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WHWT -Part 6-tail, rear, movement by Joan Graber

The standard is fairly specific about what kind of tail a Westie should
have. When it says " good substance and shaped like a carrot", it is
referring to more than grooming. The tail should actually feel
wider/broader at the base than at the tip, and should be set on high enough
so that there is no dip in the back just in front of the tail.(pictures
#45, 16, 20, 39, 42)
The length of the tail has a bearing on the overall outline, and the set on
and carriage definitely affects how long the back looks, thus the
statement that the tail should be 'relatively short' and 'not reach above
the level of the head".(pictures #14, 16, 19, 32) The standard does not
ask for a perfectly straight tail rather one that is as straight as
possible. You will find that there are very good specimens whose tails
have a slight curve to them.(pictures #46, 47, 21, 31) As you can imagine
this leads to many interpretations of what "not curled over the back"
means. Like with the "much over or under" statement regarding height, each
judge needs to decide for him/herself how much the tail can curve without
penalizing it. For me to severely penalize a curved tail it has to come up
over the back, beyond the 10 o'clock position, with the tip of the tail
starting to curve down toward the back. Nor does the standard say the
Westie must have its tail straight up to win. There are many who prefer
the tail to be at the 12 o'clock position, however, you will find fine
specimens who carry their tail at 1 o'clock, instead of at 12 o'clock. A
tail carried at 1 o'clock does not bother me any more than the tail that
has a curve to it, and is carried at the 11 o'clock position, as long as
the set on is correct and I like other areas of the dog. Tail carriage can
affect the overall desired look of balance: it can make the back look
long, short, etc.(picture #48)

The Westie is no different from many other breeds where the front and rear
assembly should be balanced. Hindquarters should be broad, when viewed
from the side. They should feel well-muscled, with strong second thighs
which are necessary for correct Westie movement. On a correctly built
Westie you should be able to drop an imaginary line from the tail to the
ground intersecting the thigh and hock in the process. (picture # 49)
The Westie should
not be set up with the rear legs stretched back. However, many of us have
a tendency to stretch our dogs too much, so they look like an American
Saddlebred in show pose. The Westie, like many of the other terriers,
should have what is referred to as "a butt beyond the tail" or "have some
dog behind the tail".(pictures #15, 17, 32, 34) This is not stated in the
standard but it is the result of correct tail set, slope of croup,
angulation and proper muscling and accentuated by the grooming.

When the standing dog is viewed from the rear, its hind legs should not be
set wide apart, nor groomed to present a wide appearance. The hocks should
be parallel and short and if you can see the shoulders, from the rear, more
than likely the rear is too narrow.(picture #50) The rear assembly should
be approximately the same width as the front assembly.

Different authorities have used different phrases to describe the Westie's
"distinctive, not stilted" gait. John Marvin described it as 'jaunty'.
Barbara Hands likened it to a Scotsman in kilts trotting away into the
distance. It should be powerful with reach and drive. By this I do not
mean fast, but rather good ground covering movement.(picture # 51) The length of a
stride taken for each step should be quite considerable for the size of the
dog. The Westie should "drive off its rear". To do this the short hocks
need to flex freely and be drawn close under the body, so as to push the
dog forward. Hocks should open freely and there should be no suggestion of
sickle hocks. Overall ability to move is best evaluated from the side.
The topline should be level, whether standing or moving.(picture #51) In
order for the Westie to move correctly its head should be no higher than
the 11:00 position, (picture #51), there is nothing wrong with asking the
handler to loosen the lead if the Westie looks strung-up. The Westie
should not look like it is 'pitty-patting' or 'hurrying to catch up' nor
should its gait be 'bouncy', you definitely do not want to see the body
bouncing up and down! Nor should the dog move wide either coming or going,
the legs should converge toward the center. Because of being relatively
low to the ground, the Westie cannot move in a true single track, but in my
opinion it should come close.(pictures #52, 53) A Westie with the correct
chest and front assembly should not move with the front legs as wide at the
feet as at the elbows.

part 7