of the Siberian’s rib cage. Th e ribs should be sprung, but fl attened on the sides for freedom of movement. Remember that the Standard for Siberian Huskies states that weight is in proportion to height. A correct Siberian Husky should NEVER appear “husky” in his build. Th e Siberian’s topline should appear level. Because grooming and hand stack- ing can a ff ect the appearance of the topline, please evaluate the topline not only by looking as the dog is stacked, but also by feeling the topline, and watching it as the dog moves. Th e topline of the Siberian should be straight and strong, but with some fl exibility. Th is fl exibil- ity is di ff erent from a weak back. When viewed from above, the dog’s loin is nar- rower than the ribcage, and when viewed from the side, you will see a slight tuck-up at the loin. Th e croup should slope from the topline, and the tail should be set on below the level of the topline. Th e slope to croup and tail set can be seen when the dog is moving, but also when the dog is standing by placing your hand on the croup (feeling the downward angle) while gently pick- ing up the tail to see where it is set. The tail of the Siberian Husky is a remarkable thing. Some dogs may drop their tails, while others are carried over the back in a sickle shape, and others will wag it furiously. Even when mov- ing, a tail may be up, down, wagging, or trailing—all perfectly acceptable. The most important aspect of the tail is that it is set on correctly, does not curl tightly or to one side, and that it is of fox-brush shape. Remember that you never need to see a Siberian’s tail over his back in the ring. Evaluate the hindquarters is while the dog is moving. But, how a dog stands can provide some indicators of how the dog will move. A hock signif icantly behind the rear of the pelvis can mean excessive rear angulation or unequal bone length. It is important that the angles of the fore- quarters balance with the angles of the hindquarters. You can use your hands to measure the pelvis and thighs, wanting them of approximately the same length. From the rear, hindquarters should be moderately-spaced and parallel.
When gaiting, the Siber ian Husky should drop his head and car r y it a bit forward. His gait should be balanced and ground-cover ing, but not exaggerated. His tai l may be car r ied in any number of ways. The fore and rear leg should be at approximately equal extension, and the legs meeting under the body should do so approximately in the middle of the dog’s body. The topl ine should remain f i rm and level.
Th e Standard allows for variety in coat color, eye color, and markings. Although allowable, some markings and colors might be confusing when evaluating the dog. For example, a head with more white might appear broader than a darker head—even if the heads have identical conformation. Look at the underlying structure, not the color or markings. Far more important than color is the length, texture, and double nature of the coat. Long, harsh coats are not desirable. And, trimming of the coat, other than the whiskers or feet, should not be condoned. When the dog moves away from you, he may initially not single track. Howev- er, as the speed increases, the legs should angle inward under the dog, eventually meeting the imaginary line under the longitudinal center of the dog—which is single tracking. The same is true for the dog when moving toward you. You want to see those legs come together in a “V.” Side movement is the opportunity to see the proof of your physical exam. A well-built Siberian gaiting should appear to f loat effortlessly with no wast- ed motion. Please require that handlers move Siberians at a loose lead at a mod- erate speed. When gaiting, the Siberian’s head should be carried a bit down and forward, and remember that the tail can do many things. A Siberian should move “within himself,” meaning that the gait should be a controlled trot.
The Standard calls for the length of leg from elbow to ground to be slightly longer than the distance from elbow to top of withers. In full extension, the forelegs of the Siberian should meet the ground under the dog’s nose, with the rear extension being approximately equal. The inside rear leg should fall where the front leg just left, and this should be under the center of the body (both front-to-back and side-to-side). A dog that lifts high in the front or kicks up in the rear is expending too much energy moving, often indicating a lack of balance, poor proportion, or incorrect speed. Inside legs meeting somewhere oth- er than the center of the body, overreach- ing or underreaching, could indicate a lack of balance between the shoulder and rear assemblies, or incorrect proportions. Although the Siberian gait should in no way be exaggerated, it is important that the Siberian covers ground with a good stride. Dogs with fast foot turn- over and choppy gait usually expend too much energy moving and do not possess the correct proportion and angles called for in the Standard. Watch the topline as the dog moves; it should remain f irm and level. There should be no bouncing at the withers or pounding at the front or rolling of the topline. Any of these may indicate struc- tural shortcomings, such as straight or loose shoulders, too much rib spring, too
216 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014
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