“DOBERMANS BRED TO THE STANDARD ARE BEAUTIFULLY BALANCED AND STRONGLY BUILT— A STUNNING MIX OF AESTHETICS AND FUNCTIONALITY.”
have a limited ability to make fast or tight turns. Upper and lower shanks are of equal length— The length from the point of the buttocks to the kneecap should be the same as the length from the kneecap to the point of the hock. Just as with the front assembly, equal lengths allow the muscles to work properly. If the lower thigh is longer than the upper thigh, the rear assembly is weakened. Hock to heel is perpendicular to the ground— The stability of the hock is the cornerstone of the rear. There should never be any motion in the joint—not in, out or forward. Gait—Free, balanced, and vigor- ous, with good reach in the fore- quarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. When trotting, there is a strong rear-action drive... When moving at a fast trot, a prop- erly built dog will single-track— These only occur when the structure is proper, according to the standard. All three directions of move- ment—coming, going, and side gait— are equally important. To judge on less than all three directions implies to exhibitors that they need not give full weight to the standard when breeding, thus increasing the risk that our breed will lose its overall quality. For example, a square dog (as required by the standard) will have a proper side gait, IF it is properly made. A longer dog may appear to have a prop- er side gait without having as good of structure. Therefore the standard of a square dog demands better structure. By the same token, the straighter the angles, front and rear, the easier it is to create clean motion coming and going, but straight angles restrict movement as seen in the side gait. Also for a dog to be clean coming and going it must have a proper prosternum. There can only be as much muscle as surface to
attach it to. The more shallow the pro- sternum, the less muscle there is attach- ing the upper arm to the rib cage. This is one of the major reasons for sloppy front action. With specific regard to gaiting, the point of balance for almost all canines is to drop a plumb line from the point of the buttocks to the ground. The line should touch the tips of the toes. If the foot is forward of the line, the rear legs are too short and the dog will not have the required angles. It may create a col- umn of support under the hips, flatten- ing the pelvis, which in turn causes the tail to be more upright or carried gaily. If the foot is behind the point of bal- ance, the rear legs are too long. This is one of the main causes of a functional sickle hock. The dog moves its foot forward for balance which creates the look of a sickle. There is not time in the sequence of motion for a leg that is too long to move both directions. The long rear leg moves forward but the sequence of motion is over before it can follow through behind. The hock returns to a perpendicular position instead of the required rear extension. If the leg is way too long, the dog must lead with a rear leg instead of a front, which is a waste of motion. Another way a dog may compensate for this fault is to “bicycle” with the rear legs. This rotating motion destroys the action of the rear drive. Rear legs that are too long is the exception to the croup controlling the rear motion ( see tail and croup ). If the dog’s rear legs are too long, it will be lacking in rear extension. On the other hand, too high of a tail set will cause too much rear kick. These two faults have the tendency to cancel each other and it will appear that the dog moves correctly, but it does not change the fact that the dog still has both faults. For speed and endurance, a proper hock is crucial. A long hock is effective
for an initial burst of speed. In order to have great endurance, speed and good driving power, however, the hock must be well let down (short). Although this is not specifically addressed in the stan- dard, it is indirectly addressed in Gen- eral Appearance , as well as in Gait . The Doberman Pinscher standard is one of the very best standards out there. Dobermans bred to the standard are beautifully balanced and strongly built—a stunning mix of aesthetics and functionality. Better still, a Dober- man bred to the standard enhances our understanding of and appreciation for structural excellence. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Pat Hastings of Oregon has been involved in the dog world since 1959 along with her late husband E.R. “Bob” Hastings. They were profes- sional handlers for many years and Pat began her judging career in 1991. She currently judges five groups. Along the way, Pat has chaired local shows, National Specialties and a major ben- efit for “Take The Lead”. As a highly respected educator in the dog world, Pat has always endeavored to teach by example, to approach all aspects of the Sport with respect, com- mon sense, and personal integrity. She has presented seminars for over 25 years around the world, has authored four best-selling books and produced a popular DVD in addition to writ- ing numerous articles for a variety of publications. She is a great believer in the value of mentoring and has worked with novices and new judges providing information, moral support and encouragement. Her years of dedi- cation to the sport of dogs led to her being awarded the 2014 AKC Lifetime Achievement Award in Conformation.
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