Relationships of Body Weight, Body Size, Subject Velocity, and Vertical Ground Reaction Forces in Trotting Dogs


Corresponding Author
Katja Voss, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney, 65 Parramatta Road, Camperdown NSW 2006, Australia


Objective: To evaluate the relationship of body weight (BW) and size, dog velocity, and vertical ground reaction forces (GRF) from a large number of dogs of various sizes.

Study Design: Clinical research.

Animals: Orthopedically healthy dogs (n=129)

Methods: BW and dog size, represented as height at the withers (WH), were obtained. Stance times (ST), vertical impulses (VI), and peak vertical forces (PVF) of thoracic and pelvic limbs were measured on a force plate at controlled trotting speed. They were evaluated against BW and WH using linear regression analysis in absolute (nonnormalized) values, and when normalized to BW and/or body size according to the theory of dynamic similarity. Relative velocities were calculated for each dog.

Results: Absolute ST, VI, and PVF showed strong positive correlations with BW and/or body size. When GRFs were normalized to BW, correlations with body size were markedly reduced, but remained positive for VI, and turned negative for PVF. Normalizing the time-dependent variables (ST and VI) also to WH eliminated most size influence. A small dependency of fully normalized GRF on body size remained that was because of differences in relative velocity between dogs of different sizes. Reference values for the fully normalized data are given.

Conclusions: The inherent relationship between BW, body size, dog velocity, and vertical GRF was demonstrated.

Clinical Relevance: BW, body size, and relative dog velocity must be accounted for when wanting to obtain GRF variables that are comparable between different dogs.