Chest and Forelegs

The mighty legs of wolves

WOLVES: Wolves chests are narrow and keel shaped (like the front of a boat) with their elbows tucking closely just under (almost level with) the rib cage. The legs are long in proportion to the body, oval in shape and thick, but not overly thick or rounded. Their wrists/pasterns are moderately angled, long and have exceptional rotation giving their front legs/paws a slightly turned out appearance.

 

Dog paws

DOGS: In comparison, dogs generally have much wider chests that are more barrel shaped in appearance with their elbows coming up on the side of the rib cage instead of under. Dogs also tend to have straighter, shorter pasterns/wrists. This also makes the front legs on dogs look much straighter with no outward turn of the paws.  Most dog breeds have shorter legs in comparison to their body (length and height) with Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies taking on a stockier appearance with more rounded front legs.  German Shepherds can have similar pasterns and legs, though they are still typically shorter than a wolf.

 

The slender legs of a German ShepherdVery narrow chest on an off-standard German Shepherd

NOTE: With the amount of dogs being bred today, many of them are not true to their intended AKC conformation standard, meaning some of them can display traits not common with that breed.  Shown above is an example of a narrow chest in a German Shepherd with NO wolf heritage at all.