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Thinking about a GSD, have some ?'s

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Bacardi1 View Post
    No - the breed standard is NOT fine. Look at that pic & that description. That dog is walking on its hocks.
    In the link I gave? The hock joints are clearly off the ground in all the illustrations and the topline is level. What are you talking about?


    • #62
      Originally posted by libgrrl View Post
      The lowered hocks were supposed to assist in producing the famed "flying trot" of the GSD -- same principal as breeding an "uphill" dressage horse.

      I'm not endorsing (in any way!) just trying to explain the rationale. I don't like it either.
      Right. Not exactly lowered hocks, though. It's the added length of the hind tibias and the over angulation. And of course it doesn't work. The hind end just gets weaker and wobblier. They don't need extreme angulation for the flying trot.

      My two are a good example. The working line girl would probably win at United Kennel Club shows but that's about it. My German show line wouldn't have been looked at in the AKC ring 10 years ago. Now I bet he could finish under good judges because the pendulum is swinging back. He has a strong head, a correct topline (no ski slope) and a powerful rear end with no extreme angulation. So probably a lot of AKC folk wouldn't like him, but since we show obedience at GSD specialty shows I can vouch for the interest by a lot of AKC breeders in looking to get away from what the breed has been the last 20 years.

      Anyway, to the trot. I've done 20k's with both these dogs, so that required a lot of roadwork with me on the bicycle. The working line dog did fine, but she has neither the speed nor endurance of the CORRECTLY built GSD. The other dog is like a 10-speed bike - he has many gears in trot. Like a horse he can trot and then shift up to extended trot, except he can trot when other dogs need to break into a canter, and he can trot when a lot of dogs have to break into a gallop. He just lengthens his stride and cruises along very comfortably, which for a GSD is what they're supposed to do when herding - they don't herd like Border Collies, their job was to be a "living fence" and patrol the perimeter.

      I agree with Bacardi1 that the modern show dog can't do this; however, as I've said several times, there are a lot of breeders in this country breeding CORRECT GSD and even still training them in the German style of herding. The HGH title is still offered; it's very different from AKC herding. Not the same thing at all. I think the flock they work has to be at least 200 sheep.

      Unfortunately it's the same with dogs like with horses: TWH were beautiful movers once upon a time and look at the Big Lick horses today. Arabians, Shetland Ponies, in-hand Quarter Horses, Morgans...AMHA actually threw out some registrations a few years ago (prior to DNA) because they were finally able to prove what people had been saying for decades: there was ASB blood in "purebred" Morgans because some breeders felt that's what was winning so they bred it and falsified papers. And of course they won.


      • #63
        Originally posted by Anne FS View Post
        In the link I gave? The hock joints are clearly off the ground in all the illustrations and the topline is level. What are you talking about?
        Topline level? I don't understand. Looking at illustration 4, which has a rectangle drawn, wouldn't the top of the croup have to also be at the line that is drawn, as the withers are, for the topline to be level? I see a straight topline, but one that is definitely sloped downwards from withers to croup. Croup not at same height as withers.

        Now, of course this illustration is nowhere near as exaggerated as some dogs you see, and of course if this were a dog IRL he might square up more if he were posed with both hind legs up under him, but I see a straight topline, but not a level topline. ???

        ETA: I would love to see a trot-all-day type of GSD. Love me some old-school GSDs. Some white GSDs I've seen still have really balanced looks.

        Anne, I wish you could figure out a way to link to some photos of your guys.!
        Last edited by Rallycairn; Dec. 11, 2012, 11:12 AM.
        If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great


        • #64
          It's like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPJPE9oNN7A

          He's got the flowing trot that really can go for hours. The stride is huge, so you can see why they trot when other dogs run. Not agreeing with "best mover of all time" as they claim, but it's a good example of correct movement for this breed, with the correct structure (topline, head carriage, stride, tail carriage, front & rear extension) making it possible. Endurance with strength.

