Long Backs? Or Little Legs?

Long Backs?  Or Little Legs?

Dogs with short legs are often referred to as “long-backed” dogs, but it’s not actually that their backs are any longer… rather they have shortened limbs that give the appearance of a long back (1)(2)(3).


Does my dog have little legs?

For some dogs (dwarf breeds) it’s really obvious that the dog is longer than they are tall:

  1. The length of the dog can be determined by measuring from the point of shoulder to the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis.

  2. The height of the dog can be determined by measuring from the highest point of the scapula, down to the level of the paw.


With some dogs, their “little legs” may be less obvious:

But if we compare the length and height, we can see that the dog above would also be considered a long-backed little legged dog!


(1): Gustafsson, Kristina. (2015).  Genetics and phenotypes of Chondrodysplasia (Achondroplasia) across domestic animal species. Svent Istvan University Faculty of Veterinary Science Budapest.
(2): Florczuk, P., Gruszczyńska, J., (2016). Genetic background of chondrodysplasia in domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) – in silico analysis. Acta Sci. Pol. Zootechnica, 15(4), 5–14. DOI: 10.21005/asp.2016.15.4.01.
(3): Ludwig-Peisker O, Ansel E, Schweizer D, Jagannathan V, Loechel R, Leeb T. PCYT1A Missense Variant in Vizslas with Disproportionate Dwarfism. Genes. 2022; 13(12):2354. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13122354