Does a dog have a skeleton? Here’s the Answer

Anatomy of pelvic limb bones from a dog

There is many variations in the structure of a dog’s hip bone. The ilium of the left and right sides of the dog’s hip is almost parallel. You will see a concave gluteal surface in the ilium bone where the gluteal line is indistinct.

The crest of the ilium bone of the dog hip is strongly convex. You will find a twisted ischium in the hip of a dog. There is also a huge variation in the ischial tuberosity of the dog hip. The dog hip’s ischial tuberosity (tuber ischia) is flat, whereas the trifid is ruminant.

Again, the greater and lesser ischiatic notches are shallow, but the acetabular notch is wide. The femur of a dog also possesses some exceptional osteological features. There is no supracondyloid fossa in the distal part of the dog femur bone. The greater trochanter (laterally) is lower than the humeral head.

Again, the patella of a dog is comparatively longer and possesses a convex anterior surface. The body of the dog tibia is convex medially at the upper end and again convex laterally at the distal end. You will find a prominent tibial crest in the dog’s tibia bone.

The fibula is a long (modified) and thin bone in the dog’s pelvic limb that extends the whole length of the tibia. There is a typical flat end that articulates with the lateral condyle of the tibia.

There are seven tarsal bones found in the pelvic limb of a dog that is arranged in three rows. Again, the dog’s pelvic limb possesses five metatarsal bones. In addition, the number of proximal and distal sesamoid bones is the same as that found in the thoracic limb.

How many bones does a dog have in its tail?

Okay, how many bones does a dog have in its tail? You will find a great variation in the number of tail bones (caudal vertebrae) in a different breeds of the dogs. The average number of the tail bone is 20, but you may find 6 – 24 bones in the tail in the different dog breeds.

The first one or two caudal vertebrae of a dog possess the body, arch, and processes. But, the rest of the caudal vertebrae possess a cylindrical body and modified cranial and caudal articular processes.

Luxating Patella

A luxating patella is a dislocated kneecap that moves out of its normal groove. It’s very similar to a “trick knee” in humans. When it happens, your dog can’t move or extend his knee properly. This can cause limping or an abnormal gait, pain and eventually, arthritis.

Luxating patella can also lead to chronic inflammation in the joint that causes the ligaments to break down … which is why 10-15% of dogs with luxating patellas will eventually damage their cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) as well. Plus, the more the kneecap is outside its normal groove, the shallower the groove becomes, making dislocation of the kneecap occur more easily.

Skeletal System of Dog | Bones | Canine Anatomy | inPAWmation

While it obviously varies from breed to breed, dogs generally have 321 bones in their body. The main difference in bones across breeds actually comes down to the tail, as longer tails generally have more vertebrae than their shorter counterparts.

Bones are the foundation of our body, allowing us to stand up, move, grow, and more. And your dog’s bones are equally important when it comes to his health and wellbeing.

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the other nuances of dogs and their bones.