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EDITORIAL

THE DOG MAGAZINE NO. 04

Maj 2016

EDITOR Ewa Larsson LAYOUT DESIGN Snežka Kuralt ADVERTISING DESIGN Ewa Larsson Giota Bouranta Snežka Kuralt INFO: info@ thedog-magazine.com www.thedog-magazine.com

HI, Our goal with this magazine is to promote responsible breeding and dog ownership and to encourage ethical conduct and responsible breeding of purebred dogs. Our vision is to help promote responsible pet ownership and improve the quality of life of every dog show dog or pet. We make it our goal to provide the most up to date and honest

information every dog owner should know.

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THE DOG MAGAZINE

08

12

VALERIY GAVRILIN CLUB

A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG BREED

82

PTSD SERVICE DOGS FOR WOMEN WORK

86

OLGA VARTANYAN DOG PHOTOGRAPHY

08 VALERIY GAVRILIN CLUB

86 OLGA VARTANYAN DOG PHOTOGRAPHY

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CONTENT

82 PTSD SERVICE DOGS FOR WOMEN WORK

12 A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG BREED

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CONTENT

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THETEAM EWALARSSON

SNEŽKAKURALT

I first started to be seriously involved in Cynology, when I bought my first Rhodesian ridgeback (Cubo) from breeder Mr. Andrej Fister – Kyala kennel. Since I had had a ridgeback, I wanted to spent some time and communicate with people who own the same breed. So I became involved and was one of the founding members of Club of Rhodesian ridgeback Slovenia. I was chief of organization of our first special show for Rhodesian ridgebacks in Slovenia. The show entered more than 50 dogs, which was a very nice number for such a small country. We even got Mr. Hans Mueller as a judge, for our first club show, even though the show was not CAC awarded. Soon after, I began my apprenticeship for a Cynology judge, and in January 2011 I acquired a license to judge Rhodesian ridgebacks. My name is Ewa Larsson, Britisher Show Bulldogs we are situated in Canterbury, England. My kennel was established in 1992. My bulldogs live with me inside my house and are raised in a loving environment as one of the family. I believe this approach is reflected in the behaviour of my dogs. Health, a correct temperament and dogs of the highest quality are my goal. Between Spring 2006 and Autum 2015, I was on the Bulldog Club Inc committee. The Bulldog Club Inc is the oldest Bulldog club in the world, and holds the prestigious Bulldog of the Year Show. I am a Bulldog Breed Specialist Judge currently on “ B” list.

I currently own two Rhodesian ridgebacks Cubo and Cana. Cubo, his pedigree name is Myollnir Kyala, is one of the most successful show ridgebacks in Slovenia and has always makes me proud. He is eight years old now and he is calm and mostly a gentleman. Cana (Dikeledi Ayaba) is our female ridgeback, 6 years old; she brings joy to my life with her silly stunts and happy nature. Cana was imported from Croatia, from Ayaba kennel. In my free time I make small products for dog owners, mostly for Rhodesian ridgeback lovers and do different graphic designs for all breeds.

GIOTABOURANTA

I am member of : The Bulldog Club Incorporated, The London Bulldog Society, The South of England Bulldog Society, The Junior Bulldog Club. My affix “ Britisher” is derived from a noun Brit·ish·er which stands for: “An Englishman- a subject or inhabitant of Great Britain”. Since 2001, I work as a graphic and web designer. Please feel free to visit my websites. www.britisher.co.uk || www.designbyewa.co.uk

My name is Giota Bouranta and I live in Athens, Greece. I have studied photography at AKTO, Art and Design college. For more than 12 years I work as a professional Dogs photographer. I cooperate with Kennel Clubs, breeds Clubs, working clubs, breeders, trainers and pet owners. A special part of my photos and my heart belongs to the Dobermann breed. It is a great pleasure and honor for me to photograph as a member of the authorized photographers' team 8 times the IDC Sieger Show (the World Championship of Dobermanns) and 7 times the Italian Dobermann Championship, the prestigious Campionato AIAD. Dogs' photography for me is enthralling, capturing wonderful moments of the relationship between humans and their best friend, highlighting in all its glory the beauty and charm of the dog, reminding its contribution to humanity and how respectfully dogs should be treated.

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Valeriy Gavrilin

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE PRESIDENT / CHAIRMAN

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Name Valeriy Gavrilin Country Russia Affix ot Tavalga Email vag@shepherd.ru

» Please tell us about yourself. My name is Valeriy Gavrilin. I am President of the Russian German Shepherd Club, President of the Russian Applied Dog Sports Federation (RADSF), Vice-President of the Russian League of Cynologists (RLC). Two last organizations are sporting. The scope of their work are the development of two state recognized sport with dogs - Applied Dog Sports and Kennel sport. I am fond of cynology since 1977. I have an Biology Education (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Biology) and my specialization is the Physiology of higher nervous activity.

» Please tell us about your past and present dogs. My first dog was a German shepherd (East-European type) named Uran. With him, we won many competitions on training - just a few championships in Moscow, and he was the prizewinner of the Championship of the USSR. At present, I have more than ten dogs and all of them are German Shepherds.

» Can you tell us about your Club as an organization? RADSF engaged in carrying out of sports competitions with the dogs. In addition, RADSF has been breeding dogs that are suitable for use for applied purposes (sport or canine service in the federal departments).

» Please tell us about your involvement in the Club. As President, I have been involved in

At present there is degeneration of the breed which is associated with the so-called "show breeding."

the formation of RADSF policies, setting priorities for action.

» In your opinion how does the (your breed) differ from other breeds? The German Shepherd is no different from other breeds, which in the USSR belonged to the service group and were breeding with a priority of working qualities. At present there is degeneration of the breed which is associated with the so-called "show breeding." A small part of the population, which are bred to participate in sports competitions ("working breeding"), also has health problems because of reduced blood base, but in the breeding these problems, at least, are taken into account.

» Other than health issues, what are the biggest problems facing your Club right now? The biggest problem is the split among the Russian dog breeders on the grounds of belonging or not belonging

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An interview with the president / chairman

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An interview with the president / chairman

to the FCI. This makes it impossible to participate in the competitions of "enemy" organizations. For that the leaders of Russia FCI members (RKF) expose their breeders up to lifelong disqualification. On the other hand, RKF does not allow of this competitions breeders with "strangers" pedigrees.

» Do you plan to carry on as a judge/exhibitor / breeder? For many years, I was an expert of the German shepherd breed and breeder of this breed. I continue breeding dogs under the kennel, but I think it is ineffective without the formation of service dog breeding in Russia. There should be a single, common breeding base containing reliable information about dogs. It must be built the system of objective testing of working qualities of dogs of service breeds. Only this can enable the planned improved breed those characteristics that are most important.

» What do you do for relaxation, what pastimes do you enjoy? Rest is a change of job. I work as the head of public organizations and I am engaged of a practical training as a trainer and an instructor. I am writing articles on canine and political themes.

The most significant achievement of mine at the moment is published of my book "The destruction of the Soviet heritage: a service dog-breeding." The book analyzed the process of the systematic destruction of the Soviet school of dog breeding. It describes different dog breeding system and principles of formation of an effective national system of service dog.

» Your aim in the world of dogs or wish for the future? I am working on, so that Russia regained its leading position of utilitarian dog breeding.

The most significant achievement of mine at the moment is published of my book "The destruction of the Soviet heritage: a service dog-breeding."

Several times a year I manage to go fishing.

» What is your favourite breed of dog? For a long time, I enjoy German shepherd. It is also interest and respect for me is the Dutch Shepherd.

»

» What do you consider your greatest achievement?

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog By Louis Donald

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Louis Donald SV Foreign List Judge | ANKC Group 5 Judge | GSDCA Breed Surveyor Louis has been involved in German Shepherd Dogs for more than 50 years and has had three primary mentors in his life and each has had a profound effect on him both in the dog sport and at personal development level. The first was Ian Stirton, Australia. Ian bred Louis’ first dog and was an All Breeds Judge. Ian committed himself to many years educating and mentoring Louis not just in regard to the German Shepherd Dog but all breeds of dogs. Ian instilled in Louis the fundamental principles of honesty and integrity and above all things putting the best interests of the breed ahead of himself. The second was Madeleine Pickup, UK. Louis visited Madeleine many times in the UK working in her kennels and travelling extensively with her in England and Europe. Madeleine instilled in Louis the importance of upholding the principle that a dog’s character, temperament and ability to fulfil its intended purpose comes before beauty. Louis met his wife Gail through Madeleine; she was Madeleine’s great niece. The third mentor was Dr Walter Gorrieri, Italy. Louis spent a considerable amount of time with Dr Gorrieri and he was, in Louis’ opinion, the most knowledgeable person on the structure and movement of the German Shepherd Dog that he had ever met and this opinion still stands. Louis started in the breed in 1962 at the age of 15 and by age 17 he was elected to his first official club position as Vice President of the Canberra Non-Sporting and Working Dog Club. At the age of 18, he was the club’s Chief Training Instructor and President at the age of 20. By 1980 his kennel ‘Bratara’ was the top winning German Shepherd Dog kennel in Australia having accounted for 160 Best Exhibit in Show awards. This included multi gold medal wins at Nationals where his kennel won the Breeders Group six times out of six times entered. His kennel had a number of major event Supreme Best Exhibit in Show wins where the entry was in excess of 5000 dogs. One of his German Shepherd Dogs ‘Kurt’ (Horand Prince Huzzar) won 56 Best Exhibit in show awards from 65 outings, this included Best Exhibit In Show at both the Melbourne and Adelaide Royals. Louis became a fully licensed working dog judge in 1974, and in 1978 completed his exams in Germany to become Australia’s first fully licensed SV German Shepherd Dog Judge, and at that time the youngest full list SV judge in the world. Louis is a licensed GSDCA Breed Surveyor. He was elected President of the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia at age 26, a position he held unopposed for approximately 20 years. During this period, he either initiated or was the overseer of virtually all the major breed improvement schemes now in use by the German Shepherd Dog Council throughout Australia and for many years was the senior judge at the Council Main Breed [Sieger] Shows judging the Open Dogs. His overseas appointments have included England where he judged the English National. He has judged in Italy, South Africa, Singapore, India, Philippines and many times in New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Iceland.

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

THE HISTORY OF THE GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG The breed originates from a very diverse assortment of ‘German Sheepdogs’ that were scattered all over Germany in the late 1800’s. These dogs had a wide variety of coats; short and long, shaggy and straight, harsh and soft, wiry and all sorts of coat colours. Even white non albinos, that is white with dark eyes and dark points, indeed at the time this was a popular colour for German Sheepdogs. All dogs are descendants of the wolf and contrary to some minority opinions dogs can be crossed with wolves. Max von Stephanitz wanted to distance the wolf from the German Shepherd Dog as the wolf had some very undesirable characteristics associated with it, but he like many others of that period favoured the look of the wolf in the blueprint for the German Shepherd Dog. The early ‘German Sheepdogs’ were exhibited at All Breeds shows; records show that the first two were exhibited in 1882 in Hanover. One was the very popular wolf grey colour and the other was a non albino white. Von Stephanitz recorded comments on colour; ‘’The foundation colour is that of wolf like, darker mistiness on a yellow background from which all other colours from yellowish or greyish up to uniform black have developed. White is only admissible for herdsmen’s dogs. White in shaggy haired dogs is not only ugly it is a sign of heavy loss of pigment and therefore a falling off of the dogs constitutional hardness, a danger for breeding’’. He did not favour all black ''because of its tendency to draw heat from the sun'' and as

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such he said that all black dogs would be susceptible to sunstroke. A club was formed in 1892 with the objective of utilizing the best of the Sheepdogs to develop a superior German Sheepdog that would be called ‘German Shepherd Dog’. This club was the Phylax Society [guardsman] but it disbanded 2 years later due to infighting mainly associated with its members being split between some wanting to focus on working dog traits and others preferring to focus on developing show dog traits. Nothing has changed in this regard in over 100 years, in fact it has only got worse and the divide even greater! Max von Stephanitz who was a cavalry captain was aware of and inter-


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

ested in the Phylax Society and effectively took over where they left off and in April 1899 he formed the ‘Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde’ acronym SV. He was the first President of the SV and remained so for 39 years. A breed register was established; subject to assessment any German sheepdog could be registered and thereafter called a GSD. In effect, the day before the SV was formed there were ‘German Sheepdogs’ and the day it was formed those same dogs on registration with the SV were called ‘German Shepherd Dogs’. Max von Stephanitz favoured specific regions that they came from, this was gradually tightened and the sheepdogs from Thuringia and Württemberg became the most favoured. There was diversity within the dogs in these regions but In general terms Württemberg dogs were seen as the working dogs, they were large, some very large with big bones and a swift gait, many had non erect ears, a feature not liked by those who preferred the wolf look and show dogs, they had a tendency to curled tails and according to von Stephanitz they did not bubble over with ‘joie de vivre’. The Thuringian dogs were viewed as the show dogs, full of vigour they had the highly prized erect ears, they were wolf grey in colour, wiry and course, they were often small and stocky and according to von Stephanitz highly energetic and often very impudent and even untameable. Max von Stephanitz sought a dog to be the foundation stud dog and breed model for the SV. At a dog show he attended he saw a dog called Hektor Linksrhein. Hektor was a Thuringian

Thuringian Sheepdog

Wurtemburg Sheepdog

dog bred by a Herr Sparwasser, a very successful breeder of German Sheepdogs who bred under the ‘Sparwasser’ affix. Von Stephanitz in his writing said of Herr Sparwasser ‘’he was unfortunately partial to the ‘’fancy dog’’. Whilst it’s of little importance, logic tells me that Hektor’s original name may have been Hektor von Sparwasser; Hektor’s litter brother Luchs carried this affix. Regardless, von Stephanitz renamed

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

probably determined the standards mid-size measurement. Under von Stephanitz he was heavily inbred on including to his daughters to fix his type. His maternal grandfather Grief v Sparwasser was all white and all dark eyed non-albino whites and Swiss White Shepherds are his descendant’s. Hektor had 53 litters for 140 progeny – this was less than 3 per litter and the norm at the time due to distemper. By the early turn of the century dogs of unknown breeding and non albino whites were banned by the SV. There are many published articles that say Von Stephanitz did not ban whites, that he accepted them, that they were banned when the Nazi party forced von Stephanitz to relinquish his position as President and they took control of the SV but this is not true, he did not accept them.

