20 April 2013

Structure. A statement.

I disagree with the concept that a slightly straighter shoulder is better for agility than a well-angulated one.

For some reason I keep seeing people saying this, that the shoulder should not be TOO angulated. I am speaking mostly about border collies, although "structure", in general, can be applied to any breed. But in my breed, I have never seen a shoulder that is "too angulated".

Not going to lecture, just putting that out there. It is my strong belief that "over-angulation of the shoulders" is a myth in border collies.

Not the best picture or stack, but the face and markings are not too distracting. Over-angulated? Nope, he's just right. How could having full range of flexibility in the shoulders possibly harm this dog's agility performance? And indeed, he has great flexibility of stride, the ability to collect and turn on a dime, and much more.

Anyway, just a peeve of mine that seems to be popping up a lot lately. I think a really great shoulder is kind of rare in BC's so I wish people would appreciate it a little bit more!

PS (edited to add): this does not mean that a great dog can't overcome their structure in some ways, but I do think structure matters, especially with the level of competition and athleticism in the sport today!

PPS here's an agility picture :)
Strafe flexing his shoulders;)
by Agility Gallery


Kathy said...

Seriously? Worrying about too much shoulder angulation, when having enough is such a rarity?!? Have they considered what happens when a dog lands off a jump? I sure don't want a straight shoulder. And I sure hope the people saying this aren't breeders.

Rosanne said...

I don't know if it's some weird way to excuse the fact that most BC's are straighter up front than in the rear, or what... but I have been hearing this lately quite a bit.

A slightly straighter than perfect shoulder doesn't bother me too much, but when it is matched with too much rear angulation then you have a problem. And sadly that is also a trend in BC's...

K-Koira said...

As long as the rear and shoulder angles match, and neither are super straight, I don't see the problem. To analyze my dogs' structure, I used the guidelines found on this website: http://www.workingpitbull.com/Soundness2.html

Rosanne said...

matching angles are definitely good! I prefer a dog with a pretty laid back shoulder (for a border collie) and a matching (not overdone) rear, because it gives the most flexibility and range of motion.

However, a dog can be "just adequate" in many structural ways and do just fine! It's not the "be all end all" measure of success by any means.

Creekside Border Collies said...

Strafe is beautiful, a perfect specimen to be sure! But no breeder should focus on just one thing. Be it perfect 45 degree shoulders or color or speed or "power" in a working dog....Without heart, biddability and temperament, you got nothin' anyways! ;) Just sayin' AS a breeder :)

Rosanne said...

Even Strafe isn't perfect ;)

And absolutely - structure is just one component of a good agility dog. Structure can limit or aid a dog in its performance, but without the right heart, drive, temperament, etc, the dog is nothing.

There are some structural flaws that will prevent me from taking a puppy, but I certainly don't require them to all be "perfect" specimens (or close, like Strafe).