Wednesday 16 March 2016

REVEALED: the GSD at Crufts that looked GREAT!

This is a German Shepherd bitch called Kenmil's Bellisima Of Danala.  She looks great, doesn't she? She is free-moving and balanced on the move.

Unfortunately, it wasn't this year - it was in 1982, 34 years ago, that this dog won Reserve Best in Show at Crufts.

A dog like this is no longer considered correct today by most in the GSD show-world - as we have seen in recent days.

I hope by now that most people have realised that the Best of Breed bitch at Crufts is not a one-off.

Cruaghaire Catoria is typical of what's being bred and shown in the UK and much of Europe - following the lead of Germany, the home of the GSD.

This was the top show bitch in Germany in 2015. This is what they're aiming for. Look at her and weep.

None of this has happened overnight.

And neither is it the first time that people have been horrified and demanded that something is done about it.  We shot this at Crufts in 2008 for Pedigree Dogs Exposed.

And there was a fuss again in 2010 when viewers reacted badly to the sight of Best of Breed, Ch Veneze Ellie in the main ring (deja vu performance from both Clare Balding and Caroline Kisko, the KC's head of communications, isn't it?).

The upshot, I think we can agree, is that the Kennel Club has been completely ineffectual in sorting out "the GSD problem".

The reason? 

The breeders don't think there is a problem.

Oh, they might admit to a little overangulation here... a bit of a wobbly hock there.. but as anyone who has tried to discuss it with them knows,  the bottom line is that they really think the dog is fundamentally correct. And when a bit of slo-mo footage breaks  through the cognitive dissonance, there is always an excuse. It was the slippy surface..poor handling...the size of the ring.. a non-representative unlucky moment... the dog was coming into/out of season... the noise (this from a dog that's temperamentally supposed to be as steady as a rock!).

There is nothing you can do to persuade them otherwise.

• You can tell them there is no precedent for this shape in a canid.

• You can tell them that it's no coincidence that the breed suffers spinal/joint issues

• You can tell them that the biggest canine locomotion study in the world found that the shape handicaps the dogs.

• You can tell them that anyone with eyes in their head can see it's wrong.

• And you can tell them that the breed's founder, Max von Stephanitz, would turn in his grave if he could see what had been done to his beloved shepherd. Because what he thought was a good dog was this....

...and this...

1924, Donar von Overstolzen
..and this.
1925 Klodo vom Boxberg

No, today's show breeders will look you straight in the eye and ask you to believe that this...

..and this...

..and this..

...are better dogs.

Right now,  the Kennel Club is trying to work out what it has to do in order to regain some credibility in the eyes of a very disappointed public - without totally pissing off the GSD Clubs.

The KC's Caroline Kisko has already suggested (as she did in 2010) that withdrawing challenge certificates might do the trick. For those that don't know, this simply means that the dogs can still compete and still win, but won't be able to be called a Champion. 

But I suspect it will be taken out of the KC's hands. The GSD League of Great Britain is furious. How dare the kennel club throw one its own to the wolves as the Kennel Club did on television on Sunday night in a clunky attempt to save its own neck. (And it really did... this was no mea culpa hand-wringing... it was an attempt by the Kennel Club to absolve itself of any responsibility.)  

Not us, guv... it was the judge... the dog... the breeder... the runes... basically anything other than the fact that once the fuss died down after 2010, the Kennel Club has done very little to tackle the issue. (Although there is one bit of good news - a new biomechanics study, funded by the KC, is just beginning at the University of Surrey. Researchers there hope to recruit 260 GSDs over the next two years. I am waiting for more info on this and will blog separately.)

As I reported a couple of days ago, the KC delegated judges training to the GSD League of GB - the very body that thinks it's perfectly OK for the dogs to look like this. 

And as for the hope expressed by Caroline Kisko on Sunday night's broadcast that next year's GSD Crufts' judge won't give the top prize to a dog like Cruaghaire Catoria... well, his name is Malcolm Robinson and he gave Cruaghaire Catoria a 1st in a class in 2014.

My guess is that the GSD League will stick two fingers up to the KC and other GSD Clubs could follow. The League is affiliated to the WUSV and already runs shows in the UK under WUSV rules.  This way, it can continue to breed and show German Shepherds that look like hyenas without having to run the gauntlet of a prime-time television audience which, in its view, knows nothing.

This would solve the Kennel Club's immediate problem - although be a bit embarrassing. But of course it does nothing for the dogs.

So what's the answer?

Hah! You thought I was going to suggest something?

Nope. I'm right out of ideas. You need psychologists to sort this one - well, and some more conclusive science as there haven't been enough studies comparing the show GSD with the working-bred dogs that - thank God - you can still find outside the ring. Dogs like this one.

Or how about this Finnish dog - who actually has competed in the Finnish show-ring?

And then there's this dog, Super Trouper at Brightmeadow, who won well at Paignton Championship Show in Devon last year under top (but non-specialist) judge Jean Lanning. Lanning has been around long enough to not be afraid of going against the flow.  

The problem is that dogs like this rarely get a chance in the UK show-ring because the "Germanic" type rules.  Super Trouper is what they would call an Alsatian - what the breed was called during/post WW2 here in the UK (a time when anything German would be given a hard time). Anyone who likes them is called an "Alsatianist". It's not intended as a compliment.

So... how do we solve the "GSD problem"? Let me know your thoughts below.