Horand v Grafrath aka Hektor v Linksrhein - drawing by Hart

him Horand von Grafrath after his own kennel ‘von Grafrath’. Horand was recorded in the SV breed register as the first registered German Shepherd Dog. Hektor was already a popular stud dog when von Stephanitz bought him and he had been previously owned by a number of people. According to von Stephanitz he was 63 cm high and this

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The first SV Sieger Show was held in 1899. The 1901 Sieger Hektor v Schwaben was rumoured to be of direct wolf descent via his mother. 1937 – 1955 there was no Sieger title only a group of dogs accorded the grading excellent select - VA designed to take emphasis away from one dog and broaden the blood pool. This was repeated in later years during the Presidency of Dr Rummel but enthusiasts wanted a Sieger, they wanted an outright winner and the change was short lived but it has been reintroduced in 2013. In 1922 Breed Survey was established and by the late 1920’s and to the recorded great pleasure of von Stephanitz the breed had started to show the signs of guided breeding and the early bones of his vision.


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Grief v Sparwasser

Hektor v Schwaben

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Photo of the first SV Breed Survey in 1922.

Over 114 years the breed has changed significantly, no other breed of dog has undergone such a profound change. The German Shepherd Dog has gone from a body structure that basically resembled a level rectangle to one that basically resembles a slightly angled egg.

Klodo von Boxberg 1925 Sieger - represented a milestone in the breeds early development.

'Style' is different to 'type' even though many people refer to 'type' when its really 'style' but in ‘very broad terms’ the main changes in 'type' came with Rolf Osnabruckerland - 1950, Quanto and Canto v d Wienerau and to a lesser degree Mutz v d Pelztierfarm – 1970/1971, Uran v Wildsteigerland and Zamb v d Wienerau – 1984, and probably more significantly with Jeck v Noricum - 1993, Bax v Luisenstrasse 2003, and Zamp v Thermodos – 2006. Size has always been an issue but more so in recent years and for the SV with its best intent and endeavours

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Rolf v Osnabrucker Land

Quanto v d Wienerau

Canto v d Wienerau

Mutz Pelztierfarm

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Uran v Wildsteigerland

Zamb v d Wienerau

Jeck v Noricum

Bax v Luisenstrasse

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Zamp v Thermidos

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

over size remains an eluding challenge, however this is being addressed by the SV currently and that effort will be realised one way or another in 2020. Even in the days of von Stephanitz over size was a problem, but contrary to what one may read in critiques or in breed survey reports size increased significantly in genetic frequency terms around the early 80's as a result of the influence of the oversized bitch Palme v Wildsteigerland who was Uran’s mother. Zamp is a descendant of Palme through Jeck v Noricum who was line bred on Palme 3.3. Jeck via his mothers line increased the frequency of what is now a predominance of dogs with a downward bend/curve to the lumbar spine. This downward bend to the lumbar spine and the elevated back in the anticlinal region that diminishes the withers definition can be traced back to a late 1970’s dog Jupp v d Haller Farm and his son Dax v d Wienerau. Net result today compared to say 30 to 40 years ago; much higher and increasing percentage of large dogs with the breeds 'true average' probably getting close to 65cm for males and 60cm for females, a higher percentage of elongated dogs 8.5:10, a predominance of rich red and gold colour with black masks and far less black and tans and even less wolf greys, a much higher proportion of dogs with deep to excessively deep hind angulation not always but usually associated with an overlong tibia and loose metatarsus [nearly always referred to as the hocks], a predominance of an elevated back in the anticlinal region, a downward bend to the lumbar spine that gives a lower hip and knee position, more slope to

Palme v Wildsteigerland

Jupp v d Haller Farm

the topline that has been created by the bend to the lumbar spine ‘and or’ over-angulation, because or the elevated back position there are less high sloping defined withers, a significantly higher percentage of foreleg length, most now at 50/50, a higher percentage of dogs with a better length and lay of the upper arm, stronger bone, longer but because of the bend to the lumbar spine, steeper croups, longer to excessively long tails, more dogs with weak carpus [wrists] a growing

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

number of large and or soft ears, more dogs with close stepping unstable hocks in stance exacerbated in movement, stronger backs, more substantial dogs and particularly bitches. I have to be honest and say I tried as hard as I could to show more positives than negatives but sadly and with sincere dismay I found it impossible to do so because that is the way it is, at least as I see it. THE BREED’S PURPOSE

The breed was created to be a superior sheep herding, sheep tending, sheep and herdsman protecting working dog inclined to high achievements and by that definition its critical requirements in order of priority for me are: • A general appearance that complies with the standard i.e it looks like a GSD. • Fertility, ability to reproduce, 2 fully developed testicles in males. • Good health. • Sound hips and elbows.

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• Firm nerves, self-assured, intelligent, good natured, outgoing, attentive, good watchfulness, willing to please, good protective instincts, good combative instincts, good drive instincts, strong constitution, not overly friendly but not • overly aloof and definitely not aggressive or nervous. • Complete dentition - A full and sound mouth. • Good colour – no whites including non albino black point dark eyed whites which are now a separate breed called White Swiss Shepherd Dog. • Size within the standard range give or take 1 cm. • Effective undercoat. • The demonstrated ability to be a fit, strong and effective trotting and endurance dog. • Some people may put all these things in a different order and if they do my only comment is that they should consider the contents of the written standard for stock coats and long stock coats in so far as its determination of disqualifying faults, for example placing correct size ahead of effective trotting ability. GENERAL APPEARANCE Ref: Current SV Breed Standard No. 166 – 23.12.2010/EN The change in the general appearance of the GSD since its inception is discussed and demonstrated in drawings and great detail in my 2011 paper ‘A


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Discussion Paper on the Structure of the German Shepherd Dog’ and the articles on ‘withers and back’. See web site; www.louisdonald.com

sition and created a slope to the topline and finally, far less defined withers that were created by a rise in the back at the anticlinal region of the spine. In early 2000 came excessive hind angulation, specifically an overlong tibia. This increased [inclined] the angle of the pelvis [the rule of 27 degrees off a horizontal plane no longer applies even though it is always quoted] exacerbated the slope to the topline, created loose close stepping 'hocks'. This also coincided with overlong tails that on the whole contravene the standard but rarely if ever rate a mention by judges.

VA dog late 1960's

VA dog 2014

In a macro sense the most significant changes in terms of increased genetic frequency took place around the late 80's early 90’s and this relates to oversize, the downward bend to the lumbar spine that lowered the hip and knee po-

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• The standard calls for a medium size, slightly elongated, powerful and well-muscled dog with dry bone and firm overall structure. Dry bone is dense and oval not round and spongy. A comment regarding muscles. Sex differentiation comes not just from a masculine or feminine head but from robustness, from mass particularly from muscle mass and muscle development. A male should possess greater muscle mass and greater muscle development than a female.

COAT In layman’s terms there are 2 types of coat – normal coat and long coat. In breed specific terms normal coat hair is called ‘Stock Coat’ and long coat hair is called ‘Long Stock Coat’

• Proportions - slightly elongated; 10% to 17% longer than high used to be 8.5 or 9 to 10. It’s the same although for some odd reason 17% seems longer than 8.5 to 10! • Medium size – 55cm to 60cm and 60cm to 65cm ‘some latitude being plus or minus 1cm’. Not with standing the current SV moratorium on size over 1cm is an ‘eliminating fault’, in other words a dog of 66 + cm as per the standard should not be given an excellent grading or Class I. We too often down play the problem of oversize, it has become a bit of an in joke, a wink wink issue, we play games with size and I have no doubt those games and the ''we will fix it rhetoric'' will continue well into the future as people say they want oversized dogs penalised as long as it is not their dog! Stock Coat

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

The variability in the hair length in long stock coats is considerable and it will be interesting to see a long coated dog penalised because its long coat [not lack of undercoat which in truth is uncommon] does not comply with the written standards specific requirements for long coat, e.g. too short or too profuse.

Long Stock Coat

Normal coat is dense, straight, harsh and has close lying hair whereas long coats have long, soft, not close fitting hair with feathering on the ears and legs, bushy breeches and a bushy tail. ‘Soft hair’ is the key word.

Von Stephanitz considered long stock coat to be an impediment to an optimum performance sheep herding, sheep tending dog and as such he considered them to be ‘less desirable for breeding’. Many people are unaware that long coats could be surveyed and shown in Germany until the late 60’s. They could only get a class II or ‘good’ grading at a show but after this ‘date’ they were banned from breeding. I communicated with Herr Lux regarding this to get a more accurate banned date but there appears to be no clear record of it!

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In 2010 the SV amid great controversy and to the outside world obscure reasoning, allowed dogs with ‘long stock coat with undercoat’ to be breed surveyed and shown as a parallel to normal coats, but in breeding terms kept at arm’s length and this is extended to other countries including prohibiting interbreeding of SC to LSC, a rule that for me outside Germany 'impedes greatly' the LSC's future development. Too often countries with the very best of intentions adopt rules of the SV that are great for Germany and the SV but are not appropriate to their countries current limited standard and or environment, sometimes this can lead to 'throwing out the baby with the bathwater' and that can be not in the best interests of the breeds well being or its development. A crawl before you walk situation. Why did the SV bring long stock coats back? It’s hard to get a clear answer and as such one could speculate on a range of things including the increase in their popularity, broader utilitarianism and pressure from working dog enthusiasts but my understanding is that its appeal related to pressure from the working dog fraternity and most importantly to bolster flagging club membership. A market was seen that was untapped. My thoughts on long coats? I would rather they were left as was or incorporated into the breed with the highest grading of ‘very good’ and ‘Class II’. Why? Long coats are not conducive to a dog working sheep in an open paddock in what is often adverse wet weather and as such there should be a significant penalty imposed for dogs

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possessing long hair. The long hair is fine for many other activities but everything that relates to assessment of a breed of dog has to anchor itself to its original reason for being otherwise the breed will lose its way and as has happened to many breeds they morph into something else, usually a ‘show dog’. The example established by other Sheepdog breeds in their development such as the Border Collie has in my opinion got more logical and practical merit and even though I know making this comment is a complete waste of time I recommend that GSD enthusiasts read up on the history of the Border Collie in order to appreciate my comment – it’s parallels to the GSD are quite extraordinary. There is a great focus and confusion in regard to undercoat on long stock coats. This will rapidly pass once people start to notice it is as rare to find a long coat devoid of undercoat as it is to find a normal stock coat devoid of undercoat and start to notice too that judges don’t check for undercoat in SC or LSC! Another issue is that too often judges assess LSH animals at a more generous level than SC, like a less attractive or poor cousin that needs some encouragement, even some charity and whilst not being nearly in the same anatomical league as its SC cousin is told that it is, and this is demonstrated by receiving a classification or an award that its SC cousin would not receive. The truth is the LSC cousin does not want nor need the charity and the LSC breed doesn't need it either because


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

it is delusional and only establishes misinformation and sets up conflict and disharmony between LSC and SC owners and exhibitors. What they need now that the rules have been changed is to be now taken seriously and offered serious guidance and direction otherwise they will flounder.

us, in conjunction with a couple of other features Walter created a ‘Wienerau brand’ and that brand now seen in a far more exaggerated form remains in a prominent place to this very day and in many ways this has seen the demise of moderation and colour variety and particularly the colour wolf grey.

Notwithstanding what I have said and just for the record, do I like long coats? In my mind you are asking me do I like German Shepherd Dogs and of course the answer is yes I do like them providing the coat hair is not too long, not too profuse, but as I said, in my opinion things should have been left as they were because now the ridiculous, contradictory situation exists where in countries ‘outside Germany’ a long stock coat can beat an excellent graded stock coat. In Germany at SV conformation shows a long stock coat can not compete against never mind beat a stock coat because regardless of the rhetoric the long stock coat is considered to be inferior coat, in truth it is still seen by SV show judges as a significant fault. An SV judge may well put a long stock coat over a stock coat at a show outside Germany but putting aside the fact that at SV shows they can't because they don't compete against each other in Germany they would 'never contemplate' doing so. Does that make sense? COLOUR The ‘in colour’ thanks to Walter and Herman Martin is rich black and gold red with a black mask. In effect and to Walters credit and his marketing geni-

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Colours nominated in the standard are black and reddish brown; brown and yellow to light grey markings, black, and grey with darker shadings. White, non albino, dark eye or not is a disqualifying fault. Max von Stephanitz favoured wolf grey sable; he did not like the colour all black and gave no support at all for the inclusion of whites. Wolf grey cannot produce colour paling as black and red will and this is why wolf grey was favoured in regard to colour. Non albino white was a popular colour for German Sheepdogs pre SV and many enthusiasts argue that von Stephanitz got it wrong in the way he viewed and dealt with dark eyed whites. Regardless, his opinion led to them being banned from breeding and not surprisingly given white dogs always had a following this led to the establishment of an FCI recognised ‘Swiss White’.

Colour paling.

I am often asked about white spots on the chest and or toes. The standard states; ‘whiteish markings on the chest indicate paling pigment’. This suggests the dog should be noted as having indications of paling pigment but this never happens and as such it is seen as an interesting marking only. White spotting, not always but often associated with white feet markings has no genetic connection to pure whites, to albinism, it is a specific colour allele. Whichever white spot/s a dog has, this spotting will always follow the same 'rules of spread'. White starts on the most extreme edges of the dog. Most commonly the toes and the prosternum, less commonly, the tail tip and even less commonly the foreface.

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Black & White - the white in this photo is an albino.

The signs of paling pigmentation are; lack of mask, pale nails, usually light coloured eyes, orange hair encroaching on or replacing the black and brown hair, light almost white colour on the inside of the rear legs, and the one that’s a no brainer is a red tip to the end of the tail as opposed to a black tip.


