Saturday, 20 July 2013

A topline to die for?




Best in Show at the National Working & Pastoral Breeds Association Show at the Malvern Show Ground in Worcestershire last weekend was Veneze Ellie, owned by John and Pauline Cullen.

Best in Show judge Ferelith Somerfield noted in her critique: "nothing exaggerated".

The 2009-born bitch is a daughter of "the great" Zamp vom Thermados who won the lot before he died prematurely of undisclosed causes (the word, though, is that it was bloat) at the age of eight.

She looks like her dad - as do most of the huge number of Zamp offspring populating the UK show-ring. This includes her half-brother, the top-winning Elmo vom Huhnegrab, owned by the same kennel, who is in great demand as a stud himself. According to the Kennel Club's Mate Select, he has now sired 159 puppies from 29 litters

More info/pix on Ellie here.

Tell me what you see.

217 comments:

  1. What do the dogs actually DO at a Sieger event? I couldn't tell from their website.

    Do they do the same kind of assault/agility course that the police dogs do?

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    1. Fran, it is a conformation "German shepherd" show with a "lite" component of some elements of the Schutzhund (IPO) titling test that all the dogs are supposed to have previously completed successfully.

      The difference between working-bred GSDs who *compete* in Schutzhund and show-line GSDs that titled at midnight trials under show-friendly judges is pretty easy to see, and the Sieger show highlights it quite well.

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    2. From Wikipedia: "The German Shepherd was developed from working herding dogs around 1900 as an all-around working dog. Within a few years it was clear that the dogs were losing their working ability. Schutzhund was developed at this time as a test of working ability for German Shepherds. Only German Shepherds that had passed a Schutzhund test or a herding test were allowed to breed and thus have their progeny registered as German Shepherd Dogs. This is true in Germany to this day. It is only by testing the working ability of every generation that the strong working characteristics of the GSD have been maintained."

      So, does this mean that even show-bred GSDs in Germany have to pass a Schutzhund test before they can be used at stud? Or have the show breeders switched their selection criteria based on the dogs passing the Sieger tests (because they're easier)?

      I find it difficult to believe that dogs with sloping backs could pass the Schutzhund tests, simply because if they could, why do the police only use straight-backed GSDs?

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    3. It's a watered-down test, Fran. Worth *something* but scorned by most working GSD people.

      Discussion here:

      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130425080338AAXT4Wo

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  2. I seem to recall being appalled at the footage on television of German Sheps running around a ring some years ago at Crufts. They were the same shape and the poor dogs couldn't/hadn't the strength to drive off their hocks, it was a physical impossibility. I thought that the KC had stepped in and was going to stop the painful, ridiculous exaggeration? Were you at the show, did you see this bitch move? What was her movement like? The topline is wicked, it must be very painful for the dogs. It will be interesting to hear from the breeders of GSs to see how they can condone/support/accept such deformity in what is or should be a very active free moving dog and it would be interesting to hear from the KC and how they justify the money received from registrations of these dogs which appear to contravene every ethic in the book as set out by themselves, i.e. fit for purpose. Fran if this bitch moves, well actually hobbles, in the way I remember, there will be no agility/assault because she physically couldn't do it. I sincerely hope that this isn't the case and whilst this bitch looks awful she can move without pain. The dogs I watched could barely get around the ring and when they were "being set up" they were wobbling.

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  3. I will say that I saw one of this kennels dogs at bath ch show and they had another with them too, the one looked horrendous crippled even the other had a lovely straight back yet he and his friend was enchanted by the sloped one. This comes from someone who opposes your constant digs at the show seen but I can't ignore the hideous creatures they have turned this breed into and the majority of the normal breeds exhibitors do too.

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  4. Honestly? Aesthetically it looks awful - unnatural and deformed.

    The dog looks like a cripple.

    Poor bitch. It's sickening.

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  5. Id like to ask if the GSD people that excuse these abnormal looking dogs by saying its because they are pulling into the leads or its the way they are stacked

    Can you please then post the same dogs standing naturally or free-moving off the lead ?

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    1. I'd like to see the results too. All dogs can look really hunched when they're pulling on their leads, and a photo taken then could make them look just as deformed as that picture. Photos of them standing four-square, the way other breeds do, and trotting on a loose lead, again, the way other breeds do, could be very enlightening.

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    2. At least some of them don't look any different on loose lead-free movement. I cried the first time I saw a conformation bred GSD in person. The dog was on a 6ft loose lead, trotting about a grassy spot looking for a spot to pee outside a local show. Same sloped back, with that horrid crouching rear.....I later saw the same dog and owner outside the group ring as the dog was handed off to the handler and was horrified to realize that poor dog was the one who'd taken the breed.....

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  6. I'm sorry, but it just looks wrong. Like a birth defect or the result of some chronic injury.

    The fact that this was and continues to be rewarded is criminal.

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  7. Last week my ten-year-old English shepherd did something to his back.

    We were afraid he'd slipped a disk, but so far it looks like he just pinched a nerve. It's responding to treatment.

    The day he did it, he lost all use of left rear foot, most use of the right rear, and the use of of his tail. He was screaming bloody murder and dragging his rear end up the hill to the house.

    Moe in extreme pain and rush-to-emergency-vet distress looked not unlike that GSD.

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  8. Well, the look of her isn't appealing to me as I prefer GSD's to be straight backed and practical looking. However, while she might look unsightly and "crippled" she does have working titles on her which I find just as important, if not more so, than show titles. So these dogs are obviously not lacking in any sort of way.

    Louise

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    1. These dogs are not lacking in any sort of way?

      Can you qualify that statement with evidence?

      Titles mean diddly squat if a dog ends up crippled aged 8.

      I sometimes wonder if some people have lost the plot when trying to defend clearly ethically questionable breeding practices. Just look at the Wolf, the Village dog. Do they display these top lines?

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    2. Never heard of a Midnight Trial, eh?

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  9. In a way this doesn't surprise me in the least. In fact, I think it totally normal. How? Because this is what humans have been doing for a long-ass time with all variety of genetics, even before evolution and genes were known to exist. People have preferences, in particular, conforming ones, which do not have to match survivability in an environment that no longer need to factor in practicality in our modern society. The only difference, which is actually huge in effect, is that in the past, it was only limited to a few rich heads. But today, the layman, who doesn't need to know about all this genetic "crap", or physical and mental capabilities, now has the ability to foster it further. It exponentially increases simply by our massive population of 7 billion too.

    I'll give you a slight hint to just how wide-spread this is, not just in the dog or canine world. How many millions do you think buy goldfish with those small bowl "fish"tanks? Well guess what? Those basal environments aren't enough, which is why so many die to the point that we now have the term "replacement goldfish" without any irony whatsoever. Its the same with giving grown mammals milk, giving carrots to rabbits, and cheese to rats.

    In this world of elitism and gluttony of possession with only tertiary priority for function, its stuff like this article that will only naturally result over and over. To expect any different is what is unnatural. In my mind's eye this is like reporting tools of war being made as a result of human's expansion over the world. Its an obvious "Duh!" moment.

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    1. So we stop reporting it, SkyArk?

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    2. I believe it is the lack of care those goldfish receive, not the insufficiency of the small fish bowls. Goldfish are one of two aquatic vertebrates that have evolved to survive anoxic conditions; the other being the Crucian carp. The popularity of goldfish as childhood pets stems from the fact that they are incredibly hardy. It has been reported that goldfish can survive in oxygen-free 10 deg. C water for one to six days. (From Hill, Wyse, and Anderson's Animal Physiology). Okay I know that is a random nitpicky tangent...

      I agree with you that practices that are completely unnatural in terms of evolution and organismal physiology are widespread. And no, I can't say I'm surprised.
      However, with the human capability for critical thinking, I would like to believe that we can change the status quo. If "stuff like this article" results over and over, well, maybe it's the questioning and desire to change that will start to be viewed as normal/natural. Look at the burgeoning "natural" dog food industry featuring more protein and less grain, now hugely popular in the states. I think it's a step in the right direction that may get people thinking towards what is best for the animals and who knows, maybe it will spread to our thinking about conformation as well.

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    3. No Jemima. I can see why you'd make a remark like that, but I was simply referring to my own reaction to this happening again and again.

      As to Merrie, I know that the bowls are not the only factor, I was just giving an example of unneeded extremes becoming a norm to the public mind, and was using it as a generalization. For my other example, some rabbits do eat carrots, but most don't, though my point is still made, its a norm in our eye, despite the unrealistic. Perhaps goldfish weren't a good analogy on my part, since it is surprising they can live in such environments as long as they do.

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    4. Merrie, those goldfish die EXACTLY because of the fish bowls. They cannot stand dirty water or poor air conditions. If you want a hardy fish, it is called eurasian ruffle (not very pretty, tho and I don't think they even sell them in pet stores).

      If someone manages to keep a goldfish alive in a small bowl, it will still suffer greatly because of lack of activities (goldfish need stuff to do, they are NOT content just standing around) and from the distorted vision of the bowl's reflection. They say a goldfish will not grow over it's bowl, and that is true to an extent - the fish won't grow but it's internal organs do, and that causes terrible illness and terrible death to the poor creature.
      There is nothing good about fish bowls.

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  10. After your comment Mary I clicked on to puppies for sale on the site above. You are absolutely correct, if the puppy were shown with both back legs in normal pose with say hocks perpendicular, there is no way that the puppy could support himself because I imagine he is cow hocked which is the only way his body weight can be distributed. Your comment also that they are hunched because they are pulling on the lead is relevant too because the puppy shown is definately not pulling anyone anywhere, he is naturally disadvantaged by the possible curvature of the spine. I also think that the tail carriage of the bitch above is curious because if she is moving forward why isn't her tail flowing out behind her instead of trying to balance her movement over her left hock? I am just hoping it is an unfortunate photograph. For such a noble, proud breed to be bred to this possible deformity is shocking and the KC have a lot to answer for, where are the vets, how can these dogs be deemed fit for purpose, how? The nonsense and pomposity and the terminology on their website is frankly bizzarre what are the breeders thinking about? What? I would love to see an x-ray of these dogs conformation, side, back, front, top and underneath, hopefully we would all be pleasantly surprised but I'm unsure how.

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    1. I agree with you, Georgina, the puppy on the link is on a loose lead; he looks tragic. His head, front and coat are gorgeous, but a dog needs more than that. I really don't know how this breed can be rescued because so many of the 'straight-backed' ones carry epilepsy. It seems to be a choice between banana-backs and normal brain chemistry or straight backs and fits. :(

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    2. Really? Are those the only choices? They seem to be the choices that people constrained by pedigree dog breeding practices would perhaps express. what about quit breeding them all together?

      Or what about outcrossing?

      Or are those cries of heresy?

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    3. Anon, if you want to breed 'dogs' then of course you can crossbreed (I'm assuming that's what you mean by the term 'outcross' which in fact means mating unrelated individuals of the same breed) as much as you like, but if you want to breed German Shepherds (or indeed any type of dog and have a reasonably predictable outcome, which is certainly what most puppy buyers want) then yes, you are constrained within the breed. Stopping breeding them altogether would certainly solve the problems of both banana backs and epilepsy, but would mean the total eradication of an entire set of genes.

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    4. No anon 16:27 you are in line with what others are thinking can be the only way forward for dogs per se, i.e. intermingling genes for future wellbeing of the pet dog species. Every cry of indignation about the state of pedigree dogs, how they are bred and why they are bred needs to be kept in the public forum, thank goodness for PDE eh! The KC needs to review it's position on this sort of breeding, otherwise people who want to breed and be able to reassure the public buying their puppies that the establishment that is set up for the wellbeing and welfare of dogs is without question and is sincere in it's endeavours to protect the dog. Another organisation will set up in competition with the KCs because there is no legal requirement to use just that club. They are supported by the goodwill of dog lovers who are happy to "buy" into their organisation, and that "buy" in gives the KC an extremely healthy income stream, even in these days of austerity. If this "turning a blind eye" continues then I would be worried for them because people will come to despise them and discontinue using their services. There is no point in the KC participating and supporting financially general health programmes if they continue to accept registration fees from the breeders of this type of German Shep because whilst ever they continue they are rapidly sliding off the credibility scale

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    5. It's extremely absurd that show breeders will adhere to some breed standard simply because that is what is written down while disregarding the health and welfare of the animal.

      But this is a world where ridgeles puppies are culled so i guess anything is possible.....

      I know the KC are trying to learn and educate breeders but I fear the culture is truly warped. Change the people and change the culture. Let's hope the education kicks in. Any vets out there with conrcens about this conformation?

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    6. Mary wrote 'total eradication of an entire set of genes.'

      All dogs are genitically very similar, it's just the resulting phenotypic expression that distinguishes them form others within the same species. As I understand, genomic sequencing of the canine genome has only really revealed four 'types' of domestic dog.

