AKC judge, Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeder, author and speaker Stephanie Seabrook Hedgepath joins host Laura Reeves for a conversation about canine structure. Hedgepath walks us through what’s important when evaluating a dog’s structure.
“You gotta know where to put your hands,” Hedgepath said. “You've got to understand the skeletal structure of the dog because that's the basis of the whole thing. Now a skeleton by itself can't move. It's gotta have muscles and ligaments and all of that, but you've got to understand the basics underneath … you also have to understand balance.
“That front assembly is laid back, set under the ribbing so as to provide the most support in the front when it acts as a shock protector … I think what people don't understand is the whole front assembly of the dog is held on with muscles and ligaments to the chest. In the rear we have the hip the pelvis is fused to the spine at the sacroiliac joint. It is fused to the spine and then you've got a nice big ball and socket that goes into that. So that is much more rigid. The front assembly, if you don't keep your dog in shape, they can get injured very easily. But if it isn't set up properly and those muscles and all are not going where they need to go to hold all of that together, then we've got a big problem.
“I think that's the thing that the majority people don't understand. That's why (when) dogs are in motion we can have dogs that flip their fronts, they paddle, they go in circles…. (while) in the rear, we don't have as many different ways for the dog to go laterally, 'cause it's a much more fixed assembly.
“What fascinates me is the way everything works together. Anatomy and Physiology is just beyond explanation sometimes because it's like dominoes. If one little thing goes wrong then boom boom boom boom all the way down the chain everything's gone.”