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 The correct gait of the Siberian Husky
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sabakarunner

Canada
23 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2011 :  11:23:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit sabakarunner's Homepage  Reply with Quote
So what is it folks? I read an interesting article today which stated that the Siberian should have a nice efficient trot for the best workability and the a gallop is not important. This sounds to me like an argument coming from a show person. I'm fairly new to this, and I only see the major flaws in a gait when the dog is moving at a gallop. Hence why some people, including myself, would argue that the Sibes should be judged at a gallop in the show ring. Is it fair to say that a dog with a good gallop will have a nice trot?

Furthermore, what should we be breeding for in our working lines? Gallop or trot? The working lines of Siberians today are beginning to look a lot like the alaskans did 15 or 20 years ago at a trot, with feet that go every which direction instead of the single tracking that is called for in the show ring. (Due to over angualted rears maybe?) This leads me to believe that breeding for an endurance trotter is against standard. But Siberians are obviously not meant for sprinting.

See here's when some of you will jump up and down and say "Burn the Standard!". But what defines the breed exactly?

In the attempt to breed faster Siberians, I see the serious working kennels getting away from the traditional siberian look altogether. Sure the dogs are papered, but if we continue to breed long legs to long legs enough and eventually we will all be running giraffes.

I'm looking for opinions here. I'm currently looking at where I'd like to take my breeding program, and what I'd like to see. Harness performance definitely comes first, but I also like to see a nicely balanced dog, not the odd gangly creatures which the competitive racing Sibes resemble now. Is it fair to say that the competitive racing circles are pulling us away from the old Siberian? Or should we embrace it as an evolved breed which serves a new function, since the old one is long since out of style?

Monique Heinz
WildWinter Siberian Huskies

smushybanana

USA
554 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2011 :  01:10:10 AM  Show Profile  Visit smushybanana's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I don't know anything about Siberians. But a truly well built dog should move well and smoothly at any gait.

Hilary Schwafel
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Dave Hemmins

United Kingdom
88 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2011 :  05:39:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit Dave Hemmins's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I never let my Sibes trot, in harness they gallop. http://www.eekonoo.co.uk/Aviemore_story.htm and they are “show dogs” as most Siberians where in the UK. Over the last few years the finer, taller Siberian has appeared that is moving at a very fast gallop. Not my cup of tea but there again I’m not a show judge.

Dave
www.eekonoo.co.uk
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JNBarnes

Canada
92 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2011 :  08:19:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Quote "but I also like to see a nicely balanced dog, not the odd gangly creatures which the competitive racing Sibes resemble now"

Have you looked at mike ellis or hank debruin dogs on the quest this year? they are not "gangly", "unbalanced creatures". As far as i'm concerened Mikes dogs should be the breed standard, and in my mind are, not the tiny little puff balls you see in show. I have a girl that is too big for the breed standard(just shy of 24" high), but she is a beautifully proportioned sibe, and works like a horse. Also the show sibes are being bred for looks only, and they breed all the good stuff out of them, yet they call it a working breed but don't care about working part. I'm not breeding now, but when i start, the breed standard won't even enter my mind.
I think the standard thing is kinda dumb, for example i breed 2 pruebred sibes that are within breed standard and the litter ends up with say 25% being to big for the standard, so now they're disqualified Makes no sense to me. IMHO i think the show people are ruining a really good breed. Around here i see way too many "pretty" sibes with nothing else going for them(dumb as bricks,eye problems, ect, ect), but they keep breeding them cause they're "pretty"
Anyway i'll stop before i get myself in trouble
Edit: thought i should add that i look for a nice fast trot, and a smooth lope, but am more concerned with the top speed of the trot.
Josh

The more I get to know some people, the more I like dogs

Edited by - JNBarnes on 02/17/2011 08:24:45 AM
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northenough

USA
242 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2011 :  08:53:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit northenough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Read Curtis Brown's Dog Locomotion and Gait Analysis to help answer some of your questions. He contrasts the gaits of the working and show dogs in different breeds, including the Siberian husky, and gives a good explanantion of some common myths.

