• Special aspects of the East European Shepherd Assessment

    It can be quite a complicated process to assess a dog by its constitution and exterior looks. First of all, both experts and dog owners need to have in mind that an assessment of any dog’s exterior is not simply the be-all and end-all, but rather a way to help improve the breed and increase the vital capacity of its serviceable features. An examination of a dog’s exterior shape and an examination of a dog’s capacity to perform are two aspects of the same task.

    In the past specialists involved in the breeding of East European Shepherd dogs have always talked about the extreme importance of dog’s practical applications in the management of breeding. Any abstract pursuit for “the bare exterior” as separate from these vital and useful attributes for pedigree is not advised.
    But then again a big mistake would be the disregard of the exterior forms and constitutional type when selecting for breeding. The set standards for the exterior characteristics of the East European Shepherd were created not by dog breeding specialists, but by the requirements of the Armed Forces of the USSR along with government agencies. Thus the exterior of any working dog is always linked to the peculiarities of its use.
    The dental formula of the East European Shepherd, like most other dogs, is as following: an adult dog has 42 fully completed teeth: twenty teeth in the upper jaw (six incisors, two canines, eight premolars and four molars) and twenty two teeth in the lower jaw (six incisors, two canines, eight premolars and six molars). Any dog with the absence of any of these teeth should not be used for breeding.
    Any extra teeth seen during the dog’s examination should not necessarily be negatively taken into account, but it should be borne in mind that as this feature is genetically dominant it can quickly spread in the breed.
    Various forms of occlusion are due to the relative sizes of the upper and lower jaws and teeth staging. The normal for the East European Shepherd is the scissor bite. Any deviation of the correct occlusion should therefore be considered as an exterior defect which indicates a weakening of the constitution. According to a special research study dogs with malocclusion of the teeth have a pampered constitution almost three times more often than dogs with the normal form of clamping jaw arcade.

    Deviation from the scissor bite promotes premature erasure of teeth and subsequent loss. In addition, any deviation from the correct bite often indicates the presence of other dog anomalies, which sometimes are not immediately apparent. For example, boxers and bulldogs with a fixed hereditary undershot have a risk of a deadly feature - the splitting of the hard palate. Puppies born with such a defect can easily die as milk they are sucking misses the oesophagus, and pours through the nostrils.
    Some dog breeders raise the question of differentiation between hereditary and acquired malocclusion. However, in practice such a separation is not reasonably possible. Aside from this, the hereditary form of dog malocclusion is actually more common than the acquired one.

    Physical constitution is the most common and therefore the most important characteristic of a dog because it incorporates all the essential features and quality of the animal. Any canine strength, stamina, work efficiency and vitality are fully dependent on the type of the dog’s constitution. Thus compliance with constitution dog type as defined in the breeding standard is essential.
    The East European Shepherd should have a strong type or a strong-dry type of constitution, as these dogs in particular are required for the top performance as protective guardians, search and rescue, and other like services.
    Strong type is characterized by a solid, but not coarse, bone structure and strong, dense and massive musculature. A wedge-shaped head should be moderately wide in the skull; an oval shape chest should be wide and deep; the legs should be moderately long (the dog is not squat, but not leggy); the type of higher nervous activity (HNA) should be strong, with balanced and active processes of excitation and inhibaition

    East European Shepherds belonging to a strong-dry (intermediate) type of constitution, can have features of both strong and dry type, but the features of the strong type should be prevalent. This type might have a somewhat subtle skeleton with a strong, dense, but not massive musculature. These animals tend to have a smaller head, a less powerful, though well-developed chest than dogs of the strong type constitution. They have more elongated limbs; this dog seems to be high legged (but the index of Leg Height must not be more than 54).
    During any assessment, it should be borne in mind that a dog’s exterior is an external expression of the dog’s constitution. Usually attention is paid more to the total build, the development of the skeleton, and dryness or looseness of muscles. However, one cannot ignore any examination of the structure of individual body parts. As a rule, deviations in the type of constitution definitely correspond with deviations in the development of certain external body parts.
    The characteristic gait of the East European Shepherd is a low, creeping trot. To achieve this diagonally located limbs move up simultaneously (for example, the left front and right hind). There are three types of trot described as following.
    All dogs with front limb defects (more rare with hind limbs defects) use a fast trot. To achieve this the hind limbs move forward slightly earlier than the front limb located diagonally forward. Dogs of a square type shape or almost square type shape use the flying trot. The front and hind limbs are in absolute synchronization as they are moving exactly at the same time. Thus, for just a fraction of time the dog does not have any ground support.
    The low, creeping trot is very common for East European Shepherds and is the most economical in terms of energy expenditure of the body. The front leg moves forward a little earlier than the hind leg. The clean, low, creeping trot is characterized by the fact that the legs stand up "in the tracks." However, not all the East European Shepherds have such so pure a trot.
    Free correct trot movement is associated with a particular ratio of dog length and height at the withers is described by an index format. This index format, as it is known, is the ratio of the oblique body length (OBL) to height at the withers (HW), multiplied by 100. The most desirable and optimal value of this index for East European Shepherd lies in the range 110 - 112.
    The second condition for the low-trotting is the correct structure of the limbs. The angle of humeroscapular joint of East European Shepherd must be 90-100 degrees and the front pastern must have an angle about 60 degrees with the horizon. A characteristic feature of this breed is that the front limbs are moving with some approximation to the median line. When viewed from the front such a characteristic movement cannot be confused with any other. The hock angle is 125 - 135 degrees as well as an angle between the thigh and shin-bone. The hocks of hind limbs when drawn back appear far behind the buttocks. All joints should be freely unbent to the end, which provides a free, sweeping movement. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully observe the dog’s movements in different run patterns.

    Source: A. A. Rean. Working Dog Breeders Club, 1984

    I, Iryna Stewart (TranslCertAUT, NZSTI), certify this document as a true translation
    into English of the following: Восточно-европейская овчарка. Особенности экспертизы, being 2 pages.
    Language of the original: Russian
    Date: 10/10/2015 Number: 02/075

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