Canine Gaits
(Foot-Fall Patterns)
Gait Parameters Walk Amble Trot Pace Canter Transverse Gallop Rotary Gallop About this Web App Exit to
Veterinary Anatomy
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© 2012 T.F. Fletcher & V.L. Datt

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Step Cycle: the phases each limb undergoes during a stride . . .
      support = catches weight;
      thrust = propels body;
      lift = final kickback;
      swing = protraction;

Beats: number of ground impacts ("hoof beats") during a single stride, for a particular gait.

Stride: the movement sequences that the four limbs cyclically repeat during a particular gait.

Gait: a particular stride pattern repeated during locomotion.

Typical Gaits: most of the time cursorial quadrupeds locomote using typical gaits, which include: walk, amble, trot, pace (rack), canter, transverse gallop, and rotary gallop. Gait usage varies with the individual and with species (e.g., only carnivores typically use the rotary gallop).

Lead: asymmetric gaits (canter & gallop) are favored for turning. An animal is said to be on a "right lead" or "left lead" according to which side it is predisposed to turn during a canter or gallop. The forelimb in contact with the ground just before suspension in the lead limb. Animals control the lead they are using, and they switch leads to suit circumstances or minimize fatigue.