Thanks to Jeri for the blog idea and motivation. I’d a lot rather talk about fronts than hips. For one thing, I think that I finally have some understanding of the correct front. I admit that I am still scratching my head about the vagaries of how hips are graded and the unknowns of the genetics.
One year ago at this time I had eight dogs here: Julie, Kacy, Alice, Phoebe, Huxley, Digger, Molly, and Nikki. I have to tell you that having five is a heck-of-a-lot better. In nothing flat this morning I was able to do everyone’s toenails. They aren’t groomed other than feet so cut me a break on that. But at least they aren’t muddy, finally having taken care of that problem.
The best way to learn about fronts, or for that matter any part of a dog, is to look at lots and lots of them. When you are comparing your own dogs to others it’s hard to not be either kennel blind or overly critical. Your emotions come into play and you may feel defensive. Once you have or have had a number of your own, you can compare them impartially to each other without feeling threatened.
Yes, we started out in Cardigans with (ahem) not the best of fronts. That has led us to be more discerning and more critical now.
In the last few years we have been blessed with a couple of girls with excellent fronts.
Alice (Ch Mariel Reese’s Alice Springs): mature 8.5 year-old bitch who has whelped 4 litters. Her chest has ideal shape and her arms wrap smoothly around it in a nice-fitting package. I don’t have pictures of her as a puppy to compare to as Alice was just short of 5 when she came to us.
Phoebe (Ch Windshyre Stormy Weather): mature 7.5 year-old bitch who has whelped 2 litters. Like Alice, she has a good chest shape and smooth fit to shoulders. These are natural rather than carefully stacked pictures and you can see that she has slightly more turn out on her left leg. That is the leg that was broken near the growth plate when she was two. It’s not enough difference that it bothers me at all and it doesn’t bother Phoebe either except when somebody bites it again.
For a nice comparison to an immature chest, above is Phoebe when we first met her. She was about 10.5 months old.
Molly at 8 weeks.