Pit Bull Informational Pages
by Diane Jessup 

Understanding CORRECT pit bull conformation and WHY it is correct


First things first. Looking at your dog from the side, draw a line along the dog's topline.

No part of your dog's head and neck should be below this line. If any part is below this line, the dog has a short neck, which means something is incorrect in the "front assembly". Most commonly, this indicates "straight shoulders" (more on that later).

The front legs on a dog with a short neck will not have good "reach". This will result in a dog who does not have a good, economical gait.


This picture is angled slightly more than it should be, but it still shows an excellent topline and head and neck are above the line.

From where the neck joins the body, with the exception of a very small dip where the vertabrae change direction, there should not be anything above or below this line.

According to Pat Hastings, structure expert, "A topline problem is very rarely created by the spine." Instead, problems in the front and rear cause irregularities in the topline.

This poor bitch has a sunken topline followed by a roach over the loin. The reason: severe faults in both front and rear. Her really weak rear causes her to stand with her rear legs "under" her. This causes the roach over the loin. She is standing like that to relieve stress (and discomfort) in her rear legs.

Notice that her head and neck do not clear the topline line. This is caused by the short upper arm.

This male American bulldog is in the running for "Worst Built Dog of the Century" award. Not only is his neck nonexistent, but his extremely poor rear causes a strong roach over his loin.

You'll see this dog again... poor thing, there is hardly anything about him which is correct.

Not a bad top line on this overweight American Staffordshire rescue dog, but notice the head and neck are far below the line. This is caused by a very short upper arm.



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