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Discussion Starter #1
So fronts are my bone of contention. While I believe Gin has a better front than Ruby, I can't place WHY...what makes them different.

I'll be the first to admit, on dogs that people say have great fronts, they look a bit 'odd' to me. Maybe my preference is short upper arms because of ignorance? I was always told that a dog's legs should fall beneath the shoulder, but it rarely looks to me like that on a dog who is 'correct' they always look a bit wonky to me.

So I know Gin is narrow between her front legs (which is LOTS better, but still has a way to go). But tell me what you see about her layback, upper arm etc.

Here's some progressive pictures, be harsh, I can take it:

9 weeks not the best I know


16 weeks


6.5 months
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
And thanks to Laura/Labby, at 7.5 months


This was taken the same day as Laura's picture...just running in t he yard...


She looks monumentally better when her head is down, I think the reasoning is that her keel is less stretched and presents a picture of a nice front.

I THINK she has a short upper arm, but a nice layback.

Here's mom at 6 monthsfor comparison, short upper arm for sure, but she's moderately angled front and rear, so balanced. A lot of judges really like that.
 

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Well, here is what I see (remember you get what you paid for when you ask for free advice. :)

FROM THE PICTURES, I think you have improved fronts in this generation. I think Gin's front is very similar to Audrey's. Ruby's front, there is a short upper arm (what else is new), and she is somewhat steep in the shoulders.
Gin has the same short upper arm but has better layback and so I would say a better front overall. Ruby's elbows are under her shoulders pretty much, but the steeper angle of the scapula is what creates that. I would like to see a dog standing well under itself, but at the same time, I would like the entire front assembly to be further back on the dog so it is standing over itself. If you look at Ruby, like my Audrey, you can see there is a little too much space underneath her from her rear legs to her front legs. Gin is also cleaner over the shoulders.

Gin has that same amount of space but her shoulders are placed further back. So although she does not have her elbows placed under the tips of her scapulae like Ruby does, she has better layback and that helps her to carry the weight of a bird on her shoulders instead of on her elbows.

Correct fronts are hard to recognize and even harder to get. Living out here on the west coast, there are some lines that have that short upper arm pretty much set in. Beautiful shoulders but those short upper arms and forward front assemblies: like Audrey and Gin. Certainly doesn't hold those dogs back in the ring but the longer upper arm is certainly something to aim for. I think the dogs on the 'other' coast in general have better upper arms (and hocks which are a whole nuther story).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Dana, well, she's not half as hocky as she was, egads, thats something I hope I never ever see again! Fronts, yes, for the most part, they are monumentally better in her pups, but like I said, I can't say why, but looking at them, I can see it.
 

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So all this talk about fronts makes me look at Jack critically.



I do think he has improved a bit on Grace. Although he was about 8 months old and high in the rear, plus not standing well.



Most of the time I don't think I have a clue.
 

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Jenn, judging by the dog you used for Grace, I wouldn't expect that you would improve fronts. Don't get me wrong, there is lots to like about the boy but I'm not sure he could be counted on to improve fronts.

I think when they are really downhill, it can wreck the front coupling, especially the shoulder lay. I think the front is fairly similar to his dam, just not as much keel. He does stand under himself better than his dam but I'm not sure he has her layback. That may change slightly if he settles on his rear. He might not as he has more angulation up front than behind.

Hard to keep boys, they can sure go through some uglies. My Aaron lived in the closet for two years ;):p
 

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Melissa, sometimes I think a good front on a young dog looks over exaggerated, even if the rear matches. The keel is really far out there, and that's what I think looks wonky. Once the dog grows up, the chest drops, and the ribs spring, and they fill out, that exaggerated front looks right again, just like it may have at 6-7-8 weeks of age.

I do think that Gin has a nicer front than her mom, but her forearm is not necessarily short, but I do think it is upright. Her layback is good, but her front angle is tilted, imagine the < (let's pretend that that is the front angle) tip of the triangle is pointing more upwards than forward, which gives her that pretty layback, but an upright forearm. Most people mistake this for a short upper arm, but if you measure it, it's (usually) not.

I went to a great seminar, and we measured front angles with pipe cleaners. (Some people brought their dogs, so we could do it with different breeds, and sizes of dog, I brought Truffle) You take two pipe cleaners, measure and kink it, then you can compare length of shoulder and forearm, they should match or be close in length. The trick is knowing where to measure to-from, hands on. They also had large cardboard template angles, (90 degrees etc...) that you could place on the dog, to see visually how close, or far apart you were to the standard of that breed.
 

