The mechanics of jumping by a dog (Canis familiaris)



A force platform has been used to obtain records of the forces exerted on the ground by an Alsatian dog, during take-off for running long jumps and standing scale jumps. The records have been analysed in conjunction with cinematograph film, taken simultaneously, and anatomical data. Stresses in the principal muscles of the hind limb, and in the triceps, have been calculated and the values obtained are compared with the stresses found by other investigators in isometric experiments with excised mammal muscles. Stresses in certain tendons and bones have been calculated, and the values obtained are compared with published values for the strength of tendon and bone. Evidence is presented that the gastrocnemius and plantaris muscles behave, in take-off for a jump, essentially as passive elastic bodies. Most of the elastic energy is probably stored in their tendons. A tendency for distal limb muscles to be pinnate, with much shorter fibres than proximal limb muscles, is noted and discussed.