Thursday, February 15, 2024

Factors For The Decline in GSD Population in The UK - A 2017 Study And The Data Driven Conclusion

The German Shepherd Dog breed has been widely popular across the globe since the very beginning. Especially post the World War II the breed popularity got a big spike and the GSD become one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. The popularity of this breed was also at its zenith in the UK.

This article describes a study conducted by Dr. Dan G. O’Neill, Dr. Noel Robin Coulson, Dr. David B. Church and Dr. Dave C. Brodbelt to identify the specific factors responsible for the decline in the population of GSD breed in the UK. The study was published on July 28, 2017. This was the largest study ever till 2017 and it was aimed at evaluating the veterinary clinical records (VetCompass data) to identify the factors that contributed the mortality rate of the GSD breed in the UK till 2017.

Note: The study still remains relevant today, because the factors that the study had explored continue to endure.

The study included all dogs under veterinary care during 2013 withing the database of Veterinary Companion Animal Surveillance System project (VetCompass). All relevant data pertaining to the demographic, mortality and clinical diagnosis on GSDs were extracted and reported had come from the VetCompass records. The total sample size of the German Shepherd Dogs recorded was 12,146 (2.7%) of the 455,557 GSDs in the VetCompass database.

Findings of the Research:

1) GSDs dropped from 3.5% of the annual birth cohort in 2005 to 2.2% in 2013.
2) The median longevity of GSDs was 10.3 years


1) The most common causes of death: Musculoskeletal disorder (16.3%) and inability to stand (14.9%).
2) The most prevalent disorders recorded: Otitis externa (7.89%), osteoarthritis (5.54%), diarrhoea (5.24%), overweight/obesity (5.18%) and aggression (behavioral) (4.76%).
3) Aggression was more prevalent in males (6.75%) than females (2.78%)

What all were the reasons to conduct this study?

Over some decades till 2017, it was strangely noticed that demand of specific characteristics in the show-rings had been an instigating factor that influenced the breeders to design breeding programs in such a way that it started changing the overall conformation of the dogs that sparked some debate about the overall health of the breed. Between a span of 2005 and 2017 the yearly KC registrations for GSDs in the UK had dropped sharply.

GSD were initially bred as medium-sized dogs to meet their original purpose of herding (which was why the UK Kennel Club (KC) classified the breed under Pastoral groups). But over the period of time with the demand for the change in the characteristics and traits (shift from original herding purpose), there had been an eventual and consistent phenotypic shift. The continued favoritism for traits deemed preferred in the show rings, had a continuous adversely influence on the breed conformation. The focus of breeding German Shepherd Dogs totally shifted the dogs were specifically bred for show purposes. Hence the breeder continued to selectively breed GSD to get the characteristics favored in the show rings, Not for herding.

There was widespread expression of concern for the health and welfare of the GSD breed. The UK Kennel Club's (KC) Breed Watch system classified the GSD as a Category Three breed. Categorizing the breed as s Category Three breed necessitated close monitoring and additional support owing to the breed's increased susceptibility to certain health issues linked to exaggerated conformation. Identified Breed Watch concerns encompass traits such as cow hocks, excessive turn of stifle, nervous temperament, sickle hock, and weak hindquarters.

The condition has worsened at a global level - even beyond the UK. Even today the situation has not improved.

About VetCompass 

The Veterinary Companion Animal Surveillance System (VetCompass™) is an initiative focused on improving companion animal health. This not-for-profit research project is part of, and wholly owned by, The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and aims to investigate the range and frequency of companion animal health problems and identify important risk factors for the most common disorders.   

About the Researchers

Dr. Dan G. O’Neill: Associate Professor Companion Animal Epidemiology (Pathobiology and Population Health), The Royal Veterinary College
Dr Noel Robin Coulson: BVetMed MRCVS, The Royal Veterinary College. Veterinary Surgeon at Wendover Heights Veterinary Centre Ltd. 
Dr. David B. Church: Clinical Sciences and Services, The Royal Veterinary College
Dr. Dave C. Brodbelt: Pathobiology and Population Science, The Royal Veterinary College


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Saturday, May 20, 2023

VA (BSZS 2021 & 2019) +VA(BEL 2019) Asap Vom Aldamar Retires from Show Fields

Asap vom Aldamar, the legendary German Shepherd Dog, has officially concluded his illustrious show career and is embarking on a new chapter in his life. At the age of six, he has reached a significant milestone and is now prepared to make a valuable contribution to the global genetics pool within the esteemed community of German Shepherd Dogs.

Having achieved notable success throughout his show career, Asap has demonstrated exceptional qualities and traits that exemplify the breed's standard. His superior lineage, coupled with his remarkable physical attributes, makes him an ideal candidate for enhancing the genetic diversity and overall quality of future generations.

Recognizing the importance of preserving and improving the breed, Asap has been carefully selected to participate in breeding programs in Europe. His responsible and planned participation in these endeavors is aimed at fostering the advancement of German Shepherd Dog genetics on a global scale.

With his retirement from the show ring, Asap's focus now shifts towards fulfilling his duty as a breeding sire. His contribution to the genetics pool will undoubtedly have a profound impact, shaping the future of German Shepherd Dogs and ensuring the preservation of their exceptional qualities for generations to come.

By flying back to Europe, Asap is poised to embark on this crucial phase of his life's journey. Under the guidance of esteemed breeders and genetic experts, his mating partners will be carefully chosen to optimize the diversity and quality of the offspring produced.

Through his commitment to excellence and dedication to the betterment of the breed, Asap exemplifies the spirit of responsible breeding and the desire to maintain the German Shepherd Dog's esteemed reputation worldwide. His contribution to the global GSD community will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy, further cementing his status as a distinguished figure within the breed.

As Asap takes flight back to Europe, we eagerly anticipate the invaluable impact he will make within the genetics pool of the German Shepherd Dog community. His journey marks the beginning of a new chapter, one in which his genetic heritage and exceptional qualities will continue to shape the future of the breed for years to come.


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Sunday, March 5, 2023

Herding - The German Shepherd Dog Way vs The Collie Way

When it comes to the task of moving sheep or cattle from one location to another, various breeds of herding dogs exhibit distinct herding styles. The differences in herding styles among various breeds of herding dogs may have been influenced by various factors, such as the specific requirements of the shepherds and the unique setups or conditions of the agricultural area where they are raised to work. As a result, there are herding dog breeds that utilize tactics such as running and barking, nipping at the heels of the animals, and even walking on the backs of sheep.

Sneak Peak of Herding - What do we actually mean by herding when it comes to working dog in action?

In this context, herding refers to the practical work performed by farm dogs, which includes tasks such as "gathering", "moving", and "sorting" sheep. These tasks are essential to the operation of a farm and require the specialized skills and abilities of herding dogs.

There are two primary methods of herding livestock: "Fetching" & "Driving" and "Tending".

