Another in a series of continuing reports by 
Tina Barber
Shiloh Shepherd Breed Founder

ISSR b CH. Ptd. Zion's
Raven out of the Mist
Grand Victor for 1999 and 2000 in one of the "counterfeit" registries. ISSR GV bCH. Highlife's Penny for a Thought

From the ISSR Breed Standard:

 "THE GAIT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A VERY CRITICAL PART OF THE OVERALL PERFECTION OF THIS BREED. This breed must be observed while the dog is on a loose lead so that the natural gait is evident. The gait is outreaching, elastic, seemingly tireless without effort; smooth, and rhythmic, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum amount of steps. At a walk, it covers a great deal of ground with long strides of both hind legs and forelegs. At a trot, it covers still more ground with even longer stride, and moves powerfully but easily with coordination and balance, so that the gait appears to be as the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine. The feet travel close to the ground on both forward reach and backward push. In order to achieve ideal movement of this kind, there must be good muscular development and ligamentation. The hindquarters deliver, through the back, a powerful thrust, which slightly lifts the whole animal and drives the body forward. Reaching far under, and passing the imprint left by the front foot, the hind foot takes hold of the ground; then hock, stifle, and upper thigh come into play and sweep back, the stroke of the hind leg finishing with the foot still close to the ground in a smooth follow through. The overreach of the hindquarter usually necessitates one hind foot passing outside and the other hind foot passing inside the track of the forefeet, and such action is not faulty unless the locomotion is crab-wise with the dog’s body sideways out of the normal straight line. As the dog increases speed into the "flying trot', he should move fluidly, without pounding. The forelegs should reach out well past the nose while the head is carried forward."

Please note the chart below which judges are required to follow when rating our "breed" as a whole:

MINOR FAULTS – l. undue length between the last rib and thigh when viewed from the side 2. Tails that are too short, thin or ratty 3. any white markings on any part of the body, excluding the chest and toes (unless all white, then other or faded markings covering the white should be penalized) 4.when in motion any back that does not remain firm, but displays a sway, whip, or roach 5. an uneven topline when standing , with the withers lower than the croup.

VERY SERIOUS FAULTS - 1. spooking at strange sights or sounds, along with tucking under of tai l. 2. faults of gait, whether from front, rear, or side 3. ears that are too large in proportion to the head, shows signs of weakness, or point 'east-west' away from the center of the head 4. any coat that is open, woolly, curly, too close or too long 5. splay and/or hare feet, weak and/or cowhocks 6. a tail that forms a hook or ring when relaxed.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS - 1. any male (over 36 months) measuring less than 28" or female (over 36 months) measuring less than 26". 2. dogs over 15 months of age with hanging ears 3. any adult dogs with a distinctly overshot or undershot bite 4.A tail that is raised above the vertical line and/or past the horizontal line of the croup.

SCALE OF POINTS FOR JUDGING

1) General Appearance
strength, size, balance
15
2. Character
alertness and attitude
5
3. HEAD & EARS
eyes, teeth, & neck
15
4. FOREQUARTERS
feet
10
5. PROPORTION
body, chest, ribs, abdomen
10
6. TOPLINE, TAIL, HINDQUARTERS 15
7. GAIT, TRANSMISSION 25
8. COLOR, COAT 5
 

100

All ISSR breeding dogs must pass hip and temperament certification prior to receiving their registration category.  Our breed standard focuses the hardest on movement, because this is where the judge can help us in properly evaluating the quality of each animal shown. If you add items 6 (topline, tail, hindquarters) and  7 (gait, transmission) together, the sum  can be up to 40 of the maximum 100 points. 

Why is this area so important to our dogs? Because watching these dogs moving in a "flying trot" looks awesome? Not exactly! First and foremost the Shiloh Shepherd was bred to be a trotting dog, be it for herding or just jogging next to their owners.  These dogs should possess an easy flowing (non-tiring) trot. The dogs that naturally choose to move in an extended trot also display correct structure (everything where it should be) while dogs that do not move well could be exhibiting some serious structural defects! For a deeper understanding of the importance of proper movement, I would like to suggest  Dogsteps: Illustrated Gait at a Glance by Rachel Page Elliott. Some people think that the beauty of the flying trot is not that important if you only plan to have your dog as a pet (couch potato)....But...there is a lot more to this than meets the eye! 

Since gait is considered to be a critical part of the overall  quality of these dogs, breeding programs should always take the "total" dog into consideration! If the structure is not correct (as per breed standard) then the faulty dog/bitch should ONLY be bred to a counterpart that will offset this condition, and future breeding quality puppies should be carefully selected for several generations!

One of the critical issues that needs to be considered is the full package. Since a specially designed Malamute line was crossed into this breed about 12 years ago, breeders must be concerned about the "baggage" that this line carries. We have found that certain genes seem to "cluster" together. One of these is the tail (gay), incorrect movement or pacing (see the drawings on the cover of Dogsteps) and stubbornness! Most of us are aware that Malamutes tend to be "hardheaded" as well as  "roamers"....these are not the temperament traits we want to see in our Shilohs! Although the MAW line added much needed improvement to our pelvic set, it also brought with it some undesirable (sled dog) traits that need to be "washed out".  Obviously dogs that tend to pace with gay tails should not be bred. 



Tina's special report continues....

Movement TailsWhere Did the Leg Go? 

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