Dog Conformation

Get to know other Positively members here.

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Post Reply
wvvdiup1
Posts: 3397
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:31 am
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by wvvdiup1 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:22 pm

emmabeth wrote:When you think about backs... think about bridges. You are spanning the distance between shoulder and pelvis, not only that, but firstly the dogs head is a counterweight, it is the heaviest freely moving part of the dog and must be counterbalanced by what lies behind it. Then you have the organs suspended below the spine.

Think about how many bridges are arched - in fact up until modern steel and concrete construction, when bridges were built out of lumps of stone or bricks even... they arched, because an arch is a VERY strong structure, a horizontal span is not nearly as strong (hence needing reinforced concrete). If an arch is not suitable these days, we suspend bridges from above (and even then arches are probably invovled somehwere!)
I like how you compared a dog's body to a bridge, emmabeth, because there is one other thing to consider. From gravity, we have a down force so on an arched bridge, that force directed to the ends of the arch which make arches strong. That's why arches, pryamid-like structures are still used in construction. However, in relevance to dogs, this same down force works on dogs too, especially during standing and movement, the arched/sloped backs on dogs makes them move or stand effortlessly, compared to breeds of dogs that have the straight back and stand squarely even to the rest of their bodies.

I think this is what you are trying to say. :D

Makes a lot of sense! :D
Image
Image
"Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius." -author unknown

User avatar
Nettle
Posts: 10723
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by Nettle » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:15 am

Beautifully put, Emms.

The ideal is the level back that rises gently over the loins. The rise is more marked in some breeds such as sighthounds but should not be roach (as seen in Borzois) and the dog should not be bred so that when standing level its whole back slopes. Unfortunately a lot of show breeds are now 'uphill' or 'downhill' because *sigh* it makes them easier to stack.

Standing naturally, a dog's front toe tips should be directly underneath its withers (tip of shoulderblade at highest point) and its hind toe tips should be directly under its pinbones (top of pelvis). Chests should not protrude into a 'ship's prow' effect. Correct stacking should enhance, not give the dog backache because its hind legs are pulled too far back. However, exhibitors do what wins prizes, and too many judges are in the dark about basic anatomy.

And from that alone, we see that the GSD is probably the most exaggerated breed physically, along with mini Dachshunds, but a lot of others are going that way too. Show whippets here (for instance) are really bad, with incorrect slope of stifle and hock so that their back legs are in another county.

My mother used to train dogs for military work, between the wars and during WW2. We have a few very bad photos of very good Alsatians, as they were called then. They were a bit bigger than border collies, and beautiful athletic dogs. Sadly the photos are just too bad to reproduce.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

JudyN
Posts: 6990
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by JudyN » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:34 pm

emmabeth wrote:Working GSDs don't look like the show versions... however... more and more there is a move now to Belgian Shepherds (Malinois predominantly but I think Tervs and Groenendals as well) - why? These dogs are MUCH lighter and more athletic, and much MUCH less over engineered and fiddled with!
Interestingly, today I saw the 9-month-old daughter of the shaggy GSD I know, for the first time since she was a ball of fluff. She was a a bit racier, slimmer, smoother and longer limbed than her mum, and my first thought was 'Belgian shepherd'. Shame I didn't think to take a photo :? I don't know how much her owner knows of her breeding - she was a bit vague in the past when i commented on Xyla's shagginess and level back.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

WufWuf
Posts: 1371
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 7:53 am

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by WufWuf » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:26 pm

We have shaggy straight backed sheps here too. I do see other sheps that aren't awful in the back but I've no idea if they would have papers.
Operant conditioning rocks but classical conditioning rules

mum24dog
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:31 pm

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by mum24dog » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:18 am

bendog wrote:I will try to find out his breeding and if he is KC reg :) He's one of the ones I walk 3x a week.
I'd be surprised if he wasn't a full GSD.

When agility was invented in the late 1970s it was Working Trial people who got it going and GSDs were quite common. However, as the demands of the sport increased it became clear that most weren't really up to the job and their popularity decreased to the extent that very few are seen now. However, for those who are sticking with the breed there is a trend towards more old style working line dogs nowadays which can be quite Malinois-ish in appearance and it's great to watch them work.

User avatar
Nettle
Posts: 10723
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by Nettle » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:07 am

If anyone knows good breeders, please let me know as I have a client offering a really good home who is desperate to find a sound healthy pup.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

bendog
Posts: 2188
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:42 am

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by bendog » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:52 am

No help on a breeder sorry. The GSD I took a photo of apparently is a pedigree, but I only have his breeders name, and she doesn't seem to be able to be found online :?