          And you can see that unlike in a lot of show-ring dogs, the reach of the hind legs is long but the show dogs actually have the hock joint itself down on the ground and walk with a foot like a human's: the "foot" up to and including the hock joint itself are what's walking on the ground - no good!


          • #65
            After over 40 years of GSD, I can say that they like horses come in all temperaments. Most of mine have been "rescues", either from the pound, or a rescue, or someone who had to give away an adult. They learn obedience commands easily, and most tend to listen well to "No"! On their downside I will say the haircoat of the GSD is something to reckoned with. They do shed!

            As far as the early poster "Wendy"is concerned, some people are meant to be ignored. Yes! I've had Shepherds with hips, but the rest of it..pfui!!!! Hips are usually manageable.
            Taking it day by day!


            • #66
              yeah, I SAID hips are the least of your worries. DM is my nightmare- I've seen a number of working GSDs go down with it in the prime of life, and it is the WORST. More than 20% of GSDs will develop the horrible, crippling condition, even higher % in poorly bred pet and show lines. There's a genetic test available these days, I personally would not ever buy or accept a rescue GSD unless it was tested and found to be clear of the disease. http://www.vetdnacenter.com/canine-d...yelopathy.html


              The subject on which most everyone can agree, however, is that DM is a neurological disease which presents with a set of symptoms that are easily recognized by vets who see a lot of dogs who suffer from DM and often misdiagnosed by vets who are not familiar with DM. The disease can develop in almost any age dog, but seems most common in dogs 6 years and older. Initially, signs may be similar to symptoms associated with hip dysplasia and or arthritis (hence, the frequent misdiagnosis) – difficulty getting up, some dragging or weakness in the rear legs, etc. One of the symptoms which may clearly signal a DM problem is that the dog begins initially to drag its rear feet in such a way that the two center nails on both rear feet scrape and are often worn down to the point of bleeding. In time, the dog’s back end begins to sway, creating the appearance that the dog is in something akin to a drunken state or the dog may periodically crisscross its rear legs or lean to one side, etc. Some dogs begin to walk with a “goose-step” stride as they are struggling to keep their mobility. The dog may also turn its rear feet (“knuckling” their feet) over in such a way that it is literally walking on the top of its feet without any awareness of this. A vet who suspects DM (or other neurological problems) may test for the neurological symptoms of DM by turning/ folding a dog’s rear foot under and waiting to see if the dog immediately corrects the foot and goes back to standing on its pad or whether it remains standing on the top of its foot.
              Once the conclusion is that the dog probably is suffering from DM (based either on ruling out other factors or simply by virtue of the symptoms the dog is demonstrating), treatment becomes the next question. There is no cure for DM – it is a progressive and debilitating disease that eventually completely paralyzes the dog’s hindquarters and may, in time affect the front limbs as well. Some dogs will lose control of bladder and bowels, others will not. In some dogs, deterioration from the scraping feet and a slightly wobbly backend to complete paralysis will happen in months, in some dogs it may occur over a one to two year period. The neurologist we saw with our girl Katie, who sees about 3 dogs EVERY month suffering from degenerative myelopathy, said the very longest he ever saw a dog last from initial symptoms until the dog was put down was three years, but he stressed repeatedly that this was the rare exception and that most dogs deteriorate rather quickly, usually in less than a year from initial onset of any symptoms. As the symptoms progress, the dog may become completely paralyzed in the rear quarters and that may spread, eventually, to the front limbs as well. Additionally, many dogs lose control of bowel and bladder functions and some begin to develop bedsores and infections from lack of mobility.


              • #67
                Thanks, Anne, I absolutely agree about the horror of the dog placing foot plus leg all the way up to the hock on the ground with each hind foot step -- but I still wouldn't call anything a level topline that doesn't have point of croup and withers exactly on level. But I totally get what you are saying about the exaggerated angulation, placing the hock on the ground -- as you said, it makes for a very weak hindquarter, not a strong one! Ironic given the supposed purpose and stated intent.
                If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great


                • #68
                  Originally posted by Anne FS View Post
                  In the link I gave? The hock joints are clearly off the ground in all the illustrations and the topline is level. What are you talking about?
                  "Clearly off the ground" does not equal "normal".


