Page 140 - ShowSight, March 2020
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                Figure 5. Border Collie with Skeleton Overlay
Figure 6. German Shepherd Dog Trotting
Figure 7. Airedale at a Trot
Figure 8. Hackneyed Trot of the Miniature Pinscher
its breed’. Side gait more than coming and going speaks to breed character. The dog in motion should still look much like the dog when standing—same basic silhouette standing and moving. The four examples below all call for dogs that have the proper movement for the purpose for which it was developed.
Depicted in Figure 5 is the balanced, ground covering side gait of the Border Collie, the dog instantly recognized world-wide as the premier Herding dog. The lowered head, the level topline and far-reaching front and rear limbs in perfect balance allows this dog to work all day. He loses no energy in wasted motion. “The Border Collie is an agile dog, able to suddenly change speed and direction while maintaining balance and grace. Endurance is its trademark. The head is carried level with or slightly below the withers... When viewed from the side the trot covers the ground effortlessly with
minimum lift of feet. The topline is firm with no roll or bounce. Front reach and rear drive are symmetrical, with the front foot meeting the ground directly under the nose and the rear foot push- ing back without kicking up.”
Figure 6 shows the magnificent German Shepherd dog com- posed of smooth curves throughout his body in an energy effi- cient, elastic, over-reaching trot covering the maximum amount of ground with each step. First developed to be the ultimate herding dog, the German Shepherd worked as a portable fence, thus keep- ing his charges safe within a particular area. His nobleness of char- acter and willingness to work at any task eventually led him into the role of the ultimate protection dog while still maintaining his herding instincts and as a great companion for children and adults alike. “The gait is outreaching, elastic, seemingly without effort, smooth and rhythmic, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum number of steps... At a trot the dog covers still more ground with even longer stride, and moves powerfully but eas- ily, with coordination and balance so that the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine. The feet travel close to the ground on both forward reach and backward push.”
Figure 7 is the King of the Terriers, the Airedale, at a collected trot. Though the Standard has little to say about movement from the side, this shows a dog in complete balance front to rear with well laid back shoulders enabling a good forward reach and hindquar- ters strong enough to propel the dog forward to match the reach in front. As to the Standard, it states “Movement should be free.” The Airedale had to be strong enough to pursue game even into rivers, if need be, to catch it and they were a favorite messenger dog dur- ing WWI. A favorite quote I came across while studying the breed for this article is as follows, “Created as Terrier-Hounds capable of ‘marking game like a pointer, following it like a hound, turning it out like a spaniel, retrieving it like a retriever, carrying letters like a postman, bringing slippers like a valet, playing with children like a nurse, and guarding property like a mastiff’ (Compton).” This balanced side gait shows both the correct “tail up” attitude, but demonstrates a dog that could accomplish all of the above.
The diminutive but mighty Miniature Pinscher earned the name the “King of the Toys” due to his regal bearing and big dog attitude. Developed in Germany several centuries ago as an efficient barnyard ratter, the MinPin earned the name the “King of the Toys” due to his regal bearing. One of the most important breed characteristics is the hackney gait, similar to the gait of the flashy Hackney Pony. The Standard states: “Gait: The forelegs and hind legs move paral- lel, with feet turning neither in nor out. The hackney-like action is a high-stepping, reaching, free and easy gait in which the front leg moves straight forward and in front of the body and the foot bends at the wrist. The dog drives smoothly and strongly from the rear. The head and tail are carried high.” As the flashy park pony pleased his owners with his high stepping gait, so does the hackney gait of the MinPin bring a smile to our faces today.
With the comparison of the four breeds above, I think that should convince anyone of the importance of side gait in any breed of dog. It sums up the whole dog, even while serving as one of the parts that makes the whole. If a dog looks like its breed and moves around the ring in a relatively efficient way maintaining the same make and shape it exhibits while standing, then that is a dog that encompasses the whole of its parts in one tidy package! Movement cannot be assessed as separate from type, but as an integral part of type. If it doesn’t move the way its breed should move, then it is lacking in one of the essential parts of breed type.
If anyone has a question concerning structure and movement or herding breed characteristics or if I can be of help in any way contact me at Remember, there are no dumb questions!

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