Under Construction May 2011


Canis lupus familiaris


Length: 45-60mm on mane (German shepherd of Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969) 35-40 mm (Labrador retriever of Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969) 29-70mm on back, 30-64mm on sides, 9-60mm on underside (German shepherd, husky and Labrador retrievers Kennedy 1982).

Diameter Range: 156-228 microns (Brown 1942) 87.5 – 97.5 microns (ASM #1) 70 microns (ASM #2) 60 microns (ASM #3)

Medullary Index: 0.69 ave. (Brown 1942). 0.6 (ASM #1) 0.5 (ASM #2) 0.42 (ASM #3)

Medulla: Usually more than four “courses” of cells across the medulla at the maximum diameter. Cells of medulla separated by pigment masses. (Brown 1942). 62.5 microns diameter and appearing in a continuous form with frothy appearance-could also be described as vacuolated though the cells are not very visible due to the dense distribution of pigment. The medulla has a continuous with stacked wedge/ oval shaped cells with dark (air filled) spaces in between. Each cell is about 5 microns long at max. A second fiber from showed a continuous medulla where it was not possible to detect any pattern in the structure at all due to darkness (ASM #1)  Some guard hairs may have no medulla.  Cells seem to be one across the medulla. (ASM #3)

Color: variable

Scales: Fat petal-shaped scales stand up a bit at the edges.  Near tip, scale margins get closer together.  On Adorjan and Kolenosky (1969) the scale patterns of the German shepherd and the Laborador retriever, while both canid-looking, were distinct with the edges of the German shepherd scales much rougher and more jagged.


Length: 20-30mm on Laborador retriever (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969)

Diameter Range: 28-100 microns (Brown 1942) 27 to 57 microns (ASM #1)

Medullary Index: 0.48 ave. (Brown 1942). 0.35 to 0.45 (ASM #1)

Medulla: 25 microns. Medulla appears as vacuolated type with cells that are max height 5 microns. The cells are in a general stacked wedge shape, though there is much inconsistency. (ASM #1)

Color: Absent in the cortex but present in the medulla. Some streaky brownish coloration present in the cortex. (Brown 1942)  No pigment or else dots of pigment near the medulla (ASM #1)

Scales: Edges stand up a bit.  Stacked crowns

Macro Qualities:


Notes: ASM #1 is Ellen Carrlee’s dog, ZigZag, thought to be a mix of border collie, black lab and maybe husky.  From a rescue in northern California.  ASM #2 is an older slide with a leather cover in the conservation lab.  ASM #3 is from the Carolina Biological Supply reference set.

Troubleshooting: Guard hairs of some wild dogs have a wider medulla (more than half the shaft) than the fox (Dove and Peurach 2002). To distinguish from raccoon on a banded hair, the white area right before the dark tip ought to be less than 11mm long.  If it is longer than 11 mm, then the entire length of the hair shaft ought to be more than 65mm to insure it is not raccoon. (Mayer 1952).  Dog hair has a root that has a “spade” or cartoon-paintbrush shape? (Hicks 1977 calls it spade).  Adorjan and Kolenosky (1969) say the fur of a German Shepherd feels soft to the touch in contrast to wolves, coyotes, and hybrids.

Names: Order Carnivora (the carnivores) Family Canidae (the canids)

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