Page 138 - ShowSight, March 2020
P. 138

                Figure 1. Golden Retriever at the Trot
Figure 2. French Bulldog at the Trot
Figure 3. Standard Schnauzer at the trot
Figure 4. Siberian Husky at the Trot
called for in the standard, maintaining the column of support vital to efficient movement? As an example, if the judge felt a shortness in upper arm, they would be alert to see the proof of the move- ment coming—does the dog move wide because the shortness of upper arm is so extreme that the dog cannot physically get his legs underneath his body or is the shortness slight thus causing the dog to make only slight variations in motion? There are many (many!) more ways for a dog to move coming toward you than for the dog to vary going away. This is mostly because the entire forequarters of the dog are attached to the body by muscles and ligaments which
allows for a lot more lateral (to the side) movement of the foreleg than the more rigid rear since the pelvis is fused to the spinal col- umn through the sacrum. The ball and socket joint of the upper thigh (femur) to the hip (pelvis) also allows for less lateral motion than the corresponding front angle of the shoulder blade (scapula) to the upper arm (humerus). Basically, coming and going just adds more information to the parts of the dog which make up the whole.
The Golden shown in Figure 1 demonstrates a beautiful column of support in the front left leg with a straight line from the pads to the elbow. This will maintain the support of the body once the foot hits the ground. Another observation can be made underneath the dog where the right front foot has just left the ground and the rear left foot is about to slip under the front foot and be placed on the ground that the front foot has just vacated. The feet are very close to the ground with no exaggerated lifting and wasted motion. The dog is just coming out of the period of suspension when all four feet are off the ground. Please note the level topline flowing into a gen- tly rounding croup and the correct tail set and carriage. From the standard: Backline strong and level from withers to slightly sloping croup, whether standing or moving.
The same observations can be made in this trotting French Bull- dog. Good reach in front with a straight column of support from pads to elbow. A dog should maintain the correct outline for the breed whether standing or moving. This dog even in motion has the called for back: “a roach back with a slight fall close behind the shoulders; strong and short, broad at the shoulders and narrowing at the loins.” The distinctive double tracking gait can be seen in this photo by the distance between the hind legs which are moving on a wider track than the Golden or the Husky.
Observing the placement of the feet of the Standard Schnauzer in Figure 3. It is easily determined that the dog is covering a good deal of ground with each step. The left rear leg has completed its action of moving the body forward and the hip, stifle and hock joints are fully opened. The right hind foot is slipping up under the right front leg and is about to be placed on the ground. Standard states that the “Schnauzer’s desired general appearance of a robust, active, square-built, wire-coated dog.” On gait: “Sound, strong, quick, free, true and level gait with powerful, well angulated hind- quarters that reach out and cover ground. The forelegs reach out in a stride balancing that of the hindquarters. At a trot, the back remains firm and level, without swaying, rolling or roaching.”
All three of these dogs show the correct movement for their respective breeds. The Golden is in a balanced, collected trot. The Frenchie epitomizes the movement for the breed: “Correct gait is double tracking with reach and drive; the action is unrestrained, free and vigorous.” In Figure 4 the Husky represents the correct carriage of the head and neck “the neck is extended so that the head is carried slightly forward” as well as the correct topline: “back is straight and strong, with a level topline from withers to croup”. The Siberian Husky’s characteristic gait is smooth and seemingly effort- less. He is quick and light on his feet, and when in the show ring should be gaited on a loose lead at a moderately fast trot, exhibiting good reach in the forequarters and good drive in the hindquarters.
The final thing a judge wants to see is the dog on the go-around: side gait. Like standing back and assessing outline, the judge now stands back and lets the motion of the dog on the side tell the story of the actual structure of the dog and how all the ‘parts’ work together to make the whole. To me, side gait is more important to the overall picture of the dog and gives me the final, overall information of the whole of the parts that are vital to that particular breed. While the observation of the dog coming and going gives you vital informa- tion as to structure, the view of the dog moving from the side gives the whole picture and completes the assessment of the dog accord- ing to its breed, with special emphasis on the phrase ‘according to

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