“angulation is nothing moRe than a way to DescRibe the amount of benD in the aReas wheRe vaRious bones join in the fRont anD ReaR assemblies. The primary factor determining these angulations are the proportional bone lengths ...”
is a good thing. This is a result of the, “more is better” basic humanistic phi- losophy. In truth, it is often the golden middle which is best. This definitely applies to rear angulation. We need to think in terms of balance and modera- tion for our Rottweilers. Just as there are disadvantages to having a straight angled dog, there are also disadvantages to hav- ing an over-angled dog! Diligent stu- dents of structure eventually learn this. Some breeders never do! Angulation is nothing more than a way to describe the amount of bend in the areas where various bones join in the front and rear assemblies. The primary factor determining these angulations are the proportional bone lengths of the various components of the front and rear assemblies. In the front assembly it is the shoulder blade and upper arm bone lengths which determine the angula- tion. In the rear assembly it is primarily the pelvic, upper thigh, lower thigh and hock which determines angulation. For the most part, a dog having the longer bone lengths has more bend in the area where these bones join and the result is a greater range of extension. This greater range of extension allows a dog to have greater reach. To a point, increased
angulation can increase drive but too much angulation will decrease drive. At first glance, having greater reach sounds like a good thing; and for certain breeds and functions it can be. But having a lot of reach requires an appropriate length in body to prevent interference between the working arcs of the front and rear assemblies. If the dog does not have suf- ficient length, crabbing or some other means to compensate for the interference will occur. Breeds required to be shorter through the body need to be less angu- lated in order to remain synchronized front and rear. Breeds designed more for strength rather than speed, such as for draft duties, need to be less angulated. During the act of pulling, less energy is required to straighten a joint with less bend than to straighten a joint with more bend. Effective Rear Angulation Th e AKC breed standard states the hindquarter’s angulation is to balance that of the forequarter’s angulation. This doesn’t mean a dog having a shoulder blade and upper arm meeting to form a 90 degree angle should have the same angulation at the stif le. In fact, having balanced angulation front to rear has a lot to do with the breed’s function and its primary means of travel. If your primary means of travel is the gallop, like sight hounds, the front assembly will be less angulated and the rear assembly will be more angulated. For trotting breeds, the most effective balance is for the front to be more angulated and the rear to be less angulated. This is the real- ity of the different gaits of travel. Bal- ance does not mean equal angulation!
Th e amount of angulation and its bal- ance is totally dependent upon the breed’s function and primary means of travel. Our Rottweilers’ primary means of travel is the trot and to optimize his ability to trot and be balanced at the trot, his front should be more angulated than his rear. Th e FCI standard speci fi es the rear bones should meet to form obtuse angles (angles greater than 90 degrees and less than 180) Anything approaching either extreme is faulty rear angulation. Bottom line, the front and rear assem- blies are designed for different purposes. While trotting, the rear is meant to cre- ate and transfer kinetic energy to the back. The front assembly is designed to receive and distribute that energy. Together the front and rear have a give and take relationship. It requires a dif- ferent set of angles to effectively create and give energy than is required to take and distribute energy.
Back to Effective Rear Angulation Contact with the Ground
Simply put, the longer a dog’s rear foot remains in contact with the ground while moving, the greater the opportunity the rear has to generate drive. Th is is simple logic. Longer bone lengths in the rear will increase the length of time the foot can push o ff the ground. At the gallop, sight hound breeders are aware of the bene fi t of increased foot contact and developed an arch to the top line of their dogs so they can reach further under themselves while galloping and signi fi cantly extend their dogs foot contact time with the ground. Th is is a fact, but it isn’t the only fact we need to be concerned with!
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2014 • 227
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