Weak vs. strong pasterns? - Page 1

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by fawndallas on 08 July 2012 - 15:07

How can I visually tell the difference between strong and weak pasterns? I have no idea what I am looking at in this area. I am a visual person, so pictures with notes is best. There is another thread noting the winner of the Westmister having week pasterns so if I can compare it to a "strong" picture with notes on what to look for that would be great.

by Markobytes on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

 There is another thread showing puppies one of which has very weak pasterns. You are correct in making comparisons by viewing/observing different dogs. There is a good thread started by Ibrahim in the conformation threads called:" Mr Donald asked me a question" that is very informative. Weak pasterns are a very serious fault, if you ever see it up close it can easily cause the dog to be crippled. Breeders should strongly watch out for it. There may be an environmental component where puppies raised on a concrete surface compounded by a lack of exercise are susceptible to it. AKC breeders will sometimes promote weak pasterns as they will give the mistaken impression of good reach and because it looks flashy. Over weight/obesity can cause a dogs pasterns to collapse. You will learn more by observing the faults.

by fawndallas on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

Ok. I looked at the recommended thread. So pasterns is the proportions of shoulder to chest and shoulder to front paw, right?

by Markobytes on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

That is part of it, pay attention to the angle of the pastern, in some extreme cases the pastern will almost touch the ground. Ibrahim is very good at drawing lines through dogs showing what correct angles should be. Look at the other thread asking opinions on puppies, the second puppy has very weak pasterns which will cause it to suffer if they do not stand up more.


by fawndallas on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

Showmanship aside, what are the problems with weak pasterns? For example: this could result in the dog not having the stamina due to the lungs not being large enough. This coulld result in the dog being less sure footed and prone to stumbling more.

by Nans gsd on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

Pasterns are the joint above the foot and on a puppy it you can see a bump just above the pastern that is the growth plate and once that bump goes away, USUALLY the puppy is done growing.  But if the pastern is weak you will see it laying back more than it should.  One of my pet pieves, absolutely HATE weak pasterns as lots of times, later in life that can be an arthritic area.  Hope this helps you; are you referring to a particular puppy or dog, if so, can you post a picture for use to evaluate and help you to understand.  Great.  Nan

by FerrumGSDs on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

Canine carpal subluxation, google that, that is soft pasterns to the extreme. look at the pictures

by FerrumGSDs on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

nice article on one puppy's case


by Markobytes on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

A weak pastern puts too much stress on the joint connecting the lower arm with the pastern. I would think it would cause pain in extreme cases. The correct angle should be able to transfer and withstand the weight of a dog properly in forward motion as well as standing still. I assume it would affect a dog's surefootedness as well as endurance.


by EuroShepherd on 08 July 2012 - 16:07

Pasterns is the wrist area of the dog's forelegs.  The joint from the paw to the lower foreleg. 

Diet can also affect the pasterns, particularly very high protein kibble fed to puppies is known to cause very weak pasterns.

Pasterns can also "knuckle over" and there are forms of carpal subluxation that cause can cause severe twisting of the pasterns. 

The most common pastern problem in GSDs is weak pasterns (also called downed pasterns)

Give me an hour or so and I'll go thru my collection of photos, circle the pasterns and post them here. 

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