      Just because the canine genome is so malleable, doesn't mean that we should continue to do something simply because we happen to like it or we think 'it's a shame that the breed won't exist anymore.' Shame for who?

      That poor bitch pictured is who it really is a shame for....

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    7. The dogs linked here had "'a' normal hips and elbows" reading under the picture sets. Can that be true and how!? I can clearly SEE there is a problem and I am no vet.

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    8. "... if you want to breed German Shepherds (or indeed any type of dog and have a reasonably predictable outcome, which is certainly what most puppy buyers want) then yes, you are constrained within the breed."

      Nope, not really, that's what selective breeding is for, which is not limited to just the use of linebreeding and closed studbooks, outcrossing is also part of it, and that does mean crossbreeding because an outcross is when you increase the genetic diversity by bring unrelated genetic material, something you are not really doing with cross-strain breeding, because strains/lines come from the same small founding population, something that is very common among our modern dog breeds.

      Joe Garp

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    9. Mary wrote, 'if you want to breed 'dogs' then of course you can crossbreed (I'm assuming that's what you mean by the term 'outcross' which in fact means mating unrelated individuals of the same breed) as much as you like, but if you want to breed German Shepherds (or indeed any type of dog and have a reasonably predictable outcome, which is certainly what most puppy buyers want) then yes, you are constrained within the breed. Stopping breeding them altogether would certainly solve the problems of both banana backs and epilepsy, but would mean the total eradication of an entire set of genes.'

      This is utterly flawed thinking.

      You aren't eradicating canid genes if you stop breeding the GSD. There is little difference in the canine genome between dogs, merely the expression and inhibition. You may well end up eradicating the breed though, but the important thing is that the species and individual genes still exists. Focusing on purebred dogs detracts from the sensibility required to look at what is in the best interests for the health of the species. This is incredibly frustrating given the evidence (PDE and PDE2)available.

      Cross breeding and outcrossing - you don't seem to understand these terms. The definition of outcross or crossbreeding means to breed with one NOT closely related. i.e. not within the same breed.

      Selctive breeding should NOT be limited to in line breeding if one is maintain any healthy hybrid vigour and the genetic diversity of breeds, so essential to their very survival.

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  11. How did this dog get past 3 judges, breed, group and BIS with the official KC breed standard stating, very near the beginning, "Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.".

    It also states "If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring".

    The KC's Breed Watch page for GSD's states "Points of concern for special attention by judges" "Weak hindquarters associated with excessive turn of stifle, cow hocks and sickle hocks". In the most recent KC Dog Health Group Annual Report the GSD is commented on for " Weak Hind Movement*, Temperament*, Unsound Movement, Hocks". This breed is also on the KC's High Profile Breed list.

    This dog has obvious "Points of concern" and certainly has features that are NOT "present in the right measure". And as a BoB winner at a Championship Show, I'm surprised this dog got past the vet check. No, I'll retract that, I'm not surprised actually.

    Have a look at the picture on the KC website Breed Standard page (http://www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/breed/standard.aspx?id=5106) for GSD's and tell me how close the top picture on this site is http://www.veneze.com/ellie.htm to the KC's version?

    Why do people insist that this is the correct type and conformation for this breed? The perpetuation of the sub standard (and that's literally what it is) conformation in this breed is only worsened by the judges acceptance of it for it have won BIS on the day.

    As for the title of this particular blog "A topline to die for", that's probably exactly what this is, a dog whose topline will eventually lead to it being PTS before it's natural life line ends.

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  12. The comment that most 'straight backed' lines carry epilepsy isn't quite true. Many of the coloured lines favoured by many straight backed breeders do include many dogs suspected of epilepsy, but if you know the lines to avoid there are plenty out there that do not include these dogs. There are also a wealth of other 'middle of the road' type breeders, and working line, with unexaggerated and 'correct' construction out there. They are unseen and unheard of because they do not participate in the show scene a) because the fad for the current show dog would make their entry pointless, and b) they are more interested in producing a functional dog than 'showing'. The 'show' world has such a lot to answer for.

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  13. Is it just me or does that bitch have a rather masculine head and expression?

    Otherwise, I think this GSD is a wonderful manifestation of the screwed up psychology of the show world.

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  14. I can't believe ANY of the commenters think this is normal or acceptable. German Shepherds today are total cripples. That goes equally for the Schutzhund and working-lines dogs I've seen, including the Czech puppy mill dogs that idiotic American police departments and SAR handlers pay $20,000 and up for.

    I've never seen a GSD that could physically keep up with a Border Collie, over a short *or* long distance, and the Border Collie is half its size. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I see people trying to get GSDs to run, jump and show off their "athleticism" (ha!). I think these owners are living in the distant past (1930's), back when GSDs were still built like normal dogs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6QUmalgurU

    There's a typical crippled GSD being shown in agility in my area, and it's just painful to watch. He moves very slowly around the ring, with his hocks slapping flat against the ground. He's actually resting his weight on his hocks and not using his feet at all. He comes up to each jump and has to make a Herculean effort to get over it, often knocking the bars. The dog takes 3-4x as much time to get around the course as a normal dog. It's like watching a mother take her kid with Spina Bifida to the regular Olympics and trying to pit her against able-bodied gymnasts.

    The only GSDs I've seen in 30 years that look like normal dogs are ones from backyard breeders. Unlike show people and police departments, ordinary puppy buyers don't know that the GSD is "supposed to" have a semi-circular back and walk on their hocks. Oh, and one other exception: I once competed in sheep herding against a female handler from Florida who had AKC Herding Champion GSDs. Her dog went High In Trial the day mine (a conformation champion Border Collie with advanced herding titles) was Reserve. Her dog was squarely built and did well on the course, though slower-moving than a BC. Also, she had come from 3,000 miles away to compete, and I don't think there were any other GSDs like hers closer than 3,000 miles.

    These show-bred GSDs are pathetic. For anybody who hasn't seen it, I highly recommend this video showing 40 years of German Shepherd "evolution." It shows the winning dogs in both Germany and the U.S. on a by-decade basis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRU8UdMnssU.

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    1. As the handler of working SAR GSDs for 22 years, I think you need to get out more. (Hint: AKC "herding trials" ain't it.)

      And I am not breed-blind. My other breed is English shepherds, which are physically comparable to border collies.

      Each physical type has its advantages. My GSDs have had better long-task endurance in wilderness work than my ES. The ES are more nimble. All have been good-to-spectacular athletes. The most spectacular athlete was my second partner, a working-bred GSD whose physical limits we were never able to determine.

      Both of my prior GSDs retired after the age of 11, and Mel only because of an injury. (Which BTW, is Not Long Enough.) Both lived to be 13 1/2 -- also Not Long Enough.

      Our current GSD is nearly eight, and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Which, I wish she would.

      There are many excellent working GSDs of sound body and mind being produced in North America and elsewhere. The fact that you will not find them by looking at dog shows does not mean that they don't exist, or that they are all 3,000 miles away.

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    2. Heather, perhaps I should clarify:

      I've done both SAR and Schutzhund. I was an exchange student in Germany in the 80's, and my host-father there was a border guard with a GSD--I took the dog to a police Schutzhund school weekly. (I was already an obedience competitor in America, which is why they paired me with that family). While living in the UK, I competed in Working Trials. While living in Turkey, I competed in a Schutzhund trial, and attended others.

      In herding, I've competed successfully not only in AKC, but in AHBA and USBCHA on both sheep & cattle. My other Border Collie (not the show champion) was state high-points dog in sheep and cattle in USBCHA. So I've been around a lot more than you might think--I didn't think I'd be expected to list my CV with the first post...

      I was just at a SAR training last week with a new group. (I recently moved back to the U.S. from abroad). The GSDs in the group were European imports with sloped backs just like the dog pictures above. I watched them work their problems, and was not impressed at all by their speed, endurance or heat tolerance. None of them wanted to jump up on rock walls, etc. during the search... something that the other dogs on the team did fine.

      GSDs are still among the most popular breeds in the U.S., yet there are virtually absent from agility. I compete at about 30 trials a year, with either 165 or 330 dogs at each trial (they all fill--this is the limit, depending on whether there's one ring or two). And the ONLY GSD I've seen competing is the dog I mentioned in my original post. If GSDs are supposed to be so athletic, where are they in agility? Or even obedience? I think the last time I saw a GSD compete in AKC obedience was probably 1980. I'm pretty sure they're not used any more because the sloping backs make it impossible for them to turn properly or jump.

      I recently read the biography of Rin Tin Tin, and am so wishing we could go back to the way GSDs were in the 1930's and before.

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    3. Heather, I just located your blog, and it looks great--you have very interesting topics. And the SAR GSDs in the photos look very nice. So please don't take my comments as anything personally against you or your dogs. But I do think your dog(s) are a teensy minority of all GSDs--maybe the best 0.1%.

      I've met a whole shitload of crappy GSDs in my life, and I'm not talking only toplines. While working as a dog behavior consultant, 60% of my >300 aggression cases involved German Shepherds. GSDs and their mixes are the only dogs that have ever bitten me or my trainer friends (not counting when I was attacked at a vet office by a muzzled Rottie while I was waiting in line to pay). I also witnessed a client GSD jump up and repeatedly bite the chest and arms (20+ deep punctures) of a teen that had knocked on their door during our initial consultation. Teen went to ER, dog went to the vet for immediate euthanasia. And lastly, I just bought a house sight-unseen after moving here from abroad. I found out that the neighbor's GSD regularly escapes over its fence and attacks other dogs... and the owner has been to court several times. So I had to take a $7000 loan right off the bat to put up a massive high-security-prison-like fence with 3 strands of barbed wire on top, facing out, to protect my BC and Papillon.

      And I won't even go into the physical issues, from epilepsy, to hip dysplasia, to OCD tail-chasing, where the GSD bites off pieces of his own tail, requiring a series of ever-shorter amputations.

      Having had these experiences, I can't imagine anybody choosing a GSD when so many other physically and mentally stable breeds are available.

      Then, to see the crippling spinal deformities that are being rewarded in the breed is adding insult to injury...

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    4. S.K.Y

      Behaviour is a combination of nature and nurture, neither mutually exclusive of course. But do you have any evidence of crappy behavioural issues despite examples of knowledgable and solid ownership? Just wondering how genetically screwed up temperamentally and physically the breed truly is and if it is a victim of both crappy breeders and owners.


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    5. S.K.Y.:
      I like the breed but I have to agree with you, and while working/performance lines are in better shape than the show lines, both have deviated from the more moderate and athletic type they used to have before the 1930's.
      I have not found GSDs that look like those, but I'm still looking.

      Joe Garp

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  15. BIS judge Ferelith Somerfield,one of the UK's most experienced and respected judges, described this bitch in her critique as "nothing exaggerated". Should have gone to Specsavers.

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    1. Thank you for that - have added it to the post.

      Jemima

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    2. If that is true Anon 18:33 isn't that shocking. No exaggeration?? Unbelievable, now perhaps we will begin to see and hear from these "judges" who will be able to explain what they mean by no exaggeration. I shudder. Thank goodness I no longer show, it really is dragging the pastime into utter ridicule. Sadly Mel Smith died this week, I'm sure he could have done a cracking pastiche on dog judging based on this statement.

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  16. All campaigning, showing, and winning....and not even a mention of health or temperament?

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  17. Many of the shaded collections preferred by many directly supported collie breeders do consist of many pets alleged of epilepsy, but if you know the collections to prevent there are tons out there that do not consist of these pets. There are also a prosperity of other 'middle of the road' kind collie breeders, and operating range, with overstated and 'correct' development out there. They are hidden and unprecedented because they do not get involved in the display field a) because the fad for the present display dog would create their access useless, and b) they are more enthusiastic about generating a efficient dog than 'showing'. The 'show' globe has such a lot to response for.

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  18. Nice head .....

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  19. I see great looking dogs and people who love them. To those of you who are nay sayers.. I would like to see the look on your face if this dog chased you down.. you would be yelling "Oh no you can't do that./. look at your top line.. " as the dog had you on the ground LOL

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    1. I'll take my chances. Pretty sure I can outrun this bitch without breaking a sweat.

      And I *never* run unless a bear or the cops are chasing me.

      In the event I were to have an ingrown toenail and she was able to catch up with me, I think I'd be pretty okay, given that I don't typically wear a sleeve smeared with liver paste.

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    2. I know we can laugh about it but in reality this is beyond a joke, these are beautiful loyal dogs who are denied the right to run free because they physically cannot. The comment about a GSD doing agility that dragged his hocks along the ground, isn't that just wicked. I'm afraid I would have give the owner a hard time if I'd been there, I couldn't let it go.

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  20. I see a walking disaster

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  21. I clicked on this page, where a pup from the above bitch is offered for sale. http://www.veneze.com/puppies.htm

    My husband's reaction:

    "He's pooing!"

