Canine gaits- Getting going

Dogs are known for their speed and agility, but have you ever wondered how they’re like this? From their ambling around or a little trot, to that extreme burst when they spot a rabbit on the other side of the field! We all know their movements so well on the surface, but under their fluffy coats their anatomy explains everything!

There are many advantages in learning more about your dog’s gaits. For instance, familiarising yourself with the way your dog moves can help you notice quickly when something doesn’t look right. When you exercise your dog, looking at their gait can help you detect the first signs of tiredness and fatigue.

It’s also helpful if you ever plan to enrol your dog in some doggy sports or a breeder interested in showing. Or if you’re just interested to learn more stuff about your loving companion.

So what is your dog’s gait? Simply, a dog’s gait is the way the dog moves. To get more technical, it’s canine locomotion at its best, a pattern of footsteps taking place at various speeds. Dogs can display 6 types of gaits, walk, pace, amble, trot, canter and gallop. Dogs have a very flexible back courtesy of having only 13 ribs and their short digestive system with lower volume allows them to steer and make short and accurate turns.

The Walk:
This is the least tiring of all gaits. It’s the only gait where 3 legs can be found on the ground at the same time. It’s a four-beat gait where each leg is lifted sequentially. The dog’s head and neck lower when the forelimb swings and are kept raised when it’s put down.

The Amble:
This is a symmetrical gait mostly used when the dog is transitioning from a walk to a trot. It’s similar to the pace, only that it is slower. It’s characterised by the alternate use of opposite legs with the left front and left back leg moving as a pair, and the right front and right back leg moving as a pair, the two legs on the same side are always on the ground.

The Pace:
This gait is considered a fault in the show ring. There’s only a few breeds that are allowed to pace by the Kennel Club, the Old English Sheepdog being one of them. It’s a relaxed gait that is shock absorbing. Two right feet are on the ground and two left feet in the air, afterwards, two left feet are on the ground and two right feet in the air.

Stay tuned because next week we’ll be looking at the next three gaits, the trot, canter and gallop, the motions behind your pooch’s top speeds!!

In the mean time, get your PitPat, lead and dog and get out and about and spot these 3 types of walk!!