I love peeking over here when people post pictures of their "show" dogs. It is so much fun to learn how a proper lab is put together. I have been going to dog shows since I have been 16 and have a pretty good idea what looks right when it is all there but I'd love to learn what it is that makes the other dogs NOT win and learn the correct lingo for it.
I loved it when Sharon posted all those photoshopped pictures of Clint and had people guess what was wrong with him.
Can we take turns posting our "pets" photo and find out what it is that would prevent them from exceeding in the ring(besides lacking the family jewels)?
Here is Guthrie. 2 years old. I know his coat is not super and his body is long...there is something funny about his shoulders but I don't know what that is called.
He is a lovely boy, I love his type. Yes, he is steep in the shoulders, a wee bit long maybe and not the best croup, but he is a quality dog overall and I'm sure he came from a nice litter.
I have some fun pictures of the progression of fronts and rears in three generations.
First, is a dog I bred to. He has lovely type but not the best front and lacks second thigh as well. I thought my bitch could carry him and she did for the most part. Here is the sire:
Here is the boy I kept back from that litter, you can see that the front and the rear are not outstanding, but improved and I got what I wanted from the breeding so he stayed (we also shortened up the coupling):
The son was linebred back into his bitch line and we got the fronts back (although the rear isn't quite there yet, it is still improved over his sire and note the further shortening of the coupling)
We also gained back the substance and depth of body we lost when going to the top boy (the chocolate boy is only 11 months in the picture).
The grandsire won a specialty RWD, the son won a specialty WD and the grandson at 14 months has already earned a BPISS/WD/JAM at one specialty, BOS Sweeps at another, and JAM at a third.
I kept the littermate to this chocolate boy and I call her Ugly Alice...LOL She stays here because of her pedigree, not her looks, and she has two things that I need : very short coupling and a good upper arm. She is long in the hocks and that will hold her back in the ring (although she has a puppy Group 1 because she is otherwise structurally sound), but I should hopefully be able to breed the hocks out in one generation as I've no idea where it came from.
Anyway, this is the stuff that makes breeding fun.
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
This is Hudler. He was our first before we thought about doing anything, let alone showing:
We got a few titles on him, and this AM he informed me he WOULD jump, so we are going to try Rally Advanced next year with him.
This is Maddy. We got snookered in by a step-up from a puppy mill on her:
Awesome working dog, thanks to a few nice field dogs in her pedigree. She's working on her RAE and then will hit UKC Rally.
This is Grace. Bought as a show prospect. Did OK, no points though. Too masculine an expression and doesn't like the show ring at all:
She prefers working. We're getting her ready for her CD next year.
This is Jed. He is out of Grace and a Ch. dad. He got kept just because. He has bone and a nice head and coat. I don't know if his rib cage will ever spring and he doesn't like showing much:
But he's almost a UKC Ch. and is almost ready for Rally Novice.
This is Jack. Littermate to Jed. Pick of the litter:
I would have preferred a better coat, better shoulder layback, better tail, but he's a UKC Ch. and hopefully I can get him AKC pointed in 2010 at some All-Bred shows.
This is Emilu - she is "3/4" conformation lines and 1/4 field lines. I think she is a nice looking dog, but certainly not show quality. I DO love her face and head however. We show in obedience and rally, and I think that she is often one of the better looking labs in obedience (not counting Susans Caleb of course!)
So, Guthrie is essentially too high in the shoulders and too low in the rear, right?
Thanks for walking throught the progression of your pups family tree. I can totally see how each generation has improved. That must make you feel so good. Your Chocolate boy is gorgeous! I can see his hind end is vastly improved!
Canyon....Jed and Jack are so handsome! Definately improving that line too!! I can see that Jack seems much "fuller" than Jed bodywise. Am I right in assuming that this is preferred?
Just to practice my eyes a bit more....Looking at Canyons Maddie....I know her front looks off...not in exactly the same way as Guthrie ..it just seems like the front is too far forward. Are her shoulders also too steep or is it something else.
Last edited by hark67; 08-22-2009 at 08:31 PM.
Oh Pat! I totally agree with you...Emilu has the sweetest face! I have always though her coloring was neat...how she has the dark mask...my friends lab has that same mask.
Looking at her picture she is shorter coupled(is that the right term?) than Guthrie. I like that look.....seems more balanced. I am going to say her rear is too high...don't know what the proper term is.
Hark, thanks on the boys. Yes, Jack is what is preferred in the ring. He had it as a pup, he still has it now. He's not perfect but he's better than his Momma.