    There you have it, GSD breeders. You've bred your dogs so they look like they're permanently taking a dump, in the eyes of Average Joe. Round of applause.

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  22. I see a rear-end dragging disaster.

    Poor girl. She's is actually quite beautiful despite her deformities. What a terrible shame she will never experience the exquisite power and vitality that define the normal GSD.

    So sad this was done to her on purpose. It's almost as perverse as impoverished families in India purposely deforming their children, believing that getting better begging results is worth the high price of a lifetime of disability.

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  23. Goodness what an analagy, but so true..... I wonder if the RSPCA or other animal welfare organisation/s should be asked to do an independant study on these conformations and see if there is cruelty being enacted on this breed? or in fact any exaggeration of "breed type".
    As the "silly season" in journalism is upon us in the UK I wouldn't mind betting that one of the daily newspapers would have a field day on this topic, especially as the GS is a much loved, popular breed. It seems to me that this really has to be exposed in a much broader spectrum rather than just a dog lovers site where the readers are sickened to their soul to see such disregard and left floundering because we cannot stop it.

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    1. Georgina, that is the whole purpose of PDE as far as I see it. Not sensationalised journalism but objective, empirical and realistic too.

      The Daily Mail readership for example wouldn't give a flying fig because no child was mauled in the gradual destructive conformation of this breed.

      Delete
    2. Hi Anon 11:08, I agree but if this bitch's sire has sired 159 puppies, look at the damage done to the breed (assuming that the bitch is crippled of course). Unless the breeder/breeders/fanciers of this breed can prove otherwise I am deeply concerned for the dogs' wellbeing. Sometimes it takes more than a word from a dignified restrained source, the effect that PDE had when it was televised must have had some impact on the pedigree puppy buying general public and we, they, us have a right to be informed. I agree that a sensationalised journalism could be o.t.t. but these breeders are not going to be restrained, self critical, modest or humble, otherwise it would have stopped years ago, as I had believed. The KC appear to have taken a back seat so who, can I ask you, is going to stop it? The biggest effect would be puppy buyers wanting a GS being informed nationally to avoid the sorrow of buying one of these puppies and the most likely way that they are going to be informed apart from television is via the national press. If the breeders take a thrashing so be it but if it helps the dogs I for one would be extremely grateful because it is the dogs that have my concern.

      Delete
    3. Georgina, I neither breed dogs or show them. But I love having them as healthy, sound and loving companions in my life. I have no interest in their looks really – except for being physically capable of walking, running, breathing, playing without adverse effects or distress - as nature intended. Pedigree is unimportant to me but sound and sensible selective breeding isn’t. That’s just my opinion though and there are lots of people who either can’t or won’t see the impending disaster of closed line breeding. That’s pragmatism. It’s not great, but that’s just the way it is. It’s also a solution for human psychologists and sociologists to address because despite Jemima’s great work, she isn’t going be able to change people who don’t want to be changed.

      The show world exists to serve the egos of people who are really attached to the look of a dog above everything else. Only education and awareness will help to put the health and welfare of the dog as a priority and to embed the thinking into a generation who will then grow up with a different attitude. I think that we’re all very concerned for the dog’s wellbeing. Isn’t it why we visit here? But ‘thrashing’ breeders and embarrassing them isn’t going to help address the bigger picture. Educating them, continuing to raise awareness in the public domain with continuing evidence of problems AND highlighting progress will.

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    4. Anon 15:25, the breeders of the type of GS we see above have been knowingly breeding dogs unfit for purpose for years. The footage I saw of the GSD's at Crufts was shocking, they couldn't see it then and apparently they cannot see it now. I logged onto the GSD Breed Council and read their Breeders Charter. It was interesting, sounded genuine and concerned until I read that stud dog owners are asked to limit the use of their stud dogs to 60 matings p.a. and 8 litters or 60 puppies every two years for bitches. I found that incredible, unbelievable, perhaps you'd like to check it out, I may have misunderstood. The KC politely asked them to complete and submit a health survey, seemingly nothing was forthcoming, why? However, I feel that the KC have compounded health issues by allowing the puppies to be registered when they had the power to bring the breeders to "heel" and do what should be done, a cessation of breeding this type and promote the original shape. When I say thrashing, I do not mean it in the literal sense, I mean that something has to be done by somebody who can make them stop. Education will have been within the clubs and it will be a closed shop because outside influence is of no interest to the breeders, like minded preaching to like minded. They won't be embarrassed, they will just be defiant and arrogant because they see nothing wrong with what they are subjecting the dogs to, and to make it worse they will claim to love the dogs to the end of the earth. Funny way of showing it. The only way of enlightening the general public is by media either, radio, tv or more likely press. The other thing that will stop them in their tracks is our old friend litigation. What would be really interesting is to hear from the breeders and hear their side, and if there is a video of GSDs moving either in the ring or playing in a garden we may all owe them an apology when we see the dogs driving off from sound firm hocks.

      Delete
    5. So how will what you suggest change their mentality Georgina? Or will it just make you feel better? Who is the somebody who will stop this? There are no dog laws as far as I am aware that will address the specific issue of breeding dogs with exaggerated features, as sickening as it is to witness.

      Delete
    6. I don't know Anon 08:44, I really don't. No it won't make me feel better, personally, but if it removed the suffering of the dogs (assuming that they are suffering) then it's "job done". Not sure about the accuracy re your comment "no dog laws re breeding dogs with exaggerated features". I would think that there is a strong argument that the welfare of the dogs is being ignored for self gratification and profit. The analagy about the mutilated children in India in order to increase their "begging appeal" is appalling but is not too far off the mark in the case of some pedigree dog breeds A lot of whom have been highlighted on PDE. The KC are self appointed "administrators" of the pedigree dog world. They lay down rules and regs and like sheep we all buy into that organisation. We want to conform for the wellbeing of our dogs, they lay out the perimeters, we agree, and we do our best for our dogs. The KC appear to be woefuly lacking when challenging a breed to conform, they don't use their powers which they should. They are our "police force" and any breed that refuses to stop the exaggerated breeding should be made an example of and that there are consequences for lack of participation. Somebody else has stated here that they continue to accept registrations and fees from the breeders, so publicly they are seen to be condoning the on breeding of the exaggerated breeds. And I definately agree with your last statement, it is sickening to witness but you forgot to add that it must stop.

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    7. There is a conflict of interest with the KC.

      How do they regulate something they endorse?

      It doesn't make sense.

      Delete
    8. Georgina, you say "I read that stud dog owners are asked to limit the use of their stud dogs to 60 matings p.a. and 8 litters or 60 puppies every two years for bitches."

      You must have totally misunderstood; no bitch can have 8 litters in two years; at most, if bred from every season, she would have four, because bitches are in season on average every 6 months.

      The KC won't register more than four litters from a bitch in her lifetime.

      Delete
    9. Further to my reply to Georgina:

      The 8 litters or 60 puppies refers to the entire 'output' of a kennel, no matter how many bitches they own. When you consider that commercial/licenced kennels might have 15 or 20 bitches (as opposed to the hobby breeder's 2 or 3) you can see that this is good advice. It says clearly further up the charter that no bitch shall whelp more than once in any 12-month period.

      Delete
    10. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2375767/Rylo-pug-named-photogenic-animal-UK.html


      This is why you shouldn't sensationalise any of these serious conformation issues. Because the next day the morons will run a story like in the link above....

      'Awwwww! Can I have a Pug Daddy?'

      Delete
    11. Hi Mary, I had realised and know that a bitch couldn't have 8 litters in two years, and had assumed that they would probably have more bitches. It is the number of puppies churned out kennel by kennel with "permission and acceptance" by both their clubs and the kennel club. The KC will accept the registration fees regardless. I seem to recall that some years ago there was a plea from the rescue kennels for GS to slow down their breeding because the kennels were saturated with GS, just like the staffie today. And because you do the fantastic job you do with helping rescues you will know better than I how gut wrenching it is to destroy healthy dogs.
      There really is no justifaction/need to breed so many puppies from one kennel/bloodline there really isn't, regardless of the breed. I have found it interesting to note that there hasn't been one comment from the UK GS Council and it seems to me that we can mutter amongst ourselves until we all fall over someone/body has to take control of dog breeding because the breeders will not self restrain because their real target is money, not all of them I grant you, but 95% of them are guilty of greed.

      Delete
  24. I found this picture useful as a comparison. The dog's back legs are in the same position, but you can see that the back is still mainly straight.

    http://healthyhartmanpuppies.webs.com/Working%20GSD%20body.jpg

    It makes the dog in the blog post look like it has some kind of spinal deformity or nerve damage.

    There's also this link:
    http://healthyhartmanpuppies.com/whyhealthtest.htm

    If you scroll down you can see photos of a stacked working-bred GSD and a stacked show-bred GSD. The latter isn't pretty... There's also an animated GIF of the skeleton of a straight-backed GSD curving to the sloped-backed GSD. This made me wince as, assuming this is correct, you can see how the vertebrae in the lower back are compressed.

    I have no idea what the show breeders are trying to achieve by breeding dogs with a curved back. I can only assume they feel the need to distinguish their stock from the working lines.

    I occasionally see a GSD with a slightly sloped back on walks - somewhere inbetween the working and show lines - this dog is not completely sound on his hocks, so goodness knows what the show-bred dogs are like.

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    1. IMO, something like this is what a more normal topline should look like. Notice that it doesn't look unnatural even though the dog is stacked:

      http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/dog.html?id=468080-beowulf-rheingold

      Also, here is a female trotting for comparison (to the one posted by Jemina):

      http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/dog.html?id=465472-krabbe-von-der-utzenburg

      I consider that working line GSDs are already a compromise between the standard and performance. If it wasn't for this compromise, I bet they would look like more like the belgian and dutch shepherds, something I wouldn't mind.

      Joe Garp

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  25. I was hoping to see what health problems could be related to the dogs having a sloped back from the 2004 KC Health Survey. However, there doesn't seem to be a health survey for the GSD! Does anyone know why this is?

    http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/570

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    1. The survey forms were sent out to the GSD clubs and none ever came back. I've never got to the bottom of why not although one senior KC person intimated it was because of the bad blood between the KC and the GSD clubs.

      GSD breeders are in the main a health-conscious lot when it comes to doing the tests. It's the stuff you can't test for that is the problem.

      Jemima

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    2. Now that's an interesting fact isn't it? But the bad blood isn't so bad because one assumes that the KC is still accepting fees for registration/transfer/pedigrees etc etc If a breed club/s refuses to complete and submit survey forms then surely the KC should be asking that club why and not just ignore/forget it, the club should be penalised by refusing to accept registration requests. It proves to me that the KC is totally impotent when it comes to enforcement and there should be enforcement in this case because of what we see before us - a possibly damaged dog. The world of pedigree dogs is immersed in hypocrisy. Does anybody know the hip scoring status is in this breed?

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    3. Yes; the BMS is 18 and the median 16. The average for all dogs of all breeds scored (nearly 250,000) is 19 (so with a sample of that size can be considered 'the norm' for dogs); anything under 25 is considered functionally normal.

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    4. Thanks Mary. I wonder if their skeletons have modified to cope with the curvature, the ones that I have seen of this shape are so cow hocked and somehow their back feet are wrong. Years ago there was a GSD I think he was Ramacon Swashbuckler and he was magnificent, in fact I think he went to the royal family in India, after winning BIS at Crufts but I could be wrong. I'm going to look and see if I can find a photograph of him and compare him with today's type. I'll be shocked if he had a curved spine because it will confirm that my memory is completely shot, but I remember him as a very natural, unexaggerated beautiful, beautiful dog.

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    5. I've just googled pictures of him and he's also nothing like how the original GSDs were. Okay, his spine's straight but he's VERY short on the leg - his proportions are all over the place.

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    6. Georgina, have a look at the GSDs in the following image. Neither the modern banana backs nor Ramacon Swashbuckler look anything like them.

      http://www.heartridge.ca/Klodo.jpg

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    7. Much prefer his head to today's showdogs - but yes, this is a typical "Alsatian" - shorter on the leg. I've been accused of - shock horror - being "an alsatianist" but I agree with you, Mary. Too short on the leg. You have to go further back than this to find what I think a GSD should look like.

      Jemima

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    8. Mmm, I've looked at the Klodo's and agree that they too are handsome dogs. I guess they aren't stacked to show overly stretched rear quarters whereas R.S is, looking at the progression from the K's where there is no "crouching" or "stance exaggeration" onto RS cluminating in the image above. A definate detoriation in my view. RS was a powerfully built dog but from memory I think his coat was looser/longer than the kKodo's appear to be, they seem quite close coated and this may account for the inbalance height/length ratio, but I'm no expert on dogs but I wouldn't say that he was VERY short on the leg. RS had the most beautiful head, noble, proud, intelligent an expression of such kindness, he was a wonderful dog. But I do agree with what you say BRING BACK THE KLODO TYPE NOW!!!!!! Please.

