This past year I’ve learned a lot about the importance of structure in a dog. A dog with good structure will not only be able to do their job more efficiently and effectively, they will be able to do it for a lot longer! Both in terms of stamina and the length of functional lifetime. Poor structure often leads to injuries and a shortened work life.
While I’m far from being skilled at evaluating structure, I’m getting better at it. And one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of working dogs seem to have pretty good structure. At least the successful ones who are still running well into their mature years.
I’ve often been told that Kestrel has extremely nice structure. I thought I had some good stacked shots of her, but I can’t seem to find them. I’ll see if I can snap some better ones, but here are a few images to give you an idea of how she’s built:
This new found understanding led me to decide that if I planned to breed Kes, in addition to exceptional talent, good health, and a bombproof temperament, I needed to find a stud dog who is well put together! A tall order indeed.
I actually succeeded in meeting all these criteria when choosing Monty for Hannah’s litter three years ago, although more on instinct (with respect to structure that is) than actual knowledge. I really liked how he looked and moved, like a big black panther. Apparently what I think is a good looking, nicely moving dog is in fact one with good structure. Yay me!
I’m quite pleased to say that Mr. Scout meets all of the above criteria as well. One of the first things I noticed about him was how incredibly smoothly he moves. It’s hard to describe precisely, but his movement is strikingly fluid.
Below are a few pictures I snapped of Scout in ‘free stack’ positions. Neither Kes nor Scout does conformation and, as such, training them to ‘stack’ has not been on the agenda for either. These are just pictures I snapped when they held still for a moment.