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Anne FS View Post
                    It's like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPJPE9oNN7A

                    He's got the flowing trot that really can go for hours. The stride is huge, so you can see why they trot when other dogs run. Not agreeing with "best mover of all time" as they claim, but it's a good example of correct movement for this breed, with the correct structure (topline, head carriage, stride, tail carriage, front & rear extension) making it possible. Endurance with strength.

                    And you can see that unlike in a lot of show-ring dogs, the reach of the hind legs is long but the show dogs actually have the hock joint itself down on the ground and walk with a foot like a human's: the "foot" up to and including the hock joint itself are what's walking on the ground - no good!
                    But guess what? This dog had a "fast normal" hip rating, which is the same as a "fair" from the OFA.

                    Although he looks wonderful trotting along to the music, and that video has been passed around a great deal, Dingo actually has worse hips than Dallas, who was OFA "good".

                    But that can't be? How can an American Showline have better hips than a 100% German dog, bred to SV standards? And Dallas even goes back to Lance of Fran-Jo, the dog most agree started the American Showlines down the slippery slope.

                    Unless the hips are really bad, you can't tell a dog's hip status just by looking. I have seen dogs that should, by what the x-rays showed, not be able to walk at all. And I have seen dogs that have hips rated OFA "excellent" get called "hock walker cripple" by the show ring peanut gallery.


                    • #70
                      Fair hips are just that. Fair. They're still passing. And as you & others have said here, it's not all that uncommon for dogs to be healthy, active & painfree but the x-rays show they shouldn't.

                      Hip ratings aren't the be-all & end-all; it's a tool like any other. Same with the DM test. It's all the rage now. Even that can give 4% false negatives. But it's still a tool to be made use of.

                      OFA Excellent hips have produced dysplastic dogs; even a-Noch zugelassen are still breedable in Germany and have produced offspring rated Excellent. You do the best you can.

                      As you probably know, OFA ratings are done by a panel of 3 reviewers; 2 could've said Good, one said Excellent, so the hips were rated Good even though an official evaluator rated them Excellent. Depends on who's reviewing that day. Normal hips are normal hips. Then there's PennHip, too, now....

                      SV German dogs aren't above American dogs. It all depends on the breeder. Just like with horses. Just like with other breeds. There are plenty of SV VA-rated dogs with tiny back ends and roached or wheel backs. Just as incorrect and disgusting as American Show lines. Or in breeding away from needle-noses, in German dogs you see heavy heads that have the exact shape of an Akita. Fine for an Akita but incorrect for a GSD. You try to get one trait, you lose another. That's just the way it goes.

                      Like any breed, research and find the good ones. If you just want a pet, it doesn't matter. As others have said, what the breed has seemed to retain is its intelligence and trainability no matter what the line.

                      As to the breed standard, it doesn't matter what I like or what you like - it's what's correct for the breed.

                      Doesn't bother me in the least that dog in the video had Fair hips. He's a correct mover, which is not surprising since his hips are within normal range.

                      "Show ring peanut galleries" usually don't know what they're seeing so I place no credibility on that, although OFA is only about the construction of the hip joint (and elbows now) and that has nothing to do with the length of the bones of the hind leg, and the conditioning or utter lack of, the individual animal.

                      HA. There's music to that video? I've only watched it. Never with sound. Probably schmaltzy music?


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Anne FS View Post
                        If you just want a pet, it doesn't matter. As others have said, what the breed has seemed to retain is its intelligence and trainability no matter what the line.
                        Um, bullshit. A pet needs to have steady nerves and it needs to be reasonably healthy. Ever tried to take "just a pet" out in the community when it is so fearful due to genetically weak nerves that it has explosive diarrhea? How many "strictly pet" homes will deal year in and year out with the multitude of health problems that are so prevalent in the breed? The expensive diets for the West German Showlines that have horrible allergies? The mega-E dogs that need particular care for how long after they eat each and every meal? The DM that can send an owner into the poor house just getting diagnosed?

