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Examination of Movement in Dogs – The Hindquarters

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194 – August, 2017

By Deborah Andoetoe

When we take a dog down and back we are looking for the perfect trot for that dog. Ideally, the dog moves at a speed which allows each leg to be seen, the flight path noted, and the structure appreciated. The trot is the gait which best shows balance and scope or reveals aspects which are less desirable. Taking a dog around the ring, so the side gait can be examined, we generally look for rhythm with appropriate reach and drive.

In Warmblood Sport Horse Registries, animals are recorded by parentage but must also be graded and licensed once they are mature before given a breeding designation. Today’s sport horses are scored numerically against a standard and stallions are often additionally graded for trainability and temperament. Our current show dog fancy strives to similarly reward the elite, the top “specials,” while also recognizing adequate breeding candidates and, hopefully, preventing poor specimens from passing on their genes. Dogs are examined and judged against other dogs presented on a particular day with the breed standard as the ideal.

Unlike modern sport horses, today’s responsibly bred show dogs are not inspected and graded individually. They are not awarded a single numeric score which defines them and ranks them as dictated by the breed standard, and follows them throughout their performance career. Rather, judges balance what has been defined in each standard with the animals standing before them, allowing for good and bad days and differences in handlers and conditioning. Every dog in each breed of all seven groups must be examined and judged. This task is so huge that judges work as teams, each coming from their own background. Each judge brings their own preferences and understanding of breeds they have been licensed to judge to the ring. At the end of the day, only one dog is awarded Best of Breed and competes in their designated Group where adherence to the standard is the only way for judges to sort out the soundest dogs who best conform to breed type for further competition.

Click here to read the complete article
194 – August, 2017

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