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  26. This bitch is pulling into the collar; her front is lifting causing a drop in the rear and a folding of the body, hence the distorted outline.

    One of the biggest changes in the last 20 years or so in the German dog is the flexibility of the spine. A spine should be flexible, but in these dogs, it has been taken to an extreme. They can arch their back, not unlike a cat. To be fair, they look more normal moving without restriction or when not stood in an unnatural stance. However, such flexibility is likely to lead to spinal instability and all the health problems that go with it.

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    1. The UK GSD Standard states: "Back between withers and croup, straight, strongly developed, not too long. " Perhaps the photo does not do this dog justice, but I cannot see how anyone could consider that back straight. With respect to gait: " hindfoot thrust forward to midpoint of body and having equally long reach with forefeet without any noticeable change in backline. Absolute soundness of movement essential."

      Are judges just ignoring these parts of the standard (straight back, no noticeable change in backline) and rewarding the length of stride? Or am I missing something?

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    2. I can't say for sure, but it seems to me that given the poor relationship with the KC and the GSD clubs, it wouldn't surprise me if the judges were just ignoring the breed standard and rewarding what they prefer, i.e. a roached/sloped back.

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    3. It would appear thus, a law unto themselves, do and be damned because we know best and the rest of you (us) are blind idiots. I looked again on the GSD Council's page because I had to re-read it, unbelievablely "sincere" in theory but in practice found wanting.

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  27. Can anyone explain why GSD breeding has gone in this direction? I spent an hour or so on Google searching such terms as GSD rear angulation" and found little other than complaints about the direction the breed has gone. I know quite a few breeders and none approve of the modern GSD. So who supports this trend? What wording in the standard backs it?

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    1. It began around 1970s/80s when the Martin brothers ruled the German SV (parent club of the breed) including what dogs won the Sieger shows, thus heavily influencing the look of the breed all over the world. It's a by-product of breeding for a 'iron back' and a longer stride while running round a ring at speed. This structure has now become so imbedded in the genotype that there is very little wiggle room to move away from it, without getting into even worse problems elsewhere. It’s a German breed and this is the road the Germans have taken their breed down. What we see in the UK winning shows are Germany's top producing show bloodlines, and what’s more; some working line dogs in Germany are going the same way...

      Delete
  28. Here's a bio sketch doe the judge involved. Says lots about the pedigree dog establishment.
    Follows in the footsteps of her mother and aunts, who had been showing dogs under the Oudenarde name before she was born. Mrs. Somerfield's first dog was a Dalmatian, but Cairn Terriers became her true love. She has bred or shown many Cairns with success, along with Irish Terriers, Boxers, a Dalmatian, and English Setters. In 1955, she not only judged for the first time, but she also joined DOG WORLD as a trainee sub-editor. She gradually progressed in her career and was editor for many years. Today she is chairman of the company. She began judging Cairns in 1963 and is now approved for 125 breeds in the United Kingdom. Career highlights include judging Best in Show at Crufts, 1990, BIS at the Australian Sydney Royal, Perth Royal, and Hobart Royal shows, four Cairn specialties in America, and the World Dog Show. She is particularly proud of having been elected by breed club members to judge specialties, including the Cocker Spaniel Club's Centenary Championship and the Old English Sheepdog Club's Centenary Championship in the United Kingdom. Mrs. Somerfield has authored a book on Mrs. Florence Nagle, the famed breeder of Irish Wolfhounds and Irish Setters, and has edited an encyclopedia of dogs. For many years she was the editor of the British Dog World. Affectionately known as the 'grand dame' of Cairn Terriers.

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    1. Hi Jennifer, I couldn't remember her prefix so your comment was really interesting. And with all of that experience with different breeds, different countries, judging so many breeds, she can proudly state that there is nothing exaggerated with this bitch. Retirement must be on the cards surely, perhaps at an oaps home for the bewildered which is sponsored by specsavers - hmm?

      Delete
  29. A hyena bred from a wolfaboo Mid-European shepherd, which is itself derived from a smaller, more rustic sheep-herding dog that some cavalry officer got his mitts on and made larger and selected for more wolf-like features.

    Turning the rugged German herding dog into a wolf-like dog was the first transformation. But wolf-like appearances weren't good enough.

    Let's make it into a Strandwolf or brown hyena!



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  30. I gave up on that breed a long time ago.

    If I were going to get a "German shepherd," I'd get a German sheep herding dog called Harzer fuchs, which is to this breed what the English shepherd is to the rough collie.

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    1. What about the Bohermin Shepherd? Czech’s national breed. I've been curious about them for some time... apparently they're a smaller version of a GSD.

      Delete
    2. I was thinking of the Harzerfuchs, which is similar to the Czech breed.

      Delete
  31. Not really fair to blame the BIS judge Mrs Somerfield, she retires from judging this year and has always looked for sound dogs in my long experience of watching her look over many different breeds. other judges put the bitch through and i see she has a number of tests to confirm her elbows and hips are sound.
    second point about shape - i once judged my own ( non pastoral) breed in Basle, Switzerland. The GSD winners of note were pictured on the walls of the clubhouse dating from the 1930s and were much more the GSDs I had as a child, unexagerated and fit for purpose and much closer in looks to the Czech wolf dog which i think is banned in the UK because of its wolf ancestry.

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  32. But surely she didn't have to put the dog up, Liz? Why is she less responsible than, say, the other judges that put the dog through the breed and group?

    Jemima

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  33. I found someone who was breeding Harzer fuchs (a working German sheepdog that looks a lot like a rougher form of Stephanitz's German shepherd dog) and Saarlooswolfhond, which are dogs bred from wolves crossed with GSD:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfsKS_F1Goc

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  34. One issue I would love to have some clarification on is what are the consequences health-wise from this sort of structure? I have heard that the sloping back is not associated with greater incidence of hip displaysia; anyone know of any data backing this up? What about the soundness of the hind legs, particularly around the hocks?

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    1. This excessive slope to the back and hip conformation are not related. It is true that most show GSD's now have good hip scores. The thought is that the over long, over flexible, over sloped back is linked to early spondylosis (spinal arthritis) and subsequent compression of the spinal cord leading to gradual paralysis. Spondylosis is always a possibility in any dog due to the change in flexibility of the spine at the thoracolumbar and lumbosacral junctions but short back are somewhat stiffer so may be less prone to it . No connection can be made to CDRM a separate nerve dengeration condition seen in many shapes of GSD.
      I'm lucky to know some really nice moderate shaped GSD's; neither too straight or too sloped and which really please the eye.
      VP

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    2. Thanks for sharing that VP.

      What a price for the dog to pay for a perception of grace and beauty. Spondylosis is extremely painful in humans and neuropathic pain horrendous.

      Of the moderate dogs you do see of this breed, are they show or working lines do you know?

      Delete
    3. Working trials/obedience lines. The WT dogs are more typey and for me conform exactly to the breed standard but obviously I'm reading a different standard to some judges! LOL. The obedience dogs are more straight backed and heavier and I suspect would lack the speed and agility of the WT dogs but are still very sounds dogs.
      This is a good article on GSD's...http://www.workingdogs.com/portal/html/article.php?sid=57
      VP

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    4. Brilliant. Thanks a lot.

      No expert at all on this breed but the form at the back end just looks wrong, both from a aesthetic and functional perspective.

      I guess you are seeing mostly conformation type Bs on this article?

      Delete
    5. Thanks for the insight, VP. I had a basset hound that developed a collapsed spinal disc which rendered his hind legs useless; needless to say he had to be put down. It was very sad because his spirit was definitely willing, his body just failed him. One of the dangers of short-legged breeds. Luckily he was 14, and as a 65 lb. basset that had been plagued by skin allergies and ear infections throughout his life, I am surprised he lived to that age.

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    6. The back and hindquarters are two separate issues, but I don’t think there has been anything scientifically linking the over sloped back to early spondylosis. The slope has been said to have an effect on hock extension and the flexion of both the stifle and hip joints by lowering the croup and increasing the risk of hip osteoarthritis, but not in dogs free of HD. There have been reports of various spinal problems reported throughout the breed for years, but they are believed to have familial links, and not exclusively in slopey backed dogs.


      Delete
    7. There isn't much science on this issue - but there is *some*, including a paper from Gayle Smith at UPenn which shows that the increased flexion in the showline shep increases the load on the hips. It's a bit like us walking round with permanently bent knees.

      There is a large body of biomechanical evidence in man that loads (forces) crossing the hip and knee are greatly increased by flexion, for example simply rising from a chair can increase the loads 2-5 times our body weight.

      GSDs have been bred to walk with hips and knees in increasingly flexed position, far more flexed than other breeds of dogs.

      Multiple studies have shown that increased body weight and obesity makes dogs of any breed far more susceptible to expressing the OA of hip dysplasia than their leaner counterparts.

      GSDs have been shown to be 4.95 times more likely to express radiographic OA than other popular breeds of dogs (Labs, Goldens, Rotweilers)

      (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11767921)

      A logical explanation (though not definitive proof) for this increased susceptibility over other breeds of dogs having similar body weight, is the GSD conformation of walking with hind limbs (hip and knee) flexed . In this position the hip (and other joints) must bear more weight (not dissimilar from an obese dog) to perform activities of daily living.

      Jemima

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    8. It would make sense Jemima, that acute flexed angles closer to the gravitational pull increase load bearing and would in turn give rise to increased wear and tear, OA and joint deformity. Are you aware of anything that shows a correlation between this and HD due to the increased load bearing on the hips? The slopey backed dogs seem to have the better hips. There is also an argument to say that the increased flexion of the stifle may be linked to a low incidence of cranial cruciate rupture in these dogs.

      Delete
    9. Yes, can imagine might be less cruciate problems.

      In answer to your question - no, the work hasn't been done. It needs to be, but it can be quite hard to persuade GSD breeders to take part in research like that.

      Jemima

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    10. There is only one word I can think of to adequately describe what Anon 23July2013/21;54 had to write above: BULLSHIT. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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    11. Sadly not Rod...Most of the dogs with banana backs have excellent hip scores (if they didn't I don't think they could cope at all with the stressed and strains Jemima has described) and the over angulation should reduce the risk of CCL rupture. That's not to say I think the exaggerated shape is at all desirable. The healthiest joints are found in dogs which are in every way moderate (and this rules out many of the designer crosses as well as many purebreds). I spent Saturday watching some of the most perfectly formed dogs out there....foxhounds. Nothing overdone in a pack of working foxhounds.
      VP

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    12. It would be interesting to know how foxhounds' joints would be in old age if they were allowed to retire and have a full lifespan, rather than be destroyed in middle age when they're no longer as fit and efficient.

      Delete
    13. What are Foxhounds like as pets though?

      Great physically - how is their temperament?

      Delete
    14. Hi Anon 10:25, difficult I think because they have lived in a pack situation in kennels and by the time they could be rehomed they are too headstrong. I used to have a friend whose parents used to puppy walk foxhound puppies for the Puckeridge Hunt and those puppies were fabulous, headstrong, naughty, defiant but that was over 40 years ago. Beagles, at that time, were not as "domesticated" as they are now because any breed that is bred to run all day and use it's nose will follow it's inborn instincts. I think it is why they run to fat because it is rare for them to be allowed off the lead because they follow their noses, literally. There will be the odd exception I am sure. Temperament is wonderful, I used to love visiting the kennels and going to hunt meetings and country shows, they were astonishingly well behaved but there was always the whipper in around and he was their pack leader and to see a group of 15 couples, off the lead, walking down a country lane with the whipper in was a scene imprinted on my mind for ever, the colours, the high wagging sterns, the eyes alight with anticipation, wonderful.

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    15. Oh my! He is magnificent...

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  35. The sad thing is as long as these extreme types are reward in show they will be breed for. In many ways I would like to see the end of dog showing altogether as seems to bring the worst out in the humans.

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    1. Dog showing is human ego showing really - Jemima's film portrayed some of the characters involved in this silly past time perfectly. Dog showing related to function and athleticism to focus on health and function is really where any focus on competition should be. Sheep dog trials etc.

      There must be a whole other world of dog breeders who need robust, athletic dogs to work. Where are they?

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    2. "There must be a whole other world of dog breeders who need robust, athletic dogs to work. Where are they?"

      They're not newsworthy; they have no sensationalist shock-horror value for TV.

      Delete
    3. Sheep dog trials (like all other dog sports) are a human ego thing.

      Delete
    4. Maybe, but a little healthier in it's attitude. Anything competitive is usually ego based.

      Taking the emphasis away from the shallow attachment to looks is what's important. If you focus on breeding a robust, physically healthy animal that can run an agility course, as opposed to interpreting a breed standard's definition of a top line because it looks 'appealing', that seems a healthier approach to indulging your ego around dogs. At least they stand a chance of functioning physically...Because the dog should at least be able to walk around without it's back end collapsing aged 6 and suffering excruciating pain.Surely?!

