WHAT DOES THE AKC SAY ABOUT SHOULDER ANGULATION?
The American Kennel Club now has a breeder's online tutorial designed to help breeders and judges understand canine structure and movement. The AKC relies upon the research conducted by Rachel Page Elliott and Curtis and Thelma Brown just as the Curly Coated Retriever Club of America's standard revision committee did 30 years ago.
The Canine College is a series of online audio lectures accompanied by slides used to teach the basics of canine structure and anatomy.
It is free to register and enroll in the classes and it could be very useful to folks who want to learn more about how dogs are put together and how that impacts function, including movement.
A substantial amount of what AKC presents is based on Rachel Page Elliott's research, which is the same research the Curly Coated Retriever Club of America's standard revision committee used when considering certain aspects of the curly coated retriever's structure and conformation.
The AKC recognizes there is a dispute among some breeders, exhibitors, and judges as to whether a 45-degree really exists in any breed but doesn't totally discount the possibility.
However, when it comes to the different types of breeds and their functions, the AKC's Canine College includes Rachel Page Elliott's three different forequarter angulation categories: those for achondroplastic breeds such as Dachshunds and Bassett hounds, those for herding and retrieving breeds, and those for sighthounds.
In general, herding and retriever breeds display an approximate angle of 120 degrees between shoulder blade and upper arm, meaning the blade angle is about 60 degrees. That is 5 degrees steeper than the specified angle in the curly coated retriever standard so our standard, as we wrote it, actually asks for a shoulder blade more laid back than what actually occurs in most of the other retriever breeds.
(See Figure 1 below.)