                        How should pet homes put up with the wonky temperaments that make their dogs liabilities, law suits waiting to happen? How long before a son or daughter walks in with a friend and forgets to go in first and crate the dog, and it bites that friend?

                        I get phone calls from "strictly pet owners" every month. They want to surrender their "strictly pet" dog because they thought that it "doesn't matter", either. Guess what? It DOES MATTER! And the first time their dog bit the mail man and the post office refused to deliver mail to their house because of it, they discovered just how much it matters.

                        Ever tired to live with a weak nerved dog in an urban environment? How bout in a rural environment? Ever tried to live happily and safely with a weak nerved dog in a home with children?

                        I have lived in both worlds: strictly pets, and competitive dogs. The kind of intense training that highly competitive dogs receive can hide a multitude of sins in both structure and nerve. Strictly a pet? Not so much, because there is so little margin of error. A show dog gets snarky with the lady standing too close to the grooming table at a show? She should have known better...she is at a show for God's sake! Pet dog snaps at the neighbor? Way less understanding. It matters. Believe me, it matters.

                        I think a pet dog needs to have better nerve and needs to be healthier. That is not an easy life, and pets are asked to put up with a whole lot more than competition dogs ever are.

                        So, yes, it really does matter when you "just want a pet". Which is why even those who "just want a pet" should do business with reputable breeders who know what they are doing and produce dogs that have health and temperament that can withstand the demands of being "just a pet".

                        I fear that the breed is lost. There are too many people out there doing their own thing. I can think of just a couple of breeders that I would recommend, which is sad because I know a lot of breeders.

                        If you just want a pet, it doesn't matter? Are you high?
                        P.S. No, the music isn't schmaltzy on your Dingo Youtube. In fact, many would argue that the music is better than the dog it is being used to showcase.


                        • #72
                          Interesting to read all this - I've had 3 rescue dogs (out of 4) who have or had obvious GSD blood; one mixed w/ pointer - you should have seen her pointing at about 12 weeks old, lol. I took her trail riding w/ me for years. One mixed w/ coonhound - my best dog ever; he loved everything on the planet, somehow missed most of the prey drive thing, and he made me laugh every day of his life. Current one has also some chow, as evidenced by the tongue and the short legs - she is probably the smartest and most sensitive of the bunch and very sweet. I would have another GSD mix in a heartbeat, though as I age I'm hoping to find something a bit smaller when that time comes...
                          We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                          • #73
                            "Just pets" are like "just trail horses" they both need even more stable temperaments than their competitive counterparts, because they are handled by amateurs and amateurs make mistakes. Our timing when training isn't as perfect and we don't always make the wisest decisions!


                            • #74
                              IdahoRider, we're talking about structure: pets don't need herding dog or show dog structure, of course they need to be healthy with stable temperaments, but they don't need to-the-standard looks. You're one of the people who has comprehension issues. No matter how many times people say how great their GSD have been and still are, how good temperaments and healthy GSD are out there, no matter now many times you're told look around, there are LOTS of really good GSD breeders breeding really good GSD, you insist that "the breed is lost." It's not.

                              Tell me how many GSD breeders you know. How many? Who are they?

                              Also tell me who are these "many" who don't like the dog in the video, and why. Be interesting to learn from these "many." (lol).


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Anne FS View Post
                                Tell me how many GSD breeders you know. How many? Who are they?
                                I have been involved with the GSD breed since 1966, when my parents brought home our first. I was active as a handler in Jr. Showmanship from 1971 on and spent many, many hours watching, participating and listening to others active in AKC conformation and obedience. I remember Cappy Pottle of Covey-Tucker Hill when she was just Cappy Pottle of Tucker Hill.

                                I have personally fostered too many GSDs to count over the past 25 years. They include poorly bred dogs and royally bred dogs. I have fostered ScH III dogs and I have fostered dogs that had never had a leash on. I have lived with American Showlines, West German Showlines and working lines.