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    5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-23419162

      Yaay! Go BBC! They sensibly boot off 'Crufts' due to PDE's findings and now finally we get to see some fit and healthy dogs demonstrating what they do best on primetime Sunday evening....

      Result.

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    6. While dog sports may not be leading to breeding for extreme physical features, winning at dog sports still drives breeding for things that pet owners won't appreciate. A good example is flyball, were dogs are being bred for all out speed and very high drive in a small dog. Winning at agility is also increasing the number of litters bred for high drive. Anytime winning drives breeding, breeding for healthy, well balanced dogs will take a back seat.

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    7. I agree with you entirely. The fact is that winning isn't about balance is it?

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    8. I love to see dog's working with their handler as a team when they are fit and healthy. But it can't be denied, a high drive dog isn't really suited to the average pet household, as fantastic as they are. You have to teach them to relax and to switch off, which requires some knowledge of behaviour modification really. Also, providing the appropriate predatory outlets, mental stimulation etc. It can be challenging if you just want to chill out with your dog.

      There's a balance somewhere that dog breeders really should be looking to fulfil.

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    9. Pipedream how many flyball and agility dogs are the result of breeding for these sports though? It is my understanding that many of the dogs are from working lines and rescues. Many drug detection, SAR, and conservation dogs are hand-picked from shelters, at least in the states, because they were surrendered by families due to their need to have a job and insanely high prey drives.

      My dog, a border collie/sheltie cross, came from a small cattle town in Oregon, and had he the right training, probably would have been an excellent herder. When I had to leave him with a foster family while I was overseas, they took him through a beginning flyball course and described his taking to it like "a light bulb going off in his head as he realized this was what he was meant to do." He was by far the fastest dog in the course and they thought he could become a top flyball dog. My point is, many dogs, no matter the intention behind the breeding, are not going to be what the typical pet owner wants. The behavior consultant I talked to about my dog was puzzled as to why so many dogs are still being bred to have high drives, when most people simply want a level-headed, calm house dog that will like car rides and occasional games of fetch at the dog park. Now I realize that this side-trip could open up a whole new can of worms with outcry that dogs need to be bred "fit for purpose," working instincts intact, etc., and I agree that working lines should be maintained for those folks who want a working dog.

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    10. In flyball new crosses were developed specifically to be "height dogs" (shortest dog on the team that sets the jump height): borderjack, borderstaff, etc. Breeding for winning (agility bred dogs, flyball bred dogs, etc) is occuring at the highest level in the sports. All one has to do is look at the matings being selected by breeders to see what they are breeding for: sire (multiple agility titles) x dam (multiple agility titles). This is no different than sire show champion (BIB @ Crufts) x dam show champion (BIB @ Crufts).

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    11. Yes. I've read about the BorderJacks in the States. Madness.

      The temperament must be extremely hyper, reactive and arousal levels would have to be micromanaged in the performance arena. Probably a pretty physically robust dog though!

      Interestingly, most dog on dog attacks occur in Flyball. Not surprising if this is the type of energy they want in the dog so that they can focus on titles as opposed to simply looking at it as a team building exercise for handler and dog. It's important to be able to distinguish between distress and eustress when dog's are working. Has anyone studied this?

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    12. Yes!!! Totally agree, PipedreamFarm.
      The influence competition has in breeding is what has lead to selection of extremes, whether it be in conformation (shows) or in behavior (trials), and often times leaving health as an afterthought.
      Also, now days, I don't think there are that many breeds that can afford the luxury of not considering the pet part of being dogs, as in being easy to care and handle for your average owner, specially with the more popular breeds like GSDs. After all, wasn't there a time when GSDs were considered great family dogs?

      Joe Garp

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    13. However, for working breeds having a breeding goal of producing pets is no longer breeding for the work. What pet owners want in selection criteria (in terms of temperament) may not be what is appropriate selection criteria for maintaining the working characteristics.

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    14. Yeah, although that would depend of the type of work, but qualities like being easy to care and handle (within what's reasonable for a dog), are assets for either purpose, work and pet. The issue is that with breeds like GSDs, the working dogs are mostly shaped by trials with the influence of competition and specialization in a sport, with little consideration of the "how difficult is to live with this type of dogs" part (which of course is a big part of the whole human-dog interaction), and thus the marked dichotomy between the qualities of pet and working dogs.
      Now, with GSDs I still would like to see a general-purpose dog: of moderate type, functional and no exaggerations whatsoever.
      Maybe having a more practical and non-competitive test would be a better aid for breeding stock selection.

      Joe Garp

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    15. In my breed, Border Collie, we say the breed standard is the work. If the breed standard was changed from the work to "general purpose" one is now developing a new breed that happens to look like a Border Collie.

      To me it sounds like pet owners that like working breeds actually want the breed standard to include or be dominated by things that make living with these working dogs easier. In other words, pet owners either want the breed standards for true working dogs (bred for the work) to be changed or pet owners want new breeds that happen to look like working dogs?

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    16. PipedreamFarm said: “…the breed standard is the work.”

      Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

      Being a pet is an honourable occupation for a dog and pets bring their people enormous joy. But being a pet does not test physical functionality. The only test for functionality is work. Divorce a dog from its work and the mental and physical design flaws creep in.

      Breeds were created for and defined by their function. Physical characteristics are secondary by-products of the function. The physical traits are irrevocably intertwined with the equally genetic behavioural traits that make the dog able to do its job and were what were selected for in the first place. The GSD and Border Collie look so different because the landscape in their countries of origin dictated the style of herding required and this in turn dictated the structure of the dogs. It is the behaviours that made the different breeds what they are – or were.

      Pet people don’t understand this. Neither, it seems, do breeders who breed for "conformation".

      Form follows function.

      Keep working dogs working. Breed fewer of them and breed smarter. Award championships for performance only. If you love working dogs but want a pet dog, admire the working dogs from a distance and get a pet dog to love. There are plenty of them looking for homes.

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    17. The effect of competition depends on the competition. Working gun dogs need to have an on/off switch, and many working retrievers are layed--back and easy to live with. The tradition of aiming for dual championship, eg, show plus hunting or retrieving titles, has, I suspect, had a good effect on Labradors and flatties.

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    18. Well, Jennifer, I would agree with you in that dogs with dual championships tend to be better dogs than those that only have show titles. However, I’m afraid I don’t think the conformation titles contribute anything. My friend’s (now retired) working security dog (GSD) also has an off-switch. She’s never been near the show ring or a trial. She actually worked. Other friends’ competition GSDs (IPO), also never been near the show ring and also have off-switches. At home, they are treated more or less as pets. My opinion remains that championships should be awarded on performance. If you want to have a beauty pageant as a fun aside, go ahead, but call it what it is and don’t make it count for anything.

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    19. Breeding for hunt or retriever titles is still breeding for winning and not for the work. Breeding for the work would be a hunt guide breeding dogs to help with his job, retrieving all day on a variety of terrain and conditions.

      The problem with breeding for winning at tests/trials is how well do the tests/trials simulate the real work (endurance, patience while waiting for hours for the retrieve, all kinds of terrain, etc). Dogs can win when the test/trial conditions suit them but how will they do when the test/trial conditions don't? Owners can get titles by selecting certain trials that suit their dogs. People who breed dogs for the work know that their pups will need to work well under any/all conditions; not just at some tests/trials.

      Take for example the AKC herding tests/trials. These events typically use sheep that are worked by many dogs and breeds and are what we call very dog broke. These sheep know what is expected of them and if the dog is under control more often than not willingly move through the course allowing these dogs to look good. These herding tests/trials are being used to evaluate which AKC dogs should be bred (getting titles and wins); however, the sheep are not like a flock of commercial sheep (sheep rarely worked by dogs) that don’t know where they are supposed to go and must be controlled by the dog in addition to the dog being in control of itself. I would not be surprised if AKC herding champions are not be able to control/move a small group of commercial sheep.

      The example of dual titles has little meaning when it comes to breeding for the work unless the details of the working tests are known.

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    20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    21. There is an issue with breeding fewer working dogs; it makes the gene pool smaller leading to more genetic issues.

      The ideal would be to sell the excess working bred pups (those not purchased by people who will work the dogs) to pet homes where the working breeders cooperate with one another to guide pet buyers to those lines (genetically linked temperaments) that best suit their lifestyle.

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    22. I think the attitude towards breeding working dogs is much, much healthier but we need dogs as pets who are less predatory, less reactive and are stranger tolerant. Given the fact that the average dog owner tends to be pretty clueless about the emotional life of their dog and how to get the best out of them.

      Karen Overall's relaxation protocol as well as Leslie McDevitt's training philosophy and games are great for helping reactive and 'busy' dogs relax in life. However, how many pet owners have a true and sound knowledge of a behavioural approach to training and understand how to apply the principles of animal learning effectively and kindly? Just because you love dogs doesn't mean you love training them or have the skills required to teach dogs effectively. Having a dog that wants to work and not being able to provide outlets for it can be a disaster for the life of the dog and the people involved.

      Familiarity does NOT equal expertise or true understanding.

      Not everyone wants a running buddy for a dog. Most people would like a calm, relaxed dog who is equally happy out on a walk as he is laying by the fire. Heck, outlets such as agility and Flyball can be a nightmare for dogs who don't kow how to relax and ignore the activity going on around them and this definitely includes working dogs. It's complicated....

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    23. So many non-working dog owners have the belief that working bred dogs are over the top in terms of hyperness, reactivity, exercise requirements, etc. which in reality is not the case in all lines of working dogs. Most of our working bred Border Collies have "off switches"; some even will turn off while out in a field with the stock when we're not working the stock.

      Sport bred dogs are a whole different breed; they are bred for very high drive and speed.

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    24. Why do you make the assumption that I am a non working dog owner I wonder?

      When people have to pick up the pieces on behavioural work with Border Collies herding cars, children and following through to grab-bites it's understandable that some people will question the suitability of working dogs in homes. There isn't the demand to breed dogs simply for sporting purposes really and I would suspect that most pedigree dogs will come from show or working lines in the majority of homes where people have bought a puppy from a breeder as a family pet. But I concur, breeding for high drive sporting traits is ethically questionable practice along with showing in beauty pageants.

      The genetic lottery of sexual reproduction does not ensure that every BC from a litter is going to be a high drive dog of course. It's selecting for herding high dive traits that ensures success though and the amount of Collie and Collie crosses in rescue would indicate that a lot of these dogs aren't suitable pets for most people. How do you leave a BC in a cage for 8 hours when you at work? Successfully? Would you really sell this type of dog to a home where both adults work full time? Or have young children? Given the points I mentioned in my earlier post about a lack of behavioural understanding?

      Also, what is the natural behaviour mechanism for the off switch you talk about?
      You can teach a dog an off switch too. As a breeder it is very important to communicate about effective teaching with dogs such as collies too. Not simply imply that they all naturally have the capability to switch off. It is potentially misleading.

      Behaviour is extraordinarily complex genetically. Literally hundreds of genes involved in the endocrine system and Balyaev's work on foxes was remarkable in understanding what is involved when selecting for a behaviour trait.

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    25. PipedreamFarm said:

      “There is an issue with breeding fewer working dogs; it makes the gene pool smaller leading to more genetic issues.”

      Yes and no. That’s why I said “breed smarter”. It is the breeding practices of the kennel club/show world that, in order to preserve some mythical “purity”, have led to horrendously compromised gene pools so that even though there may be thousands, even tens of thousands, of individuals in a breed, the effective inbreeding population may be the equivalent of less than 50 individuals. If more appropriate breeding practices were used (e.g. breeding from more individuals and outcrossing), genetic health could be maintained with a far smaller population of individuals within a given breed. The KNPV breeders are an interesting model for this: they are willing to cross with any breed that brings in desired working traits, though some crosses are more common than others. Yet within a few generations, the results can look like a purebred dog, if that’s what you (the ubiquitous you, not you individually) are concerned about.

      I agree with everything you say about trials vs. work.

      Anon 14:24 said:

      “I think the attitude towards breeding working dogs is much, much healthier but we need dogs as pets who are less predatory, less reactive and are stranger tolerant.”

      Which is why I said, if you want a pet dog, get a pet dog. Just because someone likes the look of a dog doesn’t mean they should have one.

      “It's complicated....”

      I know I can come across as seeing things in black and white at times but actually I do agree – it is complicated, with many shades of grey.

      There is no ideal solution and the tragedy is that every solution will have collateral damage, all of it canine. A good start, though, would be a better understanding of what dogs are – sentient creatures with needs that must be respected – and what dogs are not – lumps of clay to be molded mentally and/or physically regardless of their health and welfare, stuffed toys that happen to breathe or, possibly the most ghastly term I’ve heard yet, “furbabies”.

