View Full Version : Short question, Animal ankles?

09-28-2010, 08:30 AM
This will hopefully be a real short question.

Is there a specific name for the type of ankle seen on animals like dogs and horses, where its longer and bonier?

Is it called a hock? or is that the joint?

09-28-2010, 09:17 AM
Yes, in both dogs and horses, the hock is the equivalent to our ankle in terms of function.

09-28-2010, 09:24 AM
Yup, hocks on the back legs and pasterns on the front.

09-28-2010, 09:33 AM
Oh. All these years I've thought they were fetlocks. What are fetlocks, then? Don't tell me I made them up...

I hope they're not rude...

09-28-2010, 11:32 AM
:) The first word that came to my mind was also fetlocks. I've learned something new today, and it's only 8.30!

09-28-2010, 12:16 PM
aren't the hocks the equivalent of elbows?

A horse's 'ankles' are surely its fetlocks? Or they were when I was at Pony Club.

09-28-2010, 12:26 PM
I looked up define: fetlock and several of the dictionary sites described it as a horse's ankle, which is what I remember it as.
Then I looked up define: hock, and several dictionaries also describe it as the animalesque version of ankle.
Short answer to short question: both work.

09-28-2010, 05:13 PM
You need to look at the skeletons of each and humans to understand this. And understand that it isn't really any way to directly compare.

In the human body, the ulna and radius are the two long bones in our forearm. Distal to those two bones (further from the shoulder) are the carpals, famed for carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpals are our wrist. Distal to the carpals is the metacarpals. These are actually in the palm of our hands, and are the beginnings of our fingers. Distal to the metacarpals are our phalanges, or finger bones. (go to Human skeleton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skeleton) which has a good diagram of this)

In our legs, the ulna and radius are replaced by the tibia and fibula. Distal to the tibia and fibula are our tarsals (ankle bones), metatarsals, and phalanges (toes).

If you go to Horse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse) and go down the page, you'll find a skeleton of a horse. Notice that the upper long bones on the front legs are called the ulna and radius, the same as are forearm bones. Distal to the ulna and the radius is the carpus, which is called the knee on a horse. It isn't. It's a wrist joint.

Distal to the carpus are the metacarpals (remember those?). Distal to the metacarpals are the sesamoid bones (fetlocks), long pastern, short pastern, and ending with the coffin bone. This is the same basic structure as one of our fingers and is why people say that a horse is running on its fingernails.

Going to the rear of the horse, let's go down the leg there. Notice that we don't even see the femur externally, while in the human the upper thigh is very distinct. But going down from the upper long bone, we have the tibia and fibula, then the tarsals (hocks), the metatarsals, long pastern bone, short pastern bone, and ending with the coffin bone.

In essence, the part of the horse's or dog's leg that sticks out of their body is the lower arm or leg of a human, followed by the fingers. Again, structurally, a horse or a dog is running on its finger tips or the tips of its toes.

Make sense?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

09-28-2010, 07:05 PM
What Jim said.

But from your question I think you are asking about the fetlock rather than hocks.

EDIT - i found this on a website earlier, it might help

1. The Femur or Tarsus 2. The Stifle Joint 3. The Tibia 4.Hock Joint
5. Long Pastern, or Third Phalanx 6. The short pastern, or Second Phalanx 7. Pedal bone, Coffin Bone, or Third Phalanx
8. Cannon Bone 9. Splint Bone 10. Sesamoid

09-29-2010, 02:59 PM
Well, I've been enlightened.

09-29-2010, 07:10 PM
'Hock' is specific to big horse-like animals, I doubt many people would use it on a cat or dog.

09-29-2010, 07:33 PM
and on a pig the hock is the calf muscles

09-30-2010, 04:27 AM
'Hock' is specific to big horse-like animals, I doubt many people would use it on a cat or dog.

Modern day dog people use hocks for dogs. I do a lot of dog showing, and we've nicknamed the American show line German shepherds, "American Hock-Trotters" because of how they walk.

Also, when we're grooming, we refer to that body part as the hock. Trim hock hair, stack them for exam by having the hocks perpendicular to the floor, etc.

I can't imagine using the word for a cat though. It just feels odd.

10-02-2010, 09:38 AM
kk. Thanks all. :D ya'll are great.

I think I managed to get around the name for it this time, but if I have to refer to them again I'll just call them hocks.