Fetching & Driving Methods - Exhibited Mostly by Collies

"Fetching" involves bringing the sheep towards the handler; while "Driving" involves pushing them away. When a dog is sent into a field to round up the stock and bring them to the handler at the gate, this is an example of the "Fetching method". When a dog is used to push dairy cattle out of the milking barn and towards their pasture, this is an example of the "Driving method".

American Kennel Club's herding program includes three courses - Course A, Course B and Course C. The dogs that use either the fetching or driving methods are entered for the trial into either the Course A or Cousrse B. This is where Collies are introduced mostly, because Collies usually are bred and trained for "Fetching" and "Driving".

Tending Methods - Exhibited Mostly by German Shepherd Dogs

"Tending" is a distinct type of herding (very much different from Fetching & Driving), that involves using dogs to move, feed, and protect a flock. In the past, breeds like German Shepherds, Belgians, and Briards were used for tending, which involved moving, feeding, and protecting flocks. Before the industrial revolution, tending was a full-time occupation that required daily movement of sheep to various grazing areas, such as harvested or vacant fields, government land, or roadsides, where there was available grass. Rather than using fences to contain the sheep, the dogs were responsible for keeping the flock together and protecting them from predators by patrolling a boundary, whether it was natural or man-made. In addition to protecting the flock from predators and keeping them together, the dog also ensured that the sheep did not graze or wander into other areas/farm lands. At the end of the day, the dog gathered the sheep out of the pasture and followed the shepherd, leading the flock home for the night.

Tending dogs compete on the Course C in the American Kennel Club's herding program, where typically German Shepherd Dogs (not Collies) are entered to compete in the trials.

Now that we know about the different formats of herding. Let's get into a vivid details of herding styles - The GSD way and The Collie way. The herding style of German Shepherd Dogs is particularly distinct from the style followed Collies - because the purpose are different; hence the tasks are different; therefore the ways are naturally different.

Herding - The German Shepherd Dog Way

German Shepherds do not gather sheep into a flock or employ the "EYE" technique to control or separate them, unlike Collies.

The Tending style of sheep herding involves training the sheep to respond to the shepherd's calls and follow him to new pastures. Meanwhile, the dogs act as a living fence, ensuring that the sheep remain within the boundaries set by the shepherd.

Controlling a large flock of sheep with just one or two dogs is no easy feat. In Germany, the flocks that were observed had an average size of near about 500 sheep or even more, at times. The dogs are responsible for preventing the sheep from entering the farming lands, having fresh vegetables or plants, which can be the most challenging tasks for the dogs, especially if the sheep are hungry or have been eating dry stubble for an extended period. Therefore, the dogs' only way of maintaining control is by nipping/grabing/biting/gripping the sheep - especially the stubborn ones.

Herding - The Collies Way

Collie exhibits a different style from GSD. Border collies will stare intently at the sheep, "giving them eye." So, What does "giving eye" means in Collie? What does the border collie accomplish from giving eye to the sheep?

The term "giving eye" in the context of border collies and herding refers to the dog's intense gaze, which is used to control the motion of the sheep. The border collie's stare can be quite intimidating to the sheep and can prompt them to move in the direction that the dog desires.

Border collies typically use a herding techniques, including giving eye, stalking, and chasing, and may occasionally nip, especially when managing stubborn sheep. However, the nipping/gripping is usually not very hard. It is generally considered inappropriate for herding dogs to exhibit the grab/bite behavior commonly observed in cattle heelers.

However, nipping/biting/gripping is consider it a significant fault in both breeds, because the herding as a purpose doesn't including the sheep being hurt.

The Herding program by the American Kennel Club involves tests and trials for herding dogs. The program includes a non-competitive pass/fail format, and the tests are conducted in a fenced arena and require the dog to work with livestock such as ducks, sheep, or cattle. The herding dog must demonstrate its ability to control and move the livestock by either fetching or driving them, while maintaining the appropriate balance point to move the stock forward on the course. The dog must also have sufficient training to perform these tasks. What is important here is that just having a good coformation and endurance ability is NOT enough. The most important factor here is the dog's thinking ability - which is the psychological parameter. Breeding for conformation is, hence, half the task done. Right breeding includes breeding for:

1) Conformation (that contributes to the dog's physical ability to perform the task he is bred for)

2) Thinking Ability (that contributes to the dog's psychological ability to perform the task he is bred for)


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Thursday, February 16, 2023

An Insight Into The Coefficient Of Inbreeding (COI) in Dog Breeding

Please Note: Please seek permission to reproduce/use  this article. Please reproduce this article with the link of this post after getting permission. 

The coefficient of inbreeding (COI) is a measure of the probability that an individual's two copies of a gene are identical by descent, meaning they are inherited from a common ancestor. In other words, the COI is the probability that an individual inherited the same gene from both parents because they have a shared ancestor from whom they inherited the gene.

COI is often used in genetics and animal breeding to quantify the level of inbreeding within a population. Inbreeding occurs when closely related individuals are mated, and it can increase the likelihood of expressing deleterious recessive traits, such as genetic diseases or defects.

The COI is expressed as a percentage and is calculated by examining the pedigree of an individual and identifying all common ancestors in the pedigree. The probability of inheriting the same allele from a common ancestor is then calculated for each generation and multiplied together to obtain the COI.

For example, if two individuals share a common ancestor, their offspring will have a COI of 12.5%, meaning there is a 12.5% chance that they inherited the same gene from that common ancestor. If the individuals are more closely related, such as full siblings, their offspring will have a COI of 25%.

By calculating and managing the COI in dog breeding, breeders can avoid excessive inbreeding and maintain genetic diversity, which can reduce the risk of inherited health problems and improve the overall health and welfare of the animals.

In dog breeding, the COI is an important tool for managing genetic diversity and reducing the risk of inherited health problems.

When developing a breeding program for dogs, it's important to consider the COI of the prospective mating pairs to avoid excessive inbreeding. Excessive inbreeding can lead to the expression of deleterious recessive traits, such as genetic diseases or defects, which can be harmful to the health and welfare of the dogs.

To consider the COI in a breeding program, the first step is to calculate the COI of each potential mating pair. This can be done using specialized software, such as the online tool available from the Kennel Club in the UK.

Once the COI of the mating pair is determined, breeders can decide whether the potential offspring will have a high or low level of genetic diversity. The aim is to minimize the COI of the offspring to maintain genetic diversity in the breeding population.

To achieve this, breeders can use various strategies, such as outcrossing, which involves breeding two individuals from different but related breeds or lines, or backcrossing, which involves breeding a purebred dog with one of its own offspring or with a closely related dog from the same breed or line. Other breeding strategies that can be used to manage the COI include the use of artificial insemination and embryo transfer.

Summary of the above discussion

When making a breeding program for dogs, it's important to consider the COI of the potential mating pairs and use appropriate breeding strategies to maintain genetic diversity and reduce the risk of inherited health problems.