Endurance is not necessarily linked to a specific gait, though some might argue that the trot is THE method of movement for that. We just finsihed a 58-mile race where the team loped about 90% of the time, and the trot intervals were not at the end of the run due to becoming tired.

"Siberians are obviously not meant for sprinting." Says who? There aren't that many truly competitive Siberian sprint teams nowadays, but there ARE a few. Check out Leigh Gilchrist's 8-dog times for instance (US midwest and Ontario circuits). Just aren't as many people currently breeding them with any kind of consistent program.

Don't worry about arriving at giraffes in your breeding program. Won't happen, and if it does, you won't necessarily have fast dogs due to leg length. Oddly gangly creatures will not usually be found on a competitive team. It will more likely be the unremarkable yet balanced dog. I have found out that there are many intellectual traps to get caught in while trying to find a handle to grab onto for improving dogs through a breeding program. Some people strive for longer leg, sloped croup, front end angulation, etc. and after getting these things to show up in their dogs, they aren't going any faster. The competitive Siberian teams in our area do not move as you describe, "with feet that go every which direction", and they do not for the most part trot.

As far as evolving away from the older Siberian, I disagree. In my quest for better racing dogs I find they more resemble the photos of the early Sweepstakes teams. I only hope that I have improved on that, because I am not merely a preservationist.

I think you should continue your theoretical quest, but keep to the harness performance as primary. True harness performance includes all the good traits known for this breed. You need athleticism, true, but you also need good temperment, feet, mental toughness, lack of fearfulness, lack of genetic faults, etc. In this way good harness performance in its fullest sense can be enough to lead you where you want to go.

That's my opinion.
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sabakarunner

Canada
23 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2011 :  5:17:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit sabakarunner's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the replies. I realize I sound like I'm leaning more to the showy side, and I apologize but its because I'm addressing an audience who works their dogs intensively and I'm trying to get a balanced view. Harness performance, attitude, drive, toughness--all come first when I'm looking at a dog. My dogs are not pets, they are performance dogs. But I've seen such a huge variation within the breed that I'm questioning if my 'ideal' dog is really an ideal dog.

I suppose it depends on your definition of what a proper Siberian husky looks like. How is that defined? There is such a large split between the working and show lines. I agree that the dog should move well at all gaits, and sad to say, I found this out after I got some of my dogs. Sure they looked ok in the ring but are useless in anything over three miles, what with the high stepping going on haha.

I do think there is too much importance placed on the cosmetics of the dogs at shows, but racing does the exact opposite doesn't it? Many of the racing dogs have for example high tail sets, and bat ears, especially in the Seppala lines and these dogs are the foundation stock for many kennels, even though standard says these are undesirable characteristics. I agree that these things do not lend much to the workability of the overall dog, but don't they define the breed? How much will we let pass before we say, no that's not a Siberian characteristic anymore? Should we be breeding to get faster dogs or a sound Siberian Husky? A sound siberians will not necessarily be the fastest dog. As far as competitiveness goes, I see us trying to breed dogs which are competitive with the Alaskans, but I think we will lose the fundamental Siberian along the way. But once again, what is a fundamental Siberian?

Also, I take back my comment that Siberians are not sprinters. They can be okay at sprinting, but not at the level of the hounds. They are not greyhounds. They are meant to pull light loads at moderate paces, leading me to believe that the Siberians should excel at mid distance the most.

I agree that I should breed for me and what I want first and foremost. But suppose every breeder breeds for something different, how does this come together and form a breed? There are huge variances. I've come to ask people now "what type of Siberians do you have" because it matters!

Maybe we should be moving towards revising the standard to incorporate the taller siberian now. I personally like the taller look too, and a lot of my dogs are right on the edge or over the height limit.

Monique Heinz
WildWinter Siberian Huskies
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sabakarunner

Canada
23 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2011 :  5:35:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit sabakarunner's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dave - I think the UK has good choice regarding show dogs AND working dogs, they all look the same. All uniform Siberians, so thumbs up for that. They are very nice looking, I would consider moving there if not for the lack of snow

Monique Heinz
WildWinter Siberian Huskies
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oc_spirit

Canada
115 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2011 :  5:55:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think you should look up Laurel Turansky in the 4 and 6 dog sprint racing in Southern Ontario. her dogs deserve the utmost respect with their speed but they are not gangly or giraffe-like. They maintain quite a classic Siberian look. Last year at the Apsley race she got first overall in the 6-dog class running a team of 5 Siberians. She beat out 6 other teams running Alaskan Husky/Eurohound and 1 other team of purebred Sibes.

