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While the Kennel Club looks busy with a workshop that is supposed to decide how to tackle "the GSD issue" this bitch went Best of Breed at the Scottish Kennel Club Championship Show last weekend.
Conbhairean Gabriella (b. 7 March 2012) looks more sound than Cruaghaire Catoria, the GSD that caused all the fuss at Crufts two months ago. But just look at the wobble when she's stacked - and the droop when she isn't. She looks like a gust of wind would blow her over.
For those interested, here is her pedigree - illustrious in show terms.
A reminder of what the Kennel Club standard demands:
A final note: this dog passed a vet check after her win.
"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."
A final note: this dog passed a vet check after her win.
There is just no excuse for that rear. She's also got flat feet & is knuckled over in front. She can barely keep her balance at all.ReplyDelete
And her knees turn in. Look at how poorly muscled her thighs are!ReplyDelete
It's just ridiculous. This is one reason out of many I can't believe the GSD breeders and judges who claim to be the experts, who say that nobody else can judge them since it's "their" breed. Sorry, the mainstream lot of you have clearly proven you don't have effective judgement and lack common sense and good practices. This is why the German shepherd should be bred first and foremost with work ability in mind. Form follows function, and if you're not demanding that your dogs do much aside from a quick romp outdoors or around a ring, what selective pressures are helping you to weed out weak animals? (Certainly not your good judgement and knowledge of anatomy, clearly).ReplyDelete
Why is it that EVERY SINGLE GSD I see in a damn ring acts in such a manner that I, quite viscerally, experience a blast of what I can only gamble equates to a schizophrenic panic attack? Each and every single GSD looks like they are experiencing sheer, neurotic terror and subsequent panic--over their own limbs, of which they seemingly have no control, at the slightest sound of another canine barking, when the judge firmly touches them in ways I can only assume they ought to be easily accustomed to. These dogs, practically frothing at the mouth with nerves, are supposed to represent the absolute best of the best available in the breed? This is completely and utterly disheartening.ReplyDelete
I have witnessed these dogs acting like lunatics in the ring with my own eyes! I was stewarding atSKC last year in the ring next to the GSD and was astounded to see them screaming and yelling for their owners,who are outside the ring screaming,wailing,whistling and generally making an arse of themselves to get their dog's attention. I was happy to see the stewards deal with this in a calm manner,exhibitors and spectators were told to stop with the noise and they actually did! There's no need for it at all and the dogs are so stressed out,it's cruel watching them panic and look for their ownersDelete
I have a theory about the fearfulness shown by showline GSDs – and other showline herding dogs.Delete
Fearfulness is an issue in many of the herding breeds: border collies, Shelties, Belgians, Aussies… These are breeds that have been selected for attention to their handler and fearfulness plays a role in this, so it is part of these breeds, as it is in all of us. Fearfulness is necessary for survival and is a trait that is never going to go away. It is a trait with a genetic component and in a good dog, it’s just not overdone.
Fearfulness is the mother of aggression. Most dogs that bite are doing so out of fear.
Multi-purpose herders, who are also used as guards, are bred for predatory behaviour. Protection sport people talk about prey drive and fight drive (caveat – behaviourists do not subscribe to drive theory to describe behaviour but it makes sense to the people who actually work the dogs). This is part of the predatory sequence and is confident hunting behaviour, not aggression. They will also talk about working a dog in defense – yes, as I said, fearfulness is present in all of us but properly working a dog in defense is about overcoming the fear that is one of the balanced traits of the dog. If you watch good working line dogs doing protection sports, you see confidence, not fear, not aggression.
I don’t think show breeders understand behaviour. Why would they? It’s never tested. They breed for fearfulness because when the result is a dog that acts aggressively toward someone, they really think that this is the characteristic of the good guard dogs that these breeds are supposed to be. They actually don’t want the prey drive and fight drive that the good dogs have – these people aren’t producing working dogs and dogs with high amounts of these drives, or the desire to indulge in predatory behaviour if you prefer those terms, are not easy to live with. Dogs that are truly bred to be companions/pets are selected away from a lot of predatory behaviour and fearful dogs with can be easy to live with, as long as you don’t put them into a situation in which they will bite. But, if a fearful, unbalanced GSD is put in a situation in which it displays aggression, this is interpreted by people who don’t know better as the correct behaviour of a good protection dog. These people really do believe that these fearful, panicky caricatures are producing the same behaviour as a well-balanced dog with a healthy amount of fear in it combined with and balanced by confident predatory behaviour.