  2. I wish I knew what could be done.

    But these people have put themselves into a feedback loop so badly that they can no longer see the damage they're doing.

    And when they're called out on it, you're "hating the breed" or you're ignorant of the finer points of the breed or whatever else.

    Honestly, what NEEDS to happen is judges must stop rewarding this crap. How to accomplish that without retraining/replacing every single judge, I do not know.

  3. What a contrast. In what alternate reality are the current dogs supposed to be an improvement in efficient movement? Even when my old boy was 15 years and suffering from spondylosis, he didn't drag the tops of his feet on the ground, bunny-hop or walk on his metatarsals.

  4. A hyena is a functional animal!

    1. it is yes, but it can still move swiftly, it's back end able to support it's body, nature designed it to be the shape it is, it is not a cripple because it wouldn't survive. Tori type GSDs left on the plains of Africa would be dead within an hour, they couldn't sustain a long enough gallop to outrun any prey, it's a fact dp. It's a tragedy what we are seeing, surely you agree with that fact.

    2. A hyena is not a canid, though.

    3. The hyena is millions of years of evolution with environmental selection. If you look at a hyena, the back is roached, but the back leg is not crouched like we see in GSD's. They certainly don't walk on their metatarsals.

    4. No they don't have a crumpled hind leg or walk on their metatarsals.

      The hyena is instead built with a massive powerful high front end with very much bigger deeper chest, longer shoulder, higher massive wither, longer forearm than a canine has. Robust long sloping neck and short broad strong sloping back, short torso and big shoulders chest and head. It needs to be able to look over tall grass as it lopes along. They have unbelievable bounce when running in an excited state, this suspension lifts them clear of the ground and grass with each stride which is a spring off the impressively big feet and highly effective toes. It can also run dead flat sprints of at least 60Km/h with no suspension at all, most of the drive coming from the chest and forearm like a charging bear or baboon, the lower back end allowing for swift turns and change of direction which it can achieve even at full speed. It can sit and spin its mighty front end in an instant to stop a lion trying to hook its back legs.

      It's a master of evolutionary design. Packs of Hyenas kill and chase down 93% of their diet. Highly intelligent and also sociable some like the spotted.

      Of course they never do what the show GSD do and that's the sad pathetic high speed back end wobble, head stiffly held upfront. Yes the show GSD does look just like a dog with a back injury.

      The hyena doesn't have that broken back look at all, it's a short broad muscled sloping back rather than a roach anything and never has that kink like its back has been broken unless it has been of course. The angle of the pelvis is much the same as a wolfs in fact, just all the powers is upfront and tall whereas in a canine or wolf its evenly spread out. The hind legs of a hyena can almost look on the straight side especially when its making itself tall.

      Here is a nice comparison of a hyena and a wolf.

  5. I really CANNOT understand the cruel mentality of all the breeders, Kennel Club etc that they think the deformed unhappy unhealthy German Shepherds they are breeding today which are obviously have awful problems walking. Are better than the healthy dog seen in the 1982 clip when the German Shepherds line was absolutely correct and was walking fine looking every bit the strong dependable working German Shepherd Dog.
    It beggars belief! The only thing that's come out of all this is that far more people have been made aware of the State of the German Shepherds and after so many complaints it must show the breeders and clubs that a massive volume of people hate what is going on.
    And since even Crufts admitted the German Shepherd was lame as the vet and Claire Balding discussed we can only hope that continued pressure from the public will be strong enough to turn things around. Surly it wouldn't be very hard work to breed the straight backed German Shepherd because that is what was natural for the breed. The dogs was healthy balanced with NO DEFORMITY WHATS SO EVER! BRING BACK THE GERMAN SHEPHERDS OF 1982 to the shows!
    If the Kennel Club, Crufts etc don't do anything, WHY CAN'T THE RSPCA BE INVOLVED! Surely they MUST can have the power to intervene?
    I think a TV documentary should highlights all this again!
    The more bad press for the breeders and clubs that support this cruelty the better!
    If good honest people all get together surely we can have a strong voice because what we say about the plight of the German Shepherds and other breeds being exploited by breeders clubs and judges is the truth.
    The worst thing is nothing!

    1. Tried to post this earlier but I am not sure if it has been deemed unsuitable or if my sausage fingers hit the wrong button.
      I was saying that it would be very difficult for the RSPCA to get involved. They would have to take individuals to court and on the basis of cruelty to animals. Firstly who do they take to court the owner or the breeder? Once in court they would have to prove deliberate cruelty and that the dog was in some way unhealthy. I have no doubt that should this happen the GSD league would band together and finance a very stout defence and the dog would have to be shown to be suffering and obviously they would have their own veterinary team claiming that the dog was perfectly healthy. Saying that the dog is wobbly and that it drags it's toes and all the other problems the rest of us can see would not equate to deliberate cruelty. But you wouldn't get that far anyway because as I said, who would be held responsible and how could we prove what they were aiming for?
      I have no idea what would get through to the German shepherd's new clothes people but what I would like to see is The KC stop allowing classes at shows for any of their "category 3" dogs, stop registering any of those dogs unless the individual dog is inspected and is free of the exaggerations that are cause for concern. In fact stop registering any dog that does not have a relevant health test. Let's see The KC put its many millions where its mouth is. Stop having Caroline Kisko heading 'em off at the pass until the heat goes off of them. The softly softly approach has not worked. If they do not believe in the problems caused by exaggerated traits then grow a pair and say so. If they do, then stop blowing smoke up our arses and deal with it. Put your money where your mouth is.
      Now that all sounds great but what will happen is as the GSD league have already demonstrated they will go off on their own and carry on with what they do. I guess that could work for quite a while, but somewhere along the line all breeders will need pet homes for their progeny because not all pups will be good enough for showing. So the KC needs to get its cash out again and make sure that the general public are made fully aware of why they have rejected these breeds and from there you have to hope that eventually the message will get through. I'm worried about that because you still see people like the athlete on the Crufts coverage oohing and ahhing over flat faced dogs. Try convincing the average TOWIE fan that their puggle isn't fit for function and they will scratch your eyes and pay two grand for one! There is also a risk that some breeders will start culling unsuitable pups but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Nothing I have posted here will happen.

