By Louis Donald, GSDCA Judge and Breed Surveyor
The components of the forehand - bones, muscles, sinews, cartilage and joints - are designed to assist similar components in the rest of the body in providing the dog with forward movement. Specifically, to transfer rear power so that the dog can, ideally, be given swift, free, and extensive forward motion appropriate to its job as an enduring, tireless trotter.
The forehand must give the dog the freedom and flexibility needed in turning quickly; it must be springy to absorb shock as the feet hit the ground. The bones must be long to maximise the reach, but importantly also to sustain long muscles. Tendons and ligaments must be tight so that they may contract quickly and strongly after they are expanded. Joints must be able to move freely, but to maximise the efficiency of the movement, they must be tight within themselves and their relationship to other components. And the components must be in harmony with the rest, so that there is `harmony' in movement. Position, length, and angles must be correct for basic mechanical principles to be exercised.
That is a very broad summary of the forehand. Clearly, it is a complex area - made all the more complex because it is affected by not only its own components, but components unrelated to itself.