Showsight Presents The Rottweiler

endurance will be found. Th e use of these three qualities as a check and balance are just as applicable in evaluating the correct- ness of the parts of the dog as it is the whole. Th e rear assembly is no di ff erent. Our Rott- weiler’s correct rear assembly is one that embodies great strength, great agility and great endurance. It is a balancing act.

reasons why phase one is ineffective in creating rear drive. One, the foot action of phase one occurs in front of the hip joint leaving it with no path for the energy generated to contribute directly toward forward momentum. In fact, the foot action in phase one creates a little resistance to forward momentum as it absorbs the impact of placing down its foot and in the resistance of closing the angulation. Second in phase one, the rear angles are in the process of closing and not in the process of opening. For opposing reasons, phase two is where most of the energy and push from the rear is generated. During phase two the foot action occurs behind the hip joint providing an easy, straight forward path of transference of energy through the hock, lower thigh, upper thigh, hip bone, back and on to our dog’s front. Also, in phase two the rear is in the process of opening and extending its angles. Like the release of a compressed spring, the opening and extending of the rear angles creates rear push. You can test this out on yourself. From a standing position, reach forward with one of your feet and try to generate some push forward with that leg while it is positioned in front of your hip. As you move your foot back once you are able to generate some push, notice the posi- tion of your foot in relation to your hip joint. You will find the foot will need to be behind the hip joint before a push in the forward direction can occur. Remember the differences in, and effectiveness of, these two phases. Their

importance is fundamental in assessing the correct rear assembly. We will come back to them later. Angulation I was at a national Rottweiler specialty show a few years back. Th e judge, a breeder judge, through the process of elimination by making several cuts during her selection pro- cess, had the dogs she liked lined up in the ring. Th e dogs were quite consistent in type and structure. While observing her judging a pattern became clear. It seemed the dogs having the most angulation in the rear were being moved toward the front of the line. Th e handlers quickly picked up on this and were employing every handler trick they knew to display as much rear angulation on their dogs as possible. In the end, every dog in her line up had extreme rear angulation. Several were even sickle hocked! From where I was sitting, I could hear various people sitting at ring side commenting on how nicely struc- tured the rears were. It didn’t seem to matter how much the rears over reached or the how the hocks didn’t open up. Th e only thing that mattered was this illusion of power cre- ated by the bend at the stifel and hock joints. As novices, one of the fi rst things we learn about rear structure; angulation is a good thing to have. We start throwing the word around in conversation because it seems the more knowledgable thing to do. In fact, the term angulation is one of the most used and most misunderstood terms in all of the dog world. It seems we quickly learn hav- ing straight angles is bad, and in turn, quickly surmise having more angulation

Rear Action Sequence

In the trot, one of the rear legs is lifted and extended forward opening the joints until the heel of his foot meets the ground. Th is is the beginning of phase one. As the leg moves backward, the angulation at the hock and sti fl e joints closes while remaining on the heel of the foot. Once this rear foot reaches a point directly below the hip joint, it marks the end of phase one and the beginning of phase two as the rear assembly ends the pro- cess of closing its angles and begins the pro- cess of opening its angles. It is in phase two that the primary push from the rear occurs. As the angles open, the toes of the rear foot fi rst start to come into play by digging into the surface providing traction as the rear leg fully extends its angles backwards. Th is sequence of rear action repeatedly goes from right rear leg to left rear leg over and over. As the right leg goes through phase one and two, the left leg lifts from rear extension after phase two and begins closing its angles in the process of moving the leg forward and re- extending just before the start of phase one. Th en, they switch. The most essential information to remember about this is phase one of the sequence provides some support and lift to the dog’s front, but does little in the way of contributing to forward momen- tum. Phase two is where most of the rear push occurs. There are two important

“it seems we quickly leaRn having stRaight angles is baD, anD in tuRn, quickly suRmise having moRe angulation is a gooD thing.”


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