Conformation Showing > Mr. Donald asked me a difficult question (115 replies)
Mr. Donald asked me a difficult question
by Ibrahim on 06 May 2012 - 12:27
In this thread
Mr. Louis Donald asked me a very difficult question and this is a quote of what he asked:
Good response. Maybe I should have posed a tougher question; One dog has forelegs that are at a ratio of 45% of the dogs height, the other has a shoulder that is of correct length but set at 50 degrees and the other has an upperarm that is the correct lenght but set at 60 degrees. Place 1st to 3rd?
Regarding the upperarm question. Putting aside specific breeding partners, their parentage and in general terms modern lines, short steep upperarm have always been an issue in the breed. The length has improved more than the angle over recent years. The answer is therefore a relative one.
For interest, my observation is that in an historical sense using Siegers as a measure the first good length appeared with Dido v d Werther Konigshale in 1968 and good lengtht with good angle in 1973 with Gundo v Klosterbogen and consolidation in a breeding sense occurred in 1983 with Uran.
Both are hard to fix, harder to consolidate and difficult to perpetuate with consistency and when even when it is consolidated over many years because of its history within the breed both can dissapear very quickly.
I think I have the correct answer but I will first take the chance to test my understanding of movement/front reach infront of Mr. Donald & the experienced on this board and make this thread a little fun to interested members. Therefore I shall make an introduction to how I understand the front assembly of the GSD , its various components, their inter- proportions, angles, plus the relation of the front as a whole to principal proportions of the dog plus have a look at what balance really means.
I want first to confess to you that I made a big mistake in a previous thread about the front assembly of Dingo vom haus gero especially the front upper arm angle
I say that was a big mistake because I forced my wrong understanding then of front assembly components varying effects on front reach, which I bet many GSD enthusiasts do not know the whole truth abou what role each component plays on front reach, on the good front reach of Dingo, thinking that good movement= good length + good angle of front upper arm only.
If one reads available material by many experts on the front assembly, much talk is done on length of upper arm and its angle to the point that one thinks that the most important two factors of the correct front and thus correct reach/movement is the front upper arm and its angle which is in my humble opinion is not totally correct. It all clicked and became clear to me after I read Mr. Donald's paper, the unconnected pieces then became much closer and the picture became more clear.
So to those interested in sharing their valuable knowledge on this thread and to those interested in understanding the front of the GSD/front reach better than they do at the moment this is an invitation to read first what Mr. Donald wrote about the front part of the GSD and please pay attention to diagrams that explain how front reach is affected by length of front upper arm, its angle and length of fore leg.
I will later on introduce what I think is a major role the shoulder blade plays in all this and see what Mr. Donald & you comment on it.
To be continued
by Ibrahim on 06 May 2012 - 13:39
|This is Dingo vom haus Gero, he is admired for his excellent gait and front reach and usually used as an example of correct gait, but his frong upper arm angle is considered steep compared tp today's VAs, then why does he have a great gait/front reach if the front upper arm angle is the major deciding factor for proper front reach !!!!!!!|
I think this is a more correct visualization of Dingo's shoulder than I posted in that thread.
For a start part of the answer to this big why is he had an extraordinary long front upper arm, but that's not all.
To be continued
by Ibrahim on 06 May 2012 - 20:31
|Please while watching Dingo gaiting pay close attention to where his toes reach in full fore-front extension, here's a picture with some line to demonstrate that.|
Look at the green lines 1 pastern, 2 fore arm/leg & 3 front upper arm, he has good length & proportion of all these three bones, especially number 2 then 1 then 3, this is another part of the answer for the big why. Please note the good lay of the shoulder blade, and I talk about later.
by Ibrahim on 06 May 2012 - 21:12
So what is front reach? When the dog moves it is simply the distance dog covers in a trot by its fore leg between point b to A in each forward move and I'll call it fore-front reach if no one suggests anything else and distance B to C I'll call it fore under-reach.
Think of the trangle with the blue lines as a closed triange with the base being horizontal and the red line being a vertical divider in ideal dogs. Now the remaining two lines are representetives of the for leg in maximum front reach and backwards reach.
According to standard the red line which is the height at withers is limited for the male from 60-65 cms and we can not go beyond that but simple mathematics tells us the longer this line then the longer line AB become and therefore better reach. Also the longer the blue line A W the longer the line AB gets and therefore better reach. For discussing front assembly we deal with line WA, the longer we can make it the better front reach gets, but what makes this line longer ?
