Since our standard gives us so few words to describe the Italian Greyhounds movement we have not only found ways to contrast to give definition, but we have also looked to find other words to use. One of the most common ways we talk about high stepping is in the term “lift.” While not in the standard, “lift” has become short hand for high stepping. The problem for me with lift is that it describes what happens from the elbow forward and could also be used for what we have previously talked about as hackney motion. You can certainly have lift without reach and that is a real problem. If we allow ourselves to get stuck between a choice of lift and reach we are in trouble, but we strive to have both.
I think if we look at an Italian Greyhound in motion we should see a dog that first lifts and then reaches. Below are three pictures of my dog GCHB Skidi’s Pretty Boy Floyd. The first photo has been flipped to match the other two (his markings obviously don’t match) and he was 2 ½ years old in the first and the second and third were on his first birthday. In the three photos, you see lift, reach, and extension. Notice the elbow tucked in on the first photo and the extension of the upper arm in the third photo. While there are many other dogs I could have used here I didn’t have to worry about someone else having hurt feelings if people wanted to make any critiques of Floyd.
I might add, here you also see good drive in the rear matched to the forward extension to produce a dog that
can nicely cover ground in the ring. Also, notice the bend in the wrist that distinguishes proper Italian Greyhound movement from a goose step if the wrist were straight. Another contrast we use to help us figure out the right movement in between so many other ways movement takes place.
There are many other things that affect movement including temperament of the animal, lay back of the shoulder, length of the upper arm, and training to move with its head up. This is the start to understanding just what we mean by and are after in a properly moving Italian Greyhound. For some of you this will seem very elementary because you have been working on dog locomotion for so long. My hope is that for others of you some aspect of the article pushes you to think more deeply about your work with your dogs and how movement works in Italian Greyhounds. You are welcome to contact me if you are interested in talking more about Italian Greyhounds through our website www.skidiitaliangreyhounds.com
PAGE 2 Movement - Getting From Here to There