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    26. Basically, I agree with what you say Sarah - your thoughts on breeding for health and temperament are entirely sensible.

      Sarah said - 'A good start, though, would be a better understanding of what dogs are – sentient creatures with needs that must be respected – and what dogs are not – lumps of clay to be molded mentally and/or physically regardless of their health and welfare, stuffed toys that happen to breathe or, possibly the most ghastly term I’ve heard yet, “furbabies“'

      Absolutely. There is a remarkable lack of behavioural understanding by a lot of people involved with dogs. It staggers me some of the comments I read and the unrealistic expectations placed on dogs. I mentioned earlier the complacency afforded by familiarity - as you say, just because someone likes the look of a dog it doesn't mean they should get one. Equally, just because you've been around dogs it doesn't mean you truly understand their needs and are able to teach and train that affords them little distress and builds a trusting bond. Which is why it's so important to be able to honour a dog's needs - a working BC in a pet home may very well struggle to relax and thrive with an average dog owner IMO. It's important to consider the needs of the dog first and foremost.

      PipeDreamFarm said - 'Most of our working bred Border Collies have "off switches"; some even will turn off while out in a field with the stock when we're not working the stock.'
      It's probably because they already have their intrinsic desire to work fulfilled that they are able to switch off so easily. How about if the same dog had been hanging around the house all day after a 20 minute trot around the block on a lead?


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  36. I've just looked on line, Ramacon Swashbuckler, and he really is magnificent, I suggest others may find it interesting to have a look. Just punch in his name.

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    1. As Jemima and I both say further up ^^^ Swashbuckler was much too short in the leg. A very pleasing head (although the German-type GSD people would disagree) , and his back was certainly straight! He was,in his own way, as exaggerated from the earlier more moderate type as the modern banana-backs are.

      Have a look at the dogs in the link I provided and you'll see what I mean.

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    2. Hi Mary and I had responded but it hasn't appeared on the site yet. Klodo's are lovely and I totally agree with your comments. I guess the comparison with the photograph above of Ellie and then seeing RS again was so great it maybe swayed me overly. However, I did read the std. and it does ask for a longer than height ratio (er I think) so his body properties appear to be ok, but he does have a dip on his topline so he may be longer than is healthy. If they could just get back to a healthy, handsome, sound type it would a eureka moment. Have you read the blog below from Beth. Distressing. He had the most magnificent head and expression, so kind and intelligent, I always wondered how he ended his days in I think it was India. I think the it was the Royals but was alarmed to read somewhere that they had a "collection of animals" from tigers to frogs and I found that worrying because I imagined RS to be in a glass box just because he was beautiful, not because they wanted a wonderful friend for life. The pedigree dog world has been a downward spiral since the 1970s which is tragic. I looked at the Czech national dog and they look very natural, but I digress,sorry. G

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    3. 'A very pleasing head (although the German-type GSD people would disagree).'

      That's the whole depressing point. People's interpretation varies on what they think is acceptable or 'nice' and how they interpret the breed standard.

      Completely subjective!

      Standards, should be measurable, quantifiable and auditable. Subject to continuing quality improvement too....

      Otherwise it ain't a standard. It's a fanciful whim.

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    4. On the contrary, standards, if 'measurable, quantifiable and auditable' simply become a tick-box of parts and numbers and completely ignore the whole. No animal, regardless of species, will ever be 'perfect' (and let's face it, even cars rolling one after the other off the same production line will all handle a little bit differently but are recognisably the same 'breed', which is what people want) and standards are correct to reflect this.

      Try writing a 'measurable, quantifiable and auditable' standard for human beings and see what you end up with. If you succeed I'm willing to bet that if you could find a human on the planet who fitted it perfectly, not even you would think that he/she was the best example of the species in the world! :)

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    5. Mary - you really don't get it do you?! We don't breed human beings to standard do we? 'Standards' in the application are inappropriate by definition. At the very least you could try guidelines?

      And we're not talking about perfection either are we?

      Just trying to be sensible and balanced...

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    6. When you introduce breed standards to dogs based on how they look you are suggesting an ideal to attain. One that is 'correct.' Therefore, how do you objectively benchmark that process? How do you know that the standard is realistic and attainable? Who decides what the ‘ideal’ standard is and what evidence is this based on? What objective measures are applied to fully review the processes to ensure fitness for purpose and safety (good health!)?

      When it comes to living things, breeding for physical standards introduces an artificial human construct which is neither realistic, helpful or ethically sound…..

      You may as well clone dogs if you are interested in only what they look like! And that of course, is absurd. So why I wonder, in the 21st century do some people involved in dog showing fail to understand the utterly flawed approach to breeding purely for physical breed 'standards'?

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    7. There are certain aspects of conformation that are important and worth breeding for. For example, cow-hocked back legs suggests hip joint malformation, and/or weak muscles.

      Pigeon toes are undesirable for a reason. If one (or more) of the dog's paws point outwards or inwards, rather than forwards, that can suggest misalignment of the joints.

      Flat toes in a sighthound suggest ligament damage.

      If a dog 'plaits' when on the move, i.e. the front legs cross, then that can be a sign of nerve damage.

      Conformation breeding for functionally sound dogs is important, but will only work if the breed standard demands it. Some breed standards require the opposite - being a cripple is viewed as desirable.

      For example, all Whippets bred to the breed standard can still run and most could still work or do well at lure coursing. The breed standard doesn't set these dogs up for injury. I doubt the same could be said for the GSD standard that most judges seem to be going by (seeing as the breed standard for the GSD doesn't actually ask for a roached back). I would like to see Veneze Ellie do police-type work, including scaling 6ft fences.

      If the show breeders really think their dogs with the sloped backs are as good as, or even better than, the dogs with straight backs, let's put them to the test. Let's have an agility test of the two working side-by-side, to give us a proper comparison.

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    8. Anon/s 09:02 and 10:39

      It seems neither of you quite understand the principle behind breed standards, whether they refer to dogs, or cats or horses or cattle or rabbits or whatever. They are the only means we have of defining reasonably accurately (and that's what people - even 'purely-pet' buyers - want) the type of individual the will result from a mating. It's not just about looks; temperament and behavioural characteristics are also involved.

      Just imagine you are a 60 year old arthritic woman who lives in a small house with a small yard. If you were looking for a pet puppy it's vitally important - if the partnership is to succeed - that you can be certain that the cute puppy isn't going to grow into a 26" 50kg animal which not only has extreme guarding tendencies but also high prey drive, isn't it? With dogs bred to standards you know, within the normal parameters of natural variability, pretty much which breeds to consider and which to discount.

      Breed standards were written by those who originated the breeds for their various taksa - and remember that all breeds were developed SOLELY for their ability to assist humans and enhance their lives; to help catch prey animals for food for everyone, or vermin animals to protect food sources, or defend domestic food animals from attack by wild predators, to protect property, to transport goods, or whatever. Those individuals which were good at their allotted task were kept and bred from; those that weren't ... weren't.

      Cloning dogs, even if it was possible, wouldn't help because the point of breeding isn't to preserve in aspic, it's to develop and (hopefully) improve.

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    9. Anon 09:02 - in essence we do breed human beings to standard. Although nationalities are "cross breeding" more than they ever could because of transportation to outward areas, caucasion, negro, chinese, etc etc all breed true to "type". When the nationalities inter marry then we see diluted traits from each nationality apparent in their children, and delightful they are too. And these in the fullness of time may become the normal humans of the future and breeding to standard???? The other intriguing occurrence is when a dark child appears from an apparently white genetic background and vice versa, so the genes are there but "sleeping". As we know in the past there have been attempts to breed a super race of a particular appearence and intellect. Have you ever noticed that "beautiful, famous people" only choose partners who reflect themselves. The case where a rich elderly gentleman's second/third/fourth marriage is usually to a young glamorous female and those genes flow on. Selective breeder mmm - I think so. People do breed within their social background, on the whole/in the main with obvious exceptions.
      I've always understood that the standard of a breed is related to what the dog is needed for, sight hound, tall and racey, gundog, good feet well sprung ribs, toy dog small and "baby like" i.e. peke,pug (big eyes, round face), etc. It is the features that were designed for a purpose that have been exaggerated. Take an Irish Setter, should be a purposeful gundog, but the show Irish maybe can run until it becomes entangled in the heather because his coat is so long, having hurt his flat hare like feet on the stubble. Breeding for perfection is a wide open statement because somebody quite sensibly said "it is in the eye of the beholder", what one sees and another misses etc. It's an opinion in dog showing of the animal shown under a judge which I have come to realise is open to all sorts of misuse/abuse. Again I cannot understand FS stating the above bitch is un-exaggerated, incredible and really outlines that dog showing is an absolute nonsense. Dogs fit for purpose, I doooooooon't think soooooooooooooo but I should add that it is just my opinion.................

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    10. Georgina, you are merely describing the laws of nature when it comes to humans selecting their mates! Alpha males will spread their genetic material because they have the resources and inclination to do it. Simples.

      I have no idea what you referring to when you mention ethnicity and interbreeding (!) but the point is that nobody is telling them what to do or artificially constructing their breeding standard. They breed because of sexual attraction on the whole. There are tribes/cultures that exist who insist on marrying their cousins to 'keep it in the family' but these are few and far between. Again, they do not select their mate because they fit the written down breed standard based on physical appearance, length of ears, coat and toplin! Wealth, influence and power are very different things!

      There is nothing wrong with selective breeding! I'm all for it but it has to be for the right reasons - physical health and temperament. Not because of how the dog looks. That drive to create a dog on physical appearance written in a standard by some random group of people in the 19th century is no longer appropriate given the knowledge, evidence and scientific understanding we have today.



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    11. Georgina- You may find 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins interesting to read if you are not familiar with genetics and what is actually behind the drive to reproduce. We are driven by genetics on levels that we are often not conscious of.

      The MHC complex in animals and human beings is extremely important for optimum function of our immune system. When human beings select their mate, at some level beyond our level of consciousness, we are attracted to the scent of our mates due to compatibility of our MHC genes.

      There are many issues at hand when it comes to breeding and understanding why we simply shouldn't have a one dimensional approach to selecting mates for our dog's.

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    12. Anon 10:39

      You said "You may as well clone dogs if you are interested in only what they look like!"

      In fact the few animals which (supposedly) HAVE been closed don't resemble the cellular parent, so that argument flies straight out of the window!

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    13. What about the rest of the post then Mary? I take it you agree!?

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    14. In reproductive cloning, the clones are not always identical to their parent organism or even to their sibling clones. Though the genetic material is the same, environmental factors affect the way the genes are expressed, just as how identical twins have slight differences in their appearance, even if the differences are as minute as fingerprint patterns or freckles.

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    15. Anon 16:26

      Why would you assume that?

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    16. Oh Mary, the irony is lost on you.....

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    17. Anon, you obviously haven't bothered to read and understand my earlier reply to you on 25 July 2013 13:46

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    18. Hi Anon 22:49, thank you for your response and suggestions. I was thinking too laterally in attempt to explain that humans do breed to a standard in response to anon 09:02, thank you again. G

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    19. Yes Mary - I read it. It's the 21st century. Time to evolve. Time to change.

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    20. Anon 10:44

      Without breed standards acting as a brake you give people a free hand to 'develop and evolve' their animals to the extent of this US breeder whose webiste is doing the (appalled) rounds on the various social media:

      http://www.gardenstatebulliez.com/males.php

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    21. Mary - yes, that's appalling isn't it?

      But aren't Pug's and CKCS appalling too? Because brachycephalic dogs don't look like they mean 'business', that makes it OK to continue to breed exaggerated examples of these dogs to 'standard' then because they look 'cute' and not overtly aggressive? What about the GSD topline we are discussing here? It's all within the same context.

      These Bully dogs are simply evidence of people breeding for exaggeration within this breed. Like I mentioned earlier - it's all completely subjective and out of control. Which is why the term 'standard' isn't applicable.

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    22. I disagree that pugs and CKCS are appalling; I've seen both doing very well at agility, and a couple of Cavaliers as working gundogs - and they're also showdogs bred to 'the standard'. Bulldogs were never meant to resemble the ones being produced by this man and his Facebook friends, but as they're not breeding to any officially-recognised breed standard there's nothing to keep a check on their excesses.

      Remember that 'standard' means 'the norm'; it's how they SHOULD be. Exaggerations aren't the norm, so the dog isn't 'to standard'. Subjective is actually good because it ensures a degree of variation (beauty being in the eye of the beholder) and thus a wider gene pool than if everything was scored to a fixed scale.

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    23. I am afraid we are not even on the same page here Mary. I don't wish to be rude but may I point out that you seem to have very little understanding of the mechanics of genetics. I would respectfully suggest that you do some background reading and try to grasp a better understanding of the issues at hand here.

