Forces exerted on the ground by galloping dogs (Canis familiaris)



In quadrupedal galloping, one foot of each pair (the ‘trailing’ foot) is set down shortly before the other (‘leading’) foot. Alexander, Jayes & Ker (1980) argued that the trailing and leading feet should exert different patterns of force on the ground, to make the most effective use of tendon elasticity to reduce the energy cost of locomotion. We have used two force plates mounted in tandem in a playing field to obtain records of the forces exerted by individual feet of galloping dogs. We find that the patterns of force exerted by trailing and leading feet are much more similar than had been predicted.