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In my opinion, there's a lot more to a dog than a "front". How about the rear? How about the topline? How about the head? How about balance? How about coat? How about an overall pleasing picture? I would not accept an east/west dog anymore than I would accept a cowhocked dog, or a freight-train long dog with teeny-tiny Corgi legs (yes, like the ones we see at Specialties, and at all All-Breed Shows -- and winning too). I think we're all trying to improve with each breeding, but we cannot get hung up on just one aspect of a dog.
I would MUCH rather have a shorter upper arm and a moderate keel, than I would a long backed dog, or a dog with no legs under him/her, or a dog with no rear angulation, or a dog with a saggy topline, or a cowhocked dog, or a dog with Sharpei wrinkles on her/his shoulders that have been fluffed up by expert grooming of a downy coat, or a dog with a puny head. I see them all the time and many call them great.
And by the way there is NOTHING wrong with a moderate dog that fits the standard. Being moderate does not equate being a poor specimen of the breed. I don't believe anywhere in our standard there is mention that our dogs must be overdone and must weight 90 lbs. by the time they're 6 months old.
Inasmuch as I DO NOT like the dog that was the subject of the original post that gave rise to this one, and while it is my opinion that he is a lovely pet and nothing more, it is not his being moderate that bothers me. It is everything else.
I'm not getting hung up on the "front" whirlwind. I am striving for a dog that I can live with and look at in my home and in the show ring. I am striving for that overall "pleasing picture". No dog is perfect and we have to learn to take the good with the bad and also not to "throw out the baby with the bath water". And no, breeder judge placements don't sway me in the least. A crappy judge is a crappy judge -- breeder or all-breed. I am a breeder. I think I know Labs just as well as the rest of them.
 

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In my opinion, there's a lot more to a dog than a "front". How about the rear? How about the topline? How about the head? How about balance? How about coat? How about an overall pleasing picture? I would not accept an east/west dog anymore than I would accept a cowhocked dog, or a freight-train long dog with teeny-tiny Corgi legs (yes, like the ones we see at Specialties, and at all All-Breed Shows -- and winning too). I think we're all trying to improve with each breeding, but we cannot get hung up on just one aspect of a dog.
I didn't think anyone was saying that fronts are more important than anything else. I'm not sure where you thought that was the topic here???


I would MUCH rather have a shorter upper arm and a moderate keel, than I would a long backed dog, or a dog with no legs under him/her, or a dog with no rear angulation, or a dog with a saggy topline, or a cowhocked dog, or a dog with Sharpei wrinkles on her/his shoulders that have been fluffed up by expert grooming of a downy coat, or a dog with a puny head. I see them all the time and many call them great.
To each his own. I don't want any failings on my dogs! Of course they are not perfect but I can live with a minor fault but not a major failing like the ones you are describing.

And by the way there is NOTHING wrong with a moderate dog that fits the standard. Being moderate does not equate being a poor specimen of the breed. I don't believe anywhere in our standard there is mention that our dogs must be overdone and must weight 90 lbs. by the time they're 6 months old.
Ouch. I don't like a moderate dog - nobody said there is nothing "wrong" with them but you are coming across as someone with a mission against specialty type dogs. Don't bash the type that others like if you don't want them to bash the type you prefer!

And no, breeder judge placements don't sway me in the least. A crappy judge is a crappy judge -- breeder or all-breed. I am a breeder. I think I know Labs just as well as the rest of them.
Well the opinion of a breeder/judge should absolutely sway you! They are people who have worked hard to gain knowledge and experience by breeding Labradors for a long time and then made the huge leap to be respected enough to become a judge. Not all breeder/judges like the exact same type but they should be respected. And since you are a breeder you know everything? Your type is the only correct type? I continually learn every day and when you get to the point where you know everything then you have so very far to go.
 

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We all have much to learn. However, producing fat, overdone, short legged, long backed dogs is not something I want to learn to do. I have seen correct, MODERATE (horrible word, isn't it?) dogs win at Specialties and at all-breed shows. BTW, MODERATE doesn't mean lanky and fieldy if that is what you're thinking. I don't want that either.
 

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Why does this board always end up being a show vs. field debate? :mad:

If I am going to get hung up on one aspect of a dog, it is going to be the one that supports 60% of it's body weight. This is important to me as my dogs are titled in multiple venues, so when I talk about structure, it isn't lip service. Having said that, long backs, cow hocks and many of the other issues that you posted are related to the front assembly because joints do not operate in isolation, they are all connected. This is why it is important that a dog who looks good standing should be able to hold it on the move.