      You wrote 'Subjective is actually good because it ensures a degree of variation (beauty being in the eye of the beholder) and thus a wider gene pool than if everything was scored to a fixed scale.' In an earlier post you failed to understand the concept of crossbreeding and how genetic diversity is introduced. How does 'beauty being in the eye of the beholder’ ensure that genetic variation and a 'wider gene pool' is selected for if you continue to breed within a paradigm of closed gene pools!? It's not genetically possible if you don't outcross.

      I simply fail to objectively understand that your example of those Bully dogs is 'appalling' and yet your appreciation of brachycephalic dogs being able to do agility is somehow acceptable when ALL of the dogs have extreme conformational examples capable of inducing health related issues. It doesn't make sense why you would approve some types over others when they are all in the same boat in my opinion.

      There are several definitions of standards. It can indeed be an average or normal requirement. Within dog breeding, my opinion is that 'standard' is not really acceptable given the problems associated with some show breeders dog's extreme conformation and their obvious biased and as you so nicely put it ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ mentality. Guidelines would hopefully help steer people away from conformational extremes by ensuring that people DON'T breed for extreme physical characteristics and aren’t able to indulge in their warped sense of canine beauty.

      Look, something has to change doesn't it? You seem to instantly reject anybody trying to offer another way of looking at things. You cannot continue to accept that because people want a certain type of dog, then they should have them simply because the demand is there, knowing that there are health and welfare issues with many types of pedigree dog. This is an ethical and moral discussion.

      The problem is Mary, it requires different way of looking at things. It requires people to open themselves up to criticism and acknowledge that just because you can and always have done something, it doesn't mean you should continue to do it.

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    24. Ignoring your patronising tone, Anon 11:45 (what IS your name, by the way? Are you all one person or many?) you seem to be the one who misses the point.

      Those US bully dogs aren't appalling because they're brachycephalic: they're appalling because their bodies are slung between their shoulders rather than rsting on them as conventional canine construction desires. Crippling joint problems are inevitable. Thirty years ago the KC bulldog was headed down the same path but has thankfully been brought back from that. But I doubt if that point holds any interest for you.

      Here's a different way of looking at things that would help you; read what people write and don't presume to extrapolate from it. When you say "In an earlier post you failed to understand the concept of crossbreeding and how genetic diversity is introduced." you have no idea of what I understand and what I don't. The fact that I totally understand the concept of crossbreeding seems to have totally escaped you: the difference is that I have seen the results of it and know through experience that it's not necessarily the shining path to salvation that some would have you believe. Well-planned and carefully considered crossbreeding can be very beneficial; but how many crossbreeds have carefully researched ancestry?

      Fifty years of studying, academically, theoretically and practically, the genetics and breeding of several species of animal you'll have to review your opinions, I'm afraid.

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    25. Hi Anon 11:45, the main observation whether an animal is bred to a breed standard, a cross breed, a "pure" mongrel surely the main aim is that that animal is able to breathe, move, sleep without pain or fear of death. Isn't that why we are so shocked by the GSDs, the bullybreed that Mary directed us to and the Tennessee Walking Horse. All of the examples are bred to a human's standard but that standard is disgusting, standards are a total anomoly in reality in respect of the cruelty being exerted on these animals. We are all going around and around in circles trying to understand this cruelty when in fact we ought to take action either by logging the kennel clubs, tennesse walking horse clubs, breed clubs etc to make them aware that it is unacceptable practice internationally. We need to make it stop, collectively, and stop just talking about it as a topic of conversation. The KCs are deplorable in their inactivity, their acceptance of the registration fees, licensing the dog shows of known damaged breeds, they are as culpable as the breeders whilst ever they are publicly seen to be accepting of this cruelty and it's continuance for any breed. The same applies to any species.

      Delete
    26. Who CARES who any of us are? It's what we write that matters and from what you write Mary it's mostly nonsense.

      I don't take any of your opinions seriously. Beacause that's all they are. Empirically null and defensive opinions. You breed dogs yet you appear ignorant to the issues and facts. Or, perhaps you choose to adopt a mentality that protects your own interests? I don't really think that the Bulldog has been saved given the state of it actually. But that's just my opinion isn't it? Who cares what I think? I realise that it's probably no-one and that what I write is perceived by some as nonsense too!

      IMHO, The 'shining path to salvation' is allowing people to breed dogs who understand what is in the best interests for their health and welfare. You question crossbreeding due to lack of 'Researched ancestry' - in what regard? Genetic?

      Or is it because there is no evidence of any winners at Crufts?

      The important thing is to continue to challenge people who refuse to look at things in a different way, particularly if they are contributing to the problem and are not part of the solution. That isn't patronism, that's criticism.

      But then as a professional I fully understand the purpose of accountability and why it exists. To protect people.

      The problem for dogs is that the breeders have no accountability. They can do what they wish.

      So you bet, I'll challenge you if I don't agree with what you say.

      Because that is part of the process by how things progress and people change...

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    27. So Anon 14;48 who have you challenged and when? Have and do you visit the GSD breed shows, attend their classes at general champ shows, lobbied the KC hmm? It would be great if you have because that is exactly what needs to be done. The Cavs, Pugs, Pekes, Boxers, Bullodgs and the list of damaged breeds gets ever bigger, it now seems month by month. Did the people/breeders/handlers that you challenged understand what you were saying and why you were so concerned. You are correct, breeders have no accountability presently, but they will soon, in the form of litigation. Being hostile towards people who are discussing these problems is pointless and ineffective, but please, with my blessing, be hostile towards the people who are breeding/producing/designing these problems, Go ahead because you definately have a way with words and they deserve everything and anything you wish to hurl at them. I, and many others, would be relieved to hear that at last someone is physically doing something to stop these vile breeders so that they can swell their bank accounts. What was their reaction and that of the Kennel Club we'd all love to know.

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  37. The one thing the GSD has going for it is an extremely broad base for the breed. No shortage of genetic material to work from. I just came across a few pages on the East German version of the GSD. An entirely different type! Also, an interesting grading system and breeding program. I never expected to see anything coming out of the DDR that was worthy of emulation. See

    http://johnsddr.webs.com/ddrbloodlineinfo.htm

    It's too bad one clique within the GSD world has become SO SO dominant in the show scene. And very sad that show judges will overlook the breed standard and award BIS to dogs with exaggerated features.

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  38. Ramacon Swashbuckler - implicated in the production of fitting progeny sadly.

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  39. I have said it before: it is the GSD that made me stop watching dog shows. When they are consistently put up Best in Group in the herding group over countless natural, healthy dogs it infuriates me. I was watching one of the big shows here in the States and they cut from the 1970's GSD BIS to the current version and I started to cry. ANYONE who defends this is out of their mind. Take the blinders off and look at the sorry excuse for a dog you have intentionally created.

    For those asking "why", my understanding is it's primarily been done to create the flying trot. The uphill conformation gives that big, soaring trot that the Fancy so loves to see, and to hell with the fact that the dog can't stand and walks on his hocks.

    Watch this video of a big lick Tennessee Walking horse. You can't breed a horse that uphill; there is simply not that much flexibility in the gene pool. So they build them with huge stacks on the front shoes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uacXRdH1n7s

    This is how the horses actually move without the ridiculous footwear (and the soring, but that's another matter)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJCAF-g1WBE

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    1. Oh my. No wonder they've had to disable the comments on that first one. Absolutely disgusting.

      Jemima

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    2. yep & the wear & tear on these horses joints is terrible & I am quite sure the wear & tear on any animal with such an unnatural way of covering the ground wether it be via gadgets or genetics.

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  40. Regarding the idea that the gene pool is now so full of this back and hock type that they can't breed away from it: that's honestly nonsense. GSD's are very popular pets here in the States, and none of the pet line dogs look this way. Of the countless GSD's I've seen in my life, I have only seen one in real life that was nearly this extreme. There are countless bloodlines to choose from that have the more traditional look, but they don't want it.

    Police departments, though, have mainly switched to Malinois and Dutch Shepherds.

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    1. The breed may have a large gene pool but it’s sub-divided into bottlenecks – all with their own problems. Germany is the motherland of the breed and dictates internationally through the WUSV what the breed looks like. Given that the UK KC has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the German SV, German influence is not going to disappear. After all, the KC endorsed Elmo as winner of the pastoral group at Crufts in 2011...

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  41. Can anyone explain why GSD's are stacked the way they are for the show ring?
    VP

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    1. Even people who show other breeds would like to know this!

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    2. Shouldn't anyone interested in dogs as a species be interested in this??

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  42. The breed has always been traditionally stacked for the ring to display the sloping top line and rear angles to the judge. Rear angles are important for the dog’s purpose, although these have been taken to extremes. The GS is not a square dog; being longer than tall and most will stand with one rear leg back naturally anyhow. All my dogs have stood this way naturally by themselves.

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  43. There are lots of GS that don't look like that. A friend of mine own this one. He is a Swedish Showchampion, Swedish Obedience champion, Swedish working champion.

    http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/dog.html?id=569718

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  44. Oh wow!

    That's more like it....

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    1. Is it? Put the hind legs in the same position as others and watch that back bend ...

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    2. Now he looks as if he could work for ever, lovely athletic dog, indeed "Oh wow!"

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    3. Anon 14:33: It's not going to bend as much as the dog in the blog post. If you look at this dog, he's stacked, but his back only gently slopes.

      http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/classifieds.viewad?adid=197229

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  45. Oh wow Maria....I like very much. Now that's my type :-)

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  46. A predisposition to bloat is inherited:

    "First degree relatives of dogs that have had bloat have a 63 percent greater risk of developing bloat themselves."

    http://goldenrescuestlouis.org/Bloat.asp

    So Zamp vom Thermados has passed on an even higher risk of bloat, in a breed already prone to it...

    What percentage of the GSD population has he sired?

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    Replies
    1. See http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/dog.html?id=341400-zamp-vom-thermodos&p=progeny
      Very small fraction of the GSD population, but huge impact on the show dog population, particularly in Germany

      Delete
  47. Well spotted Fran. Perhaps put that question to his owners?

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  48. I heard Zamp himself died of stomach cancer discovered a few months beforehand, although I have heard of bloat from these bloodlines.

    http://24kgsd.com/blog/2010/03/11/goodbye-zamp/

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  49. I was just having a look at the photos of Jake that Jemima posted in an earlier blog post. Now HE has a topline to die for...

    The picture of him running is just magnificent. Imagine this GSD bitch trying to compete with him? But then he looks like he may have some Saluki in there? Who knows!

    Anyway, no comparison in my book. Jake the mutt typifies why physical health 'wins' every time....he looks beautiful too. :)

    Assuming he is fit and healthy Jemima? He certainly looks like he may have some GSD in there perhaps too.





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    1. Jake's mum was definitely a German Shepherd. He was handed into rescue by a couple who'd had him since he was a pup and had met his dam. I haven't yet done a DNA test to check what else isin him, but might with his next check-up (which is due). I've never seen anything quite like him - nor known a dog with such amazing strength and vitality at his age (he is 11). I will do some proper video of him trotting to compare with a show Shepherd. You'll certainly see a suspended trot whereas many show sheps do a running walk - there is always one foot on the ground; partly perhaps because of the effect of pulling on a leash/lead.

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    2. Look forward to some videos of him Jemima. He is lovely looking andi try not to get too pulled in by the look of a dog! But as he is fit, healthy and thriving I'll allow myself the luxury of being smitten!

      Hope Boz is ok too after his Bloat scare?

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    3. Boz good - although suffering from quite severe arthritis in his front legs now, not helped by him managing to chip a bone a few weeks ago. It doesn't slow him up much, though.

      Picture of the pair of them on the masthead of my FB. But suspect you've seen it.

      https://www.facebook.com/jemimaharrison.pde

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  50. Good explanation of the German type stack here -http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/forum.read?mnr=736076-video-on-how-to-make-your-gsd-look-good-stacked

    Julie Vaughan

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  51. What I have read here is a whole lot of bad information matched with armchair critics. No one anywhere believes that the modern showring GSD is a working dog. Hence why people who breed and work working dogs don't tend to buy dogs with a championship at the beginning of their name.

    A german shepherd is a tending breed which is not the same work as a typical herding dog like a border collie. I might as well be comparing the structure and gait of my papillon to my hunt bred cocker spaniel.

    To breed a working breed correctly one must work them. The ability to do that work should be the #1 selection criteria to the breed worth of that dog. That is how you fix the stupidity of the show ring - very simply don't show conformation and don't buy from people who show conformation if you care about the ability of the dog to actually work.

    The American Border Collie Association got it right with their ruling:
    The ABCA is a working stockdog registry and believes that breeding for conformation standards rather than working ability is detrimental to the health and working ability of the Border Collie. Consequently dogs or bitches which have been named a "Conformation Champion" by a conformation registry are not eligible for ABCA registration, even if they otherwise meet the requirements for registration. The ABCA will de-register any ABCA registered dog or bitch should it be named a "Conformation Champion" after January 1, 2004, and will not register the offspring of any dog or bitch named a "Conformation Champion" after that date.

