The Shorty Bulls
How do you determine movement for a breed like the Shortybull when movement is not mentioned in the standard?
This has always been an odd thing to me when I hear questions or comments that a standard is vague or omitted something. Reading and interpreting a standard are two very different things. Reading a standard is simple, interpreting the words written is something else! Movement not mentioned? Breaking down what is asked for and purpose, makes it easy enough, and makes something that is not mentioned fairly obvious.
In my opinion when evaluating structure the ability to understand movement should be at the forefront, as it directly is a result of how a dog is built. The ability to see how truly severe faults are is seen in how it affects a dogs movement.
THE SHORTY BULLS STANDARD DESCRIPTION:
Shorty Bulls as they are often referred to are a compact and muscular bulldog of small stature. They are athletically inclined and incredibly agile. Shorty Bulls have a strong desire to please, are highly intelligent and good natured. Shorties make excellent family dogs and are very tolerant of children and other animals. They are bred to be well rounded family companions. Shorties have a zest for life and are little comics. They can easily adapt to different lifestyles from living in an apartment to life on a farm. Grooming is minimal. Shorty Bulldogs should never be extremely shy or aggressive. Height-15″ and under. Weight-40 pounds and under.
Take the first 2 sentences and remember this while judging SBs. The only thing I disagree with is the “as they are commonly referred” as this is the breed name not a nickname it could be omitted lol.
First two sentences: muscular, compact, bulldog of small stature. Athletically inclined, incredibly agile.
Now from these words, a judge should have an idea of what they are looking for in his/her mind as far as what is going to be asked for from the breed. This is it’s purpose and the movement should work hand and hand with this purpose.
Compact generally means square in appearance. Short backed dogs are generally considered to have a compact frame. Later in the standard it says exactly that when discussing body. Now short back dogs built correctly in most breeds are built the same, if they actually have a function. In this case to be athletically inclined and incredibly agile. Balance will be key from front to back to achieve this in most cases.
The amount of rear angulation should go hand in hand with back length and shoulder angulation, as too much or too little can and often is a detriment to a Shortybull possessing the descriptive words used in the standards. You want a dog that in build achieves the ability to be athletic and agile with the least amount of effort. This is commonplace in judging dogs.
Bulldog is mentioned and this generally makes the layman think of the English Bulldog. This would be wrong. Bulldog refers to a type and features and not a breed. Once again the descriptive words used immediately after the word bulldog should remove the idea that the breed should be an EB, or move like one. Just as the standard should also make you believe they should not move like a French Bulldog.
As you read further in the standard this becomes even more apparent when discussing bone, legs and body. The breed should have good bone in relation to it’s body, this goes against the idea that the breed should be overdone, again it is hinting towards balance. It also specifically discusses being refined or long legged as a fault, as to not breed individual dogs entirely based on it’s being athletic and agile and then losing breed type (bulldog). Again the idea of movement can be found within this!
Shorty Bull Breed Standard:
Should be short from back of the neck to the tail. Chest should be broad for height and have depth reaching to the elbow. A compact look is desired.
Front quarters and hindquarters should be proportionate, not lending to a narrow rear, and the chest may be broader that the rear, but very narrow hindquarters are a fault.
SHOULDERS AND RUMPS
Well rounded and well muscled, lending to an appearance of strength. There may be a slight rise over the loins.
Heavy boned and in direct proportion to the body. Long legs in proportion to the body or fine bones are a fault. Cow hocked or pigeon toed is a fault.
We’ve discussed body so let’s go to width. Again it is calling for balance. Front and rear directly proportionate! Remember that please, as it is the first sentence and the most desired! It does allow for a dog to be slightly wider in front than rear, but the narrow reared dog is a fault. Why? It would hinder the ability to be the descriptive words used in the first paragraph of the breed description. The dog that is proportionate would be the desired dog. Allowing for is one thing, to eliminate and maintain breed type is ideal. The movement of two dogs that are compact, but one that is not narrow in the rear, and one that is, will directly be seen in movement (the down and back). The more proportioned dog will move on a different track often and have the tendency to converge most likely, whereas the other will not, common Canine locomotion.
Shoulders and rumps. I bring this to your attention for a few reasons. This of course pulls in muscularity, but also says gives the appearance of strength. The reason I focus on this is because many individuals will not realize that again this is a description of the type of bulldog a Shortybull is, and the type it is not. Once again it allows for something that judges may fault, a slight rise, not ideal mind you, but mentioned. Why? Because by reading the standard and interpreting it a judge would think this would be a detriment to the breed and those descriptive words and it’s movement! By mentioning it the creator is allowing the slight rise as it will be seen, but not preferred. A dog without this detriment in it’s Topline would be preferred obviously.
Legs: again movement as it directly says the dogs are not to be cow hocked!
Now revert back to RUMPS and SHOULDERS and remember strength, revert back to WIDTH and remember proportion, revert back to BODY and remember compact and short. LEGS not cow hocked! All of this can and should be used in movement!!
Appearance of strength in rumps, proportion in width, compact in body,
Strong rear drive, in proportion to the front would mean, good reach and drive! Balance is key! The breed should have the same amount of rear movement as reach, achieving balance in it’s gait. This alone will give you an idea of how a Shortybull can move, and should move, again bringing in the descriptive words used in the description. We’ve discussed convergence, reach and rear drive, and all by pretty much breaking down a standard, yet never reading the actual words!
These factors alone…
Call for a balanced, proportioned SB with good bulldog features without being over or under done. This should be bred for and desired! The breeds movement from interpreting the standard would be movement that should be balanced, fluid, yet powerful. The dog should exhibit strength and agility in it’s gait. The dog should not roll, (although some will), the less effort used to achieve this movement directly correlates to excellent overall structure.
Movement is always present in a standard. It just depends on if one is judging the dogs to the standard or to the words.
Article By: Christopher “Bully the Kid” Bennett
Featured Breeder / Photo Credit: Devil Mountain Shorty Bulls