The chest is long, broad and deep, with well-sprung ribs and strong developed pectoral muscles. It is filled behind the shoulder blades.
This section is discussing the rib cage. The size of a dog’s rib cage is proportional to the size of their heart or cardiovascular system. So, there is a direct relationship with the size of rib cage to how fit a dog can get. In this case, bigger is definitely better!
Well-sprung ribs mean that the sides are not flat, or slab-sided. The most efficiently shaped ribs are the ones where the cross section is a tear-drop shape. The top should appear rounded and then come down, almost to a point, at the brisket. Also, when looking at the ribs, you need to look at the thickness of each rib. Thinner ribs are more elastic and will be able to expand more, allowing more air into the lungs. Thicker ribs, and barrel shaped rib cages, have less movement. With this shape of rib cage, the dog will have to expand the belly area more with each breath when breathing heavily.
The point of the sternum is level with the point of the shoulder.
This is another reference point that helps judge how correct the dogs front end attachments are. The sternum is the V shaped bone that sticks out a little in the centre of the chest. The sternum is located just under the dog’s neck. If the points of the dog’s shoulders are lined up with the sternum, it is a good indication that the shoulders are angled correctly and in the correct position. If the shoulders are under-angulated, the sternum will stick out further than the point of the shoulder; if the shoulders are over-angulated, the sternum will be inside the line of the two shoulder points.
Some dogs, even with correct angulation, will have the whole front assembly set too far forward on the rib cage. Although the angles may look correct, the sternum will, again, be inside the line of the two shoulder points.
The shoulder blades should be well-attached (not loose). If you have ever skinned and cut up a four legged animal like an antelope or goat, you know that the shoulder blades are only held on by tendon and muscle. There is no socket or joint to take the weight like the hips ball and socket joint. It is important for good movement and strength that they are well attached. To check this, you simply need to push down on the dog’s head and watch what happens at the top of the back, where the tops of the shoulder blades are located. If the dog’s shoulder blades are poorly attached, they will come together and almost touch. If they are well attached, and the dog is strong, there will be little movement in that region.