Discussion in 'Open Discussions' started by madison, Mar 3, 2013.
This might be a stupid question but why are German Shepherd's backs so sloped ';'
Its a reasonably recent show ring trend, and IMO a contributing factor in why so many GSDs are starting to have back/leg/hip problems. If you look at enough breeders you will see some have the 'old type' bloodlines and they have a far more functional, and more normal looking back.
From my very little knowledge, the sloped backs are bred from American lines and used for show, whereas the German lines are straighter backed. The straighter backs are used for working dogs as they generally wouldn't have as many hip issues as the sloped, show lines. Someone else can probably confirm that or tell us it is completely wrong
I'm not sure about the US vs German lines but you are right in saying that the working dogs have much better backs then the show type dogs.
The show stance dips the back lower by putting one hind foot well forward and one well back - don't confuse that with the normal back carriage of the dog.
Also don't confuse it with regional trends for overly dipped backs or roach backs which are actually conformation faults although fashionable, in favour now because of the dramatic gait those faults produce in the ring.
The working dogs seem to fly in the face of fashion and go completely the other way by having backs that are too straight and lose the long stride of the dog and trot like terriers.
So, somewhere in between is closer to type
Are you confused now?? lol
I totally love GSDs but would not have one now due to the back/hips and also the overly-angled hocks which can not straighten enough for a normal action. It is all for the exaggerated thrusting look of the trot and stance in show ring. It is a criminal thing to do to a wonderful breed, in my opinion. I can't even stand to see them move.
I actually had a big old book on the breed, maybe 40 years old, and it showed a straight back as correct and even mildly roached as incorrect, so it is not what was sought after in the past. It is quite amazing how fast people can influence the health of a breed if they aren't looking past the next big win in the ring.
I did think German-bred dogs would be better but went looking online out of curiosity and sadly they don't look that different, and they certainly have German judges come over enough that it would be influencing the breeders here if they weren't putting up the same crap back ends.
The roached backs is not an American trend, it is all over. It is a horrible trend that those in the show world have deemed 'correct' and that they're dogs are to breed standard and are correct for the work they were bred for. Yeah, and I'm the Queen of Sheba.
Breed standard as stated by the Kennel Club: "The topline runs without any visible break from the set on of the neck, over the well defined withers, falling away slightly in a straight line to the gently sloping croup. The back is firm, strong and well muscled. Loin broad, strong, well muscled. Weak, soft and roach backs undesirable and should be heavily penalised. Croup slightly sloping and without any break in the topline, merges imperceptibly with the set on of the tail. Short, steep or flat croups highly undesirable."
Definitely NOT what we're seeing today. Unfortunately lots of very very good working lines have fallen to the hands of show breeders and good dogs are hard to come by. The dog that won Westminster this year was lucky to walk out of the ring.
This is our current girl who has amazing working lines but was bred for the show ring. Alas she isn't show quality so she ended up with us. She's nowhere near as exaggerated in the back but still has that horrible pace that is only half a trot but thankfully she can actually stand up straight and her legs don't give way to themselves. Her overall 'look' is very modern, she's very slim in the middle and boney along the spine but I think that's just her. I love her all the same, only fault is she doesn't listen to us ! She was never brought up like our other dogs though, she's always been treated like a princess. Who sleeps in the mud.
I've got pictures of all our dogs we bred who were all working champions, I will have to dig out whichever ones I've got here, the rest are in storage.
Also, here is a doco the BBC did on pedigree dogs and their downfall purely for the show world: BBC Pedigree Dogs Exposed - full movie in good quality - YouTube
Excerpt of the German Shepherd: German Shepherd half dog half frog - cut from BBC Pedigree Dogs Exposed - YouTube (Showed mum this for the first time and her opinion was some very choice words.. )
Just have to say that carefully bred GSD with great conformation and an extra dose of brains are out there! I will TRY to post a picture of our current girl, but we have always ahd these style of GSD which are bred by police and airforce for genuine reasons rather than ribbons. Anyway not a great pic but a least you can see her straight back And just have to say she is athletic plus, easily the fastest and strongest of our 3 dogs - well thought out breeding pays dividends in clever and calm brains too . . . hmm I think Ive stuff the photo bit, oh well here goes :unsure:
MissDQ thanks heaps for those you tube links - brilliant watch!
Yay!! I did it! So heres another one
PS She's a black sable so not your usual GSD gold with a black saddle
Very interesting reading. 7notHeaven can I ask where you got your girl from
7notheaven what a fabulous colour for a shephard. Is that rare or a throwback from somewhere?
Good looking body as well.
