The scheme of the dog's body


The importance of an articulation angles


An "articulation angles" act main role for the exterior and staying power for all the dogs. They determine the proportion of the dog's structure and freedom of motions. The correct articulation angles allow for the long and easy step and smooth and straight motions. The improper articulation angles usually reduce the step and make the dog's movements prancing.
An articulation angles assume the dimensions of angles, created by bones in the certain joints. An articulation angles of humeroscapular and hip joints, created by the largest and strong bones of the skeleton, place the greatest role in the dog's structure and motions. These joints functioning as the open-closing hinges, since the humeral bone and thigh-bone move legs ahead and behind. The more correct an articulation angles, the larger the span of finiteness, and, consequently, easier the motion. The hip joint represents the ball and socket joint and therefore has an enlarged rotary ability, than other joints. However for it proper function the correct articulation angle is still required.
Usually for each form and figure the ideal dimensions exist, and famous specialists-synologists have adopted the standards of ideal articulation angles for coupling of humeroscapular и hip joints for the dogs. In simple words, ideally the shoulder-blade should stay at angle of 45' to the horizon, creating approximately a right angle with the shoulder bone in the humeroscapular joint. The hip bone should have a slope of 30' to the horizon, creating a right angle with a thigh-bone in the hip joint. These dimensions are supported by convincing arguments, although different versions of the front and behind finiteness exist depending on the purpose and type of dogs. Thus, there are substantial breed's differences in the volume and depth of breast, the length and features of shoulder. However, considering these differences, you should not compromise to the right slope of shoulder-blade. One of my friends once said: "The shoulder-blade should have the right position regardless of what is attached to it".

The measure of the articulation angles of the hip joints together with the relative length of the leg's bones impact the flexion of the knee and jump joints. These joints play an important role, determining the force and pushing ability of the back finiteness.

THE CORRECT ARTICULATION ANGLE increases the span of finiteness. The proportionality allows for the accurate rhythm of the leg's movements. The joints, managing the motion should bend and unbend easy and smoothly, allowing for the relevant push of the back finiteness, and springiness and flexibility in the front part of the body when contact the ground. The size of the stroke and length of steps of the front finiteness should be coordinated with the work of the back finiteness in order they would not be transferred far ahead and not confused the front legs. Usually the legs should be carried low from the ground to avoid the unnecessary flexion of joints, which would be unpractical and tiresomely.

BAD ARTICULATION ANGLE reduces the step since the bones, attached in humeroscapular and hip joints are placed almost plumb and form the joints with the obtuse angles. This restrain the forward movement of the humeral and hip bones, shortening the transfer ahead of the front finiteness and weakening the push from behind. The dogs of such structure have shorter step and they have to make more steps to cover the same distance. As a result, their movement turns to be more uneven, than smooth. The dog in the middle of the below picture has obtuse angles both in front and behind. However, in spite of this deficiency and short stilts step, the dog looks quite proportionate.

"The force of the push of the behind finiteness is practically depend on the ability of the dog to straighten the leg completely with the required force and speed. The latest is fully depends on the muscular force and well-developed shank".

Smite: The dog's exterior


"Padding" and "Running Downhill" /deficiencies/


"PADDING" - is the form of the compensating movement, allowing for the amortization of the constant pushes when the push from behind is very strong. The front pads turn up slowing down the movement for second, in order to better coordinate the step of the front legs with the longer step of those behind. This allows to avoid the sharp kick of the front legs against the ground and reduce the shaking of humeral bones which are placed plumb.

This momentary movement is almost invisible since the front pads are landing carefully, rather far off the heel and the thickest part of pad acts as a buffer when landing. The burden on the front legs increase at dogs, which have lower withers than the croup, as shown on the below picture. Such build gives the appearance of "running downhill".

RUNNING DOWNHILL /deficiency/. Earlier age has own problems. The puppies often growing faster in the back side than in the front, which give the appearance of "running downhill", although they stay on the even surface. The tall dogs with the short legs are not subject to this deficiency, when the back legs are transferred ahead of the front legs. However the lack of proportionality impairs the harmony and spoils the exterior.


