность и желательно зафиксировать.
  • Определить холку собаки.
  • Arrange on this place a ruler, building level or just a book.
  • Measure the distance from the floor to the plane on the dog's shoulder blades.

Important! The measurement should be carried out by the same person and preferably at a certain time of day.

To find out the height at the withers, you can just as determine the growth of the child - at the door jamb, making the appropriate mark. This method is well suited for medium and large breeds, with a height at withers from 28 to 56 cm. It is more convenient to measure small rocks on a table or other flat surface.

You can also ask a question to the staff veterinarian of our site, who will answer them as soon as possible in the comments field below.

What is withers

Find this mysterious place is completely easy. The withers are the area on the back of the dog, between the shoulder blades, on the spine. The bottom line is that this is the highest point on the back. It is from here that all measurements are made, for example, to determine the growth of the animal, to find the volume of the chest, to pick up the harness, to get a suitable carrying, etc.

There are also many blood vessels, muscles, and nerve endings. This part is very important for the dog.

Where is it

As mentioned above, withers begins immediately after the neck. These are the first five vertebrae, approximately in line with the front paws. If you look closely at the pet from the side, you can see that this is the highest point on the back.

A person can feel this part of the body. It is a small but perceptible tubercle at the end of the neck. This is a soft spot, the skin here is perfectly stretched. It can even be taken into a fist, and the animal will not be hurt. It is for withers that parents bring their puppies. The same person does.

Withers begin immediately after neck.

If the withers are not the highest part of the animal's body, then some kind of pathology takes place. For example, it may be a curvature of the spine, a drawdown of the back, problems with the limbs.

It is important to understand that the withers are the highest part of the back, and not the animal itself.

It is clear that the neck and especially the head are much higher. But if the pet tilts its face to the ground, for example, when it eats, then you can see that the highest point will be just withers. Its height can be changed only by bending its paws, but such a walk is unlikely to be comfortable for the dog.

Why does a dog need withers

It is clear that this is a part of the body of the animal, respectively, there is a specific need for it. It concentrates the most important muscle bundles and ligaments that control the work of the front legs, back, neck, chest. There is nothing strange in that strong withers cause increased power of the entire dog. The strength of the back and front paws also depends on this factor.

It is clear that not all breeds can boast a developed withers, such as, for example, fighting dogs. It is unlikely that a miniature Japanese Spitz has such an advantage. However, this area of ​​the body can be trained. For example, to load the neck with the help of weights. No need to feel sorry for the pet - physical exertion is very useful for him, besides it will allow him to train this part of the body, so that he will become stronger and more enduring.

Why measure the height of withers

Height determination of withers is a very important measurement parameter applied to dogs. For example, it is one of the existing breed standards. That is, some animals must have a height in this part of the body that meets the established standards. This parameter also distinguishes the varieties within the same breed. For example, a poodle, which can be dwarf, small and royal.

As a rule, height is measured at various exhibitions and competitions. This is necessary to determine many important parameters:

  • stretch index (ratio of height to body length),
  • leggy
  • neck length
  • massiveness
  • chest volume
  • endurance,
  • correctness of development and much more.

In the withers are concentrated the most important muscle bundles and ligaments that control the work of the front paws, back, neck, chest

Depending on what these parameters are measured for, they can be interpreted as advantages at exhibitions or to determine the coefficients necessary for holding any competitions. For example, if a dog meets the breed standards most closely, it can be recognized as the winner of the competition.

But even if you are not participating with your pet in exhibitions, the ability to find withers and measure its height is still very important. Thanks to this knowledge, it will be possible to find out the necessary information about your dog, as well as carry out a number of activities.

The same goes for the harness. This is not a collar, it just can not pick up. A harness covers the chest and withers of the animal. If she is small, you will not be able to put her on elementary on your pet.

Carrying is another reason to familiarize yourself with the location and height. It is necessary to select the carrier just by this parameter, and not by the height of the head, as many people think.

This is one of the few places on the body of the animal, where it can not reach. That is, the pet will not be able to lick the medicine. That is why here to apply preparations for fleas and ticks.

The same zone should be regularly checked for the presence of parasites. They, too, quickly learn that the dog's teeth will not reach them here, and therefore they parasitize it at the withers.

This may be necessary, for example, during a visit to the vet to put the pet on the table and fix it. It is also important that when you hold the dog by the withers, it cannot reach your hand and bite it.

Measuring height at withers is an important point.

Measure the height of your pet correctly, you can even at home. You do not need to have any specific knowledge or a set of tools. All you need is a ruler (meter, tape measure, etc.), as well as patience and ability to handle a dog.

You can measure dogs of any height - small, medium or large. Of course, there are specific types of huge dogs, and it can be difficult to measure their growth at home. But, as a rule, most dog breeders do not face such a problem.

You can measure dogs of any height - small, medium or large

You can make a simple tool for measurement. To do this, take two wooden planks, one about a meter long, the other about 20 cm. Next, these boards are fastened to each other in such a way that a letter G is glued to the bottom plate. It is very simple to use a homemade tool - it is put on the dog, its growth is determined by the tape.

You can do with standard tools - the same meter or tape measure. Before the event it is advisable not to feed the animal. The dog must be calm, limbs even and relaxed. It is advisable to measure together - one measures, the other strokes the dog. Puppies are very difficult to measure, as they are restless, and it is extremely problematic to calm them down.

The measuring tool is applied to the highest point between the blades. If the coat is thick, move it apart. Measure to the floor.

There is an even simpler option - you will need to bring the dog to the door jamb, measure its height and make the corresponding serif. Then simply measure this notch with a ruler or tape measure, and get the desired result.

Starting to measure the height of the dog at the withers preferably from two or three years. The fact is that by this time the skeleton is fully formed, which means that the measurements will be the most accurate.