  6. maybe it's time to recognize soviet-time breeding of GSD named East-European Shepherd - they are still looking like original GDS... Junior female:

    1. Anonymous I've worked in the prison service (in the offices) but have been allowed to go out and watch the 'lads' do exercises with their dogs and the particular prison I was working for actually imported eastern european dogs because they could WORK! No problems with their soundness in both mind and body. The proper shepherd. The only thing we can do I think is have a proper scientific study taken on by one of the Uni's or AHT, but as with any proper scientific study it would take a long time. With regard to the KC, they're never going to turn their backs on the Germanic GSDs. It would mean a drop in revenue and they wouldn't want that. It would mean a drop in their standard of living, and ego of course, (which is of extreme importance to them) and they couldn't afford that. If there was no Kennel Club what would the likes of Caroline Kisco and all the others do for a job?

    2. She'd go back to PR for a dog food company like she was before. She's supposed to be the mouthpiece for the KC although she appears to have far more power than I would have thought was reasonable for a secretary of any organisation. But she is not responsible for sorting this out.

    3. That is a breathtaking dog! This is what my prince looked like. 16 years, perfect hips until the last 4 years when he got a touch arthritis, but still going strong until one day he laid dogs and didn't wake up.
      That's the dog that ruined me for GSDs, because none of them were like him.
      Had there been more GSDs like that one around, I might still be a GSD person, no matter how much I hated shedding season, lol.

  7. The KC needs to step up to the plate and use it's influence with the public not around crufts but throughout the year pushing for health for all dogs and exposing cruel practices even when hidden behind a respectable screen of shows be in in or out the KC. They need to be concerned about the dogs, not their marketing image.

  8. RSPCA, anyone who has bought puppies from that are deformed can sue them, the sooner the better, they will sue the Kennel Club too because the amount of footage showing Caroline Kisko recognising that there is a problem and promising to reduce and eventually eliminate the exaggeration in this breed. So - it is wide wide open that these GSDs will not be bred to suffer for much longer because somebody is going to action. The only effectual action is to hit their pockets because that is what all this disgusting breeding is all about. The KC will have to clear their desks, they need to look at the standards of the breeds that are being "overbred in the most disgusting and unacceptable breed exaggerations". Caroline Kisko has run out of time in effect, her record shows that she has no influence in the betterment of GSDs in particular, she is too scared seemingly to upset anyone, somebody braver with more integrity needs to run the new changes. I do not wish to be rude to Ms Kisko but she can't do the job, we wouldn't let a nurse service our cars and likewise a mechanic give us an injection.

  9. Remove CC status from the GSD. The breed clubs in question and those breeding and showing this type of dog will leave the control of the KC. Have classes for GSDs judged by experienced all rounders judging to the UK standard . Organise seminars etc. to bring on breed judges. Institute working awards to assess fitness and temperament combined with conformation awards as on the continent. I just don't think attempting to work with people who think the rear end of a dog should look as though it's dragging on the floor is going to be possible, but the public will vote with their puppy buying decisions, and in time the fashion for breeding dogs with crooked backs may well just die out. Most breed standards are already full of words like moderate, it's the judge's who need to stick to them. There are a number of breeds I would'nt be unhappy to see disappear in their current form but unfortunately the appetite of the puppy buying public would ensure, that even if they no longer competed at dog shows, there would be a steady stream of sickly imported and puppy farmed dogs available.

    1. Wouldn't that simply mean this type of dog continues simply out of the public eye with no control whatsoever?

    2. Annie Macfarlane17 March 2016 at 18:12

      I actually believe that the KC should force their hand and say to them we will not be allowing judges to award to these types of dogs any more. Any dogs shown in that condition will be disqualified and awards withheld. If they move then perhaps the people who are breeding more moderate dogs, fit for function, would actually be given a chance in the show ring and start to win awards with their dogs. Very quickly these new types would be the type of choice and puppy purchasers would start to buy them, rather than the deformed cripples that are being bred today. It's the only way. Yes I know that the dogs will continue to be bred under the radar but with the publicity for the new type, the proper type, of GSD gained by the likes of Crufts coverage, this type will soon become popular again. It's not as if there are no KC registered GSDs of the correct type being bred. There are lots of them but they're just not winning at dog shows. It's human nature to want to show off their dogs and if the tv coverage at Crufts and dog shows generally is what they want then they will have no option but to start again with their approach to breeding. I honestly do feel the breed is in such a mess that this needs to happen. That poor dog had me in tears when I saw her. No animal should be made to live like this. Rather than having the healthy dogs outwith the umbrella of the KC, why not invite them all into the fold and portray them as the GSD we consider to be healthy? Just a thought. All the other breeds that are at risk have breed clubs breeding healthy dogs like alternative bulldogs etc. No more excuses, drastic action is needed and it's needed now!