What is high coefficient of inbreeding (COI) index?

A high coefficient of inbreeding (COI) index indicates that an individual has a higher probability of inheriting the same gene from both parents because they have a higher degree of relatedness, which is usually due to a history of inbreeding or line-breeding within their ancestry.

In practical terms, a high COI index means that an individual has a higher likelihood of carrying two copies of a deleterious recessive gene, which can increase the risk of expressing a genetic disease or defect. In dog breeding, for example, a high COI index can increase the risk of inherited health problems, such as hip dysplasia, heart disease, or vision problems.

Therefore, when breeding animals, a high COI index is generally undesirable, as it can increase the risk of producing offspring with genetic problems. Breeders may try to reduce the COI by outcrossing with unrelated individuals, which can introduce new genetic variation and reduce the prevalence of deleterious genes in the breeding population.

Overall, managing the COI is an important aspect of dog breeding, as it can help maintain genetic diversity and reduce the risk of inherited health problems in the offspring.

What should be the ideal coefficient of inbreeding (COI) in dog breeding?

The ideal coefficient of inbreeding (COI) in dog breeding depends on the breed and the breeding goals of the breeder. In general, a low COI is desirable because it indicates a higher degree of genetic diversity and reduces the risk of inherited health problems.

However, it's important to note that the COI is just one of many factors to consider in breeding, and a low COI does not guarantee the absence of genetic health issues or the production of high-quality offspring. Breeding decisions should be made based on a variety of factors, including temperament, conformation, health, and genetic diversity.

The acceptable range for COI will vary depending on the breed and the breeding goals of the breeder, but in general, a COI of less than 5% is considered low, while a COI of over 12.5% is considered high.

It's important to note that some breeds have a naturally high COI due to their limited genetic diversity or small population size. In these cases, breeders may need to use careful breeding strategies, such as outcrossing or line breeding, to maintain genetic diversity while still working toward their breeding goals.

Ultimately, the goal of responsible dog breeding is to produce healthy, well-tempered dogs that meet the breed standard, and this should be the guiding principle in all breeding decisions.


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Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Popular Sire Syndrome - A Curse for German Shepherd Dog & Other Popular Breeds Today

 I have been a GSD enthusiast and sharing my life with Shepherds for over two and a half decades. I have been a keen and close observer of what's going on the breeding platforms. Insofar my observation, many of the breeders (not all though) are not sparing serious thoughts on Popular Sire Syndrome while continuously breeding their dogs. Sadly, many others have not even heard of Popular Sire Syndrome, still breeding; and breeding just for cash!  

This is an crisp aareness post for spread the words out about Popular Sire Syndrome and high coefficient of inbreeding (COI)

Please Note: Please seek permission to reproduce/use  this article. Please reproduce this article with the link of this post after getting permission. 

The Popular Sire Syndrome is a phenomenon in dog breeding where a few top-performing stud dogs are extensively used in breeding programs, resulting in the majority of offspring within a breed being closely related to a small number of popular sires.

The syndrome can occur when breeders choose to breed their females to popular, successful stud dogs without considering their genetic diversity or potential for passing on hereditary health problems. This can lead to an increase in the COI within the breed, a reduction in genetic diversity, and an increased risk of inherited health problems.

While using successful stud dogs can help to improve certain desirable traits, such as conformation or temperament, breeding only from a small pool of popular sires can lead to a loss of genetic diversity and an increased risk of inherited health problems. Over time, this can have serious implications for the health and well-being of the breed as a whole.

To avoid the popular sire syndrome, breeders should strive to maintain genetic diversity by choosing breeding partners with low COIs and carefully evaluating the health and temperament of both parents. By avoiding overuse of popular sires and working to maintain genetic diversity within the breed, breeders can help to ensure the long-term health and viability of the breed.

How the dog breeders going wrong by unknowingly contributing to Popular Sire Syndrome?

There are several ways in which dog breeders may unknowingly contribute to the Popular Sire Syndrome:

Focusing only on physical traits: Breeders may choose to breed their dogs based solely on physical characteristics, such as coat color or conformation, without considering the genetic diversity of the breeding pair.

Breeding without proper health screening: If breeders do not perform proper health screening before breeding their dogs, they may inadvertently pass on hereditary health problems to their offspring, which can become more prevalent in the breed if popular sires are used extensively.

Breeding too closely related dogs: If breeders repeatedly breed closely related dogs, such as siblings or parents and offspring, they increase the COI and reduce genetic diversity in the breed.

Lack of knowledge about COI: Some breeders may not fully understand the concept of the coefficient of inbreeding (COI) and the importance of maintaining genetic diversity within the breed.

Important Reads (Not to be missed)

An Insight Into The Coefficient Of Inbreeding (COI) in Dog Breeding

How to Calculate Coefficient Of Inbreeding (COI)

To avoid contributing to the popular sire syndrome, breeders should focus on selecting breeding partners with low COIs and carefully evaluating the health and temperament of both parents. Breeders should also work to expand the gene pool by incorporating new bloodlines into their breeding programs and by avoiding breeding too closely related dogs. Finally, breeders should educate themselves about the importance of maintaining genetic diversity in their breeding programs and the risks of the popular sire syndrome.


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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Evaluate Breeding Values By DNA & Performance Tests

German Shepherd Dog Breeding Goal

Performance & DNA Tests Should Be a Must For Ethical Dog Breeding Practice

In an attempt to spread an awareness of ethical practice for dog breeding, Aringsburg German Shepherd Dog Bloggers seek to bring in this chapter that talks about how DNA tests can contribute in evaluating breeding values. Not only owners, but aspiring dog breeders should be benefited from this chapter and may be more inclined towards setting a breeding goal, aiming towards scientifically eliminating genetic defects – both mental and physical.

Breeding Value for a Dog: So what is this? Breeding value for a specific dog is the set of genetically governed qualities that helps you decide whether to breed him/her or not. Since breeding goal should be development of the breed by eliminating defects and carriers of defective traits, a dog is considered to have a higher breeding value if it genetically close to the standard, insofar psychological, physiological and physical traits are concerned and is capable to pass on the strong traits to its progenitors, which in turn contributes to the breed development. Dog breeding values can be effectively evaluated by understanding the degree of contribution a dog (dam or sire or both) can genetically make. Passing on the traits (desirable or undesirable) to progenitors is simply quite natural. 