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

WEIGHT Dogs 30kg to 40 kg Bitches 22kg to 32 kg SIZE Dogs 60cm to 65cm + or – 1cm Bitches 55cm to 60cm + or – 1cm. Unfortunately for the breed and the integrity of many judges and breed surveyors, too often the approach to measuring tends to be one where if the dog is an average to poor specimen it’s penalised for being oversize along with much public chest beating by the judge but if it’s a lovely dog the measurement is falsely stated as being within size to allow the dog to attain a high place and grading. Measuring a dog is not an exact science because the dog is not a fixed object but experience, a flat surface, observation and intelligence allows you to determine an accurate measurement especially in regard to the minimum height of a dog. What you then decide to record the dogs height at is another matter all together isn't it? My opinion - have some sense of idealism, respect the very basic principle that people who are of good character, who value their integrity, do not lie. If you lie about a dog’s height simply because it is an otherwise beautiful dog you are pandering to your ego, very often succumbing to peer pressure and thereby showing a lack of self-confidence and above all things placing these things above the best interests of the breed. We have all heard the justification for oversized dogs especially from the owners or the dogs breeder or some-

Determining height and the height to length ratio. + sign marks the dogs centre of gravity. Note that the height is taken at the point that is struck when the stick is placed vertically directly behind the vertical fore leg. The highest point of the scapula is not the point for determining the dogs height. Generally this point will be below the highest point of the shoulder blade.

one who also owns an oversized dog but my advice is to record the dog’s correct size and then deal with it in an appropriate manner. People looking for a stud dog, especially a novice can then make breeding decisions based on fact not fiction and within sensible limits there will be bitches that are suitable for an oversized dog an dthat can contribute toward bringing size down. This is an historic issue signified by great rhetoric and chest beating that produces no results other than more chest beating. Not all, but most oversized dogs tend toward being a bit coarse and tend to have course heads, loose jowls, loose skin and lips that are not tight and that includes the top lips. The primary prob-

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

lem though is that the additional mass and weight is not conducive to a trotting endurance dog. An exaggerated example, but picture in your mind’s eye a Great Dane effortlessly gliding over the ground demonstrating a far reaching gravity defying gait and doing it for 3 to 4 hours! HEAD

A beautiful male head, not the broadest skull but a lovely head nonetheless.

• Expressive, alert, noble, a look of keen innate intelligence, dry – meaning not lippy and jowly, well coloured and well pigmented with dark almond shaped eyes • The head must be in proportion to the dog, the bigger the dog the bigger the head should be.

• Lower jaw should be strong. • Stating the obvious but a dog must look like a dog and a bitch must look like a bitch. Too often bitches with a narrow head and fine fore face are critiqued as being 'feminine'

• The head should be wedge shaped looking down on it.

• Top of the skull should be ‘slightly arched’ when viewed from the side as well as the front.

• Proportions are 50/50/50 – skull width/skull length/muzzle length.

• Slightly is the word here – no hint of a dome.

• Dry – as in not lippy/jowly – as stated earlier this can be a problem with very large dogs.

• No furrow ideally, a little bit is OK. Close set ears create a furrow, like someone frowning.

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

A beautiful female head with the desired expression

Weak narrow refined fore face

• Planes of the top of the skull and muzzle should be parallel when viewed from the side. If this is not the case this creates a dish-faced appearance. I have noticed more and more dogs in Germany that have this and then surprisingly I noted that this has been removed from the latest standard?! • The stop must be clearly evident, gradually sloping but not sharply defined. • Top of the nose should be straight; a Roman nose is not desirable.

Correct male and female head ratio

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• Lips dark and taut. • Nose black.

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• There are a lot of dogs where the head is too refined but at the same time with increased size there is a growing tendency to heads that are course and not 'dry' as the standard requires them to be and this lack of dryness is seen in the skin of the head but it is more obvious in the loose jowly lips. For many people it is more evident in the lower jaws lips because the excess flesh to the lower lips is easier to see than the upper jaws lips as seen below.

Tight lips but diverging planes of the skull and foreface, slightly domed skull and sl.long sl. weak foreface

Too lippy - see upper lips not just lower lips but correct parallel planes and balanced proportions of skull and foreface length.

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Stop too defined and sl. short foreface


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Whilst often disregarded or simply not known, the scissor bite ‘applies to the side of the mouth not just the incisors’. • Large spaces between the teeth are a fault. Sometimes I have seen a gap, a misalignment where a double P1 has been removed! • A straight dental ridge of the incisors is a fault • Missing teeth are a fault – 1 PM + one other tooth / 1 canine / 1 PM or Molar 2 or 3 teeth • Double P1 is not desirable, it is not a fault here in Australia but it is in Germany where they don’t seem to have them! Lippy, not dry head, Roman nose.

TEETH 42 teeth - upper 20 lower 22.

Teeth must be healthy and strong and dare I say clean as in white. Scissor bite - 2mm + gap over or under is an ‘eliminating fault', this means no grading.

• Level bite is an eliminating fault – no grading. There are degrees of this though. A test is to flick your nail against the face of the teeth and if there is a defined click of the nail it is noted but acceptable. A 'small degree' of level bite will allow class II classification only.

Scissor Bite

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Overshot

• Overshot and undershot bite is an eliminating fault – undershot; when the lower jaw is longer than upper jaw - is rarely seen.

Wry bite

• I often see the lower incisors 1+1 have ‘dropped’ in dogs with refined bone and subsequently a narrow head. This is caused by the incisors being ‘squeezed’ together and forced forward and downward. This is not penalised in Germany. • Penalisation for missing teeth is very severe, in my opinion it is too severe on 'minor teeth' when you apply its impediment to the dog in its working environment and when you compare it to other disqualifying faults and how they are dealt with such as oversize.

• It is very rare to get missing canines or incisors • Wry bite is an eliminating fault – this can be seen with the mouth closed by looking down on the dog’s muzzle which will show a slight bend.

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• Dropped lower incisors 1+1 not desirable but not a fault. • It is not mentioned in the standard but underdeveloped teeth should be as this is a problem not really recognised. • I have seen situations where I believe a dog had a double P1


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

and the P2 has been mistakenly pulled out leaving two P1’s or visually an underdeveloped P2 followed by a gap!

Correct, slightly slanting, dark almond shaped eyes

Light eyes

EYES

Round, slightly protruding eyes

• Medium size • Almond shaped • Slightly slanting • Not protruding • As dark as possible – past references to 'matching the surrounding coat' no longer applies • Light eyes are not desirable – this is an aesthetic issue, as with round eyes they spoil the expression, light eyes are noted in the standard as being an indicator of paling pigment!

EARS • Medium size • Carried erect • Pointed • Facing forward • Semi erect ears, low set ears, inward tipped ears and infirm ears are a ‘serious fault’ such dogs are dropped a grading

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• Ears should be in proportion to the size of the dog, a growing

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

trend is for ears getting too large, a little thin in their leather and they move around during gaiting and sometimes we see ears that have a roll backed tip

Large open inward tilted ears

Correct ears

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Large ears


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Soft ears with roll back tip

NECK • Strong • Well-muscled • Carried at about 45 degrees in stance and lower – about 15 degrees in gaiting • Good length - about the same length as the radius - elbow to wrist. • Not short • Dogs with a short neck tend to lower their head in movement a bit too much, this is because

the centre of gravity is moved forward as the neck and head is lowered and this assists forward locomotion, it increases speed. The 8th - 9th rib space and two thirds up the trunk is about the centre of gravity in a dog and in a dog with a short stuffy neck its behind this point. Just as we do if we start to run, dogs lower their head to facilitate forward movement and to increase speed just like jockeys sit forward in the saddle lowering the horses neck to increase speed. A person initiates forward movement when they are running by pushing/leaning their head forward for the same reason, it moves the centre of gravity forward, this creates a falling effect and increases speed - you see this with runners at the end of a race as they get to the finishing line. • If a dog carries its neck and head too high in movement, the centre of gravity is pushed toward the rear in degrees relative to neck length, this reduces speed and to attain speed and or keep up with other dogs because the neck can't be lowered the fore steps become rapid and if the hindquarter is powerful in its drive the forefeet are lifted too high. Ideally in a trotting dog the fore feet should not rise above the ground any higher than the height of the dogs carpus/wrist when its standing.

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Long withers, well laid shoulder blade and correct length and strength of neck

Short withers, slightly steep shoulder blade and short neck

WITHERS The withers are the section that goes from the base of neck, from the last cervical vertebrae, to the start of the back, this incorporates the first 5 or 6 of the 13 thoracic vertebrae spires. The variability is created by the angle of

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the shoulder blade i.e the steeper the shoulder blade the less the vertebrae spires contained within the withers and the shorter the neck and this is the case in the above photo on the right. In stance the withers should be high, long and slightly sloping into a straight back and note that I have said slightly sloping into a straight back 'not into a level back'. If the back is too elevated at the anticlinal region or if its curved the withers definition will, relative to the extent of the increased height or the curve disappear, they are no longer high.

High long sloping withers

• In the trotting dog the outline of the high, long, sloping withers are primarily formed by the uppermost top edge of the scapula not by the thoracic vertebrae or more precisely the muscles on top of the dorsal spires of the thoracic


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Level withers and curved lumbar spine

Short level withers, straight back and downward bend to a 'straight lumbar spine'. As covered earlier when you have a bend to the lumbar spine but the lumbar spine is 'straight' as opposed to 'slightly curved' there will be a slight 'peak' at the transition point of the back to the loin/lumbar region and the croup will not be as well moulded i.e the tail set can't be as smoothly integrated into the croup.

vertebrae. When the definition of the withers disappears, creating level or low withers, it is because the tops of the dorsal spires of the thoracic vertebrae, in effect the back, has risen too high at the anticlinal region. • When you feel in between the top of the shoulder blades what you are feeling is the top of the rhomboideus muscle that is attached to the top of the thoracic spires. • If you feel this area and the muscle that you are touching is above

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Correct withers

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

the top of the uppermost leading edge of the scapula you have a dog that will often be either somewhat heavy of foot in the fore hand when gaiting and dependant on the relative height of his back to the withers, to varying degrees even falling on the forehand. • If you feel this place and what you feel is by any amount below the uppermost leading edge of the top of the scapula and the dog does not have a decidedly obvious curve to its back or have an arched loin it will not fall on the forehand because it has effective withers. • There is a very clear and 'not necessarily related' difference between withers that are level [in relation to the back] or low [in relation to the back] and withers that are optimally constructed [for a trotting dog]. Understanding the latter especially in relation to a trotting dog, a German Shepherd Dog, is important to understanding the withers function and its effectiveness or otherwise. • In this diagram you can see that when the wither height is taken, because the measuring stick is placed against the back of the foreleg the top of the measuring device is not placed at the top of the shoulder blade and the highest thoracic spires but lower than it. FUNCTION OF THE WITHERS There are three primary muscles in the withers. The withers function is to

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move and direct the shoulder blades and to provide an attachment for the muscles of the shoulder and neck. The largest muscle in this area is the serratus ventralis and over the top of the vertebrae and the top of the scapula is the rhomboideus muscle and over this is the trapezius muscle. • The trapezius muscle attaches from the 3rd cervical vertebrae C3 to the 9th thoracic vertebrae - T9 along the dorsal spires and laterally to the spine of the scapula. Its action is to elevate the fore limb and draw it forward. • The rhomboideus muscle is attached to the dorsal spires of the thoracic vertebrae T4 to T7 and across to the top of the shoulder blade edge/rim. This muscle is very tightly bound to the latissimus dorsai muscle. Its action is to elevate the limb, pull the limb and the shoulder forward or backward and to draw the scapula against the rib cage/trunk thereby keeping the top of the shoulder blades stable during the dog’s mobility stages. • The serratus ventralis muscle covers the lower part of the neck and the forward section of the thoracic wall. It is very strong, fan shaped and arises from the medial side of the scapula and attaches to the lateral chest. The function of this muscle is to support the trunk, carry the trunk forward and backward, assist in allowing the shoulder blades to rotate, to oscillate and to rise and fall during movement and to carry the


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

shoulder forward and backward with respect to the limbs. • As the dorsal spires thoracic vertebrae get lower in relation to the top of the scapula the top of the shoulder blades get higher in relation to the top of the dorsal spires and consequently they get closer together at their leading edge, the muscle spans a lesser distance and via this attachment gives firmer withers in movement. • The serratus ventralis is a huge fan shaped muscle connected to 9 ribs and extends to the lower neck and is attached to the whole of the internal face of the scapula.

• The serratus ventralis is referred to by clinicians as the anti-gravity muscle and as a sling muscle and this is important in understanding the withers function and in part understanding why dogs fall on the forehand. This muscle is what stops gravity pushing the trunk, neck and head of the dog toward the ground when it runs. • The serratus ventralis muscle connects and supports the dog’s thorax, its trunk, whilst the dog is standing and gaiting. If you cut this muscle the whole dog’s trunk/ spine/neck/head would fall to the ground. All that would be left standing would be a pair of the

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forelegs, upper arms and shoulder blades. If you don’t understand this you will not understand how the withers function. • Energy being generated from the muscles in the hindquarters is transmitted forward into a specific area within the serratus ventralis muscle; this is referred to as the forward pivot point. There are two pivot points. The rear pivot point, which is the sacroiliac joint and the forward pivot point, which is where the serratus ventralis muscle is anchored to the scapula.

above the top of the scapula the space between the shoulder blades is excessively widened and consequently contrary to what one often reads, the flexible but still firm attachment is diminished and subject to the relative firmness of the rhomboideus muscle and impacted by the relative height of the back the shoulder blades will slide excessively up and down against the rib cage and the down slide impacted by the weight of gravity will manifest itself in the dog being heavy in its fore steps or falling on the forehand.

• From this pivot point energy is transferred through the serratus muscle assisting shoulder blade rotation and on down into the forehand and forelimbs creating forward motion. The forward motion is a reaction to a forward shift of the dogs centre of gravity and a need by the forehand to 'capture' that forward shift.' • These two muscles keep the shoulder blades attached but apart and whilst allowing necessary rotation and flex keep them steady during movement. As an aside, if the shoulder blades were not kept apart the dog would not be able to put its nose to the ground nor eat or drink. My observation is that a 25mm gap is ideal. A too wide a gap is called ‘loaded shoulders’. • If the dorsal spires of the thoracic vertebrae [and overlaying approx.12mm of muscle] are

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Thoracic spires too high


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

When I talk about the dog’s withers, inevitably someone asks about the horse’s withers and as it is with most questions people put to me, a short answer is wanted but there is no short answer. This question generally comes about because the terminology that is applied to the various parts of the dog is in most instances taken from horse terminology and in that process many people assume the functions must be the same or similar however in a number of areas they are not remotely the same. For a detailed explanation of this see my 'article on withers'. We will now move to the back and how the back impacts directly on wither height.

The back as defined in the FCI/SV standard and seen in skeletal form below

BACK Some people include a section in the topline called the loin as depicted above. This is very common in other breeds and is included in a number of breed standards. I agree with seeing the thoracic and lumbar sections of the spine separately however the problem with using the term 'loin' to describe the lumbar section of the topline is this; the 'true loin' starts at the outer edge of the false rib in line with about the 2nd/3rd lumbar vertebrae and ends in a vertical line that strikes the start of the pelvis not the iliac crest and for this reason I believe the term 'lumbar back' which includes all 7 lumbar vertebrae [and the pelvis/sacral shortfall] would be far more appropriate than the term 'loin'. Whichever preference you have the most important thing is to understand how the dogs spine is constructed and

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functions and to be aware that as the breed has developed these two fundamentally different sections of 'the back' particularly the lumbar section have changed profoundly. In the breeds early development it really wasn't that important to see the two sections separately but it is now because the lumbar section of the spine in show dogs generally has a slight downward bend from the thoracic spine and slight spinal curve over it. This is skeletally different to the curve over the full back withers to croup that existed many years ago.

