Repository logo

Biomechanical comparison of standing posture and during trot between German shepherd and Labrador retriever dogs.

Published version

Change log


Humphries, Alexander 
Shaheen, Aliah F 
Gómez Álvarez, Constanza B  ORCID logo


It is widely accepted that canine breeds stand and move differently. The prevalence of various musculoskeletal disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia is also different between breeds. German shepherd dog (GSD) and Labrador retriever dog (LRD) are two large breeds with different conformations that have high prevalence of these disorders. This study quantifies the movement and standing posture of twelve healthy GSDs and twelve healthy LRDs to identify biomechanical similarities and differences that may be linked to sub-optimal hip and elbow mechanics. A pressure walkway and a motion capture system obtained measures of kinetics, kinematics and conformation during standing and trot. During standing, LRDs carry a greater percentage of the weight on the forelimbs (69%±5% vs. GSDs: 62%±2%, p<0.001) and their body Centre of Pressure (CoP) is located more cranially (p<0.001). GSDs had a greater pelvic tilt (79°±8 vs. 66°±9°, p = 0.004), more flexed stifles (44°±9° vs. LRDs: 34°±10°, p<0.05) and hocks (58°±11° vs. 26°±9°, p<0.01) and more extended hips (-10°±11° vs. 30°±12°, p<0.001). During trot, the GSDs' CoP had a longer anterior-posterior trajectory (151%±22% vs. LRDs: 93%±25% of the withers height, p<0.001). Stride parameters and loading of limbs were similar when normalised to the size and weight of the dog, respectively. The LRDs had a more extended thoracolumbar angle (p<0.001) and a less flexed lumbosacral angle (p<0.05). The LRDs' hip remained flexed during trot whereas the GSDs' hip joint was less flexed during swing (p<0.001) and more extended in late stance and early swing (p<0.001). In conclusion, the LRDs and GSDs differ in the way they stand and move and this would result in different loading pattern of the joints. Further investigation is required to determine the extent to which biomechanical differences are linked to musculoskeletal problems presented clinically.


Funder: The Kennel Club Charitable Trust; Grant(s): Project ID: 4093 Project Code: 9653


Animals, Biomechanical Phenomena, Body Weight, Dogs, Female, Forelimb, Gait, Hip, Hip Dysplasia, Canine, Hip Joint, Joint Diseases, Male, Standing Position

Journal Title

PLoS One

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Public Library of Science (PLoS)