Evaluating the statistical estimation of breeding value can be done through:


1) Testing the performance of direct parents, close relatives and their progenitors

2) Testing the DNA of direct parents, their offspring, close relatives and their progenitors

Performance Test to Evaluate Breeding Value: Dog breeders should adopt the practice of evaluating breeding value, and clubs and canine organizations have to encourage breeders to keep closer eye their dogs’ overall performance with respect to behavior, temperament, traits, gait, and other physical and psychological features. Success can be achieved only through testing 100% of the offspring and it should be an ongoing and consistent process. In an article appeared in GKF Info 26 Dec. 2007, pages 13-19, Gesellschaft zur Förderung Kynologischer Forschung e.V., Bonn, Germany, Dr. Helga Eichelberg said it right: “breed clubs must look after the prerequisite, which is to find ways to increase the rate of performance testing and making the data available.” (Translated in English by Joe Schmutz)

DNA Tests to Evaluate Breeding Value: DNA tests for dogs are not yet available everywhere, which is an excuse for overwhelmingly growing numbers of backyard breeders for not getting a chance to effectively determining the breeding value of their dogs. Implementing the practice of DNA tests in dog breeding will efficiently filter out the genetic defects, which should be the one most important breeding goal. Through DNA tests more and more complicated traits can be determined to contribute to the evaluation process of breeding value. Proper DNA tests will help filtering out the defects and undesirable traits and characteristics and also effectively filter out the carriers of defective psychological, physiological and physical characteristics. 

DNA tests are important to evaluate the actual genetic characteristics of a dog. Even if a dog has a rich bloodline with all desirable traits, still more complex and subtle undesirable traits may not be noticeable without an appropriate DNA trait. A seemingly close to perfect dog when combined with a very good female with apparently high heritable qualities may still produce unreliable progenitors with subtle or pronounced defects. Very nice dogs may still have siblings that many educated and ethical breeders may consider as unreliable and non-breedable. DNA tests help to effective determine all strengths and weaknesses of a dog which helps a breeder to make valuable decision when it comes to breeding his dogs.


Takeaways From This Chapter:

Dog breeding is a serious activity that demands a responsible approach that should be backed with scientific knowledge and an inclination towards breed development, and not just making money. Emotional approach in breeding dog is bound to make mess.

Great Related Read On GSD: True type German Shepherds have typical basic instincts that should be retained while breeding.  FCI - Fédération Cynologique Internationale has drafted German Shepherd standard which need to be kept in the forefront of your mind while breeding GSD. Check out FCI GSD Standard. GSD breeders should draft an effective and scientific breeding goal to eliminate of defects


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Saturday, January 15, 2022

German Shepherd Dog History Time Map

German Shepherd Dog History Time Map
German Shepherd Dog History - Years of Special Occurrences, which has been considered as Time Map of GSD History in this post.

Here is the detailed time map in the history of German Shepherd Dog breed since the start

1891 - Phylax Society was formed. With very short life span, this dog club was a precursor to the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (S.V), which was later created by Max von Stephanitz, the originator of GSD breed.

1894 - The Phylax Society (that was formed in 1891) was disbanded. Many members of the Phylax Society continued to exhibit the ideologies and concepts formulated by the society. One of those eminent members was "Captain Max von Stephanitz", the man who has been credited with the honor of being the father of German Shepherd Dog breed.

1895 - Hektor Linkshrein - later renamed as Horand von Grafrath was born on January 1st

1899 - Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (S.V.) was initiated.

1899 - On April 3rd in the same year of the formation of the Verein für deutsche Schäferhunde (SV) - world's first All-Breed German Dog show was held in Karleruube Rhineland. Captain Stephanitz, and his friend, Arthur Meyer were present in the show looking for a perfect dog to create a really superb herder. Captain Stephanitz fell in love with a dog called Hektor Linkshrein and purchased the dog right at the spot with 200 deutsche mark and this turned out to be the major turning point in the History of German Shepherd Dog evolution.

1901 - The world's first Schutzhund (also used to be known as IPO and presently know as IGP) trial was held in Germany in the year 1901. The dogs were for abilities in tracking, obedience and protection. The Schutzhund sport was developed in Germany as a suitability test for the GSD breed, but later included other breeds. 

1906 - First German Shepherd Dog that was believed to have set paws upon North America. The name of the dog was Queen of Switzerland. However, most of her progenies came up with defects due to wrong breeding. This impacted the breed's popularity adversely during the late 1920s in America.

1907 - The first German Shepherd Dog ever exhibited in America.

1908 - The first German Shepherd registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).

1908 - German Shepherd Dog first arrived in Great Britain in the early part of the century during this phase of time.

1913 - Benjamin Throop and Anne Tracy formed the German Shepherd Dog Club of America with 26 charter members.

1913 - The first championships had been awarded to German Shepherd Dogs.

1914 - Since this phase of time till the decline of WW I, the heroic German Shepherd Dogs served in World War I and had played a salient role in the war.

1915 - The first specialty show of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America was held at Greenwich, Connecticut.

1917 - When America entered World War I, all things related to Germany became tabu. The American Kennel Club (AKC) changed the name of the GSD breed to the "Shepherd Dog". thus the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) became the "Shepherd Dog Club of America". In England, the breed had been renamed to "Alsatian". Read out the history of German Shepherd name.

1918 - Rin-Tin-Tin (Rin Tin Tin, Rinty) was born on September 10, as a Dark Grey male baby. He was sired by Fritz de la Chasse royale, who had been traced to the first Registered German Shepherd Dog, Horand. Rinty's mother was Betty des Flandreswho had also been traced to the first Registered German Shepherd Dog, Horand. Rinty was owned by Lee Duncan an american Serviceman.

1919 - The English Kennel Club (UK Kennel Club) gave the GSD breed a separate register with 54 dogs being included. By 1926 the count had swelled to 8,058. Such was the exceptional success of the German Shepherd Dog.

1920's - The "Alsatian League" and the "Alsatian Wolf Dog Club" united in the early 1920's under the name of the Alsatian League and Club of Great Britain and started bringing out some order to the GSD

1921 - "Strongheart" - the German Shepherd Dog became the first canine movie GSD star in silent movie, although there were a few canine stars (apart from GSD) had appeared before Strongheart. In 1921 strong acted in his first movie named "The Silent Call". Strongheart became the favorite star and had been well acclaimed by moviegoers of all ages. He used to travel by train from one part to the other of the country and huge mobs of people were on hand to see this marvellous animal at almost all stations.

1921 - Adolf Hitler adopted a female German Shepherd Dog - named "Prinz", during his years of poverty. Hitler was forced to keep Prinz elsewhere, but she escaped and ran back to Hitler. Hitler liked the breed's loyalty and started developing very strong liking for GSD.

1922 - Strongheart starred in the movie called "Brawn of the North". 1924 - Strongheart starred in the movie called "The Love Master".

1923 - The Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde declared that the organization has a ground breaking number of 50,000 paid members in more than 500 branches in Germany alone.

1923 - German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin becomes a canine film star.

1923 - Shepherd Dog Club of New England founded, publishing the Shepherd Dog Review.

1925 - Strongheart starred in the movies called "White Fang" and "North Star".

1925 - The titles of Grand Victor and Grand Victrix are established as the titles for the winners of the GSDCA National.