Not. Not. Not.
Well about the hocks I don't think a dog's rear legs being cow-hocked while standing is a bad thing, but instead a natural canine trait. Wolves, Dingoes, Coyotes, African Wild Dogs, etc are all close relatives to dogs and their rear legs are all cow-hocked while standing. Nature selects this trait for wild canines. Now if the dog also have a poor structure, or if during full gait the dog is still cow-hocked there is a problem.ReplyDelete
Are you sure? Do you have some pix to show this in wild canids?Delete
It seems like dogs with this leg shape are good at running but have trouble walking and standing, is that right?
wild canids have cow hocks like that?? please show a picture cause I could not find any... This is what I found mostly and it is quite far from the pic on top... https://crated.com/art/90769/timber-wolf-by-mcummings?product=FP&size=12|18&frame=BF&edge=250MADelete
Nope, just looked at loads of pictures and wild canines look nothing like the picture above.Delete
@Anonymous 11:14 I searched for pics for the rear view of wild canines in Google and uploaded to http://imgur.com.(Original urls in the description box) They are all cow-hocked while standing.Delete
African Wild Dogs
Some amount of cow-hockedness is totally normal and fine in canids of all kinds, but the GSD in this post goes way beyond anything I would call normal. This dog is so cow hocked that it's heels are touching each other to form a triangle with the ground. Furthermore, this dog maintains it's cow-hockedness even while on the move, not just while standing.Delete
What I notice (more than the cow hocks) is the leg's angulation which can be seen when she tries to run. She doesn't have a natural gait that you might see from a wolf. Her back legs are simply poor. She looks more like she's tiptoeing than running, and I would bet that in Schutzhund, she would be terribly disadvantaged for the sake of "looking good". As for all the wolf pictures,wild wolves tend to be quite cow-hocked because it helps them to turn quicker. For canines, it this feature is exaggerated so much that the dog seems unsteady, or is not able to move like a dog, you really do have a problem.Delete
@Firespinguy: the first pic is not of a wolf standing but of a wolf posturing and moving while doing so, and the dingo is also in mouvement. Not even speaking of the pic of the standing nursing AWD...Delete
And even so, none of the canids in the pics you uploaded are as cowhocked as that GSD.
All cow hocked while standing- Yes, the point of the 'heel' is often slightly turned inwards and not abnormal. Sound for pushing off in the opposing direction, when not over done and more noticable when the leg is slightly bent and 'giving' in that joint.Delete
Fully erect and alert tho', there is generaly a distinct triangle between the legs and no 'cow hock' as such, just a slight inward angle to the actual 'point' of the joint itself.
Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to look up these pix to further the discussion.Delete
firespinguy, half those images you posted are either elderly and ailing animals, or animals in the middle of a dodging or movement. hocks that touch are in no way functional, and if this is really what you think, that its okay, then you are a fucking idiot with zero knowledge about sound structure in a quadruped. the limbs should be STRAIGHT. period.Delete
WhatAmILookingAt your comment is just ignorant. Those animals are not elderly or ailing, nor "half" the pics show them moving or dodging. I did NOT say hocks that touch are functional. I said rear legs being cow-hocked WHILE STANDING is a natural trait for canines, not in full gait or running. All you have to do is spend 5 seconds to type wolves and "cow hock" in Google and you'll find plenty of information about the rear legs are cow-hocked. If you think you know better than what nature selects for wild canines, you are the idiot.Delete
Wolves do have cow hocks.Delete
But german shepherds shouldn't.
This is a show, so the dog needs to follow the breed standard, which says no cow hocks.
These dogs are bred for show, so should at least be what the standard says.
Also, these cow hocks in the german shepherd is overly exaggerated causing a weak rear end.
I can assure you that a wolf is very strong in its back end.
