Amble vs Trot - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Amble vs Trot

I've noticed that when Pimg gets tired, if we are going slow enough (me walking) she will be in an "amble." If I pick up the speed a bit (me jogging slowly) she will switch to a trot.

To be honest, I'm not sure what gait she's in when she's not tired and we're walking slowly; I need to look closer.

At any rate, I had a couple questions about this:
  1. Some people (ahem... Carmen) have guessed what gait a dog will most likely choose based on their conformation. How do these people know this? What about the conformation signifies how a dog's gait will be at certain speeds?
  2. Is "amble" the right word as described in the video below? I've never heard that word. [EDIT]- This video calls the same movement a cantor and places it faster than a trot.
  3. Is it interesting at all that Pimg will be in an "amble" when tired, but more likely to trot when not tired? Maybe this is just normal since an amble is defined as something between a random walk and a trot... It just seemed interesting to me since I've not noticed it before. Maybe it's not interesting... haha!
  4. What is the progression of terms for gait patterns vs speed? Is it: walk, amble, trot, gallop? [EDIT]- is "cantor" in there somewhere??

Question #1 is probably the most interesting...

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 06:49 PM
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What the video is calling amble...I would call a pace.
A canter is a horse's a slower version of a gallop/run.

I have seen a GSD who almost NEVER trotted - it was either walk, pace, or (rarely) run. It was pretty odd to see...when tending sheep you expect the dogs to trot, but not this one dog. She had some funky structure and also bad hips so I'm sure that played into it a lot.
When a dog gets tired, any faults will get magnified so it could be why a dog would fall into a pace.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 07:06 PM
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It looks like what you're calling an "able" is what is considered "pacing". Or at least, what I was taught was pacing!.

Gaits have less to do with speed and more to do with purity of movement. A walk is a four beat gait. A fast walk can be faster than a slow, collected trot, but a true walk should ALWAYS have four distinct beats as each of the four legs moves.

A trot is a two beat gait. A fast trot can be faster than a slow, collected canter, but it should ALWAYS have two distinct beats. When teaching beginner riders to post the trot, trainers will call out "UP, DOWN" in time to the two beats with the "UP" phase to coincide with the outside fore leg and it's inside hind leg partner moving forward (because at a trot the legs move in diagonal pairs).

The canter is a three beat gait. Google "canter pirouette dressage" and see how a highly trained horse can maintain the purity of the three beat canter gait while turning a full circle around an almost stationary hind end. They are still in canter, with a pure three beat gait, but not moving very fast at all.

The gallop looks similar to a fast canter, but is actually a four beat gait, so different from the canter.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 07:07 PM
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Interesting observations - hope that Carmen or others can give more insight. I used to have a Retriever/Cocker Spaniel/Afghan Hound mix that would Amble. Another term for Ambling is Pacing - the term Pacing mostly used in the horse world.

A Canter (not Cantor - that is a singer in a Synagogue), is an easy run (as opposed to a Gallop where a dog or horse stretches all the way out. The Canter is what gives horses that Rocking horse motion. Called a Lope in Western Riding, and a Canter in English riding.

A Canter in a dog would be the next pace after the trot.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 07:12 PM
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Maybe gait preference in dogs is similar to gait preference in horses, where conformation makes some gaits easier than others?

Horses with down hill conformation have a harder time shifting their weight back to the hind end, and so have a very hard time with collection. You can look at a down hill horse and know that collection will be harder for that horse than a horse with an up hill build.

Maybe that is how knowledgeable posters here can see a picture of a dog and know what type of movement is probably going to be easier for that dog? And easier will be the preferred gait?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 01:58 PM
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Pacing is much more common in dogs that lack balance especially when they are tired. It is seen quite often in obedience during heeling even in balanced dogs when the handler is moving too slowly.

In horses the amble is most often considered a four beat gait, faster than the walk, similar to the pace (which is a two beat gait). Another name I have heard it called is the stepping pace.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 02:15 PM
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Kaiser (WLGSD-Belgian roots) has 4 speeds:
(1) walk (my normal pace is apparently too slow for him, so he walks most of the time)
(2) trot (if I pick up my pace, he will move into a heavy footed trot)
(3) "gallop"/or canter, if he was a horse (he quickly moves from a trot into a gallop...I call him my "clydesdale", as this is also heavy footed)
(4) sit/stand -- stalk -- run -- pounce (need I explain? lol)

Dakota (GSD/Collie), on the other hand, has a very graceful trot which she exhibits 98% of the time. 1% she walks and the other 1% is her run (while playing).

Note: To me, an amble is fine when describing synced movement from one side of the body to the other (ie, both legs on one side moving together). I would NOT consider an amble the same thing as a canter. A canter is like a slow or easy gallop (if he were a horse).

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 08:30 PM
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An "amble" is a slower version of a "pace". Kenna is a champion pacer (but doesn't amble) and can keep up with most GSDs in a flying trot when pacing. To get her to brake out of the pace, you need to break her stride, usually done by "popping" up on her collar to cause her to lift her front end (acts like a reset) and causes her to trot (gait properly). Pacing is actually an energy saving gait, and Kenna is frankly known for being lazy (and stubborn) and expecially for a GSD is very leggy (26" for a bitch, she stands as tall as my male), structurely she is steep in the shoulder.

Kenna pacing

Kenna gaiting

Found these sites interesting.
Pacing or Trotting Maholia

This one was interesting because we found that Kenna paced less after we got Molly and she started to play and run more (with her Mini Me), getting more fit?
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