1927 - Strongheart starred in the movies called "The Return of Boston Blackie"

1928 - Buddy, a German Shepherd Dog, becomes the first Seeing Eye dog among other service dogs to follow in the GSD timeline.

1932 - Rin Tin Tin (lovingly called "Rinty") died on August 10, at the age of 14 years in Los Angeles in the arms of the famous actress Jean Harlow. Rinty's owner had arranged to have Rinty's dead body returned to his birth land - Lorraine, France for his burial in the Cimetière des Chiens, the famous pet cemetery in the Parisian suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine. "Rin Tin Tin" was honored with a star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" at 1623 Vine St. in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA, that serves as an entertainment museum.

1936 - Max von Stephanitz, the founder of the German Shepherd Dog breed, died.

1937-38 - The German Shepherd named Pfeffer von Bern (SGR 1937/8GV CH (US)) won as Grand Victor the 1937 American Kennel club dog show. This resulted as huge boost in the GSD breed's popularity in the USA, that was badly declined due to defective progenies (breeding defects) of Queen of Switzerland (the first dog to land in the US in 1906)

1941 - Adolf Hitler was gifted the second girl German Shepherd by Martin Bormann (German Nazi Party official and head of the Nazi Party Chancellery). Hitler was very fond of Blondi and kept her even after he moved into the Führerbunker located underneath the Reich Chancellery garden.

1945 - Adolf Hitler German Shepherd, Blondi died on April 30. Hitler wanted to check the potency of the cyanide capsules given by Heinrich Himmler. He tested on Blondi, as a result Blondi expired.

1967 - On June 23, 1967, Air Force Headquarters directed that Nemo, the 85 pound, black and tan German Shepherd, was the first hero of his kind to return from the Vietnam War. He returned to the United States with honors, as the first sentry dog to be officially retired from active service.

1977 - This year the British Kennel Club (being pressured by strong campaign by GSD enthusiasts) registered the breed back to it's name  "German Shepherd Dog". But the breed was registered as the German shepherd Dog "Alsatian". The name "Alsatian" appeared within parenthesis till 2010.

Spanning back to the related history, after the WW I it was believed that because of the anti-German sentiment of the time, the word "German" being included in the breed's name might result the popularity of the breed to suffer a fall. Hence the breed was renamed as "Alsatian Wolf Dog" by the British Kennel Club. This name was kept after the border region area of “ALSACE -- LORRAINE”. However, it was again feared the presence of the appendage "wolf dog" could also impact the breed's popularity, as people might "wrongly" think that there's direct wolf's gene in this breed that would make the breed dangerously aggressive. Hence, the appendage "wolf dog" was eliminated and the breed was renamed as "Alsatian" and remained as Alsatian until the year 1977.

2010 - This year was also a vital year in the history of this breed. The final renaming of the breed from (German Shepherd Dog "Alsatian") to just (German Shepherd Dog) was officially declared in 2010. This means as the full name, the word "Alsatian" within the parenthesis that used to be mentioned since 1977 after German shepherd Dog was finally removed the breed was renamed as German Shepherd Dog in 2010.


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How To Keep Your German Shepherd Thin, Fit and Healthy

german shepherd health tips

German Shepherd Dog Exercise Tips

Is your German Shepherd Dog too thin or too fatty? In this context, GSD specialists usually point three categories - Ideal Condition, Too Thin, Obese, and you can understand which of these categories does your German Shepherd currently fall into.

Ideal Condition

Can you feel the ribs, but they are not pronouncedly visible? Can you see the waist when viewed from the top and the belly slightly tucked in when viewed from the side? If your answer s to both the quest is “YES”, then you are lucky, but you need to be very cautious so that you don’t end up enlisting you name in the two groups below.

Under-nutrition - Too thin

Are your dog’s ribs prominently visible? Can you see the vertebrae prominently?

Keeping your dog thin, fit and healthy is important. Overly thin dog is not a healthy dog. There may be several reasons for your GSD to become too thin and seemingly underfed. While the commonest reason is malnutrition or under feeding, but there are other reasons as well when your German Shepherd may be getting thinner and thinner, despite feeding him an appropriate quantity of food. Even if you are feeding him adequate quantity, you may have to spare a thought over the quality of food. How much you are feeding your dog is important; What you are feeding him is equally important! Our German Shepherd Diet Management section will help you know more about the diet and nutrition management for your German Shepherd.

Overly Fed – Over weight and Obese

Can’t you see your dog’s waist when viewed from the top? Does his belly seem rounded and little bulged out when viewed sideways? If your dog is overweight you are not alone… rather you are among the huge mass of unfortunate pet owners who tend keep their eyes close to this issue. While feline holds the largest share of obesity graph with around 57.6 percent, according to 2013 pet obesity survey record 43.8 million dogs only in the US have been marked overweight or obese. Understanding the root of obesity in dogs is very important. German Shepherds, alike other breeds, gets exposed to the risk serious health conditions on becoming obese and overweight. Hence, it is primarily significant to keep your dog thin and fit - not underweight. Well-planned weight maintenance for your dog helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, perfect heart condition and desirable blood sugar, and promotes a longer, healthier life.

How to Keep your German Shepherd Dog Thin, Fit and Healthy

Proper exercise accompanied with balanced diet is the key to success story. Best strategies to fight obesity and keeping dog healthy and thin include a perfect blend of three things:

a) Controlling of portion - Keep control over food. Overfeeding is as dangerous as underfeeding.

b) Balanced diets – A diet can be considered balanced if it contains correct proportion of Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates, Vitamins (A, C D, E, K & B complex vitamins) and Minerals. However for any obese and/ or old dogs these components may not be the same as for dogs having ideal health and young.

c) Correct type and amount of exercise – German Shepherd Dogs needs adequate exercise to be mentally content and physically fit.

Type and Amount of Exercise for Your German Shepherd

Remember the type and amount of exercise for all breed and age are not same. A multitude of factors have to be considered when it comes to exercising your GSD.

Is your GSD already overweight? If so, you just cannot afford to put him to extensive exercise session all on a sudden. Start off with light heeling, followed by slight trotting and then swimming. The time span for each exercise type may be set based on the health condition. Hydrotherapy is the great option to combat obesity in conjunction with vet's recommended diet chart.

Is your GSD still young? For GSD a mistaken concept that has been prevailing for years is that a young pup must be having plenty of exercise. GSD is a fast growing breed. Over exercise may end up with irreparable skeletal damage. Strains on joints and ligaments for a growing GSD can be desperately detrimental and will show several issues in the adulthood. A young (less than 12-18 months of age) GSD should not be give prolonged trotting or other form of extensive exercises. The general grammar of exercising your young shepherd is not plenty but adequate. For a young GSD puppy the exercise must be very limited and restricted only to heel to medium trot for limited span of time, and not brisk and prolonged exercise. "Natural Free Running At Its Sweet will (off leash) or Chasing a Ball" is a best form exercise you your young German Shepherd puppy. Once the puppy grows older than 12 months the briskness and time span may be increased gradually, followed by swimming.