    3. Yes - but ultimately if these breeders want to carry on breeding on the same lines then they will.They won't be forced into anything by the KC because they tend to have little time for it and an alternative ruling body which they prefer. As I said before, it's one thing trying to influence those who breed to show, but there's a whole load of breeders out there who are totally outside any control by the KC in all the popular latest must have breeds.

    4. They're going to breed on the same lines anyhow, KC or no KC. And they won't be breeding under no control because they are breeding to WUSV rules. It's the parent club of the breed, the SV, that's promoting this style of dog in the first place. If the KC want to influence GSD show type and style, then they need to start influencing the SV and FYI.

  10. People who knowingly purchased GSDs from a bitch which was visibly "deformed" (clearly obvious to the buyers at the time of purchase) can sue because they ended up with a "deformed" dog?

    Based upon the reaction by the general public to the video from Crufts we can safely assume the general public recognizes that the conformation of this dog is not right and yet the general public continues to buy pups from GSDs that have this same conformation. Conformation breeders would stop breeding once their house was full of these pups if/when the general public stop buying them.

    If you make a defective product and consumers won't buy it; you will stop making it.

  11. While I'd love to suggest that the KC delist the GSD so that they no longer have a national platform to display their dogs on, the GSD is just the undeniable symptom of what every other breed club is also doing. The legs might not be knuckling over, but the gene pools are just as narrow, the improvements just as nonsensical and the identities of their 'fanciers' are just as bound up in what wins cheap ribbons and metal-plated tat.

    As long as 'pedigree' has some social cachet and as long as people are willing to give recognition for it, this problem will persist in one form or another. I don't see how it'd be fair to single the GSD club for censure as the problem isn't that they're especially bad. Their problem is that the results are unacceptably ugly in the public eye.

  12. The RSPCA need to get involved and prosecute the breeders for causing unnecessary suffering. And if they win they need to continue prosecuting until the breeders stop breeding.

    Chris R

  13. I am so glad you pointed out what I have been screaming at the TV and anyone who will listen about. This is not about one dog, this is endemic in the 'Germanic' fraternity who strive to breed dogs just like Tori. I can remember one particularly obnoxious show individual calling working line dogs 'coyotes'. I read an expression in a book the other day that sums up this whole situation for me "The eye cannot see what the mind does not let it". KC are talking as though this is just one dog that's the problem. The GSD show crowd are a particularly difficult, arrogant and blatantly nasty bunch of people. The KC are terrified of them. Personally I would like to see the continental type delisted. Let them carry on in their own little 'regional events' because they are never going to listen to anyone anyway. If the way were made clear for the moderate types, perhaps people would know where to look for a real GSD.

    1. Gosh, calling working line dogs 'coyotes' honestly sounds like a compliment in my book! Funny story: I used to work at a baseball park and occasionally they'd have "bark in the park" events during which fans could bring their dogs. A guy brought his Australian cattle dog and I was watching this dog trot ever so gracefully past me, thinking what an economical mover he was. An approx. three year old boy nearby exclaimed "ooo coyote!" I thought to myself, 'yeah, I can see that!' There was nothing exaggerated about this dog's conformation or movement, and I got the impression that he could go all day, and his trot really did resemble that of a wild canid's.

  14. We don't solve it Jem, it's not possible. It won't make any difference on any sanction. The 'Germanic' crowd will continue doing what they do, just outside of any catchment area that counts. And as long as vets say there's nothing clinically wrong with the dogs then there's no legislative power that can be used to stop the breeding.
    There are times in life when you just have to admit defeat as sometimes, that wall you've been banging your head against for the last xx years, well it wins the contest.

  15. I honestly think the time has come to lobby for the introduction of a 'Qualzucht' [torture breeding] law in the UK. One which covered the many, many problems in pedigree dogs would be great, but it could also cover the growing problems among pedigree cats, and other animals bred for profit or 'pleasure'. The problems for dogs highlight an absolutely huge animal welfare problem and current welfare laws are simply not focused sufficiently to address the issue. Perhaps a good start would be a documentary about the successes and failures of such laws elsewhere, and an honest, neutral look at what might be achieved here and how.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Impossible to let it go, Ian. And hey, it's only my head...

      And, actually, I think there is hope. There are some respected voices within the breed that are beginning to to speak out. Eg:

    2. What's the solution? Blogs like this one of course. (: People like Jemima.

      Public awareness is critical to change and it's definitely working as we have seen at the outcry over Crufts.

      BTW Klodo vom Boxberg was a very nice looking dog, nice short coat too! Like a more powerful Malinoise which can be a bit fine and small for my liking even though this doesn't or shouldn't affect drive and ability very much. Still they can be rather too small to be a deterrent on looks alone.

      I think the showing GS is going to be less and less popular as more and more people are seeing the difference between working dogs health and longevity on the one hand and ability on the other. Pet owners want the health and longevity and working dog owners want the drive and ability.

      Vets have to be deranged if they think this is a healthy construct for a dog.

      Consumers have the power.

      Ironically perhaps but show breeders could alienate themselves from the general public by possibly removing themselves from KCs, it will just make them look even more like a deranged cult.

      This hasn't happened to working dog breeders because their dogs are simply not freaks in the eyes of anyone and there's no possibility of that ever happening anytime soon.

