OUT AT THE ELBOWS, By E. M. Gilbert Jr.
A reader asked: "It is sometimes difficult to determine terminology, i.e., out at the elbows. How close to the body should the elbows be?”
This is actually a breed specific question. In the majority of the breeds the elbows should blend into the body. In Weimaraners and other breeds with an oval or oval tapered chest this is definitely true. The forepart of the rib cage is narrower than the rest of the ribcage so that the elbows can move or slide along the body and not be pushed out by the rib cage. This is not specifically stated in the Weimaraner Standard and many other Standards as it is basic dog anatomy.
Definitions for out at the elbow are: 1.) Elbows protruding from the body or from a straight line from shoulder joint to foot when viewed from the front; most easily seen during movement. 2.) Loose elbows. 3.) Elbow joints in a wider vertical plane than the point of shoulders. 4.) Elbows not close to body. 5.) Loose fronted.
Common causes of out at the elbows are: 1.) Loaded shoulders (too heavy muscles both above and under the shoulder blade). 2.) Shoulder blade set too far forward on the chest. 3.) Poor muscle condition permitting elbows to fall away from body. 4.) Brisket considerably above elbows.
Out at the elbows is usually accompanied by pigeon toes - toes (feet) pointing toward one another.
In most breeds out at the elbows is considered a fault. While in the Bulldog it is a part of breed type. Elbows in the Bulldog are low and stand well out and loose from the body. The brisket and body is very capacious, with full sides, well-rounded ribs and very deep from the shoulders down to its lowest part, where it joins the chest. The body is well let down between the shoulders and forelegs, giving the dog a broad, low, short-legged appearance. The shoulders are widespread and slanting outwards, giving stability and power.
The English Setter Standard is specific: “Chest - deep, but not as wide or round as to interfere with the action of the foreleg. Brisket deep enough to reach the level of the elbow. Ribs - long, springing gradually to the middle of the body, then tapering as they approach the end of the chest cavity.”.... “Elbows have no tendency to turn in or out when standing or gaiting.”
The Whippet Standard states: “The points of the elbow should point neither in nor out, but straight back.”
The Doberman Pinscher Standard states: “Ribs well sprung from the spine, but flattened in lower end to permit elbow clearance.”
The Standard Schnauzer Standard states: “elbows set close to the body and pointing directly to the rear.”
The Miniature Schnauzer Standard states: “The elbows are close, and the ribs spread gradually from the first rib so as to allow space for the elbows to move close to the body. Fault – Loose elbows.”
The Miniature Bull Terrier Standard states: “The elbows must turn neither in nor out …”
The Pekingese Standard states: “The elbows are always close to the body.”
The Boston Terrier Standard states: “The elbows stand neither in nor out.”
The Border Collie Standard states: “The elbows are neither in nor out.”
The above listed breeds are not intended to be all inclusive, but only provide a sample of breeds which discuss out at the elbows.