The withers is the highest point on an animal's back, on the
ridge between its
shoulder blades. The height of an animal is measured from the ground
to the withers because that is a fairly stable and predictable height
when the animal is standing still. Unlike humans, whose heads are in a
fairly fixed position when standing upright and looking forward, many
animals can move their heads easily into a wide range of positions when
standing still, which makes a poor location for measuring the animal's
This term is used primarily for four-legged
domestic animals, such as
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