      Think it would be great if the police started using more working GSDs again. They also don't want an overly heavy dog especially one without any athleticism.

      What surprises me is that this Crufts stink (as far as I can see anyway) hasn't hit the German Press yet. It might well if the KC should decide to go ahead and take away this bitches title, though. Here's hoping. I think if the German media took up the cause there could be some real changes.

      I love Alsatians (: I've never honestly stopped calling them that either.

    3. Looks like Mr Donald's been silenced. His Crufts article has disappeared.

    4. Ooops, breeding for movement alone is a terrible idea anyway!

    5. I've just read some of his nonsense, and yes it looks like his Crufts entry is gone and Im not surprised.

      I mean honestly does a perfectly functional, excellent working Border Collie rounding up sheep in the hills need to be built like a car smash?!!! Does it need to fling its front legs in the air like its drowning and wobble pathetically on its crumpled up hinds to keep trotting all absolutely not, that would just make it impossible to do it's job at all and predispose it to early injury and wear and tear, even as a pet.

      People like Mr Donald seem to think this is exactly what GSDs should be doing, even his moderately deformed dogs are not in the slightest bit desirable to anyone except the show ring. Anything normal is considered weak, everything on the side of abnormal is considered strong except for the extreme which should really just be put down??! What kind of rubbish is this when the starting point is already a deformity? He takes pains and reams, in fact years of blog entry, diagram and observation to try and make the case that abnormal is on the good side of a travesty.

      Maybe the GSD League Mafia spammed his blog entry into smithereens for daring to criticise the achievements of one of their own in such a public manner!

  17. The KC needs to change the judge for Crufts next year, why do they appoint the Germanic type of judge if they don't want the Germanic type to win. Let's have English type judges for English shows. The Germanic ones will continue though at there own shows, very disappointing that they can't see anything wrong with their type of dog.

  18. Pipedream Farm said "If you make a defective product and consumers won't buy it; you will stop making it".

    And therein might lay the entire crux of the problem with all extreme types in the dog world, not just the GSD. Consumers keep right on buying these "defective products" - snub-nosed breeds that can't breathe properly, breeds with excessive wrinkling, drooping eyelids, heads that are too big for the rest of their bodies, breeds that have no protective hair, breeds that have too much hair and the list goes on and on.

    It's not just extremes in dogs either, it's extremes in cats, horses, any animals.

    What is it about the minds of many that admire and covet extreme versions of so many aspects of life in general, not just dogs and not just the GSD?

    I think you have come to the right conclusion Jemima - "You need psychologists to sort this one". And when they have sorted it, they may just have sorted many other issues to do with mankind as well :)

    I'm not suggesting though, that the problem is so overwhelming as to give up on it. When animal welfare is at stake, any small step to alleviate it is a step in the right direction.

  19. There is no fix.

    First, kennel clubs and breed clubs are not about dogs. They are about people stoking their own egos through dogs. Asking such organizations, or rather the people who are in them, to change and act in the interests of dogs, rather than the people who are their stakeholders, is pointless because doing so is counter to their raison d’etre .

    Second, kennel clubs and breed clubs are founded on pseudoscience. You can’t fix pseudoscience.

    When the foundation is fundamentally flawed, a paint job in one or two rooms is a waste of time. This isn't just about GSDs. The whole structure has to go. Knock it down and start again.

    I wouldn’t think about trying to effect change legally on the grounds of welfare - it's a tempting but scary route to take with huge potential knock on effects that most people in a democracy won't want.

    Think money.

    Actively target the clubs' income generating capacity.

    Target the sponsors of dog shows who provide income through paid advertising. Target the broadcasters and ask them not to give these people a public platform that glorifies what they do.

    Start an alternative organization. Base it on performance with conformation shows constitutionally banned. Ask sponsors and broadcasters to support this organization instead and have an annual event - a big one - that showcases what dogs can do. Get the big name trainers on board – they are people who value functionality. Starve kennel clubs of their performance people by poaching them and the income they generate.

    Get some wealthy, famous dog-loving backers.

    There are lots of models for such an organization if you look at the worlds of working dogs and real dog sports. Some of them are respected registries - make the organization a registry that will attract breeders who actually disagree with what goes on in kennel clubs but feel trapped because there is nowhere else to go. Have a registry that is open to sensible crosses for health and performance traits - it can be done and is done already: the KNPV does it to get the working traits they want and their dogs are in demand worldwide. Working dog registries are not breeding dogs that are suitable as pets, but their models can be used to do so.

    Start an organization that results in healthy, functional dogs. That's what the puppy buying public and trainers want. Take the money they spend on puppies away from kennel clubs and their breeders. Breeders that can't sell their puppies go out of business.

    Keep up the pressure. It has an effect because public exposure is a key part of educating the dog-loving, and puppy-buying, public. But it’s not in itself enough if you really want change because there are too many people out there who education cannot reach. Cognitive dissonance and the Dunning Kruger effect, as well as willful ignorance, are rife.

    Think money.

    Think alternative.

    Think big.

    "Utility is the true criterion of beauty."
    Max von Stephanitz

    1. "I wouldn’t think about trying to effect change legally on the grounds of welfare - it's a tempting but scary route to take with huge potential knock on effects that most people in a democracy won't want."

      The only knock on effect is deformed dogs wont be tolerated. Scary? No.

      Until a dog gets the vote Im not hiding behind democracy to prevent them getting help .