We took about 2 years trawling online adverts to find our girl - we named her Tambi. Unfortunately we had to get her from a breeder in Queensland as we couldn't discover anyone in the West with these working bloodlines. Her predecessor was bred in WA by the police force but they do not breed for the public so it's not easy to find a replacement for a dog like that. Tambi is bred from airforce bloodlines. She is out of a pure black bitch by a black and gold dog which accounts for her unusual colouring NG The photos are crappy and from when she's still at the gawky teenager stage but she is a truly beautiful dog and we get plenty of offers to buy her (and plenty of friends who threaten to dognap her)! Unlike alot of the shepherds that seem to be around this girl is neither timid or aggressive but thoughtful, wanting to please, cheerful but not excitable and a fabulous "mother hen" to our young children. We think she's the best !!!!
I absolutely love your girl 7notHeaven! It's lovely to see GSD that are still conformationally sound (in the true sense, not what the show ring 'looks' pressure for).
Sil I have to disagree with the look being due to the way they stand the dogs. You only have to see the dogs walk and stand naturally to see the faults that have been bred in to them. The 'look' may have been derived from an original stance but it has now been bred into the dog's structure. The show dogs may be conformationally 'correct' in terms of show standards but they are not correct in terms of functionality.
GSD (along with many other 'extreme' purebred) help keep the retirement funds of many vets going
This video shows a good change over the past 70 years:
History of the change in the german shepherd over the years - YouTube
Hi Guys, I was a breeder of the GSD way back. IMO I would agree with some but not all of what has been said.
In most cases the American style is only shown at All Breed Show under All Breed Judges and not usually under a GSD specialty Judges. I have been to many show and shown many dogs in my time and have found that you can have a Champion titled dog gained from Specialty shows and at All Breed Shows you will not even get looked at. I personally do not like the American style because yes I think they have bred in the longer loose hocks so when they are even standing at ease they still have the same look. Some of those dogs you see in those photos if left to stand at ease would stand quite square, some in the photos have also been stood really badly.
At specialty shows roach backs, loose hocks etc is not acceptable. Breeders trying to do the right thing by the breed get their breeding stock Breed Surveyed where the dog is critiqued by qualified people where they should pass to be bred with. This also included having hips scored and be of good scoring and they must have a good temperament.
The stance and way they are set up does have allot to do with the way they look in most cases. It is the same as showing your horses if you don't have them set up they won't look as good. MissDQ your girl is lovely by the way, if you taught her the stance she would have that slope and angle that you have all been talking about.
They are ment to be a working dog and if you think of the law of physics a dog that is square in the hind is not going to have the same strength as a dog with some angle.
The specialty show and the breed surveys are quite grueling, the show ring is usually the size of about 3 dressage arenas and they would lap it many many times usually the handlers are changing mid strides, a dog that is not sound, strong and not anatomically well put together is not going to last in the ring whereas at an All Breed Show they might run around a little ring once maybe twice if you're lucky.
I love the GSD's, I personally would only buy a dog from German lines and from a breeder that has done and followed all the correct protocols. Hope that helps a little.
Pharazon agree with you so much. When I was looking at German Shepherds, the only place I settled on was one here in WA that exclusively shows only at Specialty Shows, they Breed Survey all their stock and they have been in business for nearly 40 years.
Their dogs are strong, well built, muscular and with good solid temperaments. I still have to justify the price tag as they aren't cheap, but then again you can get what you pay for.
My mum bought a pedigree German Shepherd from a good breeder but they do not do specialty or breed surveys; the pup is gutless.
Thanks for the video!
I'm very glad I dont give a hoot about being fashionable
Maybe we should say we have Traditional German Shepherds rather than working bloodlines? Who knows one day people might be glad these practicle lines are still around?
Actually half the dogs out there are roached even when not in the show stack... and their hocks cross I would be very reluctant to buy a GSD now although I do know a few people who have nice strong backed dogs
I also wouldn't say the specialty stock is better than the all breed stock for 2 reasons... 1 - very few dogs are shown all breed now and there have been some nice dogs in the ring and 2- I have seen dogs who have won "lots" at specialty shows be non-awarded at All Breed shows as their hocks were very loose and crossed!
I know this thread had got a bit low but I just happened to come across this pic. Not sure how old but shows how much GSDs have changed. These two look like dogs who really could have done a full day of work, including galloping not just trotting, and stayed sound.
Arthur Wardle - Two German Shepherds Painting
Actually I came across them while looking at all the other paintings and drawings this guy did. It's really interesting! Many breeds have changed but most not as much as these guys.
I never noticed it that much before but now yes it is .i read it helps them in sitting and running fast .