Is your GSD nearing 18 months or above? Even after 12 months the exercise type and amount have to be moderated based on the health condition. If the joints are not yet completely matured you cannot afford to stress him out. You should still be slow and careful. Usually a young GSD of around 12 to 18 months of age should be matured enough to start off with a prolonged trotting. Balanced food and planned exercise will help a matured GSD to become absolutely able to trot long distances with consistency and stamina – not with speed. Remember, for a breed like German Shepherd Dog ‘stamina’ comes not only with balanced food and proper exercise, but the dog’s built or construction is another significant component that contributes to the prolonged trotting stamina. Correct angulation, size, and proportion are immensely important. Check out the world GSD Standard and FCI GSD Standard

Food (quantity and quality) has the most important roles to play here for a GSD to keep in great shape with adequate exercise.

'Plenty' vs 'Adequate' For Feeding and Exercising Your GSD

This holds equally good for both food and exercises. German Shepherd is a working breed and thrives well with right blend of food and exercise. Over feeding and over exercising is as detrimental as under feeding and under exercising your dog. Many novice owners thinks plenty of food and plenty of exercise can promote a good health. The fact is not this. Adequate food and exercise is what he needs and the moderation is important based on health, age and condition – be it a companion dog, show dog, trailing or agility dog! Plenty is Myth – Adequate is Grammar, be it for feeding or exercising your German Shepherds


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Monday, August 31, 2020

An Observation of How Top Line Types Have Evolved

The increasing global popularity of German Shepherd Dog has exposed the breed to varied risks and chances of variations and modifications. Today the world can see a huge deviation from Captain Stephanitz's core idea  and vision about his breed. The differences in thoughts, vision and expectations for look etc. have contributed hugely to the variations in anatomic built.

Ideally, there should not have been  two distinctive types (Working Line and Show Line) developed, and that wasn't the vision. Distinctive line types - Working Lines and Show Lines wasn't in the plan then. Shows then only aimed at filtering the non-breedable stock out, in order to restore the purpose  of the breed in thee breeding programs. Unflagging enthusiasm, accompanied by the change in the ways the new breeders started visualizing the breed and emphasizing fashion and look over the breed's original purpose gave rise to different types and lines.

Variation in thoughts and differences in visualizing a dog influenced the breeding programs hugely. Breeding experimentation based on look and styles consequently led to several types, and eventually different lines.

Apart from this there are a number of offshoots of the breed, all of which claim their respective recognition. Crossing between the lines and types have produced different odd colors and styles that resemble a GSD. As a matter of fact when it comes to true type GSD, there are no rare coloration and special style, and should come only with desirable characteristics and traits. Except the really rare pattern like Brindle gene, which is a pure gene, there’s no desirable color and types that can be concluded as special.

The breeders who claim to promote any special types or color of GSD are not breeding these animals keeping the GSD standard in the mind. For instance, breeders who breed Large, Big Boned or Over sized German Shepherd, and who throw out ads to promote their types are not learned breeders. Neither are they those who claim their breeding as correct and scientific for maintaining a overly compact specimens.

An understanding of different types evolved in the evolutionary process of German Shepherd Dog breed.

Let us start from 1933 - the year Odin von Stolzenfels [(Father: VA Curt von Herzog Hedan SchH )x (Mother: V Bella vom Jagdschloß Platte)] was made sieger.

1933 Sieger Odin vom Stolzenfels
Born: 07 April 1930

Odin Stolzenfels was the last sieger made by Captain Stephanitz in his three decades of breed development career, and prior to his (Stephanitz's) death. Ever since he started the breed development project, captain had always laid his focus on few points, which he thought were most significant -
(i) Improvement of proportion between withers and the back
(ii) Improvement of the top line
(iii) Angles of the bones.

Odin's types can be best judged if we consider a comparative study between him and the 1900 Sieger, Hector von Schwaben [(Father: V Horand von Grafrath (Hektor Linksrhein)) X (Mother: Mores Plieningen)] - one of the most important foundation dog in captain's breed development program.

Left - Odin Stolzenfels & Right - Hektor Schwaben

The type actually started with Odin vom Stolzenfels (1933 Sieger), as he exhibiting improved Top line compared to Hector von Schwaben (1900 Sieger)...  A type of top line that captain visualized: smooth, beginning from the back of the neck and continuing in a straight line over a nicely developed wither with a tight, strong and muscular back. However, it still wasn't the perfect type that he visualized, but close to what he desired.

Notice 1958 Sieger VA Condor vom Hohenstamm - the dog that exhibited nice type - quite improved, and was definitely getting closer to the captain's dream.

Born May 1st, 1954
Breeder & Owner - E. Franke; Lunen (Westfalen)

Condor really exhibited an improved type, with good substantial built, nice angulation, nice depth and prominent chest, good shoulder angulation. Although the stifle angulation definitely still not there, but the overall harmony in the structure of this dog gives a clean indication that his locomotion would have been really nice and balanced.

Notice 1962 Sieger, Mutz aus der Kuckstrasse - the dog was even closer to the type Captain wanted see as far as the top line was concerned.  

1962 Sieger, Mutz aus der Kuckstrasse
Born: 19 April, 1958; Breeder - F. Hesse (Hannover); Owner - Erich Franke

After 29 years of Odin being declared Sieger, and 26 years after captain's death, Mutz aus der Kuckstrasse (sired by Condor vom Hohenstamm)  was made Sieger in the year 1962. The top line was even improved and even closer to what probably Captain Stephanitz had been dreaming of. However, although he became the Sieger, Mutz exhibited less angulation of shoulder blade and stifle. I must say Mutz's father certainly had better shoulder positioning, but the stifle seems to be slightly better in the son (Mutz).

My guess: I think Max Stephanitiz would have loved to see Mutz's spine slightly more raised. It was very close to what Stephanitiz had standardized, but not there yet.

Now with a big leap of 10 long years, we get Marko vom Cellerland as the 1972 Sieger - A dog that exhibited very nice top line, almost exactly what Stephanitiz had visualized. Marko was titled VA4 two times - in 1971 for the first time and 1974, second time (the year for Dick von Adeloga to be VA1, another dog that created a magnificent buzz).


1972 Sieger, Marko vom Cellerland
Born: 3 May, 1968

This slightly long-bodied beautiful dog, in this picture itself, giving a very strong indication of very good hips, the best top line among all the Siegers shown above, very good angulations. Marko, in this picture, has displayed a strong back and good whithers and top line, that gave him a balanced structure.

With such an elegance in his built, I tried delving deeper into his Marko pedigree line, and found (5-5 linebreeding of V2 Hein vom Richterbach, a dog that had very similar back and top line. However, in terms of built and proportion, Marko seemed to be a quite superior dog than his father Kondor vom Golmkauer Krug    

However, just 2 years later we noticed another nice dog with great top line and back. 