      PETA's got loads of money I hope they achieve the public awareness our dogs deserve. But strangely they dont seem at all as proactive with pedigree dog problems as they should be or are with other welfare issues.

      PETA needs to pull finger! Its not enough any more to just say we shouldn't own dogs full stop, that's plain lazy. They need to get real and start making a difference.

    2. River P said:

      "The only knock on effect is deformed dogs wont be tolerated. Scary? No. "

      Just for starters, think about the following:

      Define "deformity" and then define the point at which it compromises welfare. Do this in such a way that extremists could not use the law to harass good breeders too.

      Bearing in mind that all the deformities that breeders select for are the result of selecting for natural mutations, once you've come up with the workable, fail-safe definitions above, tell us how to distinguish breeders who produce deformed animals deliberately from those who do not, in such a way that those who do not can avoid being prosecuted. How often does the natural mutation have to occur before we decide that there is intent?

      Are we going to include breeding dogs with health defects such as hip displaysia and epilepsy that compromise welfare in this legislation? If not, why not? If so, how do we avoid prosecuting breeders who are working with a gene pool that is rife with a problem that is polygenic and therefore unpredictable? They will be producing puppies with the problem even if they are actively trying to avoid it.

      The LUA dalmatian project produced litters that included puppies with and without the problem. Are the breeders in projects such as this to improve the situation going to be exempt from prosecution even though they are intentionally breeding puppies with a welfare-compromising defect as part of the process of attempting to eliminate it? If so, by what mechanism will they be exempt from the law?

      That's just for starters.

    3. And it's a very good start.

      Why should breeders be breeding dogs within gene pools that are rife with problems that are polygenic?

      Should some breeds just be banned on grounds of welfare?

      Should permission or even license be needed to correct others depending on the extent and duration of or just simply the consequences of that effort on welfare?

      No different to applying for an extension on your house.

      Should we all be able to build five story basments under our villa's? Maybe not depends on the disturbance it would cause the neighbourhood, right?

      It could be a new branch of law, sure you could contribute a lot?

    4. "Why should breeders be breeding dogs within gene pools that are rife with problems that are polygenic?"

      My choice of examples of health problems that are polygenic and rife withing a breed was deliberate. If you want to ban breeding dogs from within gene pools that are rife with problems that cause suffering and are polygenic, then you can say goodbye to working German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherds - the working lines suffer from dysplasia and epilepsy respectively, just as their showline counterparts do.

      If you are OK with that, then you are at least consistent.

      Your comparison to a building permit does not hold - buildings do not feel pain and disturbance caused by building work is temporary.

      Should some breeds be banned on the grounds of welfare? Well, there are some breeds that we'd all consider a good place to start - that's the easy part - but where would you stop?

      Which brings me back to my first questions, upon which all else follows and which you have avoided:

      Define "deformity" and then define the point at which it compromises welfare. Do this in such a way that extremists could not use the law to harass good breeders too.

    5. Defining an intentional deformity in it's extreme manifestation that negatively affects the welfare of a dog is not difficult. The basics animals have a "right" to. To be able to breath, move and live a normal healthy life, unhindered by breeder selection for the opposite....

      "Extremist's" don't enter the picture, the science is too precise. In the very few areas where this is not the case other constructs would be needed until a time they are.

  20. PETAs record with regard to dogs in the USA does'nt really fill you will confidence. I love the way all the ills that plague dogs of particular breeds are laid at the feet of the small number, in proportion, who breed and compete in shows. The vast majority of pet dogs out there come from other sources and, if you all got your way and suddenly there was no more KC or shows, the commercial breeders and importers would still churn out puppies and the general public would still want their flat faced 'cute' dogs - and who knows how mny father daughter etc.matings accidentally occur in those establishments. And, of course there would be no health testing for those.I am no apologist for the KC in it's current undemocratic form but at least money is being poured into health schemes and research. You have to be pragmatic. You can rant and rage about closing them down and banning things but it is'nt going to happen. Get real, you need to work with people to change things not tar them all with the same brush.

    1. PETA = only do things for publicity. Many who really care about animals will stay clear of anything even remotely associated with PETA.

    2. That's complete and utter nonsense.

  21. German Shepherd18 March 2016 at 12:55

    1. Research. Good science can be a persuasive sledgehammer. That needs a research team ready to do the project, funding, and enough dogs. Speaking as a one-time University biologist, that's not actually as hard as all that to put together, if there's the will.

    2. Public Opinion. If awareness can be raised sufficiently within the general dog-owning public, then owning this type of GSD (or other suffering breeds) could become less socially acceptable.

    1. The science is here. Its getting people to understand it that is the problem. And not just by pedigree breeders.

      The likes of Hendrik Gommer, Steven Hawkings and others have pointed the way. Biophysics can and does show this K.C model is not viable and can not work. It is counter to evolutionary science.

      Our genetic makeup guides our responses as a species.
      A constitution creates a culture and sets its direction. The rules of a constitution guide that culture on HOW the direction is to be achieved.

      Any K.C that has ruled it members may not breed a dog ineligible for registration has ruled against its environment.
      It will not accept environmental influence, and will strive to keep any values within that org.
      It is an environment unto itself. It does not recognize the environment that supports it, only its own jurisdiction or sub environment is deemed to holds any value.
      It has written a cultural program, That acts just like a genetic program for a species. A species that does not recognize its environment.... Its well understood what that does to an organism, or cells. The same is happening to the domestic dog as a species.
      Any awareness we can generate in the GENERAL dog owning public will have little effect, or only detrimental effect. As long as this rule stands any attempts to correct the problems can only come at the expense of the environment. Reducing the environment able to respond to dogs.Thru legislation, censure etc.

