Dog Conformation

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emmabeth
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Dog Conformation

Post by emmabeth » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:40 pm

Split theses posts out from the Rottweiler thread as I think I derailed that a bit, with GWD's help!


Lovely dawg pics, I must get pics of Zaffie, Bogle and my Kelda all stood properly tomorrow so you can compare three members of the same breed and same gender.

Nettle can you explain more (ideally with pictures?? send them to me and ill host them and put them up) about hind leg angulation, I think I understand it.. but it seems to differ so wildly in dogs and again in horses.. and then theres the difference between the dogs natural stance, and the way it is stacked for the ring which might not be at all the way the dog normally stands!

On the docking/cropping front...

I am so much on the fence I have the splinters in the derriere!

For actual working dogs that need it (and for dogs that actually work, of the types traditionally docked, I do agree it is necessary and no more nor less invasive and 'for our benefit more than theirs' than spaying/neutering!).. then the 'last third off' dock or the 'half way' dock seen on those types seems fine to me. Remove the bit most likely to get damaged, leave sufficient for the dogs needs (and a useful handle when necessary).

The 'barely a stump, sometimes a dent' docks seen on some breeds however, such as OES, Rotties, Dobes - no likey. Dangerous, removes the dogs ability to cover its bumhole/bits, communicate with the tail and for some with these really short docks, can mean sitting down is uncomfortable too.

Ear cropping - for aesthetic appearances, theres just no excuse I think, and to subject a puppy to the really rather long healing time (compared to say docking) at a time when they have so much to learn and things like pain will make SO much more of an impact.. mm, no.

The only breeds I have come across where I can see a reason for cropping is in the two french breeds, the Pyrenean Sheepdog (small, heavily haired) and the Briard (large, heavily haired)... IF they are working, because the cropped and pricked ear set does mean the dog is much less likely to get an ear infection.

However since neither of these breeds are actually widely used, and the show varieties have SUCH heavier coats than the working, it would seem to ME that the show producers ought to be selecting for upright ears (since they don't have the pressure of selecting for working ability!).


However.. I have to confess here, and probably because I am used to seeing it, I do prefer the look of some breeds docked rather than undocked (and I do like the look of a cropped Briard). I wouldn't do it, were I to own such breeds, I don't think 'because I like the way it looks' is a good enough reason. But i have to confess i do like it!
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gwd
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Re: Rottweilers

Post by gwd » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:17 am

emmabeth wrote:Nettle can you explain more (ideally with pictures?? send them to me and ill host them and put them up) about hind leg angulation, I think I understand it.. but it seems to differ so wildly in dogs and again in horses.. and then theres the difference between the dogs natural stance, and the way it is stacked for the ring which might not be at all the way the dog normally stands!
i'm not nettle and i'm sure she'll have a differing opinion, but here's mine (unsolicited)

i disagree with her about working and show........at least with respect to sporting breeds. prepare for sweeping generalizations but field trial people tend to lose sight of anything other than bird sense........structure you'd think would be important but field trials are no longer the endurance contest that a full days gentlemen hunter required. they're speed contests and it's all about finding the birds quickly and with a stylish point.

bench people tend to exaggerate rear angle to get topline........(i'm just talking structure, don't get me started on grooming and length of coat)

now, when i'm judging it's a matter of jigsaw puzzle pieces. you have to look at all of the parts but then you have to forget the parts and look at the entire picture. what i look for is balance. you won't have good movement (which in sporting dogs means effortless reach and drive) if the balance of the parts is off. if the front lacks angle and the rear angle is extreme, there is no where for the drive to land. the front can't get out of the way of the rear. the dog will either waste motion by bouncing up, or will sidewind. .....or they pace.

here is an example of fabulous sporting dog movement......you'll see that there is full extention in the front and rear.

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it would be very rare to find that this good side movement wouldn't also be true coming and going. now you can get true movement coming and going and yet the structure of the dog doesn't allow for the reach and drive ......this would be due to lack of angulation.

here is a chart (sorry, it's a boxer) that shows examples of the terms.

http://www.worldwideboxer.com/movement9.html

it's a very well done and also gives examples of what the various faults would do to movement

now that you can picture the underlying structure here are some examples of setters with fairly nice balance front and rear. this dog has a lovely front......also nice depth of chest.

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this next b*tch is lovely, however her front could use a bit more to balance the rear.......all in all however she's very nice

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now, as a breeder i can tell you that front angle is hard to get, and harder still to keep. rears are easier. the usual issue is short upper arm and lack of shoulder layback.

the information i've given is for sporting dogs.......but if you look at examples of movement in say a terrier, you can see that the more stilted terrier gait (they have straight fronts but that's how they're suppose to be built) isn't what you are suppose to see in a sporting dog.

with sighthounds their gate is built for speed and flexibility. you have different "proper' angles as their working movement is a gallop, with the 'spring' coming from the flexing of the spine.

the purpose of each dog should determine the gait........

i've rambled long enough........sorry for the novel.
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Re: Rottweilers

Post by Nettle » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:40 am

All contributions MOST welcome, gwd :) We all have wisdom to share.