Chloe B there are many breed standards for dogs that should be changed, just like the standards for brachycephalic dogs need to be changed. Also GSDs are not meant to be bred for show, but as working dogs. I never denied that this GSD is extremely cow hocked. I am against the common enough idea that any amount of cow hockness while standing is a bad thing for dogs when wild canines are at a minimum slightly cow hocked. Of course a dog should have a strong back end, and I never said this GSD had one. Note that I said in my original post that poor structure is a problem.Delete
Yes, but the idea of showing is not work, and will never be work.Delete
A working dog is practically a different breed to the show dogs, yet the show dogs make better pets so they become the usual type you see in the pet homes.
(except for the cocker spaniel, I see may more working cocker spaniels than I see show lines)
Its also the working lines which are also not maintained often and die out (e.g Rough Collie (though people are trying to find scotch collies again), Corgi, Mastiffs, etc)
In fact, the working bearded collie is in very low numbers now and is in danger.
Also, there are working breeds which those that love the breed try to keep from getting recognition because they loose working ability and change as a breed when recognized (E.g Sinka, Welsh sheepdogs, etc.)
So I personally think that comparing show lines with dogs built to work is futile. Some breeds are fortunate in that working dogs can excel in the show ring (e.g Vizsla), but the German Shepherd is not one of them.
Show dogs are designed to fit to the breed standard, and they can't even do that!!!!
The comment from Sunny Dogs was a reply by me, from my blogger account
Not really a surprise, another 'Germanic' judge doing their damnedest to stick their fingers up at the rest of us mere plebs who clearly aren't worthy of even looking at let alone talking about 'their' breed and have no idea A)how to read/interpret a breed standard and B) what a 'sound' dog looks like in a free stand, without any stupid pose.ReplyDelete
I just don't get how they're so blind to their own dilemna. Maybe some of them have their head in the sand, their fingers in their ears. And maybe some of them have their heads too far up each others ar**s in self gratification!!
I too,have read that some wild canids are in fact cow hocked.Sorry but cant remember where I read it tho.ReplyDelete
Lady Lazarus.....pray tell/inform me to these shows(names please....UK or USA?)where there,s all these gsds foaming at the mouth with nerves,unable to be gone over by a judge or tolerate other dogs barking displaying schizophrenic panick attacks/sheer neurotic terror n panic.Only gsds I see showing these traits are the old fashioned English types.Yes I do agree that the WGSL animals may look to be a bit OTT in the ring but this is the method of training/presentation that is expected in this types method of handling which I feel is detrimental to the picture presented but its NOT in the dogs make up just its training.ReplyDelete
Go to any show in the UK and you'll see GSDs behave like that. I've seen it myself numerous times and feel heart sorry for those dogs. Panicking,barking,yelping,frantically looking for their owner who is outside the ring shouting their name,whistling and generally making an arse of themselvesDelete
go to any show in america, and youll see the same. nervous, white eyed, skittish, neurotic hot messes.Delete
I,M talking about your accusations that these type of gsds are NERVOUS,PANICKING.....they,re most certainly neither of those descriptions....Barking/yeplping....well maybe the odd few in the entry but most are just reacting to their owners outside of the ring enticing the dogs on by THEIR ACTIONS.See these same animals out in the street n you,d be non the wiser as they,d be behaving in a more calm ,contained way.....LOL,I can say the same re the owners of which im NOT ONE.Delete
Ok. Anonymous 19.59. Show me these dogs outside of the show ring. Demonstrating moderate backs, straight legs, alert and non nervous, playing and running with a normal gait.ReplyDelete
And also, give me a reason why those happy playful dogs should be reduced to nervous wrecks for the sake of human entertainment.
im not talking re backines nor hind angulation.....JUST TEMPERAMENTS.Delete
I wish I could post a picture of my GSD. She doesn't look like this at all. She has normal looking legs for a dog.ReplyDelete
Every time I see pictures like these I wonder why working lines and show lines produce such different dogs. If dogs are supposed to a shepherd dog, shouldn't they be able to herd? The dog pictured wouldn't be able to. I know this from living in sheep country in Oregon and watching working sheep dogs.
