Think Tank

Dog Skull

Domestic Dogs have evolved from wild dogs or wolves

Dog Skull from Thinktank Museum

Dog Skull

This is the skull of a modern domestic dog.

The skull is formed from the bones inside the head, and is what the skin and muscles are attached to.

The dog is a mammal, which is an animal that has fur, is warm blooded, gives birth to live young and feeds its offspring with milk from the mother.

The dog is a carnivore, or an animal that eats meat. It has sharp teeth for catching and eating its prey.

More about the Dog Skull

The teeth of a Dog are adapted for eating meat. They are used for other purposed too, such as grooming the fur. At the front of the skull are the incisors that are used for nipping small pieces of meat from close to bones.

The long pointed teeth behind the incisors are the canines, which are used for stabbing and killing prey. These teeth are also used as a display to threaten to other dogs.

The broader pointed teeth behind the canines are the premolars and molars which are used for holding, cutting and grinding up food. The largest of these teeth are known as carnassials, which work together to slice up meat like a pair of scissors.

The nose of the dog is at the front of the snout, just above the incisors. The nose is large which indicates the dog has a good sense of smell, which it uses to find its prey and to recognise other dogs.

The eye sockets are just above and behind the last tooth. The eye sockets face forwards so that the eyes work together to see the world in three dimensions, just like in humans.

The scientific name for the Domestic Dog is Canis lupis familiaris. Canis lupis is the scientific name given to the wolf. ‘Familiaris’ means familiar because all domestic dogs have been bred by humans from a wolf-like ancestor.

Want to know more?

To find our more about the Dog Skull, download the Resources to your right. 

This Dog Skull is part of the collections held at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum. Use the ‘Thinktank’ web link below to find out more about the collections at Thinktank.

Sheep skull from Thinktank Museum

Sheep are herbivores so they have teeth that are quite different from those of a dog. To find out more about this Sheep Skull, click on the image above.

Granite rock from Dudley Museum

Granite is an attractive, resistant rock that is often used for facing buildings. Find out more about granite by clicking on the image above.