Emms, I'll look out some photos later, see what I can find. I wish I had some UK working cocker pics for you, gwd, as they would blow your mind. It's virtually a different breed.

Re: docking - so very important in any working dog with a fast wagging action that works in a confined space such as down a hole in the ground or in thick cover, especially thorn type. This is the last third of the tail removed and the rest left, so the dog's body-language ability remains and there is no risk of spinal or muscular damage, not to mention the difficulties Emms highlights.

Ear cropping apart from the German guarding breeds had a purpose in fighting dogs (as with fighting fowl, which have wattles and combs 'dubbed') because ears get shredded early and bleed like mad. It saved getting blood in the dog's eyes and it saved losing blood unnecessarily (bearing in mind that people wanted their dog to win). Otherwise it was purely cosmetic apart from the examples Emms gives on hairy herders. There once was a fashion for cropping horses' ears too.

Every working terrier I have ever known has shredded its ears on thorns to the point of having little scrunched-up cauliflowers on its face, but I still wouldn't want ear-cropping to come back. But a damaged tail is another matter, and the right kind of docking is necessary on welfare grounds. Or we could breed in short fat tails like Borders have, which don't take so much punishment, though relatively few Borders work underground.
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Re: Rottweilers

Post by gwd » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:12 am

Nettle wrote:Re: docking - so very important in any working dog with a fast wagging action that works in a confined space such as down a hole in the ground or in thick cover, especially thorn type.
<sigh> or doorways. that's the worst one i had. when happy tail is bad it's not just bumping it agaisnt something you have to worry about.....it's the wag itself. the force on healing tissue from the momentum of the wag is enough to break it back open again.

the last girl i had that suffered i ended up having to keep her in an ex pen for about 2 weeks straight...only out to pee and poop. i pinned a beach towel over her the way you'd blanket a horse. i also hung severel very thick comforters over the sides of the ex pen. when she'd need to potty i'd take her out on leash, unpin the towel .......back on with the towel......rinse and repeat. i finally got it healed up.


we've talked about changes in some breeds over times. there is a youtube that shows the 'destruction of gsd's since the 40's

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRU8UdMnssU

now, in contrast.........despite the changes in english setters over the same time period, a look back at the national specialtiy winners since 1932 is comforting somewhat. i looked again last night and i can with certainty, say that many of those dogs would still win in the ring today. .......they'd look out of coat but body wise, they'd still be competitive. i find comfort in that.
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Dog Conformation

Post by emmabeth » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:52 pm

Instead of de-railing another thread I figured I would move all the dog conformation stuff to here. I am particularly interested in hind leg angulation and also the differences that occur between show bred and competition bred and working bred (for the sake of clarity, we will consider work to ONLY be actual hunting/beating/picking up etc, not working trials etc).

I have photoed all my dogs, do excuse the DREADFUL handling here I am out of practice and standing bent over hurts currently so these are quite bad.

Also the deerhounds are identified as Dogs A, B and C as two of them aren't mine I think its not fair to identify them with their real names (to protect their dignity and privacy etc :lol:).. so if you DO think you know which of the three is mine, shh! its a seekrit!

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Dog A - she can stand with her hind legs further back but declined to do so today.

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Dog B - very much wanted to jump up and give me a cuddle/clobber me round the head. Her head shape is quite different to Dog A and Dog C

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Dog C - likes this game a bit better than dogs A and B!

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Ellie dog - Allegedly saluki x afghan and I can't say I disbelieve that really, but its possible she isn't.

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Rocky - baffled by the faffing around, was all stiff and didn't want to stand. He isn't normally leaning backwards!

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Errol - will stand like this for hours naturally.

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Dilly dog - again isn't normally leaning backwards but isn't used to being stood like this.



I can see quite huge differences between the deerhounds. From a movement point of view, one of those three has a breath taking trot... but its not a trotting breed...

Conversely, Ellie has a floaty, dainty but not very ground covering trot and she moves like sh*t off a shovel when galloping, shes like a rocket and you have not seen speed till you see her move. She makes greyhounds look sloooooooooow, and she can do it a darn sight longer than them too!

Errol has a FAB trot, he can trot at 7 miles an hour without breaking into a canter, again hes a show ring bred dog.. with angulation I am guessing is designed to produce that sort of movement. His gallop is not very effective (quite fast but it looks very effortful).

