Is it normal for a coton to run with the front and back legs together

by laura
(washington dc)

My 9 month old coton puppy loves to run - she chases other dogs, balls, bikes , joggers- anything she can try to beat - and she is very fast. Since she likes to run so much, i have taken her jogging with me, off leash on dirt paths (though we stop and walk periodically - so it is more of a run/power walk session).

In any case, i have noticed that when she runs (particularly when she runs at her fastest - chasing a bike, for example), she tends to put both front paws forward at the same time, and then bring both back paws forward at the same time - maybe like a canter in a horse. it looks natural when she does it, in fact it looks beautiful, and i have never thought anything of it other than to be amazed how fast and sleek she looks. But recently someone warned me that it can be harmful to let a puppy run until its growth plates are formed (though they couldnt really tell me what the potential danger was. But i got concerned about it and so i tried to do some research on what can happen if a dog runs too much too soon.

I couldnt find anything specific / helpful (and advice on where to read about this would be appreciated), but i stumbled across an article about hip dysplasia, and it indicated that one sign of hip dysplasia would be to run with the back legs moving in unison (which the article called "bunny hopping") ... i know cotons are not particularly prone to hip dysplasia, but the description made me worry that perhaps my dogs running pattern, which i previously considered normal for a coton, and which indeed can resemble a bunny hop, is actually the sign of a problem.

Does anyone know if it is normal for cotons to run like this? i notice large dogs like labs dont run like this - but truthfully there arent many little dogs around in the dog park that i can watch to see whether they run like my dog or like the labs...

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

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Apr 16, 2015
Yes, a bunny hop. NEW
by: Lisa

Sahy, my 4 1/2 month old, tries to beat my German Shepherd to the tennis ball, she also has a bunny hop, when she is running at her fastest.

Mar 25, 2015
running NEW
by: Vicky & Jonah

Jonah runs like a hop also. Not all the time but most.

Mar 23, 2015
CoCo is part Bunny Rabbit. . . NEW
by: Reenie & CoCo

At 9 months CoCo "hops" when he runs (or should I say 'dashes!). He dashes past me at the speed of light - blink & he's gone. I swear he's part Bunny Rabbit. He even looks like a Bunny Rabbit with his white hair & ears pulled back, jumping rather than running - 3 jumps and he's in the house from back yard Pee Pee! He dashes along side of the house, turns the corner, jumps 3x over path-way-steps and he's in the house - there's 8' feet distance per jump - two back legs spring his bounce up. I've watched this so many times in amazement. I'm convinced he's bunny rabbit blood! Nature crossed a dog with a bunny rabbit and we got our little Coton De Tulears.

CoCo loves his garden vegetables for dinner, too. Eats more like a bunny rabbit than a dog. Green beans & carrots are among his favorite.

When a tall person visits CoCo he jumps straight up to his chest, over & over. I measured CoCo's on spot jump over 5' high. Obviously Santa brought CoCo a circus hoola-hoop!

Here's a medical opinion on dog Gait and "The gallop" - is an asymmetric gait used for high-speed locomotion:

Mar 20, 2015
Bunny hop NEW
by: Anonymous

Truffles hops like a bunny, it's so darn cute. That and the treadmill run in tile :).

Mar 20, 2015
bunny hop NEW

I don't have an answer for you BUT my Billie hops like a bunny and I notice it more when she is chasing deer out of my backyard. I think it is cute but never thought that it might be harmful to her. I just know those deer get into the woods and look back at her and wonder why they ran.

If you hear any more about the way cottons run let me know. I do know that hip dysplasia is usually in large dogs and obviously she is not.

Judy Garonzik

Mar 20, 2015
Cotons Run NEW
by: Anne

Our Molly runs like the wind when she wants to. She leaps over anything in her way and can chase a squirrel and almost catch it. So yes, Cotons do run. We tried agility with her but she does things when she wants to not when I would like her to. Our Molly has a beautiful gait when she runs. Her little legs come off the ground and the wind blows her hair off her beautiful little face. It's quite a sight.

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