Functional anatomy and muscle moment arms of the pelvic limb of an elite sprinting athlete: the racing greyhound (Canis familiaris)

J Anat. 2008 Oct;213(4):361-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2008.00961.x. Epub 2008 Jul 22.


We provide quantitative anatomical data on the muscle-tendon architecture and geometry of the pelvic limb of an elite sprint athlete, the racing greyhound. Specifically, muscle masses, muscle lengths, fascicle lengths, pennation angles and muscle moment arms were measured. Maximum isometric force and power of muscles, the maximum muscle torque at joints and tendon stress and strain were estimated. We compare data with that published for a generalized breed of canid, and other cursorial mammals such as the horse and hare. The pelvic limb of the racing greyhound had a relatively large volume of hip extensor muscle, which is likely to be required for power production. Per unit body mass, some pelvic limb muscles were relatively larger than those in less specialized canines, and many hip extensor muscles had longer fascicle lengths. It was estimated that substantial extensor moments could be created about the tarsus and hip of the greyhound allowing high power output and potential for rapid acceleration. The racing greyhound hence possesses substantial specializations for enhanced sprint performance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Dogs / anatomy & histology*
  • Dogs / physiology*
  • Gait*
  • Hindlimb*
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Joints / anatomy & histology*
  • Joints / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Pelvis
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Tendons / anatomy & histology
  • Tendons / physiology