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My preference - true back and lumbar back

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

The back itself should be ‘moderately long’ which should derive from good length in the rib cage. It must be firm, straight, strong and well-muscled. In the latest SV standard of 23/12/2010 the term slope is not a word that is used to directly describe the back but it is clearly inferred and historically understood – it states; ‘the topline runs from the base of the neck via the high long withers and via the straight back towards the slightly sloping croup without visible interruption’. This implies that the back is to be a continuous straight line basically following the same sloping line as the withers. The change in the definition of the withers and the back was made with the SV amendment to the SV standard of 30/8/76. In this earlier standard it stated ‘the withers must be long and high enough well indicated against the back into which it must gently flow without disrupting the backline slightly sloping from the front to the rear’. To that date the withers had to be well defined against the back, not joining into the back at an angle as occurs with a weak back but gently and smoothly flowing into the back which itself should slightly slope from front to rear. The more recent amendments have diluted the requirement for the back to be ‘well defined against the withers’. For those struggling to come to grips with the current standard and the breed’s developmental topline trend this is important to understand. Notwithstanding most show dogs have a downward bend and slight curve to the lumbar spine, to 'the back', as per the written standard the only correct back is one that is 'straight'.

Straight back and straight lumbar spine

Slightly curved back, downward bend and curve to the lumbar spine

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Max von Stephanitz said the back, as in withers to croup should be straight and level. The preference by some people for a level back comes from this statement. Under or moderate hind angulation ‘and a straight lumbar spine’ will give a level back, and this is because the patella is at a higher point from the ground thereby raising the height of the lumbar spine. Straight back and bend to a straight lumbar spine

Straight level back, high hip position, level withers and straight level lumbar spine. Curved back and bend to the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is straight and this creates the 'peak'.

Having said that, when the latissimus dorsi muscle that is laid over the spine in the anticlinal region is well developed as with any well developed muscle it will create a ‘very slight’ elongated rise to the back and I don't mean a curve to the spine and I don't mean a 'peak' in the spine [seen in the two photos above one another on the right below] The emphasis is on ‘very slight’.

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Straight level back generally viewed today within the breeds show fraternity as being characteristics of the ‘German Shepherd Working Dog’ and viewed as desirable by the working dog fraternity, Alsatianist's and people who prefer dogs from the 60's. Where the spires of the vertebrae change direction in the spines anticlinal region you can sometimes see a nick in the back at that point. This is not a significant weakness in the back it is underdeveloped muscle and it has little impact on the dog’s movement.


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

The anticlinal vertebrae

The back should be defined against the withers. As I covered earlier, this description has been amended in the standard over the years. This is repetitive but it needs reinforcement. Whether one likes it or not and many people don’t, the latest standard dilutes the requirement for the withers to be well defined against the back as seen in the 1960’s and 1970’s dogs.

German Sieger 1959/1960 Volker von Zollgrenzschutz Haus.

The current standard implies that ‘visually’ the back is an extension of the withers, seen as a continuous sloping line flowing into or if you like flowing from the withers and the effect of this can be seen readily in many of today’s dogs where it is much harder to see where the withers finish and the back starts and no more so than in dogs with a curve to the back.

High long sloping withers with a straight slightly sloping back and straight lumbar spine.

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This very subtle amendment to the standard is very significant to the debate and varying opinions regarding the back/topline; how it once was and how it is now. Visually this relatively very small amendment to the standard when added to the bending of the lumbar spine has had a profound developmental impact on the German Shepherd Dogs topline. The only issue that I wish to discuss here is the rising upward and sometimes in association with this is a small curvature to the back. I have already stated that anything other than straight is correct and I have defined and demonstrated in photo a ‘straight’ back. It’s what causes the rising of the back, occasionally ascending to a slight curve and the acceptable degree of that rise and curve that’s important to discuss. In other words, at what point does this impede the dog’s ability to function effectively? The thoracic vertebrae and their attached spires rising at the anticlinal region create the higher elevation of the back. It is not the attached spires increasing in length, it’s an upward rising and sometimes a slight curve of the whole thoracic spine and contrary to what some people have suggested, it is not has no relationship whatsoever to the short underchest or if you like, the apparent upward curve of the underline. This rising of the thoracic spine at the anticlinal region has little impact on movement until it rises to a position where the highest point of the back is higher than the highest point of the withers. The withers then turn from functioning at an optimum level to incurring an impediment to movement and the effects of this are relatively complex but relate to an increase in load on the

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forehand and this is seen as the forehand not being as free and outreaching. With the bend to the lumbar spine, generally seen by people as part of the back, the croup angle becomes steeper and this has some negative effects such as more but unwanted upward thrust which is at the cost of forward thrust and endurance. In other words the perfect balance between upward and forward thrust is lost when the pelvis becomes too steep and the ground cover relative to the degree of incline is compromised. The desired angle of the croup is 23 degrees – this is based off the horizontal plain and I suggest when people make an assessment of the croups angle they consider the lumbar spines angle in that equation. The peak in the back? This is created by a downward bend to the lumbar spine creating a change in direction at its connection to the thoracic spine. As can be seen in the earlier photos, if the lumbar spine is in a relatively straight level line with the back you wont see it, if the lumbar spine has a downward bend and the spine is straight the peak is very evident, if the lumbar spine is slightly curved or even curved the peak will not be there. Ironical, interesting if not perplexing too that 'in visual terms' a curved spine is better than a straight one? That's one for you to ponder on! Final point – the full length of the spine needs to be straight when looking down at it from above otherwise as with a lumbar spine [loin] that’s too short this creates crabbing. For a much more detailed article on the back and its evolution see my article ''The Back of the GSD''


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Very good length of croup = wide thigh

Left: Straight spine. Right: curved spine - crabbing.

CROUP The croup which is primarily formed by the pelvis starting at the iliac crest, the pin bones, includes the tail vertebrae, dermis, skin, muscle etc. ''For greater detail see my article ''The Croup of the GSD'' should be long and slightly sloping at about 23 degrees [equates to approximately 27 degrees to the horizontal plain through the pelvis] The predominance of a bend to the lumbar spine has increased the angle of the pelvis and therefore the ''23 ideal degree angle to the horizontal'' on many show dogs. The longer the croup/pelvis the wider the thigh as can be seen in the photo. This is because the pelvis length de-

termines the muscles width - see diagrams below. The back should merge into the croup and the tail without interruption. This may be confusing in the terms used but a small interruption to the tail set can be seen when the lumbar spine curves downwards from the back and instead of having a slight curve over its entirety it is dead straight. It sounds contradictory; a straight spine has to be better than a curved spine any day of the week, right?, but when the lumbar spine in the loin region curves downwards from the end of the back ''as most GSD's now do'' it gives a smoother more rounded finish not just at the back/loin transition point but at the tail set when the lumbar part of the loin has a slight curve to it rather than being dead straight. This can be seen in the earlier photos under the back and loin section.

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Besides being the conduit that trans-

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fers the energy being generated in the hindquarter to the forehand through the spine the function of the croup is to bear the weight of the hindquarter and its angle is critical to this. The pelvis is subjected to 2.7 times the dog’s body weight during movement and over angulation diminishes the dog’s ability to withstand that weight during movement. This manifests itself in side gait which most people do not see but it is very apparent when looking at the hocks from behind both in stance and gait.

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A long well laid pelvis

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A slightly short but well laid pelvis


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

TAIL The standard requires the tail to reach at least to the hock ‘but not beyond the middle of the hock’ and hang in a gentle curve. Sorry, what did you just say? It should not extend past the middle of the hock!? Need to change that in the next amendment to the breed standard, then again maybe not! The tail should not be raised above the horizontal during movement. The standard states that sideway casts are not desirable for aesthetic reasons nor are hooks in the tail and both tend to come with tails that are too long! A slightly short but steep pelvis

Tail length is something that has not been brought to account and as a result tails are now totally out of control, that is, they are getting too long, but I have yet to read a single judges critique making such a comment on a dog. It is stated in the standard ''the tail should not extend past the middle of the hock'' but it is not listed as a fault so there is no penalty for a tail that runs along the ground. In Germany it is a significant yet seemingly unconcerning problem that even in extreme cases never rates a comment. Operations on the tails are forbidden but they happen – don’t they?! High set tails are not desirable however it is purely an aesthetic issue and for the inexperienced it can disguise a steep croup.

An overlay showing changes to the muscle mass to the thighs relative to the three sketches of the pelvis. The broadest muscle mass is in white = long well angled pelvis.

The tail is a measure of the dog’s soul, he communicates with it and perhaps it is useful for balancing in movement especially turning at speed but this is a point of conjecture and debate. There are some studies that suggest puppies

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with long tails stand before those with short tails.

Excessively long tail [and the metatarsus? Besides being curved are the result of an overlong tibia, the result of overangulation]

Quite modest high set tail

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FOREHAND Scapula/shoulder blades contribute to forward propulsion, assist the front legs to lift and swing and help absorb shock. Tradition has it that they should be set at approximately 45 degrees to the horizontal as seen in my diagram however there is argument for 55 degrees, which I support. The ridge that runs longitudinally through the scapula gives it reinforcement. The scapula is only attached to the trunk by muscles and tendons and it oscillates back and forth as it directs energy to the upper arm and on to the forelegs. The angle of the shoulder blade determines the angle of the foreleg at its [natural] fully extended forward reach. A steep scapula and forward placed scapula create a high neck carriage. The way in which people assess the angle of the shoulder blade and the upperarm too is often wrong and the diagram explains the correct way to do it. The upper arm effectively transfers the

Ideal shoulder and upperarm length and angle


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

energy, the forward shift in the dogs centre of gravity to the foreleg in its back and forth pendulum swing phases and is pulled forward by a long muscle attached to the base of the skull and rearward by two muscles attached to the rib cage. It does not extend past the vertical in its forward swing phase. Ideally it should be set at about 53 degrees off horizontal and be 10% longer than the scapula. The vertical line you see here shows the optimum supporting column line. This should be in the middle of the shoulder blade at A running through the middle of the elbow joint which is to the right of B and whilst you can't see it here running through the middle of the foreleg touching the ground at about the centre of the foot,

The diagram on left shows the various ways the length and angle of the should blade and upper arm can be determined. The dotted line represents how most judges assess the shoulder blade and upper arm whilst the solid line represents how it should be determined. Notwithstanding the furtherest forward 'angle' of the foreleg is directly impacted by both the standing and rotating angle of the shoulder blade, during movement the three drawings below show the impact on fore reach as the upper arm gets shorter and or steeper 'based on the shoulder blade being set at 45 the traditional degrees to the horizontal plane' and not at my preferred 55 degrees. The general opinion in dogs is that the upper arm never goes past the vertical and some respected opinion too that it is in fact limited to being a little short of vertical in the trot. The shorter and or steeper the upperarm the shorter the fore reach.

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Showing the maximum fore reach of the upper arm as a result of a long well angled upper arm - maximum fore reach.

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Showing reduced fore reach as a result of a correctly angled but short upper arm - fore reach reduced by 25%.

Showing the fore reach attained by varying lengths of fore leg. The shorter the foreleg the less distance travelled.

• Whilst seen less and less the foreleg for me should ideally be about 55% of the dog’s height. Its length should be about the same length as the upperarm when measured from inside the elbow to the point of connection to the wrist [carpus]. This does not include the pastern and this is called the radius. Free of other impediments a shorter foreleg equals a shorter stride as seen above.

Showing significantly reduced fore reach as a result of a short and steep upper arm - fore reach reduced by almost half of the ideal

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• The maximum foreleg extension can be seen as being a straight line down the middle of the scapula directly along the midline of the humerus and as such the shoulder blade angle [excluding lifting the fore leg at the elbow] determines the foreleg angle and fore foot placement.


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

• Elbows connect the upper arm to the lower arm and they have three separate joints and these allow the elbows to hinge and swivel but they do not allow sideways movement. This latter fact can lead to trauma of the elbow joint, specifically the coronoid process. Elbows should not be turned out nor turned in. The elbows rotate with the dog’s body around the radius allowing outward and inward rotation and this rotation is greatest in trotting dogs. If you hold your palm up and then turn your hand down, that is called pronation and vice versa. When dogs gait pronation and supination occurs, this is normal, the ulna/ elbow allows this to happen. This is seen as the foreleg extends out to its maximum point you can see the underside of the pad of the dogs foot. Some animals like horses can’t do this. Dogs with elbow dysplasia sometimes stand with a one foot turned out. Dogs with a narrow chest stand with elbows close together and feet turned out. Insufficient depth of chest, that is when the sternum is above the elbows causes the elbows to be pulled in and under and consequently the feet will be turned out. Barrel chested dogs stand and move with elbows too far apart.

dog is walking, trotting etc. and have a significant flexion and extension range. Through their ligaments during gaiting as the stretch they store energy and via this contribute to the forward drive. The very flexible tarsus/wrist contributes slightly to supination and abduction. • When the wrists [carpus] are weak the pasterns are weak, this is what allows the angle of the pastern to change and the wrist to come closer to the ground. When this happens the feet extend and flatten, the toes open and if the dog has a powerful hind drive it will lift its front feet off the ground by lifting the foreleg at the elbow and this gives a classic high stepping hackney prancing and 'very tiring' forehand action. For a dog with weak wrists it is akin to having long floppy socks that need to be flicked off the ground. Very often I hear judges remark that a dog has flat feet but do not connect that remark to its most common cause being weak wrists.

• Pasterns are a collection of seven bones and the pasterns should be 1/3 the length of the forearm - the radius - and set at 20 to 22 degrees and effectively act as shock absorbers when the

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• Feet should be rounded and tight, nails black. Front feet are larger than the rear feet because as I covered earlier there is more weight in the forehand than the rearhand. The feet should be pointing straight ahead as in figure 3 when viewed from the front. • A barrel chested dogs feet figure 1 turn in. A narrow chested dog - figure 2 stands with feet turned out. Second only to overangulation of the hindquarters and the associated loose hocks, narrow chested dogs standing east west as in figure 2 is one of the breeds most common problems.

to the ground. These coinciding reference points only happen when the forehand is correctly structured and can be seen in the diagram shown a little later headed 'optimum relationships for forward locomotion'. • Viewed from the front this vertical column runs through the centre of the column of bone created by the scapula, the upperarm, the foreleg, pastern and foot. A narrow chest which pulls the elbows in or a barrel chest that pushes the elbows out disrupts this balance in movement as the dog tries to position the feet under the line of gravity. FORECHEST This is created by the prosternum and should be about 50mm forward of the point of the shoulder. Overdeveloped forechests, i.e. a prosternum projecting too far forward can give the illusion that a dog with a steep upperarm has a very good angle of the upperarm.