Notice 1974 Sieger, Dick von Adeloga - a dog bearing a close resemblance with 1972 Sieger Marko vom Cellerland, described above.

1973-74 Sieger, Dick von Adeloga (2x VA1)
Born: March 1, 1971

Dick Adeloga in this picture, seems to have had the back slightly more raised than Marko, that delivered a very subtle, smooth slope towards the back, with very well formed croup, and a nice balance between the high whither and the back... much superior to his father VA2 Quanto von der Wienerau - also a well known specimen. Dick had a nice and very firm built - very typical to what Max Stephanitz envisioned overall. However, Dick Adeloga sired many mind blowing progenitors,  of which VA1 Herzog von Adeloga is worth mentioning.

1977 VA1 Herzog von Adeloga
Born: December 1, 1973

VA1 Herzog von Adeloga  exhibited a very strong medium sized structure, with a good overall anatomic built. Herzog's stack gives a clear indication of a very strong and firm hind and back. Herzog bore a great resemblance with his father Dick von Adeloga, except the croup region which is slight little more sloped towards the back compared to dad Dick. At that point of time the sloping croup was not in the Standard.

For me, however, VA1 Dick von Adeloga still exhibited a better anatomic built than his son VA1 Herzog von Adeloga

However, it is important at this phase of the article to state something very interesting! The year 1976 marked a significant change in the GSD SV Standard. The standard was slightly, yet significantly altered to bring in a very specific description and interrelation of the back and the withers. Until 1976 the reference of withers and the back in the standard was: "back straight, between withers and croup not too long". Surprisingly, it was really as simple as this! 
Please Note: The word "Straight" was NOT used to mean "Level", contrary to the popular belief - then and even now. Straight back was used and is still used to indicate  a spine that doesn't give an egg shaped back that tend to give a lowered hip position and impacts the top line and its slope.
The back, withers and croup in the amended German Shepherd Standard of 1976 described as this: "back including the loin straight and strongly developed, not too long between the withers and croup. The withers must be long and high enough to be well indicated against the back into which it must gently flow without disrupting the backline which should be slightly sloping front to rear.

So, why I mentioned about the change in the Standard in the middle of this article, could now be better understood with the next dog that I would like to discuss about. 

VA1 Canto von Arminius - the 1978 Sieger, a dog that marked a significant and noticeable evolutionary modification of the back. VA1 Canto Arminius (sired by V1 Canto von der Wienerau) exhibited a sharp deviation from the old description of straight back that was mentioned in the standard prior to 1976.


1978 Sieger, VA1 Canto von Arminius
Born: August 18, 1972

With a close resemblance with the description of the back and withers in amended Standard of 1976, Canto Arminius displayed a back that is not too long between the withers and croup. Canto's withers were high enough to be indicated against the back that flowed with no disruptions in the backline, that gently slopped front to rear. 

However, for several years since 1978, there wasn't any significant changes noticed; therefore no dog is worth mentioning while describing the German Shepherd top line evolutionary process. I would still love to talk about a very stable and a balanced specimen - the 1983 Sieger - VA1 Dingo vom Haus Gero

1983 Sieger, VA1 Dingo vom Haus Gero
Born: September 16, 1978
Breeder:  R. Jansen; Berg. Gladbach

Dingo Haus Gero was a medium sized, strongly built and very typical to the kind of dog that Stephanitz probably dreamt of. Dingo's structure indicated high wither, with good top line, appropriate length - not too compact. good croup situation. Dingo's top line was much close to that of Canto von Arminius. Dingo was an exemplary specimen, close to the amended standard of 1976 that indicated a change, specifically in the description of back and its relationship with the withers and croup. The back nicely sloped between the front to the rear, till the croup. The very structure was so balanced that the locomotion of this dog had to be seamlessly effortless, rhythmic and with adequately good force.

Dingo sired many progenies, of which I would like to mention two of his sons - VA1(I) V8 Natan vom Bergischen Tal (Born - March 3, 1982) and V Amor vom Kellerbug (Born - April 16, 1982). Both these dogs were medium in size, powerful and substantial, dry and firm. High withers, very nice top line, good location and length of the croup.

What we are noticing in both these dogs (Amor and Natan) displayed nice top lines starting from the well defined withers over the back with a very subtle and slight slope towards the back, without any disruption in the backline. This marked a new top line type, keeping a good parity with the 1976 amendment of the standard of the GSD back. 

 2X VA1 Uran vom Wildsteiger Land
1984 + 1985 Sieger,
Born: March 12, 1981
Breeder: Martin Göbl and Maria Göbl

Uran vom Wildsteiger Land is certainly another pillar of the modern German Shepherds. High at the withers, Uran exhibited a strongly developed back, flowing straight towards the croup, not too long between the withers and croup. The top line is a deviation from what we have been seeing so far till Dingo Haus Gero, but has a resemblance with Digo's son Natan vom Bergischen Tal. A very slight and mild rise of the thoracic vertebrae, slopping subtly towards the rear had become little more prominent with Uran compared to Natan vom Bergischen Tal. This wasn't there in any of the dog before Uran; although was too mild in Natan Bergischen Tal. 

Moving forward till 1992 we could notice almost similar top line.

2X VA1 Quando von Arminius 1986 + 1987 Sieger
 2X VA1 Quando von Arminius
1986 + 1987 Sieger
Born: November 28, 1981

VA1 Eiko vom Kirschental
1988 Sieger
Born: December 26, 1983

VA1 Iso vom Bergmannshof
1989 Sieger
Born: February 23, 1985

2X VA1 Fanto vom Hirschel
1990 + 1991 Sieger
Born: March 13, 1986

VA1 Zamb von der Wienerau
1992 Sieger
Born: March 7, 1987

The 1993 Sieger - VA1 Jeck vom Noricum comes in as a new rend setter of top line. However in the year 1991 the FCI breed standard once again underwent an amendment - related to the withers and it's correlation with the back of the dog. 