                                Recently, within the past 8 years, I have trained and trailed GSDs in herding and dabbled in schutzhund tracking.

                                You mention that I am one of those that have a problem with comprehension? Since so many other people seem to have the same problem comprehending what you have to say, over so many different threads, I think maybe you need to start looking at what you have to say and asking yourself how comprehensible you actually are. One or two people? Yeah, maybe they don't have the knowledge base to comprehend you. But when multiple people question what you have to say? Maybe it is you.

                                How many breeders do I know? Over the years? Too many to count. I am 49 years old and I grew up in a dog show family. Currently I know several who I stay in touch with, one I have trained with. Only one would I recommend, simply because I trust her breeding program. I have seen and interacted with several generations of her dogs and have seen them in training, competition and living on their family's couches.

                                I didn't say the breed is lost, I said, "I fear the breed is lost". Each little faction within the fancy believes they are breeding the correct and true version of the German Shepherd Dog. And yet, very few of them do. The American pet lines that have some how latched onto the idea that the "old fashioned" dog we remember from our childhoods were 30 inches at the shoulder and weighed 120lbs. The American Showline breeders that have bred for ever more extreme movement, because the side gait (that "flying trot") is their exclusive interest. To hell with soft temperaments and health problems.

                                The West German Showlines have become more and more extreme as those breeders have focused almost exclusively on coat and color. They have to dumb down schutzhund trials because the dogs that are being produced can't handle the very procedure that was developed to test breed worthiness.

                                And the working lines are not free of their own problems. We are seeing more and more working lines in shelters and rescues because of how a fad wave of pet owners wanting sable dogs. Not to mention the over the top drive that some working line breeders go for, creating a dog that can't settle (has no "off button").

                                Someone mentioned the German Shepherd Dog forum? Maybe it was even Anne FS, who knows. Read this thread:
                                And then come back and tell me that the state of the breed isn't in trouble. Many of the people posting to that thread have decades of experience. But I guess they would have "comprehension" problems, too. Right, Anne FS?

                                Going back to Dingo. It is evident in the video, if you look, that his forearm is very long. It is more evident in shots of him stacked. He is also a somewhat loose dog. He moves in a loose jointed manner. Is he the worst of the worst? No, absolutely not. He was a nice dog that was well put together. But there are other dogs, if you do some research and don't just rely on a video that went viral as it was forwarded to hell and back, who are much nicer examples of the breed. Such as this girl:
                                I was lucky enough to foster this girl when she was a 10 year old who needed some help. She was the epitome of what the German Shepherd Dog should be. She is the only foster that I have been seriously tempted to keep for myself. She went to a wonderful home and gave her new owner several more years of companionship before being helped over the Rainbow Bridge. She was everything a great GSD can be, and then some and it was an honor to live with her for the few months she was in my home.

                                I think Dallas was a good example of an American Showline dog. Although I think he did die fairly young at age, what, 9 years? I posted a link to his database listing in an earlier thread.

                                As for working lines? There is a gorgeous sable male, call name "Boy", that I really like. I can't remember his registered name at the moment. But he is structurally and temperamentally sound. He has drive enough to spare, but has an off switch and is a house dog.

                                There are good breeders out there. Absolutely! But I have fear that the breed has gone so far into the ditch that it'll never get back.


                                • #76
                                  I've never owned a German Shepherd but known of lots.

                                  Never could understand why they hocks were bred to be so low to the ground until the video Anne FS posted. Still cannot approve of what they have done to this marvellous breed and seeing the dogs that the judges put up at the big shows like Westminster is horrifying, wobbling their way around the ring.

                                  The Belgian Shepherd has gained in popularity, esp. for K9, and they have a much more athletic build.

                                  All that hair would be a nightmare in my house. So many GSD's have to spend their lives outside without enough human interaction.