• Viewed from the side there is a vertical column that is important for forehand balance, this vertical column is the line of gravity. The coinciding/intercepting reference points necessary for the forehand to be balanced in stance and movement is at about the centre of the scapula at its upper point and in area known as the forward pivot point, and the middle of the joint of the upper arm and foreleg. This configuration allows that vertical gravity line to continue down through the ulna and on

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Correct forechest [and correct length and angle of the shoulder and upperarm].


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

UNDERCHEST

HINDQUARTERS

The sternum forms the base of the underchest and anchors the rib cage and gives support to the elbows. In terms of genetic frequency, chests are getting deeper. Ideally the chest should be about 45% of the dog’s height, this was the norm many years ago but most are now at around 50%. The chests primary function is to provide protection to the heart and lungs. A short underchest is created by the ribs not going back far enough and this reduces vital organ space. This 'tuck up' is beneficial to galloping as it allows greater back flexing, increases speed and increases stride, this is seen in Greyhounds for example but it is not desirable for a trotting endurance dog.

Short underchest

• The hindquarters specifically their muscles provide the bulk of the drive that gives forward propulsion. For reasons of balance and equitable transfer of energy the upper thigh (femur) and lower thigh (tibia) are about the same length and are very roughly speaking the same length as the shoulder blade and upperarm. For the micro enthusiast who loves detail - the femur is approx. 20% longer than the shoulder blade and the tibia is approx. 20% longer than the upperarm and the upperarm is approx. 10% longer than the shoulder blade. When the dog is standing with the hock plumb the femur and tibia should form an angle of about 120 / 130 degrees or put another way off the horizontal the femur lays at approx. 105 degrees and the tibia at approx. 30 degrees. This is measured through their axis points. • I have always been concerned about overangulation of the hindquarter and to a degree I have been the butt of wellmeaning jokes in this regard for longer than I care to remember. The problem has got worse and is now a chronic but accepted problem in Europe, indeed it is now seen as being desirable by many authorities in the breed. In this context the ideal hindquarter angulation for a trotting endurance dog is exactly as von Stephanitz determined it 100 + years ago. In his time the dogs were under-

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angulated and he worked to increase the length of both the femur and tibia to maximize the drive, he almost got there prior to his death. The goal was achieved in the early 70’s starting with Marko v Cellerland who ironically was promoted as a working dog line. This moderate and balanced hind angulation was consolidated only to be lost to the trend of overangulation in the early 90’s and it has got progressively worse ever since. Ideal hind angulation is now seen by most people in the sport as being underangulated. Along with the resultant unstable close stepping cow hocks and excessively sloping topline it is now almost on the cusp as being accepted as normal and I read critiques of dogs that to me are grossly overangulated and it states ‘very good hind angulation’ and as an aside often stating as though there is no co-relation ‘hocks should be firmer’. Von Stephanitz would be greatly saddened if not mortified by this development as I am sure people involved in working dogs must be. • What is overangulation? A misnomer really. The word 'overangulation' is generally used to describe a dog where the hock when vertical extends too far back past a vertical line dropped from the dogs buttocks because the tibia is too long. A misnomer because the word relates to and describes the angle between the femur and the tibia

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and this angle becomes less as the tibia gets longer not more. A misnomer but we all know what it means. • Hindquarter angulation is determined 'primarily' by the lengths of the femur and tibia and it is generally the tibia. I say 'primarily' because as well as one or sometimes both of these bones getting too long or too short and consequently reducing or increasing the angle between them, the angle of the pelvis and or the angle of the lumbar spine and their consequential impact on knee height has a direct bearing on hind angulation too. • In quantifiable terms the general definition for 'very good hind angulation' is when the femur and tibia bones are the correct length and angle. When this exists, when the dog is stood with the metatarsus vertical the rear toes are about 50mm past a plumb line dropped from the outside base of the tail. Another way of doing this rule of thumb guide all be it visually a bit harder to see is to drop the plumb line from the end of the pelvis and this obviously increases the 50mm guide distance. Having said that, a dog can have 'either' a tibia or femur that is too long and not exceed the 50mm / 70mm rule of thumb if the alternate bone is too short. This is not uncommon and can be seen in some of the photo diagrams right.


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

Some examples of hindquarters seen in the German Shepherd Dog

Ideal hind angulation - front of toes about rear foot width past a vertical line dropped from the tail base or about 70mm past the end of the pelvis/tuberosity . Ideal open angle between the femur and tibia 135 degrees with the tibia at 30 degrees to the horizontal plane.

Excessively overangulated - tibia too long, front of toes now about 120mm past the tail base, hip and knee lowered along with the topline and tibia getting parallel to the ground

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Figure A - Standing a bit overstretched the pelvis is a little short. Straight lumbar spine that gives a high hip/knee position. Up until the late 80's early 90's this was considered by the GSD Show Dog fraternity and its guardians in Germany to be correct hindquarters but today it is generally viewed as being too moderate.The angle of the far metatarsus which generally reflects the hip and knee height position is well angled to the ground and it is worth noting that this angle will apply in the trot as well. The angle between the femur and tibia and the distance between the two yellow lines reflects this very functional hindquarter configuration. Figure B - Pelvis length better than A but also a little short. If figure A was the desired hindquarters of the 90's this is the desired hindquarters of the year 2000 +. The slight downward bend to the lumbar spine gives a lower placed hip/knee position lowering the angle of the tibia to the ground a little but the length of the femur and tibia is about the same as the dog in figure A. Balanced upper thigh [femur] and lower thigh [tibia] The distance between the two yellow lines is the same as in figure A and therefore very good. Figure C - Pelvis is long. The tibia is too long. The bend to the lumbar spine when combined with the overlong tibia brings the knee closer to the ground and reduces the angle of the tibia relative to the ground. The far metatarsus is getting close to the ground - compare it to say A - and this length of tibia is when the hocks become infirm. This is a classic example of what is referred to as 'overangulation' and relates to the overlong tibia and subsequent re-

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ducing of the angle between the femur and tibia and excessively increasing the distance between the yellow vertical line and the rear toe as seen in the diagrams above. Figure D - Pelvis a little short. The tibia should be a little longer than the femur not the other way around. The slight bend to the lumbar spine has lowered the knee position a little. A configuration that is increasing in frequency. The distance between the two yellow lines is very good. Figure E - Standing overstretched an extremely long tibia with too short a femur and short steep croup. Not a good combination for locomotion. The angle between the femur and tibia is too open. The hindquarter is out of balance and the the distance between the two yellow lines is excessive. Figure F - In many respects representing 'GSD Working Dogs'. With a high hip and knee position the angle between the femur and tibia is too open and therefore this dog is under angulated. Open/acute angle of the far metatarsus. Slightly overbuilt lumbar spine, short flat croup, short femur. Under angulation is typified by a straight line to the front edge of the thigh as opposed to a slight curve. The distance between the two yellow dotted lines is a bit too short Figure A - Standing a bit overstretched the pelvis is a little short. Straight lumbar spine that gives a high hip/knee position. Up until the late 80's early 90's this was considered by the GSD Show Dog fraternity and its guardians in Germany to be correct hindquarters but today it is generally viewed as be-

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ing too moderate.The angle of the far metatarsus which generally reflects the hip and knee height position is well angled to the ground and it is important to note that this angle will apply in the trot as well. The angle between the femur and tibia and the distance between the two yellow lines reflects this very functional hindquarter configuration. Figure B - Pelvis length better than A but also a little short. If figure A was the desired hindquarters of the 90's this is the desired hindquarters of the year 2000 +. The slight downward bend to the lumbar spine gives a lower placed hip/knee position lowering the angle of the tibia to the ground a little but the length of the femur and tibia is about the same as the dog in figure A. Balanced upper thigh [femur] and lower thigh [tibia] The distance between the two yellow lines is the same as in figure A and therefore very good. Figure C - Pelvis is long. The tibia is too long. The bend to the lumbar spine when combined with the overlong tibia brings the knee closer to the ground and reduces the angle of the tibia relative to the ground. The far metatarsus is getting close to the ground - compare it to say A - and this length of tibia is when the hocks become infirm. This is a classic example of what is referred to as 'overangulation' and relates to the overlong tibia and subsequent reducing of the angle between the femur and tibia and excessively increasing the distance between the yellow vertical line and the rear toe as seen in the diagrams above. Figure D - Pelvis a little short. The tibia should be a little longer than the femur not the other way around. The slight


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

bend to the lumbar spine has lowered the knee position a little. A configuration that is increasing in frequency. The distance between the two yellow lines is very good. Figure E - Standing overstretched an extremely long tibia with too short a femur and short steep croup. Not a good combination for locomotion. The angle between the femur and tibia is too open. The hindquarter is out of balance and the the distance between the two yellow lines is excessive.

The far metatarsus is too close to the ground, the hocks will be very infirm. The distance between the yellow lines is excessive. This is where the German Shepherd Dog breed does not want to go. HIP JOINT

Figure F - In many respects representing 'GSD Working Dogs'. With a high hip and knee position the angle between the femur and tibia is too open and therefore this dog is under angulated. Open/acute angle of the far metatarsus. Slightly overbuilt lumbar spine, short flat croup, short femur. Under angulation is typified by a straight line to the front edge of the thigh as opposed to a slight curve. The distance between the two yellow dotted lines is a bit too short and this will be reflected in the stride distance. Figure G - Standing overstretched, a steep pelvis, a downward bend to the lumbar spine and an overlong femur contribute to excessive lowering of the hip and knee position. The tibia is short and the angle of the tibia to the femur is reduced. This is the reverse of E. Figure H - X-Treme length of the tibia. Very low hip and knee position, short croup and the angle between the femur and tibia is markedly reduced. The tibia and the femur are too long, the tibia is parallel with the ground and you can actually see the knee bending under the dogs rear hand weight.

Shift in pivot points - Alongside an increased trunk/ribcage and associated increase in mass and substance, the most significant change in the structure of the German Shepherd Dog since its inception in 1900

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• In a moderate trotting phase the load on the hip joint is six times the dog’s bodyweight and that is an enormous load - 170/180 kilos! • Hip joints relative to the withers pivot point are lower than they once were because of the downward bend/curve to the lumbar spine. This has an impact on a number of issues pertaining to movement such as manoeuvrability, energy consumption, endurance and increasing the hip joint angle to cover the same stride length. FEMUR • Supports the knee/stifle and in its connection to the pelvis provides stability to the hindquarter. • The femur is a much stronger bone than the tibia, it is the second strongest bone in the dog’s body, and the upperarm is the strongest. • The very substantial muscles of the hindquarter quite often referred to as the hamstring muscles are anchored at the pelvis and create the vast bulk of the drive. They are attached to the femur. Some of these muscles create thrust through the femur down through the knee and on down through the tibia. KNEE • The knee or stifle if you prefer the term, connects the femur to the tibia. It acts as a shock

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The impact of a curve to the lumbar spine and a longer lower thigh - increased topline slope, hip and knee closer to the ground, flatter angle to the tibia and lower relationship of the knee to the elbow.

absorber to the hindquarters, it limits the rear extension of the femur and indirectly the tibia and in its functioning process it glides, flexes and rotates. • As a matter of interest in some animals such as the horse a locking mechanism in the joint allows them to sleep whilst standing.


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

• In dogs that are over angulated and in particular those who have a significant downward bend to the lumbar spine, the knee comes too close to the ground and whilst this has an effect while the dog is standing, during the gait the knee can be impeded to some degree in supporting the weight of the hindquarter. TIBIA • The primary function of the tibia is to extend the hock, flex the knee and act as a conduit for the thrust being generated by the muscles attached to the femur. • It is connected to the femur by a muscle that is attached to the Achilles tendon.

Dog in movement with cow hocks / loose hocks. Direction of force is deflected from a straight line.

Dog in movement with correct hocks. Force is directed and transferred in a straight line.

Dog in stance with cow hocks accentuated as above under pressure of movement.