"POUNDING" /deficiency/

"POUNDING" - is another movement deficiency, arising from the shortening of the step of the front legs compared to the back legs. The front legs touch the ground before the step is completed by the back legs. If the dog with such deficiency does not try to defend itself via "padding", "passage" or amble, the push of the back legs leads to the strong kick against the ground of the front legs. This happens when the person was pushed and he has to make a quick step until his joints and ligaments will be ready to smooth the kick against the ground. Such kick of dogs against the ground transfers on humeral bones, effecting on the sharp push in the withers. The permanent pushes in combination with "pounding" usually lead to the damage of cartilages of the joints and at last may disable the front part of the dog's body..





The straightened front body combined with the low withers forces the dog to step heavy, as demonstrated on this picture. Permanent heavy step weakened the ligaments and tendons in the way that these turned to bend down significantly when the weight of the dog shifts on the front legs. This deficiency is known as the "broken pasterns".




On the prior pages we have reviewed the impact of the articulation angles on the length of the step and general proportionality of the structure. The next important question is their impact on the muscular structure.
On the schemes presented in the next page 3 pictures of two different dogs are shown: "А" - with correct articulation angles and "B" - with incorrect articulation angles.
On the example "A" is shown, that the correct articulation angles assist in the formation of the larger muscular system because of the bones of humeroscapular and hip joints are properly bended. This bend assists in the larger area of muscular attachments therefore the dog logs more strong and powerful. Besides this, proper articulation angles assume strong back and deep breast.
The correct disposition of shoulder-blade, called "the long slanting shoulder", is favorably impact the length of the neck and good-looking seat of head of the dog "A" and gives the neck the good-looking and smooth turn to the withers and top line of dog's body. Under the exterior terminology this is called as a "strong neck".
Straightened construction of the front and back legs of the dog "B" illustrates that the incorrect articulation angles lead to the reduction of the bone's dimensions and slope and area of the muscular fastening. The dog of such types generally has worth bones, the muscular system is badly developed. It can be said that the dog "lacks the durability". In addition, bad shoulders spoil the exterior, since the neck's line sharply turns to the withers and the neck looks short.
The dotted lines on these two pictures indicate the wideness of space, occupied by the front and back legs by both dogs. They show that the dog possessing better articulation angles has wider space.
The proper disposition of the shoulder and hip bones always widening the space, occupied by the legs (if look half face) from humeroscapular joint until the vertical line, disposed right after the shovel and from the front end of the hip bone until the back. Such construction allows recognize the dogs with good pace regardless of their breed, since the principles and advantages of the correct articulation angles are the same for all.


THE DOG "A" - showing that the correct articulation angles create the basis for the well-developed muscular system, supplying the required wideness of the front and back legs and strength of the construction.

THE DOG "B" - showing that the incorrect articulation angles limit the base of the well-developed muscular system, reducing the wideness of the front and back legs and supplies the dog with an incompletely healthy appearance.




When the dog turns into trot, its body is supported simultaneously by only two legs, which are putted in pairs bias. Therefore for the light and comfortable move the dog should keep the balance and group as close to the central axis as possible. Otherwise it will roll over from side to side. To maintain the balance the legs are put under the angle inwards the direction of the long axis of the body. The higher the speed, the greater their movement approaches the movement at direct line, similar to the running of a person putting of one leg in front of the other to avoid swinging.
The differences of dogs at tall, wideness of the body and length of legs determine the level of slope of legs inwards. But all the dogs regardless of the nature, aim at this.
The angle slope should start from the shovel or hip joint, and the finiteness itself from these points to the pads should be kept relatively straight, even when the legs are bend down and up during the stroke and push. This natural law of balance is one of the most important factors for the understanding and evaluation of the movement when the dog moves bias on the ring in the direction of an expert or from him. .






D.P.Elliot "Motions of dogs"





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by Tatjana Sagalovskaya