I mainly came to this thread to mention that my agility club are running 6 sessions of a "canine athlete" course with a McTimoney chiropracter/canine massage therapy person who is going to photograph and assess our dogs, and look at gait, muscle tone etc and suggest any areas that are "unbalanced" or need building up etc etc

.
"At the initial session all dogs, will be photographed standing to calculate their angulation, given muscle balance checks, muscle measurements taken and a general profile taken, this will give us the areas which we need to target specific to your dog. During the main class session you will learn specific exercises which will help to strengthen your dog specifically in the areas he/she needs it.
You will then re attend and we can re assess their progress and give more advanced exercises for your dog, they may be strength exercises, endurance activities or cross training exercises."
I'm not planning to take it too seriously, (my agility instructor is very upset because her pup was called "wonky"), but I am intrigued what she will say about Poppy. :mrgreen:

User avatar
Nettle
Posts: 10723
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by Nettle » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:07 pm

Sounds fascinating - keep us posted, bendog! :)
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

lilly5425
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:21 am

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by lilly5425 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:28 pm

I know this is a bit off topic, but the exercise that our dogs have, keeps them in top physical shape. Wont see any swayback or bad hips so far.
Running, ball chasing, swimming and so forth(a neighbour does agility training), will keep a dog in great shape.

Here is a picture of Lilly doing what she loves, and 'a tired dog is a good dog' goes for her(and grandchildren too).
http://www.jcdouglass.net/prettylilly/ball-chasing.jpg

JudyN
Posts: 6990
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by JudyN » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:55 pm

lilly5425 wrote:I know this is a bit off topic, but the exercise that our dogs have, keeps them in top physical shape. Wont see any swayback or bad hips so far.
Running, ball chasing, swimming and so forth(a neighbour does agility training), will keep a dog in great shape.
This does depend - for some dogs, some games, such as chasing balls and twisting sharply to retrieve them, can be harmful. And if you've got dodgy hips, even the right exercise can only help so much (and too much of the right exercise can also be a problem). I was told that the main purpose of teaching a dog spin & twirl was so you could warm it up gently before more strenuous activities.

Lovely pictures, though :D
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

User avatar
thunder_monkey
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:41 am

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by thunder_monkey » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:06 pm

DianeLDL wrote: By the way, thunder_monkey, your dog is beautiful. Great that you have the perfect place to run and exercise. They need lots or room to run, don't they?
Suzette wrote:ThunderMonkey, your dog is beautiful. I am not trained in conformation, but she looks very nice to me. :D Love how fluffy she is! :D
oooops, sorry, meant to reply sooner! Thanks both of you, yes we think she's very pretty! She certainly is a big ball of fluff, OH's parents visited with her last month and we're still finding fur!

Diane, yes it's lovely that she lives near Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. As long as we can see that there aren't any livestock around she can run around with us off lead, which is great and gets her (and us!) some much needed exercise.

We're off to see her (and OH's parents of course!) at the weekend so I'm sure we'll come back with loads more photos!

lilly5425
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:21 am

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by lilly5425 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:17 pm

Hi Judy,
Yes, our neighbours Lab has a knee problem, so they limit her exercise. But once she is OK, her vet said she could go back to ball playing. Swimming is really good for all dogs.
Isnt it sad to see those poor Shepherds with the swayback, or whatever they call it.
Our friends have a Shepherd and he is just perfect, no sloping stuff at all.
Its sad that breeders promote such distortion.
Wish all dogs could be healthy and happy.
Here she is again,
http://www.jcdouglass.net/prettylilly/lilly28.jpg

mum24dog
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:31 pm

Re: Dog Conformation

Post by mum24dog » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:46 am

bendog wrote:No help on a breeder sorry. The GSD I took a photo of apparently is a pedigree, but I only have his breeders name, and she doesn't seem to be able to be found online :?

I mainly came to this thread to mention that my agility club are running 6 sessions of a "canine athlete" course with a McTimoney chiropracter/canine massage therapy person who is going to photograph and assess our dogs, and look at gait, muscle tone etc and suggest any areas that are "unbalanced" or need building up etc etc

.
"At the initial session all dogs, will be photographed standing to calculate their angulation, given muscle balance checks, muscle measurements taken and a general profile taken, this will give us the areas which we need to target specific to your dog. During the main class session you will learn specific exercises which will help to strengthen your dog specifically in the areas he/she needs it.
You will then re attend and we can re assess their progress and give more advanced exercises for your dog, they may be strength exercises, endurance activities or cross training exercises."
I'm not planning to take it too seriously, (my agility instructor is very upset because her pup was called "wonky"), but I am intrigued what she will say about Poppy. :mrgreen:
Most puppies look wonky IME. I expect he'll be fine.

I wouldn't take it too seriously either. People are coming up all the time with ways of making people part with their money by persuading them that such things are more complicated than they are. It just creates stress and hypochondria and reduces the pleasure of doing something that is supposed to be fun.

If you choose a dog without any exaggerated physical features and give it enough varied types of exercise (without excessive repetitive training) you have a very good chance of ending up with a dog that can perform in agility without breaking down.

All our dogs have been very much lucky dips and yet none has ever come to any harm from doing agility. Lucky dip dogs with no history and no thought gone into their breeding, but mostly on the road to reverting to the basic type of dog that exists all over the world when people don't interfere and all fit for purpose.

Can you tell that I'm very much an "if it ain't broke" sort of person? Neither we nor our dogs are going to be perfect in the way we are put together but mostly we're good enough.

Post Reply