Dog in stance with correct hocks

• It is a relatively thin bone and it is not designed to carry a lot of weight. • It acts as a stabiliser for the hocks – the longer the tibia the harder it is to stabilise the hocks. The longer the tibia gets the the more uncontrollable the hocks become. • In excessively long tibias, in stance a dog will step and stand with the hocks very close together and lying on an inward angle [cow hock] sometimes actually touching each other. When a dog is over angulated you don’t need to gait that dog away from you to determine if the hocks are too close together or unstable, you can see it while it’s standing. As the tibia or more rarely the femur

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gets too long the knee as the thigh is extended moves closer to the ground. This exacerbates the slope created by the downward bend to the lumbar spine creating excessive slope to the topline that unfortunately for the breed so many people seem to love and I refer to a slope not just in stance but in movement. • Seen from the rear, when the tibia is too long, force from the hocks is generated not in a straight line through the tibia, the femur and into the pelvis but as the hocks buckle under the load the energy is deflected outward then inwards loosing energy and stressing the knee and hip joints - below figure on the left. Dogs with too long a tibia and influenced to varying degrees by the upper thighs muscle mass and firmness of that muscle mass will have loose unstable hocks - below figure on the right. A bad combination is a short croup [narrow muscle mass] and overlong tibia. If you like overangulation then you best ensure you have a very long croup and work your dog very hard. METATARSUS – OFTEN WRONGLY CALLED THE HOCK • Strong medium length hocks are ideal for the GSD. • The hocks act as a lever for motion and work on the lever principle of; energy applied through a fulcrum move a load. The energy applied is at the tip of the calcaneus, the fulcrum is at the base of the

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When the distance between the fulcrum point and the load is lengthened this creates more thrust and speed, but it requires more effort and this causes earlier onset of fatigue

calcaneus and the load is at the toes. • The best way to understand the effect of the hocks is to apply it to your feet. The base of the foot creates leverage. The longer your foot the greater the leverage and the faster you will be propelled forward but at the cost of energy. In a way you could say it factors up thrust and increases speed in that process. • The hocks are activated by several muscle/tendon groups the most significant being the Gastrocnemius [calf] muscle and the attached Achilles tendon. In simple terms when the hock is fully extended the Achilles tendon pulls it forward with great force. In over angulated dogs when the tibia is too long the Achilles


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

tendon becomes a little too long to be optimally effective. • When the dog is running the energy applied to the ground at the pads of the feet for an adult male GSD is 170kgs. • The shorter the hocks the less force required to move the same load but this generates less thrust and less speed. Long hocks = greater travel distance and speed but more energy is required. A balance is ideal – not too long and not too short. • Short distance sprinters like Greyhounds have long hocks but it’s at the cost of high energy consumption – great for short distance sprinters but not for long distance endurance. BONES • There is little reference to bones in the standard other than saying the bones should be dry, an odd word meaning not spongy, oval not round and when you run your hand over the bone it is smooth not lumpy. This lack of reference to the bones is interesting given the importance of the bones to the dog especially in regard to the relationship the length of the bones have to muscles and tendons. Long bones mean longer tendons and importantly for a trotting dog longer and broader muscle mass. • An observation I have made of late is the number of dogs that are getting larger and their bones

are getting finer. When a dog has this characteristic everything will be refined and this is most evident in the head. Males will look a bit feminine and are critiqued as needing to be stronger in the head, sometimes I read critiques on bitches where their head is too fine and the critique says ‘very feminine’. • Ideally, as a medium sized working dog the GSD should have sufficient strength and mass to do its designed job. Dogs that are too heavy, too large, too small or too light and the dog looses its ability and flexibility to function to its maximum capacity. MOVEMENT, THE BIG ONE. • In many ways movement encapsulates most of what has been covered here and that is why it is the largest topic, it covers everything in an interconnected way. • Many of the aspects of movement are complex, for example there are still aspects in regard to the way the muscles work within the wither region that are still not well understood. • The GSD is a trotter and the fore and hind limbs must be coordinated in other words balanced [not equal] in their length and angle so that the dog can transfer energy from the hindquarters to the forehand without any essential change of the topline so that the forehand limbs can fully maximise

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This is correct movement - no exaggeration, balanced, harmonious, the withers have good height and the backline is at a slight not excessive slope, the feet are travelling at about [standing] wrist height from the ground, the forward extended foreleg is at the right angle to the ground being a parallel angle to the well laid shoulder blade and it is not being lifted at the elbow, the pasterns are firm, the front foot seen here at full extension is in a vertical line midway between the eyes and nose, there is moderate not excessive crossover between the rear and front feet, the metatarsus [hock] at the fully extended forward position is well angled to the ground and consequently not in contact with the ground, the tibia and femur are fully extended with the tibia at the correct angle to the ground and there is the desired angle of the metatarsus at its full rearward extension.

that energy. Key elements to an effective gait are the dog being of correct size, having correct proportions of the body, having good length and angles of the bones and those lengths and angles being balanced against each other. At its optimum this will give a gait that is far reaching, a gait that gives the impression of being effortless and travelling 'relatively level' over the ground. I repeat relatively level over the ground as seen in the photo above not on 'an angle' to the ground. The head in movement is pushed forward to shift the centre of gravity forward and with a slightly raised tail the result is a consistent smooth trot showing a gently curved uninterrupted upper line from the ear tips over the neck and back to the end of the tail. WOW! • How is this wonderful almost poetic and gravity defying movement achieved? To a fair degree we have covered it but in sections. It’s when all those sections are brought together you either get it or you don’t and more often than not you don’t, at least not to the seamless degree I have just described. • So how does it all work and how does it come together? • It starts with the dog having a desire to run and then its the first step – which foot moves forward first? The answer to this question is irrelevant to anything other then curiosity but it is the same

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A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

as applying it to yourself – it’s whichever foot you decide will move first. Right-handedness vs. left probably plays a part in this but your brain sends an electrical impulse to a particular muscle or muscle group and that in turn causes a particular bone to extend or contract. For interest many articles state the dog moves the left foot first or at least more often than the right foot. • Muscles can't push they can only pull. There are two types of muscles and they are referred to as antagonist muscles because they react off each other. If back and forth motion is required a minimum of two muscles are needed. One pulls a bone in one direction and the other pulls the bone in the other direction. The muscle that closes a joint is known as an abductor and the one that extends a limb is known as an extensor. • When a person wants to move forward they do this by leaning their upper body forward and the effect of gravity takes it from there. This is because the centre of gravity in a human is very high in the body. A dog can’t do this because the dog is on all four limbs and as an aside the centre of gravity is too far back – the centre of gravity in a dog is located in the space between the 9th and 10th rib. • So how does a dog propel itself forward? It is quite complex so bear with me as you push on with

more reading and no photos or drawings to break that tedium! Sometimes words are more descriptive and more informative than pictures! • The dog sends a signal from its brain through the spinal cord to specific muscles in the hindquarter and this causes the muscles to contract and via their tendons to pull on a specific bone/s and when this occurs the rear foot pushes against the ground. This pushes the dogs centre of gravity forward. There is a synchronising that takes place in the brain that ensures the co-ordination of the rear and fore feet in whatever foot fall sequence is selected by the dog. The front limbs are in effect moving forward to 'capture' the forward shift in the dogs centre of gravity. • The muscles that push the dog forward are primarily the hamstring muscles; these are huge, are located in the upper thigh region, are anchored to the pelvis and are attached via ligaments to the femur. It is important to know that forward motion can only happen when the foot is directly under and or behind the hip joint. • When the rear foot is in its swing stage, that is the adductor muscle has pulled it forward to the midline of the body, when that rear foot has landed on the ground and is now moving in the rearward direction, only as soon as that foot is under the hip does forward thrust commence propelling the

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dog forward again. This thrust ends when the foot reaches it full extension and then the opposite foot which has now made contact with the ground midway under the body takes over and continues the cycle. • The fore limbs are lifted and extended to 'catch' the forward repositioning of the centre of gravity. • The muscles that pull the front leg forward are attached to the scapula and the upperarm and they in turn are attached to the base of the neck and skull. When they get the message to contract, the upperarm and to a much lesser degree the shoulder blade and foreleg are pulled forward. The dogs brain synchronizes the rear and fore muscle/bone/joint/ limb contractions. • For those technically inclined there are three major muscles that contract and in that process push the rear legs backwards; the biceps femoris which is attached to the femur, the gluteal muscles, the semimembranosus and the adductor magnus. • The greatest amount of thrust, that is pounds of pressure delivered to the ground by the rear paw is achieved approximately two thirds the way through the rear foot swing cycle, in a correctly angulated dog it is the point when the foot is just past the vertical. This tells us that excessively overangulated dogs do not attain

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maximum thrust because their hock moves forward before it opens out or in the case of excessively angulated dogs the foot and hock stops its rear cycle before it even gets to the vertical. In these cases it impacts on foot lift, consequently the dogs toes travel very close to the ground as the paw sweeps forward. On deeply angulated dogs walking on a hard surface you can sometimes hear the dog’s nails scraping and the movement has a slight shuffle. • When walking and gaiting all thrust from a rear limb ends at the point when the foot pad attains its maximum rear extension, at the point immediately prior to leaving the ground to commence its forward cycle. At that stage of the cycle the opposite foot takes over to generate the thrust and so it goes on repeating that sequence. • What is happening with the feet as they sweep forward? Nothing really until they make contact with the ground. It is very important to be aware of the fact that when the fore and rear feet first strike the ground this creates a braking action and until the fore paw on its return sweep is directly under and behind the centre of the shoulder blade and the rear paw is directly under and behind the hip these paws/limbs generate no forward thrust, to the contrary they create a slowdown effect just as it does in a human when they are running. • The transfer of energy, the transfer of thrust from the hindquarter


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

is through the pelvis via the sacroiliac joint which is fused to the spine and is inflexible. The sacroiliac joint is also a shock absorber. • Energy is carried through the dog’s spine and taken up in the pivot point of the withers, at a spot within the withers that is a little below the top of the shoulder blades. • I stated that the brain synchronizes the fore and rear limbs to ensure they work in unison. The only thing that interrupts this synchronizing in so far as optimum gaiting and especially ground cover is when the rear and fore bones and their attached muscles are not in balance, do not complement one another such as in the case of a short /steep upperarm associated with well constructed and effective hindquarter angulation or overangulation of the hindquarters associated with a very well constructed forehand. Whilst muscle development plays a significant part, if the length and angle of the bones in the hindquarter do not balance those in the forequarter, the imbalance will reflect negatively on the movement. • Harmonious, balanced, effortless, flowing, ground covering and enduring movement as described in the opening preamble only comes about if everything is in balance. If the croup is short and steep causing reduced thrust

and reduced ground cover even if the dog has a perfect forehand the dog can only correspond or perhaps a better word is match the rear hand. The fore reach will be shortened even though it may be able to reach twice as far as it does. The reverse applies with having an ideal hindquarter but short steep upperarm, the dog will react in several ways; it will reduce its hind drive to match the forehands capacity thereby not overloading the forehand or it will deliver the drive unencumbered but lift the forelegs at the elbow as in high hackney stepping to disperse the unwanted thrust. Maximizing energy and ensuring endurance is the best outcome therefore the former action is preferred. There are endless combinations to this but you have got the idea of compensatory drive and reach and the fact that sometimes two faults are better than one! • Something to be aware of is that whilst the bulk of the generated ‘muscle power’ comes from the rear, dogs must exert force or if you like they must push on the ground using all four limbs in order to bear the weight of the body and propel itself forward. Most people tend to think all the energy, the force that drives a dog forward comes from the rear, that the forelegs just do the steering so to speak. This is not the case, the majority of the drive comes from the muscles of the hindquarter but there is a small amount

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generated in the forehand also, even from areas as insignificant as the pasterns. In the gallop a ‘very substantial’ amount of the dogs stride comes from the muscles in the back as they flex. TYPE In conformation judging, health, temperament and performance aside, ‘type’ is the most important thing to identify and promote. In its most basic form ... if it doesn’t look like a German Shepherd Dog it isn’t a German Shepherd Dog. Type comes first and foremost and within type there are ‘’styles’’ of dogs, as can be seen in the following collage which contrary to the opinion some readers may have shows dogs that are all ‘’very good type’’. The standard articulates the desired type using descriptive and to varying degrees, quantifiable words and terms, but because breed standards leave room for interpretation, and an example in the context of this subject are the words; ’high’ - ‘long’ - ’straight’ - ’gently curved’ - ’moderately long’ - 'slightly sloping', conformation show judging becomes highly subjective. Consequently the definition of breed type and its evolutionary direction also becomes subjective and that is why it is a mistake for anyone to believe judging in its broadest terms is objective, it isn't objective, and this why there are variations of opinion and placing of dogs in shows. The only area in the Specialist ring where there should be no variation is in the grading of exhibits and at Breed Survey in classification.

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A final comment in regard to type. Many people, including judges, misuse the word ‘type’ or more precisely the word ‘correct type’ to describe any dog where its most prominent features are great alertness, black and rich red colour, deep hind angulation, a long thick bushy tail and an excessively sloping topline! It’s a thin line perhaps but what I am trying to say is that the dog being described may well be a dog of very good type but what is being described is a ‘style’ of dog and this is seen in the following collage of dogs of very good type but varying styles. To Conclude: What are key and optimum factors to be aware of during movement and in particular during the trot? It’s a big list and reflects why understanding movement in the dog is not simple but putting aside fitness and willingness to run, optimum efficiency in movement relies on three very basic but fundamental things. • Hind thrust, the generation of energy commences only when the rear foot is directly under the hip joint and thrust continues from that point until that foot comes to the end of its rear swing at which time the opposite foot takes over the cycle. The same applies in the forehand and the axis trigger point there is the shoulder blade. • The hind thrust moves the dogs centre of gravity forward and this is what activates the need for the forelegs to respond - to capture the centre of gravity's forward shift.


A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog

• When the forward reaching foot both front and rear makes contact with the ground it creates a breaking effect. Until that foot on its rearward cycle passes the shoulder or hip axis point it creates a slowdown effect. If this didn't happen the dog would never stop moving forward. • At the trot, at the forward reaching mid-point, the pad of the foot and not any part of the back of the hock should make contact with the ground and on the back sweep the hock should not stop and commence its forward step until it attains the earlier quoted angle of about 60 degrees.

The Golden Rule - Harmony, Balance, Proportions

• Both the femur and tibia should be long, but not overlong; nor should they be too short and most importantly they must be in balance to themselves and the scapula and upper arm. • The croup, more specifically the pelvis must be long and correctly angled to the horizontal plane.

• During trotting the maximum rear thrust is generated at a point that is two-thirds the way through the rear swing cycle and the maximum forward thrust is only achieved if the hock is extended backward to about 60 degrees off the horizontal. • Whilst the vast majority of the power comes from the rear quarter muscles in the trot, during galloping the lumbar back muscles contribute significantly to forward movement.

• Muscles and ligaments throughout the whole body must be well developed, taught and hard. • The back must be straight, in stance slightly sloping and in the trot level. It must be moderately long, well-muscled, tight, and should not have a curve or a peak. • The withers must be high, long and flowing into the back and in relation to the back when the dog is standing four square they must not be visually level with it and

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definitely not below it. • The neck must not be short; it must have good length but be of proportionate length to the overall dog. • The scapula and upperarm must be long, well angled and proportionately balanced to the length and angle of the femur and tibia. • The depth of the chest measured withers to the underchest [not the elbows] should be about 45% to 48% of the withers height. More and more dogs are moving toward 50%, I prefer 45%. This means the forelegs should be a little longer then the chest depth and when assessing chest depth especially on long stock coats it is important to read this at the dogs underchest and not at its underchest guard hairs. • The front feet, during gaiting ideally should not rise above the ground any more than the height of the dog’s wrist [carpus] as measured when the dog is standing. Having a foreleg that during the trot ends up almost vertical with the ground might be visually dramatic and it is often interpreted as great forehand reach but this is highly undesirable. • The front paw should extend forward during the trot to about the dogs eye and definitely no further than its nose. • Because of its structure the feet

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of a German Shepherd Dog cross over at the body’s mid point, the less cross-over of the fore and rear feet the better. • Whilst there should be a gently curved uninterrupted line from the ear tips over the neck and back to the end of the tail the dog should travel flat over the ground not travel at an angle to it. • The dog must be fit. • Finally, all of the above means ‘absolutely nothing’ if the dog is not trustworthy, if it does not have the right attitude, protective instincts, character, abundant energy, instinctive drive, firm nerves, sound outgoing self assured temperament and inherent eager willingness to run, work and please. That's it, that's my general overview of the German Shepherd Dog. So that there is no confusion about my objectives in publishing this article. I am not an anointed 'guardian' of the breed, I am certainly not the font of all knowledge or an authority on the breed, such people primarily reside in Germany. I am simply sharing what I have learnt based on my experience over 50 odd years. I have tried as best I can not to be judgemental or be influenced by personal bias although that can be very hard when you are explaining the impact of variations in the dogs structure and then giving comparisons. It is up to the reader to do no more than consider what I have said and why and then apply their own judgement and importantly do their own research.


