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What causes an Irish Setter to over reach in the show ring?

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"overreaching at the trot is a common fault, caused by more angulation and drive from behind than in the front, so that the rear feet are forced to step to one side of the front feet to avoid interference. this is one of the many forms of poor foot timing but it must not be confused with the natural overreach in the suspension trot or in the canter or gallop. overreaching is a common fault in puppies as they develop through "leggy" stages when the height at withers may exceed length from buttocks to shoulder joint by a fractional difference. as the puppy develops and the body proportions come into balance, the overreaching ceases." - i like this definition quite a lot, taken from: http://www.weim.net/emberweims/sgait.html

Thank you Laura, The hyperlink was very good. If only it was a fault that puppies outgrow. I notice it in images of local dogs and it seems strange that owners put these images up. Seems like it is not a hot topic. Thank you once again.

it is simple: many people do not know that this is fault and think: the more overreaching, the better ;-)

If overreaching is not penalized in the show ring, owners may think it not to be a fault....

I guess that comes down to judges understanding canine anatomy, what is correct, what is not and how poor conformation affects movement :-P

But that is a whole other topic...

I believe owners should know that it is a fault and really don't need a judge to point it out. I guess it comes back to breeding to improve the breed and not just winning in the show ring. It is wonderful to see images of a conformation dog moving correctly but they are far and few between. Especially if you compare them to Irish being presented in a stack. I would love to see more images of moving Irish and less of stacked ones. It is amazing what happens to some tails when they are on the move and not being held. But that its another topic. I am not a breeder, just an observer who reads the breed standard. I look forward to knowing a little more before I purchase my next Irish.

Oh, I completely agree, Rhonda.  What I meant was the knock-on effect.  Poorly made dog has "amazing" reach and drive - well beyond the nose, and well beyond the tip of its tail...  Judge goes, "Wow, amazing reach and drive!  Great movement!"  Dog wins a lot.  Dog is used extensively in breeding programmes because dog is huge winner.  Many new generations born with the same fault...

Can't say that doesn't happen.  There are many judges out there who haven't the first clue when it comes to canine anatomy, nor movement.  They put up what looks big...or worse, they interpret "racy" to mean "must belt around the ring like a torpedo."

Added to the growing issue of over-reaching, IMHO, is the growing number of dogs I see now with sickle hocks, or with extremely limited extension in the rear.  They often have a very long thigh - and so look great on the stack.  But when they move, they remind me of those two-legged "Imperial Walkers" from the Star Wars movies!!!

Now you get to see the Imperial Walkers in 3D!  The movies are back.

Or you don't get to see the dog in the ring but it is used extensively in breeding programs.

 It must be very hard to judge a dog on the move especially in the short time a judge has. Watched a Irish - Irish wolf hound judge once and he asked the class to move around the large ring 3 times. There were lots of complaints but he watched their movement like a hawk. For a speciality,  exhibitors got their moneys worth and so did the breed. It does go down the line and with owners putting up images of dogs over reaching even if a judge missed it on the day, a image of the event and winner must ring some alarm bells when they see it on face book or ES. Speciality DVDs in the Dogs Vic library should be a must for breed clubs. The critiques are available but they only tell half the story without the dogs moving while you read it.

Put the two together and you have a learning resource. I have heard of one breeder not breeding from a dog because they were not happy with the movement. Those are the sort of people who spark a special interest , or a dog that shows great movement and its image showing this is up for every one to see. Two things I would love to see more of. Show the others, let them earn as many titles as can, it keeps show numbers up, just don't breed from them.

I absolutely agree with Melinda & Rhonda :o))

The name escapes me at the moment, but a very well known Judge and breeder once said "if they are built right they will move right".

I SO agree with you,Melinda!

Ladies.......there is more to a dog than overreaching.  There is more to judging a dog than obsessing over a specific fault, and ditto when it comes to breeding.  You cannot discard a dog because you might not like the was he places his feet when he may have many other outstanding virtues which far outweigh this.  Yes, overreaching is a fault but it must be judged as part of the overall dog and not taken out of context.  A dog CAN have amazing reach and drive without overtaking himself.  A dog can be well made but short in the back and overreach.  A good handler should be able to measure his exhibit's stride and move him at his most comfortable speed.  You will be surprised how many dogs become unbalanced when moved too fast.  I don't want to sound patronising but it is incredibly easy to judge from the ring side. 

As for breeding, well the more litters you breed the more life surprises you.  There are many dogs who are used for their pedigree, who are not dominant, who do not produce themselves but better than themselves.........etc. etc.  Only experience teaches you this. 

Laura is right.  Overreaching is a common fault in puppies, especially raw, un co-ordinated Irish Setter puppies.  I had a bitch years ago who, as a puppy, used to trip over her front feet.  She grew into a very good mover.  After very many years in this amazing breed nothing surprises me any more!





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