1991 amendment stated: "the upper line runs without any visible break from the set on of the neck over the well defined withers and over the back very slightly sloping to the horizontal line into the gradually sloping croup"

From the picture it seems like Jeck displayed a top line with a slightly deviation from 1991 amended standard of back.
1993 Sieger, VA1 Jeck vom Noricum
VA1 Jeck vom Noricum
1993 Sieger
Born: August 4, 1987

The first picture of Jeck  Noricum seems like the top line hugely deviated from 1991 standard that stated: "the upper line runs without any visible break from the set on of the neck over the well defined withers and over the back very slightly sloping to the horizontal line into the gradually sloping croup". The first pic show a prominent disruption in his in the thoracic vertebral region ( the region compose the middle segment of the vertebral column). There was an abrupt downward slope noticed in that picture and the croup too had an abrupt slope. A Bad Photoshop Work ineed

 However, in one of the videos that I came across of Jeck, I realized that the disruption was still noticeable, but not as prominent and abrupt as the first picture. Although this disruption was not desirable at all, but the new top line type was very much noticeable, where the top line ran smoothly from the start of the neck over the dog's withers, flowing through the back with a very slight and subtle slope to the horizontal line, and gradually flowing through the subtly slopping croup. This was the top line type (as was described in 1991 amendment) that the serious breeders of that time, who were not intending to promote a special/specific type and who were breeding with the GSD standard in mind started focusing on the top line of this type. This type was very clearly seen with further improvisation than Jeck  Noricum, in top dogs like, VA1 Ulk von Arlett (1995 Sieger), VA1 Ursus von Batu (2000 Sieger), VA Larus von Batu (2004 - 2005 Seiger)      

However, a very new and distinctive trend in the top line was noticed with introduction of a very nice dog in the scene... Nero vom Hirschel (VA5 in the year 1994), who was line bred on VA2 Quanto von der Wienerau 5th generation (Sire) - 3rd + 5th generation (Dam). 

Nero vom Hirschel (VA5  1994)

Nero vom Hirschel
1994 VA5
Born: September 20, 1990 

So, regarding Nero Hirschel, I have mentioned "a very new and distinctive trend in the top line", because of the prominent rise of the spinal cord in the back's lumber area. This rise of the lumber region of the back gave the dog a very different anatomic changes - especially related to top line. Nero sired many progenies, and most of them exhibited same top line type. 

Nero's Sons Reflecting same Top line Type:

V Visum vom Nassauer Berg, Gero vom Finkenschlag, Wasko vom Mons Tabor, Arno de Montedeva, V Fax de bi Lagun, V Neros vom Hasenborn, V Vax vom Nassauer Berg, SG Utz von Arminius, SG Idefix zum Ida-See

Nero's Daughters Reflecting same Top line Type:

V Chanell von Adelplatz, Quisa von Haus Dexel, V Wasna von Mons Tabor, V Linda Hartis, Ydette von der Wienerau, VA2(USA) Carina von der Wienerau

However, when it comes to Nero's son, it reminds me Odin vom Hirschel (VA4 in the year 1998) - A very nice and a strong specimen with high wither, firm back and good croup, exhibiting the same top line style as his father Nero vom Hirschel. Interestingly Odin vom Hirschel seems to have strongly contributed to his father's top line type and definitely set a trend of  rise of the spinal cord in the back's lumber area 

1998 VA4 Odin von Hirschell 
2003 VA1 Bax von Luisenstrasse 
2007 VA1 Pakros d’Ulmental 
2008 & 2009 VA1 Vegas du Haut Mansard

Odin von Hirschell
1998 VA4
Born: March 8, 1995

VA1 Bax von Luisenstrasse
2003 Sieger
Born: April 19, 1999

VA1 Pakros d'Ulmental
2007 Sieger
Born: April 4, 2002

2X VA1 Vegas du Haut Mansard
2008 + 2009 Sieger
Born: March 16, 2004

However, After VA1 Bax von Luisenstrasse (2003 Sieger), there came into the scene other fantastic specimens as Sieger that definitely showed entirely different top line type. And the worth mentioning was Xamp vom Thermodos. I cannot help talking about the legendary VA1 Zamp Vom Thermodos (2006 Sieger), who exhibited a top line type, very different from what was shown by the siegers who are continuous direct line sons of Nero vom Hirschel. 

2006 Sieger, VA1 Zamp vom Thermodos

VA1 Zamp Vom Thermodos
2006 Sieger
Born: January 27, 2002

For the first time since 1991, there came a dog with the back closest to the 1991 amendment of the GSD standard (amendment was made specifically regarding the back - described above). I would rather unhesitatingly say that Zamp Thermodos was little exaggeratedly angulated, yet the most influential dog of his time, and was a great mover. He was a great example of a specimen with high wither. Zamp Thermodos probably was the first fine specimen to have hugely deviated from the 1976 amendment of the GSD standard related to the back. As the 1976 standard amendment of the back clearly stated: "strongly developed, not too long between the withers and croup. The withers must be long and high enough to be well indicated against the back...", Zamp was remarkably a long bodied specimen - long enough between the "high" withers and the "long" croup so as to give the dog a very different look overall, with high wither, top line very prominently (not slightly) sloping, yet very strong back, long croup and overly angulated hind compared to the other Siegers so far. 

Zamp vom Thermodos - presented at Crufts Show 2008 in Birmingham, England

Zamp probably genetically possessed these traits from his legendary dad - VA2 Quantum von Arminius. Zamp passed on this elongated built with exaggerated rear angulation to many of his progenies - the worth mentioning of which are:

V Alex Alexander the Great 

(Arak did not have such an overly angulated hind as Alex Alexander) 

and so on...

The top line type of VA2 Quantum von Arminius line is different from the top line type produced by Odin vom Hirschel line  

Top line Type of Odin vom Hirschel Line

A rise of the spinal cord in the back's lumber area is noticed

Top line Type of Quantum von Arminius Line

No rise of the spinal cord in the back's lumber area is noticed. "The upper line runs without any visible break from the set on of the neck over the well defined withers and over the back very slightly sloping to the horizontal line into the gradually sloping croup"

Important Note

Quantum Arminius >> Zamp Thermodos line, however, exaggerated sloping top line. Some of the Zamp Thermodos' progenies have shown over angulated hind - close to the ground, with metatarsus of hind legs,  being placed nearly flat on the ground. This tend to compromise strides and reach. 

While on the other hand, the Nero vom Hirschel >> Odin von Hirschell line exhibited the rise in the lumber area but did not showed any exaggeration in slope of top line. Most dog of this line did not come up with overly angulated hinds and not close to the ground. Most dogs in this line exhibited better strides while trotting. 

According to the documentation of FCI standard [23.12.2010/EN (FCI-Standard N° 166)] of German Shepherd Dog

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


The standard did not depict the exact requirement of the top line in that document. However has given a very clear indication that the top line should not be impacted  while gaiting. We see many dogs in the rings of many prestigious shows, lacking balance as they tend to lift their fronts up rather than proceeding forward. There are, however, many specimens seen with nicely sloped top line and croup with balanced built. 

Instead of following a trend it is important to understand the correlation between wither, top line, back and croup and plan the breeding program like wise.


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All you need to know about German Shepherd Dogs. Read out what I have to share with you regarding the amazing German Shepherd Dog breed. Are Alsatian dogs and German Shepherd Dogs same? Who was Max Von Stephanitz and What is SV? Also learn a bit more in depth on German Shepherd Dog training tips, German Shepherd puppy care tips, German Shepherd Dog behavior, German Shepherd instinct, German Shepherd Dog standard and history of German Shepherds.

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