Page 17 - LeMagFall2014
P. 17

Canine M	ovement
                                                               by Terry Miller

	 The general theory of gait in dogs is that the ani- 	Coming refers to the dog’s front action when

mal moves with as little effort for the most return. In other gaiting towards you. This includes where the feet fall

words, to arrive at a destination with the least amount of when touching the ground and how far forward the feet

energy expended. The bones are the architecture for      reach as they participate in the dog’s forward motion.

which the muscles, ligaments and tendons attach. The ba- Other subtle movement traits are revealed such as motion

sic structure and placement of those bones is what       and rotation at the elbows, pasterns and foot.
                                                            Going refers to the dog’s rear as it gaits away from
creates angulation. The AKC Standard is the blueprint of 	

expectation for the Briard and its typical movement.     you. This includes alignment of the stifles, hocks and feet,

One theory promotes the belief that the dog should get the flexibility, foot fall and how far back the feet and legs

where he is going by covering the most ground with the drive and extend behind the dog.

least amount of strides. There fore, it is considered    	 On the side speaks about how the dog propels

desirable that the dog’s legs extend in front of the body along the ground when being viewed in profile. This view

and drive back behind the body while in motion with the is complex since both front and rear are being evaluated

longest ground covering ability.This forward front leg and as well as the topline, proportions, body and carriage.

backward hind leg’s action is called “reach and drive”.  This is where efficiency of movement is most easily as-

	 To quote Rachel Page Elliott, world renown gait sessed looking at foot timing of front and rear and sus-

expert: “Gait tells much about a dog’s structure that is not pension of the body as it is propelled forward.

revealed when he is standing still, for it reflects his physi- All movement theory mandates that wasted action is un-

cal coordination, balance of body and soundness.         desirable. Efficiency of motion is the goal.

Sound movement contributes to the health and normal life 	  When adding to classic theory of canine gait, the

span of all dogs. It is as desirable a feature in the family language in our standard provides a clear picture of the

pet as it is important to the usefulness of dogs bred    Briard in motion. Such concepts in the language of the

for hunting, farm work, police duty or racing: and without AKC Standard as,” the well constructed Briard is a marvel

it, show winners can never achieve true excellence.”     of supple power,”…” strong flexible movement is essential

	 The term gait, means pattern of footsteps at var- to the sheep dog,”… “ his conformation is harmoniously

ious speeds, each pattern distinguished by a particular balanced and strong to sustain him in the long days

rhythm and footfall. In the show ring, it is primarily the trot work,”…” dogs with clumsy or inelegant gait must be

that is evaluated. During this evaluation basically three penalized,”…”the gait gives the impression that the dog

directions are being assessed- coming, going and on the glides along without touching the ground”. It should be

side. In the Briard, it is expected that the dog single tracks noted that there are only two places in the AKC standard

when gaiting at a trot. This is where the feet converge  which use the strong word “penalized”. Above is one of

towards an imaginary center line under the dog as the    those places. Not only does it use the word, but it

dog’s speed accelerates. The perception of movement mandates that clumsy or inelegant gait MUST be

takes practice and study, most especially when evaluating penalized”. (emphasis mine).

a hairy dog. The movement must be assessed by being 	       The study of movement is complex and fascinat-

able to look through the mantle of hair at the boney land- ing. It is incumbent upon us to understand it and identify it

marks, which become the indicators of alignment of the in its most classic forms. The Briard ultimately benefits.

legs and feet.                                           	 Thank you to the late Stephanie Katz for her

                                                         invaluable input.

Le Magazine                                                                                                           15
   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22