To be continued
by Ibrahim on 06 May 2012 - 21:56
|Let us have a look at the front assembly|
Here are the ideal angles
Please refer to how Mr. Donald explained the angles of the shoulder should be correctly determined
Please note the vertical red line that passes from the center of the tip shoulder blade to the pasterns, this line is an indication of a good front assembly, good lay of shoulder blade and correct fore arms. It has also to do with correct balance of the fore assembly, here's some of what Mr. Donald says about it:
Quote:I have mentioned the importance of the dog maintaining its
centre of gravity. This is in stance as well as in movement.
To better understand this, to better understand Figure 19
and to feel this for yourself – stand up dead straight and in
doing so you will find the most natural position for you to
stand is when your two feet are together and your heels are
in a vertical line with your legs, hips, spine, and head. This is
because the central line of gravity is being transferred in a
basically straight line down through the centre of your body
and through the centre of your heels. As a result you feel
totally balanced. If you tilt your upper body forward at the
waist, you will feel the centre of gravity shift toward the balls
of your feet. This has shifted the line of gravity and you feel
For the dog to have ideal transfer of gravity through the
forehand when it is standing naturally, the centre of the
shoulder blade needs to be vertically in line with the axis
point where the upper arm meets the foreleg and this vertical
line needs to continue on down through the fore leg to the
pastern. This can be seen in part in Figure 19.
End of quote, I couldn't copy figure 19 here, sorry for that.
by Ibrahim on 06 May 2012 - 22:30
|In above figure, the front assembly consists of the shoulder blade 10 then the front upper arm 12 (and a joint in between) and then the front arm/leg 14 (and a joint in between) then the pasterns and a joint in between then the toes and underneath the pads.|
All the components are connected and act in motion as a system, for motion brain gives signal to nerves and then muscles carry out the action by moving the bones which are connected via the joints and connections between muscles surrounding the bones. Extent of move and extent of resulting angles/inside movement of bones in the joints is governed and limited by the muscles and joints themselves. So there are limitations to maximum changing angles between various bones in movement.
To easily understand the movement of bones consider the shoulder blade itself as a fixed bone with no movement, in reality it is semi-fixed and does move vertically and horizontally to a relatively limited extent, a side note here the movement of shoulder blade and its role in transferring forces either didn't have its way to my brain or I disagree with what Mr. Donald says in his paper but this is another issue, let's just for ease consider the shoulder blade a fixed bone. The upper arm moves inward and outward via the joint with the shoulder blade, and the fore arm/leg moves outward and inward via the joint with the front upper arm, also the pasterns move up and down via the joint with the fore arm/leg.
Each bone has an allowable extent of movement and thus decreasing or increasing angle with preceding bone is governed by the muscles and joints themselves.
by Ibrahim on 06 May 2012 - 23:00
|How does bones look like in full forward extension? if we have a dog whose front reach is close to ideal and trace his various bones then we can analyse the limitations of each bone extension and we can analyze the effect of each length and its angle on the total fore- front reach. Luckily Mr. Fred Lanting did this, he posted the picture on this forum so we may use them for learning purpose.|
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 06:03
|Let us have a look at above bones trace|
I drew these lines between the various bones using the above mentioned directions by Mr. Donald on how to represent the lines and angles of bones. Mr. Donald or any of the experts might give us the exact angles if exact data is availavle, for now I will give estimates, angle of front upper arm has increased a lot, almost doubled, while ideal in standing position is 53 degrees it is now about 90 degrees (excuse my bad line representing the front upper arm). Angle B which is 45 degrees has become approximately 55. Unluckily I do not have a standing picture of the above dog which is Rommel's Jasemin to estimate its true B angle in standing, but let us assume it was close to ideal say 50 degrees and that means the change in this angle is 5 degrees which represents about 10% from original while standing.
If we also assume angle A was close to ideal say 60 degrees then the change is 30 degrees which is 50% from original, comparatively change in angle A is minor, therefore for simplicity of understanding while considering fore- front reach assume the shoulder blade is fixed.
Now ideal angle C in standing is 180 degrees and in well conformed GSD it is usual, now in full extension it is approximately 125 degrees which means there is a decrease by 55 degrees.
by Louis Donald on 07 May 2012 - 06:29
|My paper was designed to encourage people to think for themselves, to work things out for themselves, to question what they read including what I have written and to question what they have been told by the plethora of 'experts'. In that context your response Ibrahim has been excellent and it has given me the greatest of pleasure.|
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 14:31
As I said before, my personal understanding of dog and GSD structure and movement was taken to higher grounds after reading your paper, I may not be able to think of and connect all pieces of bones & angles in the GSD, it needs dedication, knowledge, experience, wide exposure to dog specimens, resources to info, history and much more. I shall only concentrate on the fore parts in a mathmetical approach and through this open live thinking process see how you & other respected knowledgeable here on the board evaluate my understanding of the fore assembly of the GSD/front reach and the answer I come up with to your question which started all this.
