DOBERMAN PINSCHER STRUCTURE
by PAT HASTINGS
O ne of the most emphatic recommendations I offer to novice dog people—no matter their breed—is to spend time studying Doberman Pin- schers in the ring. For one thing, the Doberman is a structurally “generic” breed. A Doberman should be so per- fectly balanced that you are visually drawn to the dog as a whole. It is: • A square breed from the forechest to the buttocks. • A medium breed in every characteristic. No aspect should be overdone. • A totally balanced breed. All parts are in balance with the whole. The other reason I encourage nov- ices to study Dobermans in confor- mation competition is because struc- tural soundness is fundamental to the Doberman’s breed type. There is no other way for a Doberman to excel in conformation.
Since structural soundness is at the heart of our breed’s conformation, we cannot properly assess a Doberman by appearance only. We must feel for the tissue strength and muscle balance required to hold the structure in place, thus enabling the dog to move properly and efficiently. As we go through our standard, the interrelationship between standard and structure becomes readily apparent: Neck proudly carried— Without a proper shoulder assembly, a dog does not have the ability to carry the neck in a proud position. Neck well arched— This requires proper ligamentation of the neck verte- brae. Therefore, a ewe neck, caused by poor ligamentation, is contrary to the standard. A dog with a ewe neck lacks the strength in its neck to be capable of holding onto a person. Anytime a dog is lacking a component that prevents it from accomplishing the purpose
for which it was bred, it is lacking in breed type. Nape of neck widening gradu- ally toward body— This requirement prohibits a stovepipe neck, which is caused by poor musculature and again prevents the dog from doing the job for which it was bred. Withers pronounced and form- ing the highest point of the body— The withers are the area between the set on of the neck to the back. It con- sists of extremely thick, strong muscles which also help protect the shoulder blades. The withers should be pro- nounced but shoulder blades should never be the highest point of the dog. The spine should always be higher. High shoulder blades can loosen the shoulders and cause an up-and-down motion, like that seen in the shoulders of a cat. (This high-set, loose shoulder makes for a leaping motion instead of a strong trotting action.) Back short, firm— The “short” aspect increases strength in the back and makes it less susceptible to inju- ry. The “firm” aspect is created by a good front assembly. A soft or dipping topline is an indication of a structural weakness or imbalance in the front assembly. Along the same lines, a roach or rise in the topline is almost always caused by a structural weakness of the rear assembly. Chest broad— A broad chest is the result of both proper ribs and a proper front assembly placement. A front assembly placed too far forward will not allow the appearance of a broad chest. Forechest well defined— Because nothing on the Doberman should be exaggerated, a pigeon-breasted dog is as incorrect as one with an overdone forechest.
294 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2019
Powered by FlippingBook