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If you noticed that you dog's teeth are spaced out, you may be wondering whether there's something wrong with your dog's mouth. 

There can several causes for what you may be seeing, but truly, only your vet can determine the underlying causes through a mouth inspection. 

Did you know? There are even specialists who have made of dog teeth their area of specialty. These are board-certified veterinary dental specialists. 

Why Are My Dog's Teeth So Spaced Out?

So you looked at your dog's teeth and you noticed that they are widely spaced out. What gives?

By spaced out, you likely mean that there are visible gaps between one tooth and another. 

The medical term for this extra spacing is "diastema," the Greek word for interval, meaning spacing between two adjacent teeth.

1) A Matter of Missing Teeth

As a first step, it's important determining whether the spacing is due to a missing tooth, or possibly, more missing teeth. 

If so, you may notice a significant gap in a specific area/areas.

The teeth may be missing for various reasons. For instance, hypodontia and oligodontia are terms used to depict absence of teeth.

Hypodontia is the absence of one to five teeth; oligodontia is absence of six or more teeth.

Hypodontia is suspected to be a genetic condition that is present in small dog breeds, brachycephalic dog breeds and Chinese crested dogs.

Teeth that are more commonly missing, include the first and second premolars, incisors and third molar of the lower jaw. 

Teeth missing may be also the result of diseased teeth, gum disease and extractions. 

2) Development Stage in Puppies 

Puppies are born without teeth, and then, at a certain age, their first baby teeth start to emerge. 

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As puppies develop, their teeth don't increase in size, yet their bodies grow larger and that includes their skull, mouth and jaws. 

This leads to the teeth appearing to be increasingly spaced. This spacing allows room for the bigger (and the greater number) of permanent dog teeth. 

From 28 baby teeth, your puppy will go on to develop 42 permanent teeth. 

Such spaces can therefore be a temporary condition related to the puppy's development. 

Notice the spaced out teeth in this puppy's mouth

Notice the spaced out teeth in this puppy's mouth

3) A Matter of Breed 

Dogs with long heads, a trait that is known as "dolichocephalic" share some interesting characteristics which makes them quite different than other dogs.

If you look at their teeth, their longer jaws can make them appear as if they have gaps between one tooth and another. 

In some cases, the space may be so wide that to some people it may appear as if they're missing teeth, but they are not, explains Dr. Cedric Tutt, a Veterinary Specialist in Dentistry in South Africa in the book "Small Animal Dentistry: A Manual of Techniques."

This sighthound has significant space between its teeth

This sighthound has significant space between its teeth

Did you know? Borzoi were selectively bred to hunt and hold down wolves, something that required them to have strong teeth. 

Due to the fact that these dogs are no longer used for hunting, less emphasis has been placed on selective breeding for strong teeth. 

This has led to Borzoi with smaller teeth, missing teeth and diastema between feet which are considered as faults by the FCI.

 References: 

  • DVM360, Identifying problems early in a puppy or kitten mouth Mary Krakowski Volker, DVM, DAVDC
  • Lorászkó, G.; Rácz, B.; Ózsvári, L. Changes in the Dentition of Small Dogs up to 4 Months of Age. Animals 2022  
  • FCI-Standard: (Borzoi – Russian Hunting Sighthound)

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