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 14:52
Please note line WA which connects the most far point a well constructed GSD could reach in his front reach and the top mid of the shoulder blade, please note that this line goes exactly through the center of shoulder blade upto the tip of the toes when touching the ground. This line WA is also the resultant length the combination of fore assembly bone could make in a ful reach (shoulder blade +front upper arm + fore leg + pastern + toes).
Let us look at same line in Dingo
And let us look at this line on Gina vom Aquamarin who is in my humble opinion one of the best movers ever.
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 15:36
|For those who do not know Gina here is a video which wasn't done in the best way and handler was straining her on the leash but nevertheless her incredible fore-front & fore-under reach is obvious|
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 17:03
|Okay I will sum up, answer the question and say few observations, notes and then hear what you have to say, all are welcome to share their opinions.|
DWBA is a closed trangle, AB is the distance between top of mid point of shoulder blade bone and ground. BA is the distance covered by for leg in a single trot forward and called fore-front reach or simply front reach. Line AW is the resultant distance of the sum up of all the bones in the fore assembly (1,2,3 &4).
The longer line BA is the better the front reach of a dog. What can make line longer? The longer the line WB and or line AW as a result line BA will become longer. Line WB is not our present concern at the moment and it will not be considered temporarily.
I will focus on line AW, this line is the resultant sum lengths of all the fore bones in full reach as it connects the shoulder blade and toes.Therefore the longer the sum of those bones the longer is AW and then BA. To explain how increase in line AW affects line AB here is a diagram, please note that approximately each 2 inches increase in line AW will make 1 inch increase in line AB.
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 18:07
|And to explain how increase in length of each bone affects line AW, shoulder blade is in same direction/almost no deviation from line AW, in other words same line same direction and it is the only bone that has this virtue, therefore each one inch increase in length of shoulder blade results in one inch increse in line AW and hence a half inch increase in front reach approximately. So shoulder blade when lengths of bones is under evaluation has a good positive effect on front reach and proper value should be given to it accordingly when discussing the shoulder (front upper arm & shoulder blade).|
Now to the fore leg, note that it runs in a direction further to the outside, any increase in its length will have two effects 1. pushing the toe tip further in direction of line BA (to the outside) and 2. pushing the toe tip in direction of line WA , relatively this is a little bigger effect on resultant distance gained in front reach BA than that of the shoulder blade. Same is in case of the pastern which runs further to the outside direction and has a relatively a little bigger effect on front reach than fore le and accordingly the shoulder blade. If we put in order effect of increase in length of the so far considered bones, it will be in this order
2. Fore leg
3. Shoulder blade
we continue with the front upper arm length which is more complicated
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 19:06
|Before I go to the front upper arm I have to stress one point about the line WA, this line is a sort of balance that whatever we play with the lengths and angles of fore assembly bones it will always be there when stretching the fore leg forward running from the top mid point of the shoulder blade through its axis to the toe tips, it will always be like that in full reach, it is a sort of balance or compulsory result of various front angles, bone lengths, inter-proportions etc. resultant direction will always run from top mid of shoulder blade through its axis to tip of mid foot/toe.|
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 20:38
|Now in the same mathematics & logic as stated above, looking at front upper arm we find its direction is away from that of line WA, so one might wrongly deduct that increase in its length will have adverse effect on distance WA and therefore decrease the front reach BA. No it is not like that, as a matter of fact shoulder blade and front upper arm are themselves are a smaller assemble inside a bigger one and any increase in front upper arm will only be adjusted for within the smaller assemble which means the effect of increase in length of front upper arm will push upward in the direction of the front upper arm causing the inter joint between them to point more upward and therefore pushing the line WA to further to the outside by increasing the angle at point W.|
Keeping in mind that at the end line WA will always connect points W & A as explained earler, therefore line WA increases and accordingly front reach BA increases.
