“IF THE BONES ARE OUT OF PROPORTION, IT CAUSES THE MUSCLE THAT IS OVER THE LONGER BONE TO BE STRETCHED FARTHER THAN THE OTHER MUSCLES, WHICH IN TURN AFFECTS ITS STRENGTH. THE STANDARD CALLS FOR BALANCED, SMOOTH MOTION, WHICH IS UNATTAINABLE IF THE MUSCLES THEMSELVES ARE OUT OF BALANCE.”
Ribs well sprung— This is crucial for lung and heart capacity. If lung and heart capacity is restricted by slab-sided ribs, the dog’s stamina and endurance can be impaired. Brisket reaching deep to the elbow— This is also necessary for heart and lung capacity plus proper attach- ment of the upper arm and is also nec- essary for balance. Belly well tucked up, extending in a curved line from the brisket— This excludes a herring gut, which is cre- ated when the length of the ribs ends too abruptly. The ribs behind the legs should all be approximately the same length to the ninth rib, and then gradu- ally curve to the tuck-up. If the depth stops too abruptly, there is a much straighter or more extreme line to the loin. The more extreme the underline, the more restricted the heart and lung capacity. A dog with a herring gut will lack stamina and endurance. Loins wide and muscled— There is no support for the topline past the attachment of the last rib, so a short (within reason) loin makes for a stron- ger back, which is less susceptible to injury. The muscling of the loin is cru- cial for proper flexibility. Tail—appears to be a continua- tion of the spine, and is carried only slightly above the horizontal...Hip Bone falls away from spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees, producing a slightly rounded, well filled-out croup— The croup and tail- set determine how the rear legs swing. The steeper the croup and the lower the tailset, the farther forward a dog will bring its rear legs, thus reducing its rear extension. This interferes with a smooth, efficient motion. The flatter the croup and the higher the tailset, the less forward motion and the more extreme the rear kick, which is wasted action and again interferes with a smooth, effi- cient motion. (There is one exception to this which I will discuss later.)
Height from elbow to withers approximately equals height from ground to elbow— This 50:50 ratio helps to create necessary overall bal- ance. If the dog has more leg than depth of body, either from a chest that is too shallow or from legs that are too long, the dog becomes top-heavy, which means it must slow down to make quick turns. How efficient can a Doberman be that is unable to make quick turns at top speed? Elbows lie close to the brisket— Always check for looseness in the elbows by rocking the dog to the side. Poor ligamentation usually causes the elbows to pop or move outward when in motion, which in turn can cause the dog to toe in its front feet. Loose elbows increase the risk of structural damage when landing from jumps; the impacts stretch the tissue. As the tissue wears out, there is greater wear on the bone, which increases the possibility of arthritis as the dog ages. Pasterns firm and almost per- pendicular to the ground— The pas- terns are one of the areas most suscep- tible to injury. If they are too straight, they lose the ability to absorb shock. If they are too angled, they lose the strength necessary to provide support. The angulation of the hindquar- ters balances that of the forequar- ters...Upper Shanks at right angles to the hip bones, are long, wide, and well muscled on both sides of the thigh— This is crucial as this is the ham. It must have the same amount of meat on both sides of the bone. If muscles are imbalanced, there is no balance. This imbalance of the muscle mass is what causes a dog to be either cow hocked (where it is more heavily muscled on the inside of the legs) or barrel, spread or open hocked (where there is more muscle on the outside of the legs). A lack of muscle mass on either the inside or outside of the rear legs destroys stability. The dog will
Shoulder Blade sloping forward and downward at a 45-degree angle to the ground meets the upper arm at an angle of 90 degrees— A dog cannot reach any farther forward that what the angle of the shoulder allows. Also, its reach cannot extend beyond the end of its nose. So the shorter the neck, the shorter the dog’s reach, no matter what its shoulder angle is. The straighter the upper arm the farther forward the front legs are positioned, which affects both the static (stand- ing) and kinetic (moving) balance. The space between the shoulder blades must always fit the dog. If the blades are too close together, front motion is affected and the dog’s ability to lower it head is inhibited. If the blades are too far apart, the front legs are set farther apart and roughen the shoulder lay into the body; both of these consequences prohibit smooth, efficient front assem- bly motion. Straight or wide shoulder blades are the main cause of wrinkles over the shoulders. Length of the shoulder blade and upper arm are equal— If the shoul- der is relatively the same length as the upper arm, front assembly muscles can work in unison. If the bones are out of proportion, it causes the muscle that is over the longer bone to be stretched farther than the other muscles, which in turn affects its strength. The stan- dard calls for balanced, smooth motion, which is unattainable if the muscles themselves are out of balance. The upper arm provides the pendulum motion of the front leg and contributes to the center of balance in motion. A short upper arm is incapable of bring- ing the front far enough under the body to create speed and balance. Therefore, it impedes the dog’s stride in a gallop. In a trot, it creates excess motion, usu- ally in the pastern area, or prevents the dog from moving along a single line of support.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2019 • 295
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