      Weather man is involved or not, the evolution of a species is directed by environmental demand, and how a species is able to respond to that.
      Man IS the natural environment for domestic dogs as a species- environment is not simply geography.
      Environment is the space you occupy, made up of all it contains.
      How a species responds to what is contained within that environment helps to shape that space, to make it healthy and supportive of the species by demonstrating values worth emulating.

      Any K.Cs that have ruled against their members breeding outside of their own protocols have ruled against their environment and will not recognize it as long as that rule stands. Any attempt to correct problems will come by shrinking of the environment, rather than by recognition of its demands.

      WE, collectively, are the natural environment for dogs. The K.Cs refuse to recognize this and have hijacked the species.Only a change in the rule that would allow K.C members to cross breed OUTSIDE of the K.C protocols can reverse this situation.
      Its imperative that Hendrik Gommers Thesis IS looked at in the context of the K.Cs rules by a qualified physicist with basic biological training because the implications do reach much further than pedigree dogs when you can see how his theories are so completely borne out by what is happening and how.

      Its inarguable, I believe. But getting people to understand it is too hard for me. But I have done it. Others can. We need Steven Hawkings here!

    2. Sara is right about knock on effects. It would be US shrinking the environment able to hold dogs in an attempt to make it less favorable for those values held and promoted by the K.Cs. that we as the environment for dogs, reject.

      Consumers here DO NOT have the power to bring the type of change we want as long as the K.Cs are an environment unto themselves. They don't meet our demands- Instead they demand we accept their values.
      There is no such thing as value with out purpose.DOGS have purpose to Man. We are the environment that supports them.
      The pedigree has value for the purpose of improving dogs. It does have value TO that purpose.
      But when the Pedigree itself becomes the value, instead of dogs ( as has been ruled in too many of the K.Cs constitutions) Dogs loose purpose.
      Purpose is replaced by the pedigree- It represents purpose and takes its place.

      You have environment.You have a species.
      Which responds according to environmental demands.

      The correct response to gain favor and thrive in an evolutionary context is to demonstrate value.
      In this case, to Man. Values worth emulating by Man to more effectively achieve his purpose. DOGS that bring value through their purpose to us.
      The value is in that purpose. Not the pedigree. Its just a tool. The K.Cs have elevated the tool to a purpose in itself.

      There will be mathematical formula that demonstrates the interaction of purpose, environment and response for maximum efficiency and viability.
      Until that ruling against the environment is removed from a K.Cs constitution the best we can do will be to shrink the environment able to support dogs.

      The only other alternative that will work effectively is a whole new registry for the promotion of purpose and value for dogs in their natural environment(s) as a directive.

    3. The K.Cs interrupt the messages sent from species to environment. The Purpose for dogs no longer drives the values found to achieve that purpose.

      The values held by a single organization are held to be of more value than the purpose itself.

    4. The K.Cs interrupt the messages from species to environment.

      The purpose for dogs is no longer driven by the values we find to build on that purpose. The values of an organization are deemed more important than the purpose they support. They no longer support the purpose,(dogs) but become a purpose in themselves( a pedigree).

  22. It's funny how fast rats desert a sinking shit. The American Germam shepherd owners are so fast to distance themselves from this bitch. There's even a post going around by one of them pretty much condemning the breed in general. I thought great, someone gets it. Then I googled her and watched her dogs show at Westminster. Her two non champion dogs looked scared and behaved terribly and were godawful specimens. The entire German shepherd community needs to stop breeding and reevaluate their priorities. Jemima, you need to come to the IS and make a documentary about the dogs here. Wake people up!

    1. This is what I mean, there is controversy and division within that block of die hards already, its not difficult to tweak a reaction as Jemima has proved a few times already.

      They're not as secure or as powerfully unified as many think. This has been the situation for a great deal of years too.

      They think nothing of throwing each other under the bus as a result.

      Divide and rule how about that as a plan, always taking the ideal one step further towards normal.

      Lets face it anyone going in the opposite direction isn't going to even have a dog for much longer, not one that wont have to literally drag its hind end along the ground like dead appendages. The exaggeration has already reached point of destruction, and as we know to win you have to go that extra bit....

      The point of complete breakdown in the breed at the top level in showing has to be wafer thin already.

  23. Well, at least there are lot of similar type of dogs that could be used to save the GSD. Also there is the working type GSD. And then there are lot of "breeds" that have been developed from the GSD like the Russian ones and lupo italiano. How to change the minds of the show breeders or how to make it happen, I do not know...

  24. Jemima, I just saw this photo and it's enough to make you sick: this dog is practically CRAWLING! This madness has to stop; if we walked like that we'd be crippled in no time!

  25. Looks like dogs bred in Malta follow the UK/German standards!

  26. I have part of a plan.........

    It starts with the KC disowning (or whatever they need to do) the GSD League that they appointed to train the judges. And whichever body authorises a judge as suitable to judge GSDs too. The KC themselves must become responsible for training and appointing judges to this breed. This follows on from Nick Blayneys comment that the judges are ignoring the very problems highlighted in BreedWatch. That 'should' remove the issue of the very poor examples of the breed being rewarded in KC shows.