GERMAN SHEPHERD Breed Standard The Kennel Club UK Last updated June 2015 General Appearance

Neck

Slightly long in comparison to height; of powerful, well muscled build with weatherresistant coat. Relation between height, length, position and structure of fore and hindquarters (angulation) producing farreaching, enduring gait. Clear definition of masculinity and femininity essential, and working ability never sacrificed for mere beauty.

Fairly long, strong, with well developed muscles, free from throatiness. Carried at 45 degrees angle to horizontal, raised when excited, lowered at fast trot.

Characteristics Versatile working dog, balanced and free from exaggeration. Attentive, alert, resilient and tireless with keen scenting ability. Temperament Steady of nerve, loyal, self-assured, courageous and tractable. Never nervous, over-aggressive or shy. Head and Skull Proportionate in size to body, never coarse, too fine or long. Clean cut; fairly broad between ears. Forehead slightly domed; little or no trace of central furrow. Cheeks forming softly rounded curve, never protruding. Skull from ears to bridge of nose tapering gradually and evenly, blending without too pronounced stop into wedge-shaped powerful muzzle. Skull approximately 50 per cent of overall length of head. Width of skull corresponding approximately to length, in males slightly greater, in females slightly less. Muzzle strong, lips firm, clean and closing tightly. Top of muzzle straight, almost parallel to forehead. Short, blunt, weak, pointed, overlong muzzle undesirable.

Forequarters Shoulder blade and upper arms are equal in length, well muscled and firmly attached to the body. Shoulder blades set obliquely (approximately 45 degrees) laid flat to body. Upper arm strong, well muscled, joining shoulder blade at approximately 90 degrees. Seen from all sides, the forearms are straight and, seen from the front, absolutely parallel. Bone oval rather than round. The elbows must turn neither in nor out while standing or moving. Pasterns firm, supple, with a slight forward slope. An over long, weak pastern, which would affect a dog's working ability is to be heavily penalised. Length of foreleg slightly exceeds the depth of chest. Body

Medium-sized, firm in texture, broad at base, set high, carried erect, almost parallel, never pulled inwards or tipped, tapering to a point, open at front. Never hanging. Folding back during movement permissible.

Length measured from point of shoulder to point of buttock, slightly exceeding height at withers. Correct ratio 10 to 9 or 8 and a half. Undersized dogs, stunted growth, high-legged dogs, those too heavy or too light in build, over-loaded fronts, too short overall appearance, any feature detracting from reach or endurance of gait, undesirable. Chest deep (45-48 per cent) of height at shoulder, not too broad, brisket long, well developed. Ribs well formed and long; neither barrel-shaped nor too flat; allowing free movement of elbows when gaiting. Relatively short loin. Belly firm, only slightly drawn up. Back between withers and croup, straight, strongly developed, not too long. Overall length achieved by correct angle of well laid shoulders, correct length of croup and hindquarters. 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.

Mouth

Hindquarters

Jaws strongly developed. With a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Teeth healthy and strong. Full dentition of 42 teeth is desirable.

Overall strong, broad and well muscled, enabling effortless forward propulsion. Upper and lower thigh are approximately of equal length. Hind angulation sufficient if imaginary line dropped from point of buttocks cuts

Eyes Medium-sized, almond-shaped, never protruding. Dark brown preferred, lighter shade permissible, provided expression good and general harmony of head not destroyed. Expression lively, intelligent and self-assured. Ears

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through lower thigh just in front of hock, continuing down slightly in front of hindfeet. Angulations corresponding approximately with front angulation, without over-angulation. Seen from rear, the hind legs are straight and parallel to each other. The hocks are strong and firm. The rear pasterns are vertical. Any tendency towards over-angulation of hindquarters, weak hocks, cow hocks or sickle hooks, is to be heavily penalised as this reduces firmness and endurance in movement. Feet Rounded toes well closed and arched. Pads well cushioned and durable. Nails short, strong and dark in colour. Tail Bushy-haired, reaches at least to hock – ideal length reaching to middle of metatarsus. At rest tail hangs in slight sabre-like curve; when moving raised and curve increased, ideally never above level of back. Short, rolled, curled, generally carried badly or stumpy from birth, undesirable. Gait/Movement Sequence of step follows diagonal pattern, moving foreleg and opposite hindleg forward simultaneously; 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. Coat

or brown markings referred to as Sables. Bicolour: Predominantly black, may have tan or gold markings on head, chest, legs and feet; black markings may be present on toes and rear pasterns. Nose black. Light markings on chest or very pale colour on inside of legs permissible but undesirable, as are whitish nails, red-tipped tails or wishy-washy faded colours defined as lacking in pigmentation. Blues, livers, albinos, whites (i.e. almost pure white dogs with black noses) and near whites highly undesirable. Undercoat, except in all black dogs, usually grey or fawn. Colour in itself is of secondary importance having no effect on character or fitness for work. Final colour of a young dog only ascertained when outer coat has developed. Size Ideal height (from withers and just touching elbows): dogs: 63 cms (25 ins); bitches: 58 cms (23 ins). 2.5 cms (1 in) either above or below ideal permissible. Faults Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work. Note Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Two separate varieties of coat. Outer coat consisting of straight, hard, close-lying hair as dense as possible; thick undercoat. Hair on head, ears, front of legs, paws and toes short; on neck, longer and thicker; in some males forming slight ruff. Hair longer on back of legs as far down as pasterns and hocks, forming fairly thick trousers on hindquarters. Mole-type coats are undesirable. In long coats, outer coat longer, not always straight and frequently not lying close and flat to the body. Thick undercoat. Coat distinctly longer inside and behind the ears, forming moderate tufts. Longer hair on the back of the forelegs, through to the loins, and dense feathering on the hindlegs. Tail bushy with light feathering underneath. Colour Black or black saddle with tan, or gold to light grey markings. All black, all grey, with lighter

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source: www.thekennelclub.org.uk


GERMAN SHEPHERD Official Standard of the German Shepherd Dog AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB General Appearance: The first impression of a good German Shepherd Dog is that of a strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life. It is well balanced, with harmonious development of the forequarter and hindquarter. The dog is longer than tall, deepbodied, and presents an outline of smooth curves rather than angles. It looks substantial and not spindly, giving the impression, both at rest and in motion, of muscular fitness and nimbleness without any look of clumsiness or soft living. The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility - difficult to define, but unmistakable when present. Secondary sex characteristics are strongly marked, and every animal gives a definite impression of masculinity or femininity, according to its sex. Temperament: The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them. It is poised, but when the occasion demands, eager and alert; both fit and willing to serve in its capacity as companion, watchdog, blind leader, herding dog, or guardian, whichever the circumstances may demand. The dog must not be timid, shrinking behind its master or handler; it should not be nervous, looking about or upward with anxious expression or showing nervous reactions, such as tucking of tail, to strange sounds or sights. Lack of confidence under any surroundings is not typical of good character. Any of the above deficiencies in character which indicate shyness must be penalized as very serious faults and any dog exhibiting pronounced indications of these must be excused from the ring. It must be possible for the judge to observe the teeth and to determine that both testicles are descended. Any dog that attempts to bite the judge must be disqualified. The ideal dog is a working animal with an incorruptible character combined with body and gait suitable for the arduous work that constitutes its primary purpose. Size, Proportion, Substance: The desired height for males at the top of the highest point of the shoulder blade is 24 to 26 inches; and for bitches, 22 to 24 inches. The German Shepherd Dog is longer than tall, with the most desirable proportion as 10 to 8½. The length is measured from the point of the prosternum or breastbone to the rear edge of the pelvis, the ischial tuberosity.

The desirable long proportion is not derived from a long back, but from overall length with relation to height, which is achieved by length of forequarter and length of withers and hindquarter, viewed from the side. Head: The head is noble, cleanly chiseled, strong without coarseness, but above all not fine, and in proportion to the body. The head of the male is distinctly masculine, and that of the bitch distinctly feminine. The expression keen, intelligent and composed. Eyes of medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The color is as dark as possible. Ears are moderately pointed, in proportion to the skull, open toward the front, and carried erect when at attention, the ideal carriage being one in which the center lines of the ears, viewed from the front, are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. A dog with cropped or hanging ears must be disqualified. Seen from the front the forehead is only moderately arched, and the skull slopes into the long, wedge-shaped muzzle without abrupt stop. The muzzle is long and strong, and its topline is parallel to the topline of the skull. Nose black. A dog with a nose that is not predominantly black must be disqualified. The lips are firmly fitted. Jaws are strongly developed. Teeth - 42 in number - 20 upper and 22 lower - are strongly developed and meet in a scissors bite in which part of the inner surface of the upper incisors meet and engage part of the outer surface of the lower incisors. An overshot jaw or a level bite is undesirable. An undershot jaw is a disqualifying fault. Complete dentition is to be preferred. Any missing teeth other than first premolars is a serious fault. Neck, Topline, Body: The neck is strong and muscular, clean-cut and relatively long, proportionate in size to the head and without loose folds of skin. When the dog is at attention or excited, the head is raised and the neck carried high; otherwise typical carriage of the head is forward rather than up and but little higher than the top of the shoulders, particularly in motion. Topline - The withers are higher than and sloping into the level back. The back is straight, very strongly developed without sag or roach, and relatively short. The whole structure of the body gives an impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. Chest Commencing at the prosternum, it is well filled and carried well down between the legs. It is deep and capacious, never shallow, with ample room for lungs and heart, carried well forward, with the prosternum showing ahead of the shoulder in profile. Ribs well sprung and long, neither barrel-shaped nor too flat, and carried down to a sternum which reaches to the elbows. Correct ribbing allows the elbows to move back freely when the dog is at a trot. Too round causes interference and throws the elbows out; too flat or short causes pinched

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elbows. Ribbing is carried well back so that the loin is relatively short. Abdomen firmly held and not paunchy. The bottom line is only moderately tucked up in the loin. Loin Viewed from the top, broad and strong. Undue length between the last rib and the thigh, when viewed from the side, is undesirable. Croup long and gradually sloping. Tail bushy, with the last vertebra extended at least to the hock joint. It is set smoothly into the croup and low rather than high. At rest, the tail hangs in a slight curve like a saber. A slight hooksometimes carried to one side-is faulty only to the extent that it mars general appearance. When the dog is excited or in motion, the curve is accentuated and the tail raised, but it should never be curled forward beyond a vertical line. Tails too short, or with clumpy ends due to ankylosis, are serious faults. A dog with a docked tail must be disqualified. Forequarters: The shoulder blades are long and obliquely angled, laid on flat and not placed forward. The upper arm joins the shoulder blade at about a right angle. Both the upper arm and the shoulder blade are well muscled. The forelegs, viewed from all sides, are straight and the bone oval rather than round. The pasterns are strong and springy and angulated at approximately a 25-degree angle from the vertical. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed, but are normally left on. The feet are short, compact with toes well arched, pads thick and firm, nails short and dark. Hindquarters: The whole assembly of the thigh, viewed from the side, is broad, with both upper and lower thigh well muscled, forming as nearly as possible a right angle. The upper thigh bone parallels the shoulder blade while the lower thigh bone parallels the upper arm. The metatarsus (the unit between the hock joint and the foot) is short, strong and tightly articulated. The dewclaws, if any, should be removed from the hind legs. Feet as in front. Coat: The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible, hair straight, harsh and lying close to the body. A slightly wavy outer coat, often of wiry texture, is permissible. The head, including the inner ear and foreface, and the legs and paws are covered with short hair, and the neck with longer and thicker hair. The rear of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair extending to the pastern and hock, respectively. Faults in coat include soft, silky, too long outer coat, woolly, curly, and open coat. Color: The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified. Gait: A German Shepherd Dog is a trotting

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dog, and its structure has been developed to meet the requirements of its work. General Impression - The gait is outreaching, elastic, seemingly without effort, smooth and rhythmic, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum number of steps. At a walk it covers a great deal of ground, with long stride of both hind legs and forelegs. At a trot the dog covers still more ground with even longer stride, and moves powerfully but easily, with coordination and balance so that the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine. The feet travel close to the ground on both forward reach and backward push. In order to achieve ideal movement of this kind, there must be good muscular development and ligamentation. The hindquarters deliver, through the back, a powerful forward thrust which slightly lifts the whole animal and drives the body forward. Reaching far under, and passing the imprint left by the front foot, the hind foot takes hold of the ground; then hock, stifle and upper thigh come into play and sweep back, the stroke of the hind leg finishing with the foot still close to the ground in a smooth followthrough. The overreach of the hindquarter usually necessitates one hind foot passing outside and the other hind foot passing inside the track of the forefeet, and such action is not faulty unless the locomotion is crabwise with the dogs body sideways out of the normal straight line. Transmission - The typical smooth, flowing gait is maintained with great strength and firmness of back. The whole effort of the hindquarter is transmitted to the forequarter through the loin, back and withers. At full trot, the back must remain firm and level without sway, roll, whip or roach. Unlevel topline with withers lower than the hip is a fault. To compensate for the forward motion imparted by the hindquarters, the shoulder should open to its full extent. The forelegs should reach out close to the ground in a long stride in harmony with that of the hindquarters. The dog does not track on widely separated parallel lines, but brings the feet inward toward the middle line of the body when trotting, in order to maintain balance. The feet track closely but do not strike or cross over. Viewed from the front, the front legs function from the shoulder joint to the pad in a straight line. Viewed from the rear, the hind legs function from the hip joint to the pad in a straight line. Faults of gait, whether from front, rear or side, are to be considered very serious faults. Disqualifications: Cropped or hanging ears. Dogs with noses not predominantly black. Undershot jaw. Docked tail. White dogs. Any dog that attempts to bite the judge. Approved February 11, 1978 Reformatted July 11, 1994


GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG (Deutscher Schäferhund) AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB 23.12.2010/EN FCI-Standard N° 166 The German Shepherd Dog, whose methodical breeding was started in 1899 after the foundation of the society, had been bred from the central German and southern German breeds of the herding dogs existing at that time with the ultimate objective of creating a working dog inclined to high achievements. In order to achieve this objective, the breed standard of the German Shepherd Dog was determined, which relates to the physical constitution as well as the traits and characteristics.

