July 2005


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Karen Clanin <[log in to unmask]>
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Farm Collie Breed Conservancy and Restoration <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 15 Jul 2005 22:07:37 -0700
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having been involved in breeding and showing dogs, sheep, goats and horses
i've done a lot of studying on structure and have seen what happens  to the
body when things are not in proper alignment.

here's one example.  a mare i bought in 1993 ended up with radiographed
diagnosis of arthritis in a front fetlock after i had her about a year, we
know she was started young and had a lot of miles put on her young -- to
young -- and the arthritis in this joint developed because she was offset
slightly in the cannon in that leg.   this means that the cannon bone was
not in straight alignment with her knee (above) and fetlock/pastern/hoof
(below) so it put uneven stress/wear on the pastern joint.

i also had a half-arab half-halflinger, in structure he favored his sire
and was very drafty in type.  i bought him when he was 2 years old, he was
straight in the stifle -- meaning he lacked angulation in the rear leg
above the hock -- which can often be found in draft type so they are able
to lock that rear leg to pull heavy weights.  at 2 he already had fluid
pockets in his hocks, granted he was way overweight when i got him and that
could have influenced the damage already done, yet if he had more
angulation in the rear he probably would not have been affected.

i've been around a lot of cutting horses, they tend to like them a little
cow hocked because it allows them to do those quick changes of
direction.  however, walking around looking at the various horses, those
that had straight (i.e. correct) structure did not have the huge fluid
pockets in the hock joints that the cow hocked ones did -- to a horse, no
exceptions.  again, the result of things not being in correct alignment and
so undue stress on the hock joint.

i know quite a few endurance horses, the 50 and 100 mile type, some riders
feel a little cow hockedness helps them go down hills without the rear feet
catching the front feet, but a lot of the ones i know have rear leg
problems as they get older.

it's just a fact that things that are not aligned properly will in time
have more wear than ones that are correct.  i happen to like seeing older
animals enjoy a comfortable old age instead of being crippled up due to
poor structure.

unless one gets into certain breeds that have unusual structure for a
specific purpose, good structure is good structure and it is proven in all
the various species that good structure has fewer problems.

you don't want a cow to have cow hocks because if she does it affects the
udder when it is full and in time will break down the support of the udder
(same in a dairy goar.)    i am a firm believer that proper structure is a
vital part of working ability, all the working instinct in the world isn't
going to make that dog with structure faults last longer.  why not try to
produce good working instinct in a well structured body instead of having
to settle for less?

one sad thing about athena is that from what i was told AKC is supposed to
inspect a kennel that has over so many litters a year, athena had way more
than that number of litters and reportedly she was never inspected by
AKC.  so, in my opinion, AKC has to take a good piece of the blame for the
condition those dogs were kept in.  there are other breeders breeding for
non-carrier status in collies, it really isn't difficult to breed CEA out,
most just don't want to be bothered.