If my dogs aren't your cup of tea, I can live with that and I'm sure the same applies to everyone here. It is quite rude however to trash certain styles of dog on a public forum. It is an insult to the dogs, their owners, their breeders and the judges who see merit in them. It is also insulting to us to be preached to when many of us have owned and bred champions and specialty winners. :rolleyes:
 

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I think you're getting overly defensive for no reason. I am not trashing anyone's dogs as I don't know any of them. I simply stated my opinion and my likes and dislikes. I too compete, and very successfully, with my dogs in multiple venues -- conformation included. I will continue to focus on the dog as a whole and not just on one part, as you said, they balance each other. And by the way, I have seen long backed, short legged, cowhocked dogs with "beautiful" fronts. Have a nice evening. I'm going to dinner.
 

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Kristen do you have a website? What titles do your dogs have? Do you have some photos of puppies you have produced?

You come off arrogant and aggressive and I really have no idea why. We are all learning here and we should be respectful of others. Your words are actually bordering on rude and that part doesn't contribute to anything and you lose all respect.
 

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I was thinking the same thing Sharon. Most of us here at least know each other through the boards, are somewhat aware of each others dogs and pedigrees because we share that info with one another and openly talk about all aspects. Melissa's thread was specifically talking about the front. While anyone is free to give their opinion, it seemed like a wierd place to have a tirade about how moderate dogs are better and specialty dogs are fat and out of place.
 

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I would not accept an east/west dog anymore than I would accept a cowhocked dog, or a freight-train long dog with teeny-tiny Corgi legs (yes, like the ones we see at Specialties, and at all All-Breed Shows -- and winning too).... I think we're all trying to improve with each breeding, but we cannot get hung up on just one aspect of a dog.
Wow, while I think I understand where you're going (ie- "look at the whole dog"), I agree with the above posts. We have been doing these "one part" informative threads on this board for years now (before the big move to this location, even) so that we can learn in-depth about various aspects of what make a correct labrador a "good" (no, make that great!) labrador. We all know our strong points and our weak points, and can all usually tell whether or not we like a dog...but aren't always great at explaining "why" and these threads help us to concentrate on one specific topic rather than anything broad/sweeping about the "whole dog."

I feel that labrador breeder judges are generally well-respected and valued in the labrador population not just for their perspectives and opinions, but also because of their past (and usually current) successes in this wonderful breed. Those I know who are just starting the processes of possibly achieving their AKC labrador judging cards have bred at least 5 AKC champions. Not an easy feat in this breed, by any means. And you don't get a championship just by going to the same judge who likes your dog over and over again, as we all know. I put much more faith in the decisions of someone with that kind of history in, and dedication to, our breed than one who was born/raised showing German Shorthair Pointers and are most familiar with their structure/coat/etc.


Do politics play a part? Probably, especially at all-breed shows where so many of us watch the same handlers win over and over again.

Less likely at specialty shows, in my rather limited experience. ;)
That is why I much prefer attending specialty shows. I appreciate the people there, the low-key, day-long (and then into the night) atmosphere, the friendships and comradery. Do I think that MY idea of the best dog on that particular day ALWAYS wins? Not at all, but usually I can appreciate why a particular dog is put up (even if not my cup of tea). It beats competing constantly against the same professionals (and often watching them win over and over) and arriving to show, then leaving after an hour until the next day. Gross generalizations, of course (just like in your post), but still why I feel the way I do.
 

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You get to stay a whole hour at all breed shows Julie?? Lucky girl :D:D:D
 

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You come off arrogant and aggressive and I really have no idea why. We are all learning here and we should be respectful of others. Your words are actually bordering on rude and that part doesn't contribute to anything and you lose all respect.

No, it's actually you that's coming off as aggressive and rude, and actually, very much so. I simply stated my opinion. I wish I could address you by your name, as it would be the respectful thing to do, but I couldn't find your name since your messages are not signed.
 

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While anyone is free to give their opinion, it seemed like a wierd place to have a tirade about how moderate dogs are better and specialty dogs are fat and out of place.

Jen,
No, I didn't say moderate dogs are better, read correctly, please. I said that a moderate dog can be beautiful if it is balanced and correct. Moderate to me means of moderate size, not moderate in quality. And yes, there are many fat dogs at Specialties as they are at all breed shows as well.
I think everyone has chosen to read what they have wanted to read in my post not the post as a whole and turned it into a tirade. You don't have to agree with what I said, after all, it is only an opinion.
 
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