Page 102 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 102

                Form Follows Function: Part 12 BY STEPHANIE HEDGEPATH continued
  Figure 1. Whippet with Definite Tuck-up
Figure 3. The Pelvic Girdle from Above
  Figure 4. Beagle with Slight Tuck-up
 Figure 2. Beagle with Slight Tuck-up
The make and shape of the croup of the dog has more to do with the set on of the tail than with the tilt of the pelvis. In the previous article, I explained that the pelvic bone is not considered to be a part of the croup. The croup is comprised of the sacrum (the three fused bones that lie between the pelvis and form the link between the lumbar (loin) and coccygeal (tail) vertebrae. (See Figures 3 & 4)
 The underline on a dog is as important as the topline when it comes to function. The underline is just that—the bottom line of the body of the dog, starting behind the elbows at the bottom of the chest and going back until it disappears behind the back leg. The underline follows the path taken by the bottom of the chest (sternum or brisket) on to the underline of the abdomen. This area, referred to as the tuck up (or cut up) is the shape that is produced by the underline of the abdomen as it sweeps up to the region of the hind quarters. It can be exaggerated in some breeds, such as the Whippet (see Fig- ure 1), and is further exaggerated when they
have the correct, deep chest. It can be mod- erate to barely noticeable in other breeds. The sighthounds, such as the coursing Greyhound and the fleet-footed Whippet must necessarily have more tuck up in order to bend and flex with the double suspension gallop, vital to a fast moving dog. Whereas many of the trailing breeds more often have a near horizontal line of the abdomen with little tuck up. (See Figure 2) No matter the breed, a loose, paunchy abdomen is incor- rect in any breed and an excessive tuck up can often be seen in a dog that would be consistent with weediness in a breed that should have some substance.
The tail of the dog can act to maintain balance by helping to shift the center of gravity as the dog moves. The tail can also be an indicator of temperament and one way the dog uses body language to com- municate with other dogs as well as other species—such as humans. Having said that, in discussions with a friend involved with a breed not known for a warm and fuzzy, sweet demeanor, she said she’s known many a dog that while wagging his tail in sup- posed merriment, would reach over and bite you! So one should be aware that a wagging tail does not always mean the dog is ame- nable to your approach. >
100 • ShowSight Magazine, noveMber 2019

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