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Unread 02-21-2008, 10:59 AM   #1
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Default Why do german shepherd have a sloping stance?

Ok, this has been something I have wondered for a long time. I know little about the breed but I was at a dog show the other day and I saw the GSDs in the show ring and it struck me as really unnatural.

Why are German Shepherds meant to have the odd stance with the sloping back? What advantages is it meant to hold? I was having a conversation with someone the other day about Hip Dysplasia in dogs, and how GSDs seem to suffer with is worse than other breeds. I had a friend with a GSD whose back legs went at 8 years old.

Is this because of the sloping back stance?

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Unread 02-21-2008, 11:18 AM   #2
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Interesting question - maybe Shep can help.

I have read that German Shepherd dogs, Irish Wolfhounds, Great Danes, Gordon Setters, Basset Hounds, and probably others that I cannot remember are predisposed to elbow dysplasia. With regard to hip dysplasia development which can be a partly inherited condition, usually in larger breeds (often GermanShepherd dogs, Labrador Retrievers) can occur.

I suppose it makes absolute sense when you think of the engineering work that the spine has to do.

Look forward to GSD owner's replies

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Unread 02-21-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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I do find it really interesting, almost all other breeds are put in the same 'show' stance to show off the physique and other breeds used for similar work as a GSD are in the classic stance. One of the GSDs was so sloped it almost looked like my collie does when she goes for a pee!

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Unread 02-21-2008, 12:55 PM   #4
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Most likely you visisted an AKC dog show or about that kind? It is NOT the back of the dog, but the croup that slopes badly and in fact, drops off to now place. Therefore making the rears very weak for do much work but show in a ring. The dogs stand almost on the entire back legs, have long straight necks in front, with larger type of face, and ears. They have established their own lines for this which I know none of nor care to, but I do not when somebody inquires to me about a puppy and what they had owned, rattleing off the lines of dog they had I know it is not a German bred dog. These AKC established dogs for showing have alot of elbow-hip displasia and inbreeding, too close on line breeding also. They are a mess!!
http://www.showgsd.org/ You can read more on the rules, etc.
Take close notice of the confirmation of this Am. Shepherd, steep shoulder, dropped croup, etc.
Now, I breed the West Lines from Europe of show and working. They are highly strong in the rear, front, and backs. They enter the Seiger Shows full speed trotting so fast, then stacked to be judged on confirmation. deep pigment, necks tie into a nice sloped shoulder, head fits the body, croups are up and tail ties into it just at right angel to drop straight between the back legs.
Now East lines are used more for protection, K-9 work, military etc. They are to be heavier bones, higher drive, often do not make great pets as just too nervous types. They are usually black, black sable or grey sables. They are very strong dogs and prefer work to being a pet, but many do make good pets as well as to work. I do not breed these lines as I fear the temperment as I had one flighted to me that killed my Boston. Just not stable sound nerves often in breeding them, as when the wall came down, U.S. and others were there to buy cheap, often did not get papers, inbreds, etc. It has now gotten back on track of better East lines.













I had posted a thread of just look at difference, self explantory in looking at the 3 differences. West German Dogs do possess high drive as some of mine do, but sound nerves that make great pets. all in what one wants to do with the lines. But, look at the confirmations and differences closely and you will come to realize such a big difference of:
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Unread 02-21-2008, 01:12 PM   #5
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Thanks Shep, that's really informative. I see now that it is the legs and not the back. I'm actually in the UK so it was a KC show that I saw. You say that the really low stoop is only good for showing and that it is weak, do you know how this came to be in the breed standard then?

It seems bizarre to breed a physical trait into a dog that would make it inherently weak, it seems somewhat like the english Bulldogs over-excessive breeding to get the strong forequarters and slim rear - to the point that I have heard of many who cannot whelp their own pups naturally. I can see that yours look much stronger and I think much more balanced and attractive.

I also noted with interest what you said about temperament, I didn't realise the difference with the particular strains that have the higher aggression. I've been very nervous of GSDs since I was young, most of the dogs I have come across have been hugely aggressive. Its great to hear of someone that pays real attention to both temperament and form like you appear to, maybe if more people did so then I would feel a lot better when I came face to face with one!

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Unread 02-21-2008, 01:52 PM   #6
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Oh honey alot of Shepherds are not agressive, just very poorly bred. I do not know how the Amercian type lines came about to just show well in the ring to win? I never was interested as I was gifted when I had horses giving lessons, training, etc. some from appreciation gave me a puppy. Always got crippled, I knew back then nothing about HD, so went to vet and they denerved them in back legs to kill the pain.

I got so sick of every Shepherd I got having this I had back of my mind to try and improve this wonderful loyal breed of dog. Hence, researched and found the West Lines more my love to breed and met Gerti my mentor. She taught me alot living her twice also. Such a difference, temperment is bred into dogs even if we do not like to admit saying all little puppies are not born mean. You know there are shy, timid ones that usually can turn out quite nastey in the wrong hands, etc.?

So, Shepherds now I import are so sweet, lovling and loyal it is sometimes nerve wracking to me under my feet, but I adore my puppies to work and prepare for new homes. I whelp each one and hourly hold them to let them feel human hands and smells. They cannot see nor hear, but the feel and smell. I am very careful to pretrain them to what the people ask for and most are for pets or work in search n rescue, bomb detecting, agility, etc.

It is what time is put into a puppy still with the litter and mom that makes them so sweet, unafraid of things, to be outgoing and not frightened of much of anything. Do not fear a Shepherd, some are bad, do not blame them, try to stoop to the dogs level and slowly reach out back of your hand for it to smell you and make a new friend......
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Unread 02-21-2008, 01:58 PM   #7
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I love GSD but most of them are overangulated,most of all in the US and England!.A lot more than in Fr!.i am use to the German working GSD and out of all the pictures, you psted,my favorites are the last 4 pictures!.
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Unread 02-21-2008, 02:00 PM   #8
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You are right of course Shep, I am sure that not all GSDs are aggressive. I have been unfortunate in that every bad experience I have had with a dog has been with one, I was attacked by one as a child, a very beloved dog of mine was mauled by two and now I steer well clear. I grew up with huge Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (Great Pyrenees in the US I think?) without any problems and am confident with most other dogs.

I think GSDs are beautiful, and I hope one day I'll meet some that will make me feel a bit more at ease with the breed. If only you were in the UK!

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Unread 02-21-2008, 04:46 PM   #9
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Shep that was a really interesting read. Everything you say makes sense.

I haven't had a lot to do with GSD other than in the military - and of course they were NOT pets. Having said that I've known a dog handler leave his dog with me and it would happily go to sleep under my desk.

I heard of one English Police GSD who had had so much dental work his teeth were worth thousands! I believe he was also a mascot for the police - I'll check that out and give you the full story if I can.

It just goes to show that you learn something everyday. I thought only horses were denerved as a very last resort!

Melamarphine - why don't you make friends with the Coventry Police Dog Handling Department and ask them if you could spend some time with their GSDS? Its worth a try! Its good that we humans can often trace our fears and phobias back to real-life experiences and yet some owners don't allow their dogs the same consideration and always believe the dog is bad or aggressive.

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Unread 02-21-2008, 05:44 PM   #10
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I was watching a recent conformation show on TV, ans the announcer said something like the GS low stance in the rear legs is to help it ger around herding stock better. I was appalled that they would even think such a stupid thing! Perhaps those that breed conformation have actually deluded themselves into thinking this somehow enhances a working dog? You never see GS with that bad of anglation do agility, so how on earth could they herd!!
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