“Tracking” the Frenchie

People have built reputations, if not careers, out of being good at tracking animals. Have you ever heard of Anthony Godwin Johnson? If you’ve never have, it’s because he wasn’t very good.  You have heard of Daniel Boone, though, right?

French Bulldog, gait, four-tracking gait

Anthony Godwin Johnson. Still looking.






Many of us who are purebred dog owners tend to fare better because we know structure, and we have standards to guide us. We know, for instance, that breeds that have shoulder blades that are more upright with shoulders blades that do not tilt inward toward the spinal column tend to have a four-tracking gait.  The Bulldog has a four tracking gait, as does the French Bulldog. Were you to inspect the pawprints left behind by a Frenchie that had just walked through a puddle, you would see evidence of a front track that is wider than the rear track. You wouldn’t look at the tracks and think, “Miniature Poodle.”

This double tracking should still exhibit unrestrained reach and drive, but the breed’s pear shape makes the rear legs move slightly inside the tracks made by the front legs. A Frenchie’s rear movement also displays a slight roll because the hind legs are a bit longer, and the breed standard calls for this: “Hind legs are strong and muscular, longer than the forelegs, so as to elevate the loins above the shoulders.” 

The front does not converge, nor should the dog paddle. And if this topic interests you, the “dog nerds” among you may find interesting an abstract we came across: “Three-dimensional kinematics of canine hind limbs: in vivo, biplanar, high-frequency fluoroscopic analysis of four breeds during walking and trotting.”

Yes, it’s a mouthful. The paper published in 2018 reported what was found when the first high-precision 3D in vivo hindlimb kinematic data was recorded in normal dogs of four different breeds using biplanar, high-frequency fluoroscopy combined with a 3D optoelectric system followed by a markerless XROMM analysis.  The French Bulldog was one of the breeds included (the others were the Beagle, Malinois, Whippet). Enjoy!

Image: “French Bulldog at the Beach” by DJ Rogers – k9artgallery


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