Common Faults of Dog Breeds
In the majority of breeds the front legs should be straight. A common fault is for the feet to turn out below the knees, giving a slightly knock-kneed appearance. The bones should be strong and well formed. The most common faults in the hind legs are insufficiently bent hocks (the first joint abo
ve the foot) and straight stifles (the anterior border of the hind leg from the hock joint to the knee). The exceptions to this rule are the chows and elkhounds, whose hocks are straight. The hocks should also be parallel, and should not turn inward.
All dogs require plenty of chest room to allow for the proper functioning of heart and lungs. In some breeds the "spring of rib" allows for this; in others, particularly the racing type of dog, the sides are flat and the necessary room is given by the depth of the chest. At any rate, the space must be there or the dog will probably be lacking in vitality.
In all breeds of hunting dogs the nose is important. It should be well proportioned and should give plenty of space for breathing and scenting. The muzzle should be well shaped and balanced with the rest of the head. The skull itself should be well developed and in proportion with the rest of the body, with plenty of room for brains. The eyes should be well placed beneath a clear-cut stop—the line formed by the eyebrows and the prominence above the bridge of the nose—and should be of good color.
In hunting dogs the ears should be low-set and should lie close to a well-developed neck, which in turn runs into strong shoulders of ample depth. The hindquarters must be well developed to give sufficient running power, and all four feet should be well padded. The tail set should be in a line with the spinal column so as to give a continuous back line. In long-tailed breeds the tail should not be carried over the back or trailing behind close to the ground.
These points apply to hunting dogs, though many of them are applicable to all types. However, ear and tail set vary with the breed; Boston terriers, for instance, do not have ears lying close to the neck. Know your breed and its individual characteristics.