Sunday, October 04, 2015

How Much is the German Shepherd in the Window?

The horror of the American Showline German Shepherd, often described as
"half dog and half frog," and with a posture never seen on any animal in nature.

Let me start by saying something positive:  an old-school German Shepherd with a straight top line, nice coat, and well-muscled body is a wonderful thing to see.

But the modern "show line" German Shepherd with its sloped back and crippled walk? 

I have to look away.   I can see the collapsing stifles from a distance and watch the weak drive and poor support in the rear.  It's a monstrosity.

In the United States, the German Shepherd, or GSD, was the # 2 AKC breed in popularity in 2009. 

You would think that with so many dogs, we would have a large pool of great German Shepherds to choose from.

You would be wrong.

In fact, the breed-pool of quality GSDs is so shallow, both here and abroad, that the U.S. Secret Service will not use American dogs, and instead imports Belgian Malinois from Holland.


Of course, as painful as that news is, it is not as painful as what has been done to the dogs.

Watch the video below to see the wrecked gait of showline German Shepherds being paraded around the ring in Manchester, England.

And guess what?   The American dogs are often worse!

Wrecked hips and knees, as well as spinal problems, are common in German Shepherds, and are a big driver of serious veterinary bills.

Add into the mix some heart and thyroid problems, and you should be prepared to shell out several thousand dollars if you embrace the German Shepherd breed as your own.

Over at the Embrace Pet Insurance web site, they give the sobering numbers:


Cassandra Was Right said...

Good grief - the dogs look as if they've been hit by cars and crippled, and this is a rehab session...except they're actually encouraged to lower their back ends and splay their legs, which would only 'set' the bad posture and guarantee arthritis and joint problems later. Pitiful!

seeker said...

Yet another breed I had as a child that I will never own again due to high falutin ruination. You can add it to the Rough Collie and Cocker Spaniel. Sigh. I'll keep my Jacks.

Debi and the Tx JRTs

Sean said...

Is the Secret Service right? How does the Malinois compare?

Sean said...

Strike my last. I found the Belgian Malinois on the insurance site. It is a real testament to the effects of the show ring. These dogs came from the same origins. One has been subjected to twisting and shaping by show ring idiots and one has focused more on performance. The results speak for themselves.

HurricaneDeck said...

I'll grant you that the dogs' rear ends are not stable - however, the inexperienced handlers here make them move much, much worse than they probably actually do. I mean, who trots a dog like that? GSDs are supposed to be shown very quickly to show off their flying trot.

I could probably make one of my terriers move like that if I never trained them to be on a leash, and then strung them up as high as I could on a choke collar...

White GSDs have become their own breed within UKC. They put the "traditional" GSDs to shame. They can truly be a beautiful sight to behold when they are built like they should be.

Viatecio said...

You might be interested in the slow-motion video someone took of GSDs doing some gaiti--er, HOBBLING in the ring.

Anyone who watches that and praises the breeders for "bettering the breed" (or anything similar to what that judge spouts in the PDE documentary) deserves that brick to the head that you so leveled against Cavaliers and their owners.

panavia999 said...

My cousin is a K-9 officer in Alton, IL. His dog partner came from Hungary. 10 years ago he told me that he knew of no American bred police dogs. Could it be that bad for that long?

GreenGrrl said...

My mother has two German working line GSDs...both born in the US, but from imported parents or grandparents.

They're high-drive serious dogs built without the crippled hips. Reaction to them from random people? They're not purebred because they don't have the "nice" hips and the one is too black and the other looks too much like a wolf.

Christine said...

Angulation does *not* equal hip dysplasia--if it was related, wouldn't you think that, say, Labradors wouldn't ever get HD? This does not mean that I am arguing for this much angulation in GSDs! I just would rather see it condemned for its actual problems instead of imagined ones.

The extreme angulation does decrease a dog's agility, his turning and leaping ability, ability to make tight turns/corners at speed. It may or may not be related to ACL injuries--most of the GSDs I know with ACL injuries are highly active working-bred dogs with level backs and without extreme angulation--it doesn't seem to be commonly mentioned by owners of the import showline dogs I know. (I am not in touch with many breeders/owners of American showline dogs.) That is to say, ACL injuries are not uncommon, but nor are they extremely widespread.

I wrote about these issues some time ago:


PBurns said...

Thanks Christine --

Nice post on yuor blog, and let me see if I can tighten that sentence up a bit!

Agreed that angulation does not equal dysplasia as defined by loose hip sockets. You can have a dysplastic dog with normal angulation and a dog with extreme angulation that is not dysplastic.

Dysplasia, of course, simply means "improper growth" and there is no question that GSDs with abnormal angulation have a great deal of improper growth going on. A dog that cannot turn well and cannot jump is a Darwinian failure of the first order.


Christine said...

Now you're being coy. :)

Although that's the more general meaning of the term "dysplasia", in dogs it almost always is shorthand for "hip dysplasia" which is a very specific issue.

I don't like the look or the results of extreme angulation--but HD isn't one of them.

"A dog that cannot turn well and cannot jump is a Darwinian failure of the first order."

-- of course this applies to many, many breeds now--those who are too heavily built, those who are too long, those who are bred for their tiny legs and heavy bodies, etc.

But in a GSD, a dog who is supposed to exist to be useful and athletic and trainable and strong... it's a huge *FAIL*

Donald McCaig said...

Dear Patrick,
I once spoke to the fellow in charge of buying German Shepherds for the Canadian Mounted Police. He told me 1 in 3000 met their standards.

Donald McCaig

Mary DVM said...

Unfortunately, the German show breeders are not immune to genetic nightmares either. Check out the roached backs on some of the extreme "highline " dogs for a different kind of crazy.

Jennifer said...

Quite a few BYB GSD's in my neck of the woods. They tend to look pretty old school. I'd guess if the services, etc., wanted to look beyond the 'leading' breeders and AKC registrations they could find some solid dogs in the USA.