Form follows function. If you breed for a set function (in this case, sled dogs) your form will follow suite. Uncoordinated dogs dont usually make efficient travelers so smooth gaits should be what naturally results in both the lope and the trot.

Keep 'em working!
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RockChalk

USA
36 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2011 :  8:02:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's acutally kind of funny to hear alot of this. I used to work with show sibes in the 90's and the short squat round husky were never our best dogs actually we didn't even have many. The dogs that won for us looked alot like racing sibes (builds that is). One of our best dogs a girl named Tammy was half working bloodlines (really wish I knew what lines now that I'm working with racing dogs.)

Any time you breed for a characteristic you're going to have to forfit your right to choose the others in atleast a little bit. There is no perfect way to breed for a dog that will perform well both in the ring and on the trails. It's a natural progression, if you're breeding dogs for performance alone you're always going to pick up certain undesired traits cosmeticly.

Since show lines and performance lines are judged under such different criteria it's only natural that the two would eventually, after decades of line breeding develop into two seperate breeds almost.
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northenough

USA
242 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2011 :  11:31:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit northenough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
There's a lot of myth with regard to the "front end reach" thing, and a lot of it comes from dog show judging. In a gallop, any time a front paw is on the ground in front of the dog's center of gravity (middle of the chest), it acts to slow down the forward speed of the dog. Long reach at the time of set down of the paw decreases the average forward thrust and average forward speed. Speed is determined by two factors: the length of stride and the frequency of stride. If lenghtening the stride by increasing the forward set down reach also causes a decrease in the frequency, speed will be decreased and energy consumption increased. The front end is mostly for balance. In the gallop, a rear paw is on the ground BEHIND the center of gravity (read forward thrust) about 90% of the time, while the front paw is only behind the center of gravity about 10% of the time. The rear delivers the drive, but don't get hung up on the reach thing. This is for the gallop. Things are a bit different for the trot, but the principle is the same.
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flyinalong

USA
47 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2011 :  11:20:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
"They can be okay at sprinting, but not at the level of the hounds".


Take a look at the sibes that Paul and Beth Wagner ran. She was very competitive against the hounds/Alaskans on a consistent basis. They can and do compete in sprint classes.

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EllieRose

USA
973 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2011 :  06:17:10 AM  Show Profile  Visit EllieRose's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That and once you get hold of a dog from them you DON'T let it go! There are some phenomenal Siberian teams out there who are incredibly competitive. Look through this season's results and you'll see some great things going on with Siberians.

www.freewebs.com/briarlea
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xtremeweather

USA
171 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2011 :  06:57:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit xtremeweather's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
They can be okay at sprinting, but not at the level of the hounds.

I wonder what that means for all the Siberian teams that out ran hound teams this year... Might want to do a bit more research before assuming.

Your Siberian team might not be competitive with hound teams but trust me there are plenty out there that are.

Chris Bannister
Xtreme Weather Kennels
www.xtremeweather.net
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RockChalk

USA
36 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2011 :  09:23:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sibes can be competetive but when was the last time a sibe team won the North American or Fur Rondy? With the right training and feeding alot of different breeds can compete and even win races but when it comes to the very tip top are sibes really on par with Hounds and Alaskans in sprint?
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sabakarunner

Canada
23 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2011 :  1:47:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit sabakarunner's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Exactly my point. We are breeding away from the Siberian husky towards a racing dog who has little of the husky characteristics left in order to produce the fastest dogs. Are Siberians meant to be that fast? I can't answer that question.

Monique Heinz
WildWinter Siberian Huskies
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seppalta

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2011 :  4:16:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit seppalta's Homepage  Reply with Quote
http://douwil7.100webspace.net/standard.htm
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