    But this drives the 'Germanic' owners/breeders into purely non-KC showing where they will still be rewarded for breeding the very dogs that are the heart of the problem.

    So now the KC/AHT/whoever have to step up to the plate, invest whatever is required, and produce clear clinical evidence that the 'Germanic' type dogs, with their bent spine/plantigrade & weak rear legs/turned out hocks etc. are inherently not 'Fit For Purpose'. Then the evidence must be presented to the WUSV. If they do not change their beliefs then I cannot see what more can be done apart from actual legislation.

    Lastly, the KC should take the opportunity to not blindly register puppies in this breed. It must process all registrations via an independent panel that will assess at least 2 previous generations for conformity to what is believed to be a 'sound' dog before accepting the registration.

    Of course, the likelihood of this happening is close to zero but at least it's part of a plan. Anyone up for lobbying for this to actually happen???

    1. I have updated above, Ian, to include a bit more about the GSD conformation study just starting at the University of Surrey. This has, I think, some potential in helping to nail what impact (if any) the shape has on health - something that's badly needed. It's going to be a while before it reports but should be useful.

    2. If they want some sound (not bent/deformed) GSD's to aid their study my brother has several, 2 of which have earned placings at Crufts! I'm sure he wouldn't mind assisting.

  27. I think the problem has stemmed from the split stance stack GSD's are shown in - very different from other breeds. Even way back when, they were shown in a split stance to accentuate thier 'alertness' and ready to spring into action. Let's get them showing in the same stance as the majority of other breeds and see how bizarre they look.

    1. Forget the stack and look at the movement.

    2. The 3 point stack only serves to lower the rear end while standing. If the back is bent/curved, like in the majority of the 'germanic' type dogs, then the 3 point stack accentuates this but is not the cause of the bend. There are GSDs out there with straight backs that when stacked maintain a straight (not level) topline to the croup. Those are the dogs that are NOT rewarded in conformation shows!!

  28. Unfortunately, it looks like the GSDs here in Australia aren't faring any better.

  29. Interesting place to see the reinforcing of the crippled GSD type you saw winning at CRUFTS is on the Royal Canin (MAXI)Large Adult dog food bag. Don't Royal Canin sponsor stuff that the KC do.

  30. Are you aware of this campaign?

  31. I admit I'm no expert on dog conformation, but I've owned and loved GSDs for over 40 years and find some of these pictures and videos sickening.

    The main thing that strikes me about these dogs is the strange 'flexibility' for the want of a better word of their rear - is 'pasterns' the word? or 'metatarsals'? Whichever is the correct term, it's the part equivalent on a human to the foot, the toes are the part that bend, the rest up to the hock/heel should be the springy shock absorber, but on these dogs it's bending and weight bearing in the most peculiar way. I've been studying all these photos and videos and watching our walking pack of various breeds all week and not one of our dogs has this conformation. Feeling our dogs toes/feet/hocks/ there is no way that part of the rear limb bends in any fashion at all.

    I've heard all the excuses, scared, tired, panic stricken dogs, not enough ring space, too many crowds etc. which only proves to me that the dogs are secondary to the human in these shows, but this problem is also obvious in still photographs on breeder's own websites - surely the dog at it's best.

    However I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that these dogs are suffering doubly by the human hand. On one side there is the selective breeding for this conformation and on the other is the training these dogs go through from a very, very young age, I've seen the puppy handling pictures, they scared me to death, doing that when bones are soft and unformed is surely wrong and it's this unbelievable attitude to the puppies that might be a huge factor in the weakness of these show line dogs. Dogs don't stand like that unless trained, their knees are permanently bent, their rear ends always crouched and then the trainers are somehow making them RUN in this position.

    Could anyone enlighten me how these dogs are trained to do this? I've learnt so much from here but I'm still not sure how you'd start to get a dog to run in this fashion.

    The why is obvious, a human being has decreed it so, but I would also like to know the process and from anyone with knowledge of dog anatomy if it is possible the legs become seriously weakened and maybe permanently damaged by this training, or if it's reversible - anyone know of any photos of 8 or 9 year old show dogs that had this stance and gait in the ring?

  32. At least the bitch who went BOB wasn't moving on the top of her front feet like this bitch who went winners at Westminster in New York this year.
    Ironic that the owner of this bitch has a post out trashing the breed...

  33. Super Trouper at Brightmeadow, strung up & stacked into position, totalky against current KC requirements for the breed, done to hide structual faults amoungst other things.
    Sadly I was at Crufts shen the Kenmils bitch was shown. Typucatl of her breeding a highly strung fearful bitch totally unsuitable for working stock (& not hunting to survive in Africa) & yes I do know a lot about this breed, having owned them for over 50 years, all directly from GERMAN working dogs with no UK dogs in their make up. All 150% temperament & character & physically & MENTALLY sound, if shown they also did well.
    Jemima has yet to apologise for inferring in her first program that dogs that were in fact NOT KC registered were in fact not & not related to the KC dogs shown at all. She even inferred that the GERMAN GSDs were related to the puppy GSD she showed.
    She did nit show the two varieties of Irish Setters, whose breeders have bred out 2 genetic conditions, because successful breeding doesn't make good TV

  34. At least German GSDs have protection drive. Our bendy-legged American dogs would lick the face of a burglar wielding a machete. One of the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen was a German-bred showline German shepherd with a fine, straight back and JUST the right angulation. If you got attacked by a bigfoot, he would take it's arm off!