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Here’s a sketch from Dogsteps: Illustrated Gait at a Glance, by Rachel Page Elliott with illustrations by Eva Andrade and the author (Second printing, New York: Howell Book House, 1973) p. 90.

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Is the dog on the left a Basenji? Hard to tell without the tail. I think the artist was going for a wrinkled brow, and I think smaller, more “feline” ears were popular amongst some breeders, which is why I’m led to ID this as a Basenji.

I like this book, as much as its purpose has been rendered obsolete by easy access to video and frame-by-frame viewing software. Nevertheless, it remains a practical study of dogs in motion:

Gait tells much about a dog’s structure that is not revealed when he is standing still, for it reflects his physical coordination, balance of body and soundness. The correlation between gait and structure is frequently misunderstood, and — in a time when growing interest in dogs as family pets tends to lesson awareness of the need for stamina and working ability — its significance is often overlooked. (11)

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Someone at the park complimented Bowpi on her gait today, which made me think of this book. It comes from the Doggy Daddy’s library; he is our resident artist.

I do not think Bowpi has a particularly noteworthy gait, though being a Basenji, she’s naturally more elegant than most. She trots on occasion, and she zips when the mood strikes. She doesn’t lope and glide with the sweeping strides of a seasoned show dog. Actually, she’s pretty sedentary most of the time, and when she’s walking around the house, she tends to mince, owing perhaps to her toenails which are slightly deformed from having been kept too long.

I lack the experience to see through to skeletal structure when accounting for Bowpi’s sometimes wobbly walk. I’m more likely to consider her toes, habit, or maybe just her personality as contributing factors to her special gait.

Tail down the trail
Photo taken 16 January 2011

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