Sunday, January 13, 2019

Stride Without Extremes

Please note: This article was lovingly contributed to be published on the German Shepherd blog by Lt. Linda J Shaw, MBA Author of “The Illustrated Standard for the German Shepherd Dog” on Saturday, Mar 12, 2016. This article and the image(s) remain under the copyright of Lt. Linda J Shaw and Aringsburg, and are not to be used without my written permission.

* Aringsburg and Shawlein jointly assert full copyright over the images in this post.

* "Seven photos should be self explanatory" - Linda J Shaw

The article goes here...

I am not especially enthusiastic over the increase in rear angulation that has commandeered the breed in North America over the last fifty years, and is now taking hold in Germany. The theory has always been that more acute angulation between the great levers of the hind leg; the femur, the tibia/fibula and the metatarsus; creates more drive and more powerful propulsion. I found, from my study of the gait of the wild gray wolf, that this is not the case. An increase in angulation does increase the length of the stride at the trot, but it also requires the dog to trot faster, and will tend to tax the dog’s endurance. Moderate angulation provides the best balance of speed and endurance.

Extreme angulation has also resulted in hindquarters that sag, producing an abnormally sloped topline and hocks that sickle and rotate to the midline, cow hocks, and sink to a plantigrade position. None of these problems should be rewarded in the show ring, but they are. I doubt that show judges or breeders will ever reject an increase in angulation in the rear. The side gait it produces is just too attractive.

However, it is possible to “have your cake” as it were, and produce beautiful side gait without the collapsing hindquarter and weak hocks. The dog pictured is a female from thirty years ago. In the black and white photos, she was about 18 months old (and out of coat). In the color photos, she was about 30 months. She obviously possessed the side gait so loved in the North American show ring, and appeared when posed to be as angulated and any judge would want.

Interestingly though, when set up in a normal support position, or “four square”, with the rear feet under the hip joints, or even with the rear feet set under the rear of the pelvis, she actually stands very high in the rear. Her hind legs are long, and not abnormally angulated. From the rear, her legs and hocks are straight and strong. She moved cleanly going away and was an enthusiastic jumper and fast at the gallop. At the trot, her back remained level and strong, not sloping, and she did not stand or run with her hocks on the ground.

No doubt few show people would want to see a dog standing with its croup higher than its withers. In actuality, she normally stood with her hind legs more or less in a show pose, and with a level back. She never sagged into a crouch or sit. I know because I owned her. She finished with three five point majors at specialty shows, including under Sam Lawrence, and in the working group defeated Canada’s top winning dog, all breeds. She had issues, but strength in the rear wasn’t one of them.
So if show dogs are your thing, there is no excuse for weak, sagging rears and soft, sickle hocks. They don’t have to be the price for the extended side gait required to win in the show ring.

Please Note: Copyright: These pictures are copyright protected by Aringsburg and Shawlein.

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All you need to know about German Shepherd Dogs. Read out what I have to share with you regarding the amazing German Shepherd Dog breed. Are Alsatian dogs and German Shepherd Dogs same? Who was Max Von Stephanitz and What is SV? Also learn a bit more in depth on German Shepherd Dog training tips, German Shepherd puppy care tips, German Shepherd Dog behavior, German Shepherd instinct, German Shepherd Dog standard and history of German Shepherds.

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