Glens in Motion
The question is how should a Glen of Imaal Terrier move? The gait authority in the dog world, Rachel Page Elliott says in her book Dogsteps that "a strong, even gait is desirable in all breeds, no matter the size, the shape or the purpose." Correct movement is not something just show dogs need but is essential to performance, work, and play.
The start of any analysis of movement starts with the understanding of the unique structure of our breed and how it affects the movement our breed. The Glen of Imaal Terrier is a breed whose structure is due to achondroplasia, a "form of dwarfism primarily affecting the development of the long bones." (citing Harold R. Spira from Canine Terminology). The AKC standard of the Glen of Imaal Terrier (see link on sidebar) has many points that would make any judge of movement scratch their head and wonder how can a dog move with a gait that is rhythmic and effortless with these characteristics. A Glen is suppose to have a rising topline, bowed forequarters with turned out feet with a gait that is "free and even, covering the ground effortlessly with good reach in front and good drive behind. This is a working terrier, which must have the agility, freedom of movement and endurance to do the work for which it was developed." (AkC Glen standard). Yes, despite these features, Glens can move rhythmically and without effort and as one breeder says, "like a fine tuned locomotive." We want to see good drive in the rear and reach in the front. Many structural faults can give the appearance of either or both so one needs to analyze each structure to determine if a Glen is a sound mover. Some faults may be deceiving. For example, dogs who pitch or have a swinging of the rear legs or paddle in the front may look like it has good drive and reach. This piece on movement is just the tip of the iceberg and meant as a teaser for readers to focus on movement of our breed and for breeders to work to gain knowledge on structure and how it effects movement. There are great sources out there to study but nothing beats sitting ringside and watching not only Glens but also different breeds move. Remember that no dog is without its faults. Good breeders recognize these faults in order to eliminate them in future progeny. It should also be noted that many Glen exhibitors are not experienced dog handlers and may not be showing a dog well enough for anyone to really analyze the dog's movement.