We should never forget the importance of proportions between the various fore assembly bones, these proportions are crucial for balance and proper effective movement.
when increasing the length of front upper arm without control of desirable proportions we end up with the lifting up of the fore leg of the dog in gaiting to compensate for higher directing of flowing movement force from top of shoulder blade to toe tips, provided also this causes excess undesirable movement in the shoulder blade, I don't claim that is the only reason of this evident lifting up of fore leg in gaiting but it is associated with improper proportions.
For further understanding of whar I called the smaller assembly (the shoulder) please refer to Mr. Donald's paper
One more note the effect of increase in front upper arm to a certain limit is approximately eguvalent to that of the shoulder blade but less than that of pastern and fore leg.
by Ibrahim on 07 May 2012 - 21:01
|At last to answer the question: One dog has forelegs that are at a ratio of 45% of the dogs height, the other has a shoulder that is of correct length but set at 50 degrees and the other has an upperarm that is the correct lenght but set at 60 degrees. Place 1st to 3rd?|
With the consideration to bettering the front reach and effective trot I shall place:
1. The one that has an upper arm of correct length but set at 60 degrees
2. The one that has a shoulder blade of correct length but set at 50 degrees
3. The dog that has fore legs of 45% of its height as the 10 % decrease will shorten the front reach tremendously.
Provided I watch the trot of the second one very closely to make sure he does not lift up his for leg excessively making his trot non-efficient. If I get 2/3 in correct positions to each other I will consider it a pass
All are welcome to share
Thanks Mr. Donald for the nice exercise
by Ibrahim on 08 May 2012 - 05:23
|Just to complete the picture of my understanding of the front assembly of the GSD I feel I need to add a little more. It is not actually necessary for each and every one to analyze various aspects scientifically, each one of us and I'm included shapes info and facts in the best way for him/her to digest and maybe that's what I've been doing in this thread so far. for a beginner it is vital that one pays close attention to pieces of info that come from trustworthy sources of respectful background in the GSD world as these are what I like to think of as golden tips or secret keys. I remember when few of the members here on the board helped me to understand structure I got many secret keys as gifts, I knew their value and appreciated them, some I could think of, analyze and put to test and some remained relatively teasing. One of those was what Mr. Donald described as the center of gravity, the line that comes from top mid point of the shoulder blade then passes through the joint between fore leg/front upper arm to pastern joint and this line is vertical. In the very beginning it was brought to my attention by Rik but it remained a teasing one till I read Mr. Donald's paper.|
Today when I look at the front assembly I first look at this line, if it looks good then the dog's front is balanced and it is worth going to other parts and issues, but if it's not then the dog has a serious problem whatever one might think he has good other details.
This is an ideal fore assembly balance in my opinion
by Ibrahim on 08 May 2012 - 05:35
|I had this dog and I didn't leave a single bone accessible without feeling it with my fingers many times repeatedly.|
No matter how I tried to teach and make him stand with his feet under his shoulder I couldn't, he would always change to above position which I didn't see correct, it went on till I realized he had a problem, his fore assembly is not in good balance. If you forget about the fore leg and just look at the shoulder, it's a beautiful one but looking again and seeing how his fore leg fits in made me depressed. I know exactly where the top mid point of his shoulder blade and I can represent the above mentioned line to a good correctness like this in the blue line.
Please see how it passes way back from his pastern joint.
And going back in my try to understand why Dingo had such a good gaiting, one of the reasons is I believe he had perfect blalanced fore assembly.
by Ibrahim on 08 May 2012 - 10:28
|At last it is all about good, very good or excellent balance. We usually hear well balanced dog, very good constructed dog etc etc. Balance comes from correct proportions, and that is why it is wise to think of of bones in proportion to other bones and each bone in proportion to total bones in a seperate unit/part. Importance starts from total balance and then to balance within each part of the dog.|
I will list them in descending order as I see their importance, but each might put them in a different sequence.
1. All over balance: a. Head part & neck b. chest and fore c. mid part d. rear
2. Bones size and strength (including head) to total frame.
3. Height to length
4. Chest depth to height
5. Fore to rear angulations
And then each part's internal proportions is studied seperately, for the fore assembly here is their importance to me:
1. That blue line, without it no balance and therefore nothing very else that is very good in the fore assembly means anything
2. Shoulder blade lay, without it no correct shoulder and no correct fore, good front reach starts from there.
3. Proportions: a. fore leg to height b. shoulder blade to front upper arm c. front upper arm to fore leg c. pastern to fore leg.
4. Angle of fore arm
5. angle of pastern
Going back to Dingo he gets very good for all and each of the above
and maybe that is the most important answer to why he had such a grait trot.
Thanks for bearing with me.