If no one minds, I will put the conformation pics from the Rottie thread in here.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by gwd » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:39 pm

emmabeth wrote:If no one minds, I will put the conformation pics from the Rottie thread in here.
of course.......and sorry for the thread hijack.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by emmabeth » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:53 pm

It's cool. its an interesting topic :)
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by Nettle » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:00 pm

I've sent some photos - not good quality as most were 'chancers' but if you can forgive the awful angles, they are good from a showing articulation POV - plus I have included a working version of several pure breeds.

When Emms gets them and does magic stuff, you will see that even with a well-let-down second thigh, there isn't the bend in the stifle that puts the hindlegs in the next county.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by WufWuf » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:12 pm

Its far more interesting than the original thread :D I can't see the pictures properly on my phone and Mr. Wuf is on pc grr I want to see the dogs. Really looking forward to learning something though im not too sure how much I'll be able to understand I know feck all about dog conformation.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by emmabeth » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:50 pm

Ok, here are Nettles photos:

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1. Show Basset

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2. Working Basset

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3. Working Beagle

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4. Working Cocker

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5. Same working Cocker

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6. Working Golden Retriever

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7. Another Working Golden Retriever

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8. KC Reg Saluki with beautiful movement

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9. Working Deerhound aged 11

The next pics are examples of hindleg articulation on working lurchers:

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And finally ...

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Working springer spaniel.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by MPbandmom » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:02 pm

This is very interesting. The dogs on here have hind legs like what I would think of as "normal." I don't really know anything about conformation and I must admit that the body parts that Nettle mentions mean nothing to me other than I think it indicates that the lower portion of the leg should be closer to the dog's body.

What an awful change in the german shepherd dogs in both countries. The english setters do seem to be sticking more to the original breed. It was interesting that some appeared to have the long flowing coats while others had shorter coats. Were some coats trimmed? Would the trimming be common for dogs that maybe also worked? Are there short coated and long coated setters?

I am reasonably certain that the bassets I have seen in my lifetime are more of the show type. I did have a neighbor who showed and worked "coon hounds." He was a year or two older than I was. His training methods made me cringe and even knowing nothing about dogs I questioned why he was treating the dog in such a manner. Not sure how well his dogs did in confirmation, but they seemed to be successful hunters. Living in a county famous for fox hunting, I think most of the dogs I encountered in my youth were hounds of one type or another or hound mixes. This is why I was quite surprised when I was told that natural dogs have pointy ears and curley tails. I always thought of a "mutt" as having floppy ears and a skinny straight tail.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by gwd » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:14 pm

MPbandmom wrote: The english setters do seem to be sticking more to the original breed. It was interesting that some appeared to have the long flowing coats while others had shorter coats. Were some coats trimmed? Would the trimming be common for dogs that maybe also worked? Are there short coated and long coated setters?
with setters you have times they're 'in' coat and times they are not.......heck a b*tch can darn near have her nipples showing if she's blown coat after a season. the old dogs in those pictures were likely kennel dogs, that was the way the big kennels in the UK and the US opporated back in the day. they were generally managed by a dog man and funded by a wealthy person who was NOT the one picking up dog poop! i hear tell of some of the big kennels having 100+ dogs. ........now back in the 40's and 50's... it wasn't like the dogs were kept in air conditioning!

obviously we've selected for coat over time but also, understanding of dog nutrition has improved......as well as coat care. a fully coated ES that's being shown now a days isn't allowed to have two hairs cross before someone is spraying with an conditioner and running a pin brush through them! .....so i think the longer coat is a combination of a several factors.

but yes, i look back at some of the legends of our breed and those dogs would still be considered fabulous. ch. sturdy max (whelped in 1932) is still considered the 'blueprint' of the ideal setter.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by gwd » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:51 pm

show saluki

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this dog is lovely imo

if you read the standard where they talk about strong rear, moderately angled front with good shoulder layback.......and a strong muscular neck this would be what i'd picture in my mind.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by gwd » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:56 pm

emmabeth wrote:The next pics are examples of hindleg articulation on working lurchers:
those dogs have good strong hocks and nice turn of stifle for any sighthound......be it in the show ring or on a lure coursing track.

proper angle in this case seems to be the same be it working or show.
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Re: Dog Conformation

Post by gwd » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:50 pm

emmabeth wrote:Errol - will stand like this for hours naturally.
the dogs that i've shown that were "easy" were one that would self stack naturally. the perfect stack was just how they were built and not some fake, show ring pose. you're right, they could stand that way for hours as it is what is comfortable.
emmabeth wrote:
Dilly dog - again isn't normally leaning backwards but isn't used to being stood like this.
we refer to that as the dreaded A frame or pulling off their front.

we use the dogs natural inclination for opposing pressure to teach them to lean into the front and show off the front angulation. .......a slight pull backwards on the tail causes the opposite pull by the dog. we then mark that lean forward and reward it. an experienced show dog will slam forward with the slightest touch on the tail.

it's just like when you tell pet owners that pulling back on the leash causes the dog to pull harder forward!
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