Maddy has alot of issues that just don't make her show quality. Sloping croup, curled tail, lack of prosternum, very houndy head, no bone, almost no turn of stifle, and then throw in Elbow Dysplasia! She only had one show CH in all of her lines, 3 generations back. And then the non-visual issue, loving pet, very untypical lab temperment.
The front on that bitch is pretty similar to the front on your boy. The difference is, your boy has more keel (think boat) or prosternum and that gives him the illusion of a better front. On both dogs, the fronts are too far forward and this is because of the upper arm. This is commonly called a short upper arm, but what is means is that the angle at the elbow is too open and this forces the front assembly to be more forward on the dog. Having said that, both dogs have decent shoulders, a bit steep but decent enough. Sometimes a poorly constructed front will cause a stuffy neck but don't be fooled into thinking a long neck means a good front. Look at the first boy in my pictures and you will see he has a long neck but that is because his shoulders sit high. Compare that to the second boy who has an average and typical front: he has better shoulder layback than his sire and his front assembly is further back on his body (but not as much as you would think as he has better keel than his sire). This dog has very good shoulders actually. The chocolate puppy has the same amount of keel, the same good shoulders and layback, but a better upper arm...it appears longer because of the correct angulation and that is what we want: fronts don't get much better than that.Just to practice my eyes a bit more....Looking at Canyons Maddie....I know her front looks off...not in exactly the same way as Guthrie ..it just seems like the front is too far forward. Are her shoulders also too steep or is it something else.
A dog with good shoulder will also carry his head lower. Horses with poor fronts carry their heads high and the rider needs to be careful he doesn't get clocked. A labrador with a proper front should carry his head like a quarter horse and a dog with good shoulders will do so. Obedience people are fond of straight fronted dogs because it is quite easy for them to heel with their heads up in a more stylized manner. Dogs (or labradors anyway) with properly constructed fronts find it more difficult to heel with their heads up and tend to wrap a bit more to compensate. Anyway, looking at Jenn's dogs, you can see how the head carriage of the chocolate boy is better than the rest.
Here is a picture of a bitch with a short upper arm but excellent layback. She appears to have a better front than she does because she has a good deal of keel.
Compare her head carriage to my black boy's and you will see that the fronts are very different. Having said that, this is a multiple specialty winning bitch because although her front does not have a lot of angulation, nor does her rear, she is very nicely balanced front to rear and that gives her outstanding and purposeful movement:
She also has a very good croup, and you can see how that tail comes right off her back. This is because her pelvis is set properly. Compare the set of her pelvis to that of the chocolate puppy and his sire. They both have decent croups but the pelvic angle is not as good as Chili's. They have decent movement but nowhere near as nice as this bitch and that pelvic angle reduces the amount of drive they get off their rear. If you look at Alice's picture, her pelvic angle is very good too and she has excellent drive as well. Alice and Chili both have better pelvic angles than the boys because they are better matched front to rear.
It is important to remember that angulation does not happen in isolation. It is impossible to have a poor front and a great rear because the two are related and tied together with the spine. The structure of one will affect the other. Balance between the front and rear is crucial to labradors because if the front is straight and the rear is well angulated, the topline will slope like a pointer (there are pointers back in our lines so this can happen if breeders are not careful). Sadly, this is commonly found in our breed as it is very difficult to get and keep good fronts and IMHO many breeders are wrongly focusing on rears. When a dog has a better rear than front, he will swim deep. This is why a straight topline and tailset are crucial for the labrador: he is a WATER RETRIEVER and must be built accordingly. He needs a powerful rear to propel himself through the water and the tail should function like a rudder. If his front does not match, he will not swim like an otter, but will dog paddle (I call these dogs egg beaters) and spend more vertical energy than horizontal energy. A poorly constructed front also interferes with his ability to pick up birds, especially on land. If he is steep in the front, it is more difficult for him to lower his head (remember straight front = high head carriage). If he has good shoulder layback, when he carries a heavy bird, that weight will be born on his shoulders. If his front assembly is too far forward and/or his shoulders are steep, the load of the bird will be carried too far forward and place too much strain on his neck and elbows. Think carrying a heavy load: it is much easier to carry it against your body than with your arms out in front of you and it is the same with the dogs.
When looking at a labrador, balance and moderation are key. If you have a good eye, you will see balance immediately in the dog's silhouette. When looking at a dog from behind, you should also see that the rear is at least as wide as the shoulders. Many dogs lack this and it is not correct.
One little trick to help you see if a dog is balanced front to rear is to view him upside down. Take a picture and flip it upside down and it will reveal imbalance that you might not have noticed before
Last edited by Fallriver; 08-23-2009 at 09:09 AM.
To err is human:To forgive, canine."