                                  It is pretty sad to read all the disaster posts, and I know there are good, healthy dogs out there, but the percentage is not that high, it appears.
                                  I hope the breed can be restored.
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                  • #77
                                    I saw this video awhile ago, but it's so shocking I went back and found it. This is supposedly a top GSD breeder:


                                    One of the dogs actually falls over because it can't turn. They remind me of big lick TWHs.
                                    You are what you dare.


                                    • #78
                                      Originally posted by GotGait View Post
                                      One of the dogs actually falls over because it can't turn. They remind me of big lick TWHs.
                                      The dogs in the video linked are West German showlines. Not too many years ago (within the last decade), these lines were being touted as the savior of the breed because they were being bred to the "exacting standards of the German SV system". Any dog needed to earn at least a Schutzhund I title in order to produce registered puppies.

                                      Fast forward a few years, and the puppy in the video is the result. Note that the puppy is every bit as wonky as an American showline, but it has that deep, rich color that the West German showlines are known for. A nice, plush coat and rich pigment. Take a look at all the dogs in the kennel runs in the linked video. They all look like clones of each other! That is the focus and everything else fell to the wayside. Just like the side gait of the American showlines became their only focus. The title that a dog must earn in order to produce registered offspring? Has been dumbed down year after year to accommodate dogs that just can't meet the requirements in any other way. Read the thread I linked above somewhere from the germanshepherd forum, titled "The Fat Lady Has Sung", if you haven't already.

                                      Working lines are the new savior these days. They are touted as being the most true to the vision of the founder of the breed. But many are being bred with a focus only on working drive, which has created a dog that just can't settle. Here is a Youtube of a working line pup that shows how difficult some find it to turn off:
                                      That would be difficult to live with. There is little balance, but some breeders produce litter after litter like this. And they swear that the breed was never intended to be a house dog, with an off switch. I have already talked about how the new fad color in demand is the sable, so breeders are pumping out sables to meet that demand. And their only focus is on the color. And we already know where focus of only one attribute has led the American and West German showlines.


                                      • #79
                                        Originally posted by Bacardi1 View Post
                                        Rohan (the black?) looks good as well; Teal does have those awful hairpin back legs. .
                                        Teal'c is the black (actually black and tan/bi-color) and Rohan is the long coat black and tan. I think Ro is turning in that photo, so don't think his legs are actually "hair-pin" although he is quite short legged compared to others I've had. Doesn't stop him from BOUNCING around when he plays though. He and she are pretty sound and active and at 8 and 9 years of age, very healthy (knock on wood).
                                        Delicious strawberry flavored death!


                                        • #80
                                          I have a GSD/Heeler shelter pup that will be a year in a couple of weeks. I had him DNA tested to a) prove he was heeler lines and not Aussie Shepherd lines (husband and I were right) and b) find out if the other half was, indeed, GSD. I wanted to know for training and health purposes. He tested white GSD on top...and there are (surprisingly) quite a few in Pueblo. Bitch side was straight Heeler. I couldn't tell you what lines either side are, but he's quite a mix. The size, top line and legs of a Heeler; tail, coat, face, ears, stride and endurance of a GSD.

                                          While I am used to Heelers and Heeler crosses (Border Collie and Catahoula...my Heeler/Cat is the best dog I've EVER had. He'll be 13 in a month), GSD anything is new to me.

                                          This youngster very quickly earned the nickname "Destructo-puppy," because he has destroyed so much. Holy cow, I have never, ever had a dog that chews so much, digs to China (first digger I've ever owned...my flower beds are basically gone), or shred things into tiny pieces.

                                          He is, however, loyal to a fault, extremely intelligent, the best running partner I've had, a huge lovebug, and greatly enjoys conversations with the family. To say he's a big goober fits him to-a-tee. I wouldn't trade him for the world.

                                          He does have a strong prey drive, but he'll immediately (think sliding stop and sit as fast as possible) abandon the chase as soon as he hears "leave it." He just wants to please.

                                          I'd have another Shepherd, but I don't need a third dog...
                                          "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique