ABC's of Dog Breeding

By Claudia Waller Orlandi, Ph.D.

The Practical Canine  Anatomy & Movement  is designed to be used as a primer for new judges and breeders and a review of basic canine anatomy for the experienced.

 Itís not uncommon for breeders and judges to approach the topic of canine anatomy with a certain amount of resistance and a less than eager attitude.  To realize the importance of understanding canine anatomy we need only to turn to our breed standards, which are the written expressions of the ideal specimen in each breed. What most do not realize is that each breed standard was written based on the assumption that the reader has a sound working knowledge of canine structure.


Through the American Kennel Club Website, breeders and judges may study Practical Canine Anatomy and Movement online at no charge.  If you choose, you may opt in to the certificate program at no charge.

 The link below will take you to the AKC Website Breeder Education Program.

  Practical Canine Anatomy & Movement is now available in hard copy through the American Kennel Club online store at:

Home Study or Online Program for Breeders & Judges

Contents and Course Design


The Practical Canine Anatomy Home Toolkit includes a textbook portion, a series of workbook exercises and a set of flashcards.

The Practical Canine Anatomy Home Study Program summarizes many anatomy concepts that judges and breeders should know and focuses on surface and skeletal parts of the dog within the context of structural balance. Key points are indicated in a bold type and are underlined.  Discussions of anatomy are reader friendly and extra large print and illustrative drawings make the topic fun and easy to understand.

The Practical Canine  Anatomy includes True and False, Matching and Multiple Choice workbook exercises that are designed to help breeders and judges learn the materials. 

The enclosed set of Flashcards helps judges and breeders review their knowledge of basic canine anatomy.

A Seminar for Judges & Breeders


The goal of Practical Canine Anatomy and Movement Seminar is to take a practical, step-by-step-approach to give the participants a greater understanding of both Structure and Movement.


The Practical Canine Anatomy and Movement Seminar is presented at dozens of dog clubs and National Specialties throughout the country.


The Practical Canine Anatomy seminar was developed at the request of the Dog Judges Association of America (DJAA) and is presented throughout the country as part of the ABC's of Dog Breeding all day seminar (typically 7 hours).


Because all breeds of dogs have the same bones and muscles, The Practical Canine Anatomy seminar can be a stand alone presentation that relates to any breed or it can be designed to include images and text taken directly from any Parent Club's Illustrated Standard, which personalizes the presentation for attendees with regard to specific breed knowledge.


Practical Canine Anatomy is also presented as a stand alone seminar at various venues, including judges institutes, independent dog clubs and numerous National Specialties as part of their education program during Nationals week.  The Anatomy seminar is typically 2 to 3 hours in length. 


Hands-On Workshop 


An optional part of the seminar is a hands-on workshop with live dogs where attendees learn how to correctly evaluate angulation in dogs. Measuring tools are provided as part of the seminar.  The typical length of the anatomy seminar and workshop is between 2 to 3 hours.  

Claudia is currently living in Spain for part of the year, while maintaining her breeding program here in the United States.  She is presently working on a narration of her popular seminars, which will be available on the AKC education website. 

For more information regarding the Practical Canine Anatomy & Movement Home Study Program or Seminar, go to