    For those who want to know what the gait of a gsd should look like simply look for GSDs who have been selected for work over the show ring. There are plenty of them out there.

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  52. You are absolutely right! Here in Western Canada GSD's are frequently used by the Police and Mounties - and their conformation and gait are a joy to behold - completely different from those dogs one sees in the show ring. Shame on you who have ruined this beautiful breed!

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  53. Stumbled across this -

    http://shepaluteclub.tripod.com/breeders/strongbred.html

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  54. 'show' breeders just do not care and they are so blind to these horrifically deformed dogs that they think dogs like this are the norm. my own breed is getting closer to the state Cav's are in - SM and CM have been found in a number of Pomeranians and it has been discovered a large commercial breeder has been breeding from a Pomeranian who is symptomatic in CM/SM has hydrocephalus and had has 2 patella repair operations. This dogs son a various grandchildren have also been diagnosed as having Syringo and various other neaurological problems ( one puppy was sold with a deformed partially missing skull ). This commercial breeder sells puppies abroad and here for thousands of pounds and is a regular on the likes of pets4homes. I suggest you check out the following facebook group *** Pomeranian Syringomyelia and Chari Malformation (SM/CM) *** as ethical Pomeranian breeders are trying to do our best to stop the damage this breeder has caused to the gene pool of the breed. Who on earth breeds from a dog times after being diagnosed with CM/SM, Hydrocephalus and Luxating Patella? I pity the poor dogs as already there are many relatives of the dog concerned being born to live a life of pain.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/398160330294526/

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    1. Hi Anon 18:32, it isn't show breeders that are the problem, but it is the people who show dogs, the money spinners generally, that are the problem. These people's intent is to make as much money as possible, regardless of the damage they are doing to dogs. I too am astonished and sicked when I viewed Pets4homes and saw the number of well "respected" breeders who are off loading puppies on that site for huge sums of money. Really makes me cringe that that very fact indicates that they are in the breed for profit, i.e. breeding not for continuance of showing but for breeding for money, money the good old rotter of the mind and soul. Nobody can justify turning a hobby into a business and expect compassion from me, they are vile in my opinion and the reason, they are not dog lovers, just greedy horrible people.

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    2. " Nobody can justify turning a hobby into a business and expect compassion from me, they are vile in my opinion and the reason, they are not dog lovers, just greedy horrible people"

      I'd guess that more than half of all groomers, trainers, vet nurses, and veterinarians have turned hobbies into businesses. Do you really think the people who breed and train Guide Dogs, police dogs, etc. could do an adequate job if they didnt operate as businesses? Do you really think these folks, who glorify the extremes, are innocent of inbreeding and selecting for unnatural and unhealthy dog types?


      http://dogshowpoop.blogspot.com/

      Why does every blog post close out with a tirade about the 'horrible people' who fail to loose money in their dog related activities.

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    3. Yep, I agree with you on this, Jennifer. I have never understood why making money out of dogs is considered a bad thing *per se*. It makes no sense to me. Indeed, I worry about the dogs' welfareif a breeder constantly tells me how broke they are. The issue is how the money made is spent; not that it is earned.

      Jemima

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    4. Jennifer, you really are ridiculous. Obviously people will make money from dogs, those people are probably in business and declare their earnings, benefit the local vets' practice, the local corn merchants from whom they buy their dog food etc and most importantly improve the quality of life for lots of pet dogs. If they earn their livelihood openly and honestly from breeding good quality puppies that too is beneficial for all concerned. They probably employ people in the local area and that too is beneficial to the local society. To suggest that I ahbor guide dogs, police dogs, and any other organisation that improves the lives of people and from which the dogs benefit and raises funds to support them is marvelous, fantastic. I don't understand your "folks etc" sentence, it's nonsense, because nobody has advocated "glorify the extremes" etc, it's a ridiculous and unnecessary statement. I absolutely do abhor "dog lovers" who bought a puppy and then decided to show it, and then decided to breed from it, and then decided to pretend they were hobbyists and under that cover breed lots of puppies, probably from one bloodline, and create the "Ellies" we see above. Got to Pets4Homes and be shocked, cocker spaniels, shocking. The same people, every week/month etc. They become arrogant and blind to why they loved dogs in the first place, lose their way and their dogs become income providers and not pets. Greed overtakes their initial interest and the welfare of the dogs, these are the people I loathe. If they want to make their hobby a business, do it openly and honestly, ensure that their dogs are really well cared for and pay their taxes. I am surprised and disappointed that Jemima is in cinque with you, I would have thought that with the good works, selfless attitude she shows for poor dogs who find themselves in drastic situations is happy that many people who want to to churn out puppies onto a flooded market is an acceptable practice, a bit disillusioned in truth. The people who show dogs because they love their pets and enjoy a bit of social/competition and who breed a litter when they want a puppy to show on and keep the proceeds from that litter deserve it, because they are not making their pet pay their way, their pet has had a litter and inevitably there will be puppies sold on and that money can be used for out of pocket expenses. That is quite different from breeding to make money, every year, year in and year out and my concern is the day to day lifestyle of these dogs that provide that income stream. Not the stupid, argument you have raised in order to imply that my interest/statements both now and previously are worthless. Don't take my word for it work out it out, do your own sums, I have done it for you previously, a litter say of flat coated retrievers, usually 10 per litter, sell at £800 min per puppy £8k per litter, minus costs net profit £7k. There is no way that raising a litter of puppies, keeping a dog costs £7k pa. However, buying flat screen tvs, new car, whatever luxury these breeders seem to think they deserve, does cost a lot of money and that money Jennifer, comes from breeding lots and lots of puppies. Go to a Champ show, stroll around the car park, you will see some new and very expensive cars, those my friend, are paid for by their dogs. They don't need the luxury items but will have them because of an easy income stream. Vile attitude towards dogs, absolutely vile.

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  55. I've been reading the WUSV guidelines for breeding GSD. they sound enlightened. Health and working ability are put ahead of the conformation standard. Avoiding exaggeration is stressed. See:

    http://www.videxgsd.com/PDF/WUSV_Guidelines_Breeding_GSD.pdf

    So what happened? How do these criteria and standards get translated into banana backs and wobbly hocks?

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  56. Not too happy about Puppy Farms! However, reputable and ethically sound breeding is incredibly important for the future of dogs. It's important they do make money to invest back into the business as that is how any improvements will be made.

    We all know what the major problems are with dog breeders and it's the issues laid out in PDE. Until the education and culture changes, we'll still need o keep tackling those issues.

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  57. "Don't take my word for it work out it out, do your own sums, I have done it for you previously, a litter say of flat coated retrievers, usually 10 per litter, sell at £800 min per puppy £8k per litter, minus costs net profit £7k. There is no way that raising a litter of puppies, keeping a dog costs £7k pa."

    Your accounting, like your reasoning, is weak. You seem to think the breeders investment in facilities and time count for nothing.

    Running a good kennel is expensive, particularly if you locate on the fringe of a metropolitan area. A high quality facility for, say, 20 dogs, including land, exercise yards, grooming facilities, kitchen, whelping rooms, etc., is likely to require an investment of, say, $500,000. Could be much more, could be much less, depends on where you are. But if you did the research, you'd probably find puppy prices are higher where costs are higher (eg., they are astronomical in Singapore). Acquiring quality dogs isn't that cheap, either. How can you ignore the capital costs in your accounting?

    You also seem to think the breeder's time counts for nothing. It takes an intelligent, well educated person to manage a breeding establishment and to understand the underlying issues in breeding quality dogs. So we're not talking minimum wage. A litter of 10 pups takes 4 hrs a day, minimum, for a period of two months, plus extra time with the bitch, pre-whelp. Plus time checking out puppy buyers, talking with people who are interested, but turn out not purchasing, dealing with the inevitable problems of people wanting girls when you have boys or boys when you want girls, and generally educating the interested public about what is behind your litter, and what is ahead of them when you get a pup. OMG. There's 60 days at 8 hrs/day = 480 hour, or 48 hrs per pup. Do the math. The profit margin isn't looking so good.

    Did I mention vet costs?

    I have Labbies, and am a hobby breeder, now down to one litter every few years. I have relied on heavily on quality breeders who derive income from their dogs, both for stud dog services and advice. The breeders in question supply pups, and provide stud dog services and kenneling services to Guide Dogs and the police, as well as being active in show circles. The breeder I have worked with most made much more in her previous occupation (Certified Public Accountant) than she makes now as a breeder, but she deeply loves her dogs and the pleasure she gains from her dog-centered existence more than justifies the drop in income. She drives a nice car . . . but her husband is a plumber and works full time, so I wouldn't expect her to drive an old heap even if she made no income. I respect and appreciate the breeders I work with and am deeply offended by your boring repetitive denigration of all breeders as vile, money-grabbing, heartless, people who churn out puppies.

    Genetics ignores the dollar sign. It cares only what dog is put over what bitch, and how selection is made between breeding and non-breeding dogs in the resulting litter of puppies. Correction of the many problems in pedigree dogs requires that those who decide what dog to put over which bitch have sufficient information to understand applied genetics, and sufficient resources to use the information well. There are hobby breeders who have both the knowledge and the resources to do this well . . . and hobby breeders who persist in using the popular sire of the year and to hell with the consequences.

    p.s. I'm not happy about puppy farms either, but I'd much rather see commercial breeders who adhere to sound breeding practices and take decent care of their stock than puppy farms that breed willy-nilly . . . OR hobby-breeders/show breeders who evaluate a pedigree by the number of CH's on it and who don't know what COI stands for.



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    1. So now we know you are a hobby breeder hence your defensive manner. To breed happy healthy puppies one does not need to invest 500,000£/$ - that is absolute nonsense. Apart from the fact that a hobby breeder would prefer to live in a property worth that amount of money rather than in a property half that value. When one decides to own a dog there are lots of serious considerations, housing is one of them. If it is a pet then the couch is quite good and comfortable as far as the dog is concerned. However, if the dog is for "cash conversion" then the owner will have to invest in kennelling and associated buildings to facilitate running that business, because breeding lots of puppies is a business transaction. You are so anxious about my comments about breeders being vile, perhaps you would like to furnish us with the number of puppies you breed p.a. because your anxiety may be associated with that fact. A good hearted, kind, intelligent dog breeder is invaluable, you know that and I know that and what's more so does every body else. I don't know what your problem is with my statement about vile dog breeders because you too should also want them to be eliminated from the pedigree dog/cross bred puppy breeding world. I saw the guide dog for the blind programme on tv recently and it showed their puppy breeding unit. It was superb and thoughtfully arranged and I agree with you that commercial breeders who maintain that standard of care and professionalism towards their adults, puppies and new owners are to be admired and rewarded fairly because they are running a registered, tax paying busines, they are open, transparent and welcoming to whosoever wishes to visit their premises, they have nothing to hide and everything to promote about good animal husbandary.
      I assume your establishment is of the same standard so stop attacking everything I say, we are on the same page Jennifer, we want the best for dogs and the worst for nasty greedy breeders. I mean actual nasty greedy breeders, it is not a general title for those who breed dogs, perhaps that is what you thought I meant, some of my best friends take great pride in the puppies they bred/breed, as I did when I had the occasional litter, but I've said all of this previously. Stop skim reading, extrapolating the thing that jumps out at you and commenting on that one word/expression. As I have said before if you calmly read what I had written you wouldn't get so angry with/about my comments. I spent a lot of time with Labs and helped with the Poolstead Labs many years ago and loved them all, some of them were dual purpose but all of them were perfectly able to do the job because they were bred fit for purpose which is what this blog is all about, isn't it. I apologise for making you cross but as previously stated if I make you see red, don't read my words.

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    2. I should add Jennifer, dog showing/breeding is a hobby. It is taken on for pleasure and enjoyment and caring for another species thus self gratification. Now fishing, shooting, knitting, painting, golfing, tennis etc etc are all hobbies are you saying that they are "worthless pasttimes" because there is no income to be derived from them? If so then I understand why you think owning dog means that the dog shouldn't expect a free meal ticket in the household, it too has to contribute to the outgoings. Dogs are a privilege, a luxury thus deciding on adding one to the household needs careful consideration. It has needs, especially time. Friends who have horses, show jumpers, eventers etc spend huge, huge sums of money on maintaining them, but they would drop dead if I asked them how they make money from them so that they can contribute to their households, pay their way. They are their pets, they know the responsibility of owning them and the sacrifices they may have to make to protect/keep them well. This ethos seems to be missing in the dog world because it is quick easy money. You talk about your investment, etc that is your problem, not your dog's, it shouldn't be made to payback, you are good to your dogs but the other creatures who own dogs are not.

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