Few of those "cowhocked" canids are "standing" - and those that are, are minimally "cowhocked". Dogs are flexible and assume odd positions when in motion. Captive wild canines (those wolves) are often not in the best of physical condition. Dogs are not furniture and should not stand like a table (it's wrong for horses too, I've spent much of my life around top quality Arabians who are all slightly "cowhocked" when standing).ReplyDelete
There's a simple reason most quadrupeds are SLIGHTLY cowhocked. The line of hindlimb thrust must pass through the center of gravity. Otherwise the off-center thrust would tend to rotate the body. Not efficient. Think about it .
Look at the Sieger show winners. The rot set in early. First they got heavier and more massive, shorter legged and deeper chested (a very deep chest is no asset for a canine athlete). The catastrophic hind-limb weakness (for that is what it is) came later.
There are still working-line GSDs true to the original in conformation as well as in character. I was lucky enough to acquire one, by the death of her owner. I was 13, she was 11, she became my dog and taught me a lot about many things. At 11 years old she could easily leap over my father's head, well over six feet.
The GSD is said to be a "trotting specialist". Contrary to ringside lore, the "gliding trot" is not energy efficient. It's the springy, energy-recycling trot that's efficient. A classic paper by George Goslow shows how that works, including X-ray video and recording of the muscles' electrical activity (Goslow is an experimental genius and co-author of the latest edition of Milton Hildebrand's definitive book on mammalian functional anatomy).
For 45 years I've owned and bred Salukis, on foundation stock from Bedouin hunters in Saudi Arabia. I used to exercise them on a local bike path, using roller blades to keep up (well, almost . . .). One of my males (then 11 years old) would trot at 15 mph (a 4 minute mile). 22 miles nonstop, not even breathing hard (can't say the same for myself ). Of course a Saluki is a sighthound, supposedly specialized for fast running, not trotting. Like so much doggy theory, that's half-truth. Salukis are the world champion canine endurance runners, true - but they can also cover enormous distances at a trot. You must find your gazelle before you can chase it .
Many or most of the GSDs in the ring clips are not trotting at all. Some are pacing, some doing a running walk. The trot is a cadenced two-beat gait in which the diagonal limb pairs touch down and lift off simultaneously. You do not see that in the show ring terribly often - strange as it may seem. Flailing forelimbs and collapsing hindlimbs is what I saw in the video. If the dog acts anxious, no wonder - that hindlimb configuration probably causes actual pain.
I love and admire the real GSD (they still exist, though you will never see one in a show ring). The crippled show-ring specimens literally make me sick to my stomach. I sometimes go to dog shows - I've been known to handle dogs in the ring - but I try to avoid the GSDs so I won't have to leave the premises prematurely .
Qualifications? A lifetime with dogs, a doctorate in biology, many years of teaching "comparative anatomy of vertebrates" to University students, a wide experience of hunting dogs of many kinds, and 45 years of breeding, hunting and coursing with Salukis, who can offer many "form and function" lessons of general application, if one pays attention.
Dr John Burchard (for who else could it be?) - thank you for this comment.Delete
I too am always confused by the claims that these are good trotting dogs. Why does it lift its front paws up so high? Looks like it's trying to swim, which can't be efficient. I have a poodle mix who has that amazing springy poodle trot that he could keep up for hours with little effort - I always think that's a good trotting dog, watch a video of a poodle trotting. Very different to this scurrying.Delete
Here's what looks like a good video of actual trotting -Walk, Amble, Pace and Trot in the Dog: http://youtu.be/eqBcBsmMQVADelete
Wonderful statement! I particularly appreciate that you also brought attention to how the GSDs were made heavier and shorter legged. This has been one of my beefs for a long time how with this breed, but it is rarely a topic. I often refer to them as "thicker" dogs these days. When I see GSDs standing after their "flying trot" I often look at them and cannot help thinking they look hot, tired and burdened under their own weight, given the structure they are left with to carry it. These dogs never used to be this way. There are too many pictures and videos documenting such.Delete
The rear legs are a huge issue but often an obsession, because it is so visually easy to pick out; generally the first thing anyone with sense notices.
Certainly not the only problem though.
