Structure - a complex system considered from the point of view of the whole rather than of any single part.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the human beholder that is. Humans have taken a species and molded it to their beholding expectations. What we have done to some breeds is appalling. Structure in dogs is very important but when you look at all of the different breeds it gets laughable. What one breed requires per "standard" may be a huge fault in another. I am big on structure, always have been and my years spent in the conformation ring made my eye for structure more intense. When I catch a glimpse of a dog who is moving poorly I will watch it until I can figure out what is going wrong. Watching many of the severely modified dogs moving is horrendous and the modification continues.
Structure is all about movement and proper body proportions to create a healthy body for a dog to live in.
This sentence took me a while to compose. I wanted to explain exactly what structure is; and it is more than a pretty face and body. Many breeds today were originally structurally sound but after years and years of being in the show ring being physically tweaked so to speak they are no longer structurally sound. Not all breeds have been physically compromised, but many have been the subject of human intervention. Sad. Where dogs originated is still controversial but the general consensus is the Gray Wolf. If you look at a wolf you see great structure; they are made to move. There body is specifically designed to allow them to run, catch, eat and protect. They are super athlete material.
But how far have our dogs gone from that picture of athletic perfection? Some farther than others; many dogs are nowhere close. Of course with evolution came domestication which meant change. But change is not always better. We essentially needed to change behavior so that the dog could happily live alongside us but did we really need to change their bodies quite so much? Humans modified the heads, bodies, legs and tails of dogs to fit into their little ideal mold. Now the dogs suffer from many ailments due to the loss of.......................................body parts.
Many breeds no longer have a proper length of muzzle. Some have loss their legs, literally. Then there are dogs who's heads have been shrunk down so small that their brains have no room. Some breeds have been so shrunken down height wise that they now suffer from not having the support system for their bodies. Dogs who were once strong and capable working dogs have been sculpted to the point of no longer being able to work. What are we doing? I do not frequent dog shows very often and when I do it is probably for a photo shoot. I remember standing outside of a couple of rings a while back and shuddering as I watched the dogs move around the ring. One whole breed made me shudder while a few standouts who's movement was so off, I stood in astonishment.
It is funny how humans can take one breed and turn it into two. Many breeds have been the result of this dual modification. You have the working strain and the show strain; and to put the two side by side you would not think that they are the same breed. Although many of the working strain are structurally amazing; they may not possess the temperament to live in a family environment. What ever happened to moderation? Humans by nature want more, more and more. What was a good length of neck 30 years ago is now seen as a stump. Many dogs 50 years ago look nothing like their version of today; we have added more hair, length of face, taken away substance for lighter, feather like movement.
I want dogs to be able to do stuff, fun and athletic stuff. To be sidelined due to lack of structure is just sad. Proper structure is so important. It can vary as well, there is not one recipe for proper structure. Take a look at wolves again. Within an individual healthy pack you will see different color, size and proportion but they will all be correct as far as structure for moving and health.
Structure - it is far more than a pretty face.