What is a Dog Clutch?

Dog clutches are specialised claw couplings available for static or rotating operations. Used to connect a motor to an output shaft or shaft-to-shaft where the user wants to occasionally, manually disengage the drive between the two.

Dog Clutch is a type of clutch that uses intervention to link two rotating shafts or other rotating components like gears. It is most commonly used in the constant mesh gearbox. It functions by mating a set of regularly spaced teeth or protrusions on one half of the clutch mechanism to a set of identical recesses on the other.

This type of clutch engages not by friction but by interference. It has the benefit of allowing both shafts to turn at the same speed without slipping and with minimal clutch wear. Dog clutches cannot be used to control torque as is the case with a friction clutch. The two parts of the clutch are designed in such a way that one will push the other and both will rotate at the same speed and will never slip.

This type of clutch is made of two round plates, one fixed to the drive shaft or the gear and the other on the shaft being driven. One of the plates has a series of evenly spaced protrusions machined into its face, similar to a battlement on top of a castle wall. The other plate has an identically spaced series of like-sized recesses cut into its face.

When the two plates are brought together, the protrusions mate or fit into the recesses, thereby effectively joining the shafts and transferring rotational motion from one to another. Dog clutches are used when slip and friction are undesirable and the clutch is not used to control torque.


1) No-slip or friction involved after the engagement of the clutch.

2) Heat generation is much less as no friction occurs.

3) Cost is less than friction clutch of similar torque capacity.


1) Shock is caused while engagement of clutch at any speed.

2) Cannot be engaged at high speeds.

3) When both the diving and the driven shaft is at rest, some relative motion is required to engage.


Dog clutches are mainly used in stick shift automobile gearboxes, marine propeller drives, and on drives of heavy machinery.

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