The mere fact that dogs are man’s best friends creates the burden for man to learn everything possible about them, and this includes the leg anatomy of a dog. The legs of a dog are a significant part of their life, considering that it helps them move from one place to another.

A proper understanding of the anatomy of your dog’s leg would help you know about possible injuries and weaknesses, as well as the best ways to overcome them. The movement of a dog is facilitated by both the forelegs and the hind legs.

Despite the larger muscles and strength that the hind legs of dogs are known for, they still surprisingly do less work than the forelegs when it comes to carrying the weight of the dog. While the hind legs are only able to carry 1/3 of the overall body weight, the forelegs carry up to 2/3 of the entire bodyweight of the dog.

The Front legs

Below, let’s briefly outline what makes up the forelegs of any dog.

  • The upper arm is located just below the shoulder.
  • A long bone that goes all the way from the upper arm to the elbow is known as the humerus bone.
  • The elbow is located at the back of the foreleg, just inches below the chest. This is where you will find the first leg joint.
  • The long bone that you will find just after the elbow is known as the forearm. It consists of the radius and ulna. The radius and ulna are two bones sitting next to each other. They work together to ensure the proper functioning of the elbow.
  • The lower joint below the elbow is referred to as the wrist.
Dog Anatomy Front Leg

The Rear Legs

A brief outline of the anatomy of the hind legs of a dog.

  • The location of the knees is at the front of the hind leg
  • The part located above the knee on the hind leg is the upper tie.
  • The lower tie, on the other hand, is located just beneath the knee. It runs all the way to the hock.
  • The joint that you will find making a sharp angle at the back part of the dog’s leg is the hock.

There are also a few parts that are present in both the forelegs and the hind legs.

  • The foot and the paw are some of them.
Dog Anatomy Back Leg

Common Conditions Why a Dog Would Need a Knee Brace

There are a couple of conditions on the leg of a dog that a knee brace can help you treat. If you are not able to see the exact condition of the dog physically, then there is a good chance that a good dog’s knee brace would help.

Here, let’s review some prevalent conditions that the knee brace can help in.

ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)

Otherwise referred to as the CCL injury, the ACL injury has become a common case in dogs. The part of the dog’s anatomy that’s mainly affected by this type of injury is the ligament connecting to the bone that’s located above the knee (femur). The ligament is very supportive and plays a massive role in keeping the tibia well locked in place below the femur. This further helps to stabilize the knee joint.

Some dog breeds that are most prone to ACL injuries include Labs, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, and Golden Retrievers. Fortunately for dog owners, this injury can be addressed with a knee brace in all the breeds mentioned above, getting them back to their old happy selves without pain and discomfort when they try to run around.

Symptoms of an ACL Tear

If you notice that your dog has suddenly begun to sit on one side, or that it is becoming lame, then there is a good chance that an ACL tear caused it. This condition would sometimes last for weeks or even months without being noticed. People mostly begin to realize when their dogs start to avoid using the injured leg.

Luxating Patella Injury (Kneecap Dislocation)

This is an injury that occurs when the kneecap of your dog gets dislocated from its natural position, within the thigh bone. Addressing this situation requires that you shift the patella back into its normal position. There’s also a need for the muscle in the hind legs to be able to lengthen and relax. This is perhaps the reason why a significant feature of a dislocated knee is for the dog to hold up their hind legs for a while.

The most hit by this type of injury include Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Pekingese, Pomeranian, and Yorkshire Terrier.


Just as it is with the ACL injury, dogs are prone to going lame or unable to move their hind legs when hit by a Luxating Patella injury. This injury, however, doesn’t usually cause much pain to dogs


Surgery vs No-Surgery

We’ve often had concerned dog owners asking if their dogs can recover from an ACL Tear without undergoing surgery.

The answer to this question is not entirely categorical. While it is possible to treat a dog’s injury via surgery, it doesn’t always work for all dogs. There are cases when a surgery process wouldn’t just cut the slack at all. We often recommend that dog owners seek expert advice for the specific situation of their dogs before going ahead with a treatment procedure.

Once an expert veterinarian diagnoses your dog, they are usually able to recommend a treatment procedure based on the available options. Treatment options might either be invasive surgery or conservative treatment, such as a dog brace to help bring stability to the knee joint.

There you have it; we’ve so far been able to review the anatomy of a dog’s knee as well as how a dog’s knee brace can help. Now that you have a better understanding, you can start thinking of the possibility of helping your dog recover quickly. Always remember to contact an expert for advice.