The Education Committee also offers other sanctioned educational programs which should be of interest to groups or individuals. This program focuses on proportion and measuring Siberians. The following describes an activity, when done properly, shows how a dog's proportion compares with the Standard.

The Standard for the Siberian Husky clearly describes a variety of correct proportions:

. . . In profile, the length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the rear point of the croup is slightly longer than the height of the body from the ground to the top of withers. . . . Length of leg from elbow to ground is slightly more than the distance from the elbow to the top of withers. . . . the distance from the tip of the nose to the stop is equal to the distance from the stop to the occiput. . . . Weight is in proportion to height. . . .

Although the Standard is very clear regarding proportion, it is often difficult to tell whether or not a dog is in proportion. What we need to do is to train our eye as to what Standard-fitting proportions are. One way to do this is to measure dogs and compare those measurements to the ones called for in the Standard.

This activity provides you with a step-by-step guide and worksheet to use when measuring a Siberian, and then shows you how to compare those measurements with the proportions called for in the Standard. This process and worksheet were developed by the Northern California Siberian Husky Club, and later approved for use on a national basis by the Board of Directors of the Siberian Husky Club of America.

This activity takes few supplies, and can be done nearly anywhere. With some basic measuring devices and this worksheet, a Club can have an educational activity, or you can measure your own dogs.

Supplies Needed and Items to Consider:

  1. Location: Almost any location works for this activity, as it doesn't need much space. It can be successful indoors or outdoors.
  2. Attendance: This activity is intended for adult Siberians. Although puppies may be measured, unless they have achieved their full size, the results might be misleading.
  3. Supplies: You will need the following items:
    1. A straight surface on which to stack each dog--although ours is not a "table" breed, a grooming table works well, as it brings the dog to a more accessible height for the measurer
    2. A cloth or plastic (dressmaker's) tape measure (A metal, retractable tape measure, an articulated carpenter's rule, or a yardstick may also be used. However, practice has shown that a dressmaker's tape is somewhat easier to work with.)
    3. An official wicket (Although we use an AKC wicket to determine if a dog is too tall, it is still one of the most accurate and consistent tools to measure a dog's height.)
    4. Scales (Although if a weighing device is not available, weighing of a dog may be done in advance or after the session by the owner/handler.)
    5. A clipboard with adequate copies of the attached worksheet and pen or pencil
  4. Set-up: There is little set-up--just getting the supplies and dogs.
  5. Help: It is best to have three people involved in the measuring of each dog:
    1. The owner/hander to stack the dog
    2. The measurer (The individual who does the measuring should have a good knowledge of dog anatomy, be familiar with the Siberian Standard, and have some practice measuring dogs.)
    3. The scribe; a person who makes note of the measurements on the worksheet.
  6. Measuring Hints: Here are some hints to help with the measuring:
    1. Measuring Length of Body ("A" on the worksheet): First, locate the beginning and ending points of the measurement: "point of shoulder" and "rear point of croup." Both of these locations are easy to find, as there is a distinct bone "point" for each. If a dog is in full coat, make sure to separate the fur to feel for the exact place of each bone. Once located, hold the tape as straight as possible with the end at the point of shoulder and measure to the rear point of croup. Try not to allow the tape to "bend" along the side of the dog.
    2. Measuring Dog's Height ("B" on the worksheet): This is best done with a official wicket. Set the wicket to the approximate height of the dog, stack the dog, and measure. Reset the wicket taller or shorter depending on the result, and try again. Repeat until you have the closest measurement. Remember that wickets are in 1/2 inch increments, so you may need to interpolate between two measurements. Try to be as accurate as possible.
    3. Measuring Length of Leg ("C" on the worksheet): While the dog is still stacked, with his front legs straight, measure from the elbow to the ground. Again, try to keep the tape straight. The easiest way to measure to the elbow is to stand to the side of the dog, and grasp the dog's elbow with your thumb on the front of the joint and your other fingers behind the leg. With your thumb, locate the point of the elbow on the outside of the joint, where the humerus overlaps the ulna. Measure from the ground to that point.
    4. Measuring Depth of Body ("D" on the worksheet): This is a difficult distance to measure because of the curve of the dog's body. It is best to achieve this measurement by subtraction. Subtract the length of leg (C) from the height (B), and you will have the depth of body.
    5. Measuring Tip of Nose to Stop ("E" on the worksheet): You can do this either with your hand, or with the tape.
    6. Measuring Stop to Occiput ("F" on the worksheet): You can do this either with your hand, or with the tape.
    7. Weighing Dog ("G" on the worksheet): If the dog will not stand on the scales, weigh yourself, pick up the dog, weigh both of you, and subtract your weight to find the dog's weight.
  7. Evaluation: Once you have completed all measurements, answer the four questions at the bottom of the worksheet to see if your dog's proportions are those called for in the Standard.

One way to create a program with this process would be as follows:

  1. Discuss the references to measurements and proportion in the Standard.
  2. Demonstrate: Measure a "demonstration" dog (with the owner's agreement), do the "math" together, and see what conclusions may be drawn based on this evaluation. Perhaps do this with a couple of dogs. It is always a good idea to have one dog that measures well, as well as one is too long of body and too short of leg. This group measurement and evaluation, as well as the discussion, help illustrate the measurement process, how to evaluate the measurements, and how to begin training one's eye. (I always remember those instances when measuring dogs at National Specialties, where several very experienced Siberian breeders have been surprised to find that a dog they thought was short of leg was actually just too long of body, and another dog that seemed to be well-proportioned was actually short of leg but with a shallow chest.)
  3. Measure: Set up a bit of a "production line," one-by-one, measuring the dogs with their owners/handlers. This not only provides the dog's measurements, but also helps the owner/handler learn about anatomy and how to measure. Have the scribe note the measurements, and give the owner/handler the worksheet. Then, measure the next dog. This way, a single measurer has the time to measure the maximum number of dogs.
  4. Evaluate: have each owner/handler do the analysis of his or her dog alone. The object of this exercise is NOT to call attention to anyone's dog's measurements, but rather to give the owner/handler information about the dog and some experience with the process.
  5. A final discussion could be a nice conclusion if participants want to ask some questions or bring up some points that occurred to them during the activity.

Click here to download a the Proportion Measurements Worksheet. Please note that this worksheet is in ".pdf" format, which requires Adobe Reader, available from the Adobe website.

Last update of this page: 06/2009.

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 SHCA Sanctioned Education Program:
      Proportion & Measurement