Deep pectoral muscle [Ascending pectoral muscle] - Musculus pectoralis profundus [musculus pectoralis ascendens]

Anatomical hierarchy

General terms > Myology > Muscles of thorax > Deep pectoral muscle [Ascending pectoral muscle]



The deep pectoral muscle (or ascending pectoral)  is a strong muscle which originates from the sternum, the xiphoid cartilage adn the costal cartilages and inserts on the medial or lateral aspect of the proximal humerus in different species. It is deep to the superficial pectoral muscles (descending and transverse pectoral muscles).

In dogs :

Origin: First to last sternebra and with a superficial marginal portion as the pars abdominalis, from the deep fascia of the trunk to the region of the xiphoid cartilage.

Insertion: Lesser tubercle of the humerus.

Action: During locomotion, to move the trunk cranially over the advanced limb, extend the shoulder joint; draw the limb backward.

Nerve: Pectorales caudales.


Note: The disposition of the pectoral muscles is very different according to humans and animals, causing difficulties of nomenclature (Barone et al.):

  • The pectoralis major in human results from the union of the descending and ascending pectoral muscles in animals.
  • Humans have a small pectoral muscle that does not exist in quadrupeds.
  • Quadrupeds have a transverse pectoral muscle that is not present in humans.

Text by Antoine Micheau, MD - Copyright IMAIOS
Miller's Anatomy of the Dog, 4th Edition - Evans & de Lahunta- Elsevier
Veterinary Anatomy of Domestic Mammals: Textbook and Colour Atlas, Sixth Edition - Horst Erich König, Hans-Georg Liebich - Schattauer - ISBN-13: 978-3794528332
Illustrated Veterinary Anatomical Nomenclature - 3rd edittion - Gheorghe M. Constantinescu, Oskar Schaller - Enke
Anatomie comparée des mammifères domestiques - 5th edtion - Robert Barone - Vigot


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