"The trot is a cadenced two-beat gait in which the diagonal limb pairs touch down and lift off simultaneously. You do not see that in the show ring terribly often - strange as it may seem."Delete
Reminds me a lot of the disappearing four beat canter - Centaur Biomechanics, Problem or Progress
In the GSD it's definitely a problem but it could become one in horses as the balance is tipped more and more towards extreme specialisation. Just like the standards for GSDs so are judges ignoring a canter that is fast becoming not a canter. For much the same reasons, the construction of the animals that win.
However the collected gallop which is the new canter is hardly freaky but it does take more strain as there is less support.......
Ooops meant the dissapearing three beat canter of course!Delete
What strikes me is that in almost any given breed standard for any breed, so many items that are to be "heavily penalized" are not re-listed under the DQs. Stuff like this should be a DQ so that there's no getting around excusing the dog.ReplyDelete
Worried about subtleties in perception by judges? Get a measuring device. Set a range.
Or paint/take photos/draw some pictures of what the "ideal" dog should look similar too.Delete
But then that leaves nothing for interpretation... Which is stupid since the Best Of Breed should not need interpretation
The KC should make judges adhere to the breed standard which calls for a normal dog. Anyone with eyes can see the back legs of that bitch are wrong and her movement unbalanced.ReplyDelete
I was going to suggest that the breed needs to be judged by horse judges who may not know the finer points of breed type but do know soundness. But looking at the state of the show Arab and some other breeds, I think most judges of animals must be crazy if they think they are putting up sound and functional animals
Well, what can they judge? How "normal" the animal is?Delete
Judges look for a dog which catches their eyes. Most breeds have some form of exaggerated appearance in the show ring.
Rare breeds or modest breeds seem to escape this (such as the Pumi, or the Dalmatian)
But many do not. Even something like the bearded collie has exaggerated coat length, stockier bodies, etc.
In fact, working bearded collies do exist, and they fit the standard better than any show bearded collie.
And the Fox terrier used to look like the Jack Russell terrier in the past before it was recognized and changed in appearance due to breeding for the show ring. (they were the same breed before recognition)
As a boy, I thought Best in Breed and Show were impressive titles. Now as a biologist, I know they're proof of ignorance and bad breeding. Stop the dog and cat shows, and start appreciating these animals for what they are. So sick of this stuff.ReplyDelete
Cow hocked is a direct result of overangulation. The thigh is so long that it cannot fit underneath the body of the dog. Therefore the knee turns outward to accommodate it, in simple mechanical terms if the knee turns out the hocks must turn in.ReplyDelete
Germany's winning show bloodlines dominate the show ring, here and in Germany. If the German SV won't change the type they promote, ie the forelimb flailing, weak cowhocked hindquarter type, rest assured, neither will the germanic show people in the UK. Its akin to some sort of cult and Germany's lead must be followed regardless.ReplyDelete
My 7-year-old Greyhound with a spinal injury moves better than this dog...ReplyDelete
My pug with a spinal compression moves and stands like this dog.Delete
A trotting dog you say? For what purpose? What is considered a GSD's function? Is it herding? If so is there another genuine working herding breed/type out there that is built or moving like a GSD? As mentioned above dogs do not need massive deep chests to be functional. Heart and lung room is a ridiculous idea now and if you want to see dogs that can trot for vast distances then working sleddogs would be a prime example. Their movement is smooth, economical and effortless. Structure is unexaggerated & energy isn't wasted. There is no sensible explanation for what they are doing to these GSD'S and as for the temperament yes they do look neurotic.ReplyDelete
The purpose is not the same as a border collie. They herd differently.Delete
They are designed to tend, which means creating an invisable fence around the sheep.
However, the trot they use in shows is inefficient accoring to what some of the people above have mentioned.
Other tending breeds include the Belgian, Dutch, and French shepherd, the briard, and bouvier des flandres, possibly other breeds too. The original german shepherd looked similar to the Malinois
Some endurance trotting breeds include the Dalmatian, and the wolf.
Siberian huskies are not endurance trotting dogs, they have an enduring canter which requires a different structure.
The show line siberian husky is very different to the working husky.
The german shepherd of the past originally looked like this-
However, not all german shepherds are ruined
One beautiful german shepherd I have seen is this dog here:
And for a show dog, I think this dog here has a good structure.
However, the dog above is a UKC winner, not an AKC winner.
Though if only this type of dog was more popular in the showring.