The nasal dorsum is straight, any dip or bulge is undesirable. The lips are taut, close well and are of dark colouring. The nose must be black. The teeth must be strong, healthy and complete (42 teeth according to the dental formula). The German Shepherd Dog has a scissor bite, i.e. the incisors must interlock like scissors, whereby the incisors of the upper jaw overlap those of the lower jaw. Occlusal overlay, overbite and retrusive occlusion as well as larger spaces between the teeth (gaps) are faulty. The straight dental ridge of the incisors is also faulty. The jaw bones must be strongly developed so that the teeth can be deeply embedded in the dental ridge.

The German Shepherd Dog is medium-size, slightly elongated, powerful and well-muscled, with dry bone and firm overall structure.

The eyes are of medium size, almondshaped, slightly slanted and not protruding. The colour of the eyes should be as dark as possible. Light, piercing eyes are undesirable since they impair the dog’s impression.

Important dimensional ratios

Ears

The height at the withers amounts to 60 cm to 65 cm for male dogs and 55 cm to 60 cm for female dogs. The trunk length exceeds the dimension at the height at the withers by about 10 – 17 %.

The German Shepherd Dog has erect ears of medium size, which are carried upright and aligned (not drawn-in laterally); they are pointed and with the auricle facing forward.

General appearance

Character The German Shepherd Dog must be wellbalanced (with strong nerves) in terms of character, self-assured, absolutely natural and (except for a stimulated situation) goodnatured as well as attentive and willing to please. He must possess instinctive behaviour, resilience and self-assurance in order to be suitable as a companion, guard, protection, service and herding dog. Head The head is wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the body size (length about 40 % at the height at the withers), without being plump or too elongated, dry in the overall appearance and moderately broad between the ears. Seen from the front and side, the forehead is only slightly arched and without any or with only a slightly indicated middle furrow. The ratio from the cranial region to the facial region is 50 % to 50 %. The width of the cranial region more or less corresponds to the length of the cranial region. The cranial region (seen from above) tapers evenly towards the nasal bridge with gradually sloping, not sharply depicted stop in the wedge-shaped facial region (foreface) of the head. Upper and lower jaws are powerfully developed.

Tipped ears and drooping ears are faulty. Ears carried rearward when moving or in relaxed position are not faulty. Neck The neck should be strong, well-muscled and without loose neck skin (dewlap). The angulation towards the trunk (horizontal) amounts to approx. 45 %. Body The upper line runs from the base of the neck via the high, long withers and via the straight back towards the slightly sloping croup, without visible interruption. The back is moderately long, firm, strong and wellmuscled. The loin is broad, short, strongly developed and well-muscled. The croup should be long and slightly sloping (approx 23° to the horizontal) and the upper line should merge into the base of the tail without interruption. The chest should be moderately broad, the lower chest as long and pronounced as possible. The depth of the chest should amount to approx. 45 % to 48 % of the height at the withers.

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The ribs should feature a moderate curvature; a barrel-shaped chest is just as faulty as flat ribs.

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The tail extends at least to the hock, but not beyond the middle of the hind pastern. It has slightly longer hair on the underside and is carried hanging downward in a gentle curve, whereby in a state of excitement and in motion it is raised and carried higher, but not beyond the horizontal. Operative corrections are forbidden.

results in a gait that is far- reaching and flat over the ground which conveys the impression of effortless forward movements. The head pushed forward and the slightly raised tail result in a consistent, smooth trot showing a gently curved, uninterrupted upper line from the ear tips over the neck and back to the end of the tail.

Limbs Forequarters

Skin

The forelimbs are straight when seen from all sides, and absolutely parallel when seen from the front.

The skin is (loosely) fitting, but without forming any folds.

Shoulder blade and upper arm are of equal length, and firmly attached to the trunk by means of powerful musculature. The angulation from shoulder blade and upper arm is ideally 90°, but generally up to 110°. The elbows may not be turned out either while standing or moving, and also not pushed in. The forearms are straight when seen from all sides, and absolutely parallel to each other, dry and firmly muscled. The pastern has a length of approx. 1/3 of the forearm, and has an angle of approx. 20° to 22° to the forearm. A slanted pastern (more than 22°) as well as a steep pastern (less than 20°) impairs the suitability for work, particularly the stamina. The paws are rounded, well-closed and arched; the soles are hard, but not brittle. The nails are strong and of dark colour.

Coat Hair texture Hair: The German Shepherd Dog is bred in the hair varieties double coat and long and harsh outer coat – both with undercoat. Double coat: The guard hair should be as dense as possible, particularly harsh and close fitting: short on the head, including the inside of the ears, short on the front side of the legs, paws and toes, some-what longer and more strongly covered in hair on the neck. On the back side of the legs the hair extends to the carpal joint or the hock; it forms moderate ‘trousers’ on the back side of the haunches. Long and harsh outer coat:

The position of hind legs is slightly backwards, whereby the hind limbs are parallel to each other when seen from the rear. Upper leg and lower leg are of approximately the same length and form an angle of approx. 120°; the legs are strong and well-muscled.

The guard hair should be long, soft and not close fitting, with tufts on the ears and legs, bushy trousers and bushy tail with downward formation of tuft. Short on the head, including the inside of the ears, on the front side of the legs, on the paws and toes, somewhat longer and more strongly covered in hair on the neck, almost forming a mane.

The hocks are strongly developed and firm; the hind pastern stands vertically under the hock.

On the back side of the legs the hair extends to the carpal joint or the hock and forms clear trousers on the back side of the haunches.

The paws are closed, slightly arched; the pads are hard and of dark colour; the nails are strong, arched and also of dark colour.

Colours

Hindquarters

Gait The German Shepherd Dog is a trotter. The limbs must be coordinated in length and angulations so that the dog can shift the hindquarters towards the trunk without any essential change of the top line and can reach just as far with the forelimbs. Any tendency towards over-angulation of the hindquarters reduces the stability and the stamina, and thereby the working ability. Correct body proportions and angulations

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Colours are black with reddish-brown, brown and yellow to light grey markings; singlecoloured black, grey with darker shading, black saddle and mask. Unobtrusive, small white marks on chest as well as very light colour on insides are permissible, but not desirable. The tip of the nose must be black in all colours. Dogs with lack of mask, light to piercing eye colour, as well as with light to whitish markings on the chest and the insides, pale nails and red tip of tail are considered to be lacking in pigmentation. The undercoat shows a light greyish tone. The colour white is not allowed.


Size/weight

• Dogs with proven “severe hip dysplasia”

Male dogs:

• Monorchid or cryptorchid dogs as well as dogs with clearly dissimilar or atrophied testicles

• Height at the withers: 60 cm to 65 cm Weight: 30 kg to 40 kg Female dogs: • Height at the withers: 55 cm to 60 cm Weight: 22 kg to 32 kg Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. Serious faults Deviations from the above-described breed characteristics which impair the working capability. Faulty ears: ears set too low laterally, tipped ears, inward constricted ears, ears not firm Considerable pigment deficiencies. Severely impaired overall stability. Dental faults: All deviations from scissor bite and dental formula insofar as it does not involve eliminating faults (see the following) Disqualifying faults

• Dogs with disfiguring ears or tail faults • Dogs with malformations • Dogs with dental faults, with lack of: 1 premolar 3 and another tooth, or 1 canine tooth, or 1 premolar 4, or 1 molar 1 or molar 2, or a total of 3 teeth or more • Dogs with jaw deficiencies: Overshot by 2 mm and more, undershot, • level bite in the entire incisor region • Dogs with oversize or undersize by more than 1 cm • Albinism • White hair colour (also with dark eyes and nails) • Long Straight Topcoat without undercoat • Long-haired (long, soft guard hair without undercoat, mostly parted in the middle of the back, tufts on the ears and legs and on the tail) N.B:

• Dogs with weak character and weak nerves which bite

• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation, should be used for breeding.

Double coat

Long and harsh outer coat

These illustrations do not necessarily show the ideal example of the breed.

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Name

Dawn Hoppe K9- Where Service, Trust and Loyalty Improve Lives Daily

PTSD Service Dogs for Women A woman who has been through a traumatic experience can suffer pain in the form of depression and post traumatic stress syndrome. Women who have been assaulted or abused can suffer also from repressed feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings can literally take a woman’s life away. It becomes hard to perform simple tasks and going into public can become impossible without bringing on anxiety attacks. A PTSD Service Dog that has been specially trained can be a vital key to giving this woman her life back. The German Shepherd often makes a good Service Dog for a woman but many breeds, including small dogs will work as well. The Service Dog will be able to accompany the woman into all public places and help make her feel more comfortable, safe,and protected, as well as being a friend to lean on if a panic attack should happen. My training is custom tailored to the individual client as each woman has special needs. The dog will learn cues to help a woman leave an uncomfortable situation, such as a crowded room and can even be trained to assist the woman if she starts to disassociate.

psychiatric needs of a woman with PTSD and will assist her in public while she is Certifying with her new Service Dog. I still find it is nothing less than miraculous to see a woman with her PTSD Service Dog blossom and enjoy life again, One Day At a Time.

A PTSD Service Dog that has been specially trained can be a vital key to giving this woman her life back.

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I am a professional trainer and behaviorist of 20 years. I am familiar with the

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DOG PHOTOGRAPHY

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Name: Olga Vartanyan

My journey into the world of dogs’ photo reporting started almost immediately after receiving one of the best gifts in my life – a German Shepherd puppy. It was way back in 2002. In 2005 I was feeling pretty confident as a reporter at various events – dog shows, competitions or festivals. Later on I gained experience in working at big stadiums and major events. During those years I’d made over 80 reports on Dog-Training World Championships, Bundessieger (the Principal GSD Breed Show held annually in Germany), other dog shows and competitions of various levels in Europe and the CIS states. My photo reports were published in many European canine magazines as well as in the leading GSD breed editions in the CIS and on numerous web-sites.

the course of events, to note some important small details that are normally neglected by a beginner. Certainly, in photo reporting, pure luck is something that plays a major role - that is to appear at the right time in the right place of shooting location, to “grab the right light” and etc. But on the other side, luck loves “good troupers” much more than those who just hope for it. I’ll spell it short: based on his experience, one could somewhat predict luck. Dogs’ photo reporting is, so to speak, a thankless job. We cannot choose weather or venue, nor can we affect the schedule/procedures or the participants list – we have to work in “given circumstances” trusting only our knowledge and skills.

At times, I photograph dogs outside the rings or stadiums – in most cases at the request of acquaintances or friends of mine. In 2005 I officially registered my GSD kennel with FCI. However, due to personal circumstances and by reason of moving to Switzerland for permanent residence in 2010, I quit breeding German Shepherds but never stopped being their devoted admirer and photo reporter. In German Shepherds’ breeding and in dog photography, my Degree in biology turned out to be of great help to me. Knowledge of dogs’ anatomy, physiology and etiology is absolutely crucial for any photographer who strives for achieving success. And for best results, it would be a good thing to sort of adopt the role of a breeder or a dog show/competition participant. When you take this inside look hence begin to understand what is happening, here comes your best chance to foresee

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Olga Vartanyan

Article

In my opinion, it’s a must for a photo reporter to become a “drabbie” during his work – he should not in any way distract the judges or disturb the process as such. Moreover, there always exists a very important ethical implication, i.e. all participants shall, ideally, get equal attention and the utmost integrity on the part of photographer, irrespective of his personal attitude towards the dog or his relations with the dog’s owner (or breeder). Well, yes, this issue is of crucial importance, now and then. All of us – judges, dog fanciers, breeders, breed fanciers, photographers – are in the same boat, we’ve got personal relationships of different range and warmth. When doing his job the photographer must leave all of those behind the ribbon. This is a significant difference that separates an amateur

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Olga Vartanyan

from a professional. The first comes just to “take pictures” of his own or his friends’ dogs. The latter makes a photo report about all and for all. Definitely, a grain of subjectivity is always there. In the long run, a camera is just a tool, a go-between. And the report will show what exactly the photographer sees in the said event. I dare say, the most important part of the job starts after the event is over: the reporter shall as soon as possible review the “footage” and get it ready for publishing. Well, yes, important reports do remain essential years after. But nowadays, when mass media has moved to the web, speed is a key to everything. Beyond that, appropriate design and presentation of the material are of crucial importance. It is not suffi-

cient just to upload and post “one thousand photos” to the web - it’s important to present the material in such a way that would make it comprehensive and interesting for the audience. This is a matter of self-discipline and, again, respect to the audience. For instance, during the three days of BSZS a huge amount of photo material is deemed to “pile up” as there are normally around 2,000 entries on that key show. Regretfully, of late the German Shepherd breed, like many other breeds, is separated into two segments: working-lines and show-lines breeding. Nevertheless, ideally, the breeders should not forget that the beauty of the German Shepherd breed is in its functionality, balanced character and readiness and eagerness to work under human control. Any extremes in cultivating conformation and behavioural features/

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characteristics bring in nothing but problems into the breed. Owners and breeders of show-line dogs have a certain pattern of how a dog should look in a photo. Many of them command the services of those photographers who do not avoid modifying dogs’ anatomy by photo editing programmes. Sometimes these “reworks” resemble a caricature of the breed. I do regret that in recent years this has become more and more popular and trendy. And I do want dog breeders and owners to learn to see the beauty of the breed not through the “photoshop filters”, so that they come to understand how ridiculous and, at times, even ugly a German Shepherd looks in its “newly acquired” anatomy, “revised” for the sake of fashion and trends. It is not uncommon that you’d hardly recognize one and the same dog in real life if you used to see only its “publicity shots”.

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Article

Let us not forget that in real life we have to show and breed not those photographs but bona fide dogs. Naturally, any person would like to have a nice photo of his dog – choose a professional who’d make this photo yet wouldn’t cross the ethical margin or deform the reality hence would approach the photographic process with the utmost tact and knowledge of the breed and specific photography techniques. My advice to all beginner photographers is as follows: study key features of the breed, work hard, respect your human and canine models, follow the professional code of ethics and… constantly study and learn. One is not born a genius (c). But, on the other side, to say to yourself «I am a genius, I may and can do everything» is the biggest mistake. And of course, the essentials are: dedication, personal envolvement, love for the breed.

Love the breed, not your ego in the breed.


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Olga Vartanyan

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