Gait & Silhouette

& Gait of the ACD

Doris Duewel / Komi, Finland / December 2009

photo: Sarah Herzlinger:”Pureheel Royal Society (Australien-Imp.)” in “Wallaroo Kennel”.

We recognize the silhouette of the Australian Cattle Dog by his strong
head with rather small upright ears, the nice long sided confirmation
on his legs in proportion 10:9, the straight back with its long dropping
croup and the bushy tail until the short hocks.
The evenly good angulations impart the impression of an agile, eager to
run working dog.

The strongly muscled body expresses tireless stamina.Behind this appearance
is the skeleton combining perfectly with each other bones, muscles, ligaments
and fibres, in order to render an effortless, powersaving and far-reaching

The thrive for the straight forwards movement is resulting from a broad
hindquarter, thus transmitting it via pelvis,loins,the back to the front.
where the shock is breaking the dropping. This fact emphasizes why a healthy
front (ED) is so important

photo: Karin Saenger: “Windwarriors Magic Boomerang” in “WinDrovers Kennel”.


Which requirements
are needed for the functionality of the body? Both, front and hind legs
are strong boned and straight, when standing. They are neither too narrow
nor too wide apart from each other.

The upper thigh is broad, long and muscled, while the lower thigh should
be rather short, to guarantee a good hindquarter angulation. The length
from the rudiment of the backmost pad until the hock is as long as from hock to knee.

“Pavesi Blue Wind”.Photo by Tuulia Heikkinen in Windwarrior Kennels.

This relationship of the length to each other results in the right angulation
with strong muscles. Strong broad muscles render the ACD his power while
the long muscles make him movable.

The so induced levarage effect allow the legs to stride flat forwards.
The front leg is thrown widely forwards by the thriving power of the hindquarters.
While the dog is trotting quicker the paws are approaching more and more
until they nearly touch each other.

photos: Karin Saenger: “WinDrovers Kennel”.

Within subseconds
the hindpaw is footing exactly where the frontpaw just left. During this
movement the withers stay absolutely immobile.There is also the saying,
that a full glass of beer can be balanced on the back without a single
drop is spilled over…
The head is the natural prolongation of the muscled, sturdy neck and back.The
bushy tail is steering the gait and is carried half up while trotting.
In no case the tail is carried so high, that it is breaking an imagined
vertical line thought from the onset.

The leg bones are strong and cause the powerful endurance. The sturdy
round paws complete the view.

The front is connected to its skeleton only by muscles.This has a great
impact on it. The front angulation is formed by the wide backwards reaching
withers and the shorter upper arm in an open angle of appr.130 degrees.
If the angulation is unsufficient the dog is stilting, his motion is tied,
steps are too short.As a consequence the frontleg is not wide enough reaching
forwards. Well developed muscles at neck, chest and legs, influence efficiently
the transmission of power and endurance of the forward movement.The withers
shall not approach each other too close to ensure the mobility of the

The bow of the ribs should in no case remind to a ton, and therefore give
the impression of being overloaded. This would prevent the effortlessness
of the gait. To guarantee the great agility in the movements of the ACD’s
own effortless twistings, the elbows should not lie too tight to the body.
At the same time the elbows should not be too far from the body so that
a man’s fist is fitting between body and elbows. It is correct, when a
lady’s flat hand can be moved between body and elbows.
If the bone dimensions are not correct, muscles and ligaments are developing
in a faulty way. In the consequence the gait is limited and the ACD gets
more rapidly tired.
We should not forget, that the ACD has worked as an untiring drover for
cattle during several days and even weeks.We should honour this heritage
and should not try to change the ACD and his temperament into something
he has never been bred for. Of course, his intelligence and devoted manner
to his owner might get along succesfully with sleeve work, but he is born
to be a drover.

What happens after all, if the front is well angulated, but the hindquarters
are too upright? The hocks are too long, the muscles of the upper thigh
are insufficiantly developed,
whereby the the upper thigh gets weak

“Silverdust Don’t Mess with Texas”. Photo: Sarah Herzlinger in “Wallaroo Kennels”.

and narrow. An efficient thrive is no longer possible. The hindquarter is
no longer reaching wide enough under the body, the stride is short.While
the correct angulated frontleg cannot develop its full potential and rather
tries to compensate the uneven movements with a sort of hackney motion,the
hind legs are only pulled powerless over the ground.No doubt, that the
gait is uneffective.

Just as
the front needs long sloped withers, the pelvis needs to be brought, sturdy
and muscled.These study and broad muscles are continued in order to give
the hindquarters the ability for a strong thrive.At the same time the
hock joint must guarantee the utmost mobility,in order to render it possible,
that the ACD can follow immediately every turning of the cattle.

“Ch Jayblue Country Whisper”, Australia

“Ch Jayblue Country Whisper”, breeder: Andrew Ziebell, Australia


While standing
the legs are supporting the body, i.e. they are standing under the body
(see pictue). If an imagine line from the front of the pelvis is drawn
down to the ground, it must touch the knee. Such a compact body fullfills
all requirements for power and endurance.
Is the body of the ACD getting too short, the thrive from hindquarters
remain without effect, because the hindlegs cannot reach widely enough
forwards. But, if the body is too long, the back is often too soft and
resembles these trains with a moveable piece between two waggons. The
gait gets rolling and disharmonious.
If the ACD is equally bad angulated on both ends it looks somehow more
harmonious, but the movement is stiff, stride is not reaching far enough
and is powerless.
The ACD’s typical endurance is suffering.
A Cattle Dog who is quasi floating over the ground with light feets is
not only a joy for the eye of the spectator, but also demonstrates that
all standard features are perfectly matching for the gait of the ACD.
Power and endurance in an harmononious silhouette are representing the
gait of an Australian Cattle Dog.

© Doris Duewel, all rights reserved / webmaster : Doris



About acdisla

Mit 20 Jahren war ich verheiratet und mit 28 Jahren hatte ich drei Töchter. Ih war eine gute Hausfrau und Mutter. Kochen, Waschen, Hausaufgaben mit den Kindern, kutschierte alle zu den Freizeitaktivitäten und, und und. Abends dann Befriedigung des Ehemanns. Mit 37 Jahren war ich am Ende. Drei Selbstmordversuche zeigten meine Verzweiflung. Geändert haben sie an meiner ehelichen Einöde nichts. Ich rettete mich durch Scheidung, lernte mit Feuereifer und fand einen interessanten, mich fordernden Beruf.Unterstuetzung gab mir eine neue Freundin. Die Rechnung fuer 17 Jahre ehelicher Vergewaltigung kam in Form eines Koma in dem eine meiner drei Töchter neben meinem Bett sass. Das folgende Jahr verbrachte ich im Krankenhaus und erholte mich langsam von einer fast ganzseitigen Lähmung, Verlust meiner Muttersprache und meiner Erinnerung. Halbwegs wieder intakt, bekam ich Multiple Sklerose. Nach einem langjährigen Versuch Kindern in einem Kuenstlerdorf Sport beizubringen, habe ich einen idyllischen Restbauernhof gekauft und ein Hotel fuer Hunde aufgemacht. Das wurde der grösste und erfolgreichste Spass in meinem Leben. Inzwischen fand ich in Finnland ein traumhaftes Zuhause. Auf 50 000 qm konnen wir und unsere Hunde so frei leben, wie wir es uns erträumt hatten. Mir hat die MS inzwischen einen elektrischen Rollstuhl beschert, was der Mobilität ganz neue Dimensionen gibt. Meine Gedanken habe ich hier teils in Reimen, teils in Prosa aufgeschrieben. Viel Spass beim Lesen.
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