Front assembly is also often referred to as the
"forehand" of the dog.
The withers perform a pivotal point at the top of
the lever system, to work this "lever"
efficiently, the Rottweiler requires well laid back
shoulders and upper arm. This puts the elbow
well under the dog to give support. All these
elements combine to make a well angulated front.
Good shoulder placement also gives a correct length of
neck, if the shoulder is upright, the neck is
shortened - this gives a wide angle which is too far
forward and an abrupt set on the neck. If the
shoulder is shorter than required, the movement
mechanism is weakened, bringing the elbows away from
the chest, this limits reach and front action.
||This illustrates a well
placed front. The point of balance should run
through the shoulder in a straight placement.
||Another angle shot of a
well constructed forehand. Again the point of
balance runs through the shoulder in two perpendicular
lines through the centre of the foot.
The centre of gravity for the front assembly
resides in the shoulder. Some breeds do call for
a more upright shoulder dependent on the movement
required. The Rottweiler is an endurance dog so
requires a well laid back shoulder to give good reach
of movement. It is of utmost importance to
remember this aspect (we will cover this more in Gait)
To assess the shoulder angulation the dogs front
legs must be correctly positioned, the shoulder can
only be assessed properly if the front legs are placed
straight with the heel pad being directly below the
centre of the shoulder. Shoulder placement is
extremely difficult to see on photographs but we have
endeavoured here to show you the correct angle and the
incorrect - remember this in connection with Balance
and you will see the effect on the forehand
A = Line of Gravity
B = Correct Shoulder
C = Steep
D = Shoulder
The dog shown here is not positioned correctly to
allow shoulder assessment. Spot the
problem? The front legs are slightly too far
forward, with the centre of the shoulder not in line
with the heel pad.
|The angulation of the
shoulder is always apparent in movement as a steep
shoulder will lack reach and result in what is termed
as "loose" elbows. Loose elbows are
where (on the move) that the elbows flay away from the
front or angle out. This results in a messy
movement rather than one that is fluid and together:
|As these were snapped on the move they
aren't fantastic quality! As you will see the
shoulder movement is straight with good reach.
The larger photo (although our model has a ball in
her mouth!) does show the gait and a good view of a
The construction of the foot also plays an
important part in the front assembly as this also
contributes to the drive of the lever system.
The shape of the foot is key to speed, a long foot
would give more bursts of speed but little endurance,
a short foot would hinder speed but give
endurance. As the Rottweiler is an endurance
dog, a short, cat like foot is called for. The
carpal joint joins the forearm to the pastern and the
pastern needs to be long and flexible. In a good
front the pastern will normally have a slight slope,
this isn't a pronounced slope to the eye but if the
pastern is too short and upright it will lack
resilience and remove the cushioning between the
carpas and foot. This then leads to pasterns
which are weak and tilt forward, a popular term for
this is "knuckling over". The basic
equation to remember is that a short foot=stamina,
||This shows an illustration
of a good foot. The toes should be well arched.