I can’t say I was ever interested in dog teeth before I started showing.  Now that I’ve been in the ring with several judges who actually counted teeth to be sure they’re all there, I’ve decided to take a look in Kunga’s mouth.

I’ve discovered that dogs are supposed to have 42 teeth, 20 on the upper (maxillary) jaw and 22 on the lower (mandibular) jaw.  On the top, there should be 2 molars on each side, 4 pre-molars on each side, 2 canine teeth, and 6 incisors.  On the bottom, there are 3 molars on each side, plus all the rest.

The Dane bite is supposed to be like a scissors, with the teeth of the lower jaw fitting just behind those of the upper jaw.  The teeth are supposed to be strong, clean, and all there.

I know of at least two grand champion Danes, lovely animals, that are missing some of their teeth.  No accidents; they were just born without them.  I understand that this is a bigger issue in some countries than it is here, where the judges are REQUIRED to count the teeth.  Many in the US seem to check the bite but don’t spend much time looking at the dentition, despite the standard.

Of course every dog has its faults, and missing teeth might be the least of them.  In light of the fact that this says something about the length of the jaw and head proportion, though, perhaps this should not be quite so overlooked as it is?

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