Flat Earth, Blue Cheese Moons, and 45-Degree Shoulder Angulation.
Some myths are more difficult to eradicate than others. Here is part of the explanation of why the U.S. Curly Coated retriever standard does NOT ask for 45-degree shoulder angles.
Rachel Page Elliott's research "provided new information that showed the 45 degree layback angle of a dog’s scapula with a 90 degree angle at the shoulder joint was nothing more than a myth. What had stood the test of time was found to be incorrect."
~Dr. Carmen Battaglia, "Breeding Better Dogs"
The 45-degree angulation mantra is like the myths the moon is made of blue cheese and the earth is flat.
Believe it or not, there are people who believe the earth is flat and the moon is made of blue cheese. And there are people who believe the one and only correct shoulder blade angulation in a dog, or most dogs, is 45 degrees.
If you might be one of the people who believe the 45-degree angle stuff or if you are just a person curious about what people who actually examined the shoulder angulation of dogs found, click the read more button.
One of the most frequent questions I’ve received about the U.S. curly coated retriever standard is why it does NOT call for a shoulder blade angulation of 45 degrees.
The standard calls for a blade angle of 55 degrees (from the horizontal) and describes that angle as “moderate”. (I will discuss that adjective “moderate” and why it should probably be removed from the standard in a later post.)
The reason the standard calls for a 55-degree angle is because several researchers, using modern technology, have proven the 45-degree angle doesn’t exist and may not even be attainable in a long legged dog. When we revised the standard, several committee members were familiar with the conclusions of the researchers and agreed with them.
Even the AKC now teaches that most dogs should not have 45-degree shoulder layback. In fact, the AKC teaches most retrievers have blades angled at about 60 degrees, or 5 degrees less laid back than called for in the curly standard.
Many people have a difficult time grasping the idea a 45-degree angled shoulder is incorrect for most breeds, probably due to having been told time and time again it is correct. But researchers who actually measured, photographed, dissected and by other means studied the actual shoulder angulation of, collectively, thousands of dogs, have pronounced the 45-degree angle nothing more than a myth.
Here's what Dr. Carmen Battaglia, of Breeding Better Dogs, says about it: