Sunday, January 25, 2009

Physical Structure of German Shepherd Dog: GSD Standard

I’m sure I don’t need to define how a well-bred German Shepherd Dog looks like. Known for its unswerving intelligence, working ability and royal personality, German Shepherd Dog has always been one of the most preferred and most liked dog breeds in the world. Beauty is in his within! The way he looks at me, the way he moves, his gesture and everything he does, he does it in style. This might be another big reason for GSD to become the most popular breed world wide. The strikingly beautiful German Shepherd Dog is quite a lot powerful, with strong bones, courageous and self-assured, loyal and protective and can make an amazing companion.

Here are a bit about the standard of German Shepherd Dog. When I talk about the German Shepherd Dog standard, I talk about a specimen that’s well-bred, keeping in view the grammar of breeding. Thorough understanding of the physical structure is necessary to identify a well-bred German Shepherd Dog.


Head: The Size of the head must be in perfect proportion to the size of the body. Technically the length of the head should be approximately 39% to 40% of the dog’s height at wither. Head should neither be too large and/or overlong, nor should it look smaller as compared to the body size. Head should be clear, fairly broad between the ears, and should have a slightly domed forehead with very little or no trace of centre furrow. Deep centre furrow in a GSD forehead is undesirable.

Skull: The broad skull, that starts from the base of the ears and extends up to the nose bridge, should be at least 50% of the total head part as per the GSD standard. This means the skull ends right where the bridge of the nose starts and tapers slightly downwards with a gentle slope and extends further into a powerful Wedge-Shaped muzzle.

Stop: Remain 50% of the head is Stop, which is strong and well built.

Muzzle: The GSD muzzle should be wedge-shaped, strong, firm and powerful and must be parallel to the forehead. Too short or blunt or not-so-strong or over long and pointed muzzle are not only desirable in a well-bred GSD. Loose flap of skin in the muzzle is not desirable.

Ears: Ears shouldn’t be too long or too short and should be broad at the base. Right proportion to the head is necessary. GSD ears must be firm textured and should be erect with proper curve at the tips. Ears with pointed tips or narrow curves are treated faulty. Ears shouldn’t be pulled inward or pushed outward. Gap between the ears at the base must be in right proportion to the size of the head.

GSD ears usually starts standing at the age of 8 to 10 weeks, but may sometimes be delayed to upto even 6 to 7 months in puppies with comparatively larger and heavier ears.

Faulty Ears: Faulty ears in GSD require a broader explanation. Certain genetic traits are responsible for serious faults in ears.

Soft Ears: Ears that never stand, which is typically a genetic trait. Not only undesirable, but this is a serious fault and disqualification.
Friendly Ears: Ears that erect but not with firm texture. They wiggle at the tips as the dog trots or gallop, which is though not a disqualification, but undesirable.
Floppy Ears: Ears that stand but are dropped down at the tips.

Note: Ears, though erect, of some German Shepherd Dogs are folded back while trotting. This is neither a fault, nor disqualification, nor again undesirable.

Eyes: GSDs have ‘almond eyes’… meaning the shape of the eyes is like an almond. The medium-sized should not be protruding and should have dark brown pigmentation at the maturity, although lighter pigmentations are also found, which is not desirable. Too faint eye color is a serious fault. The general harmony of the eyes should be in right proportion to the head to give right facial expression. Eyes should give an expression of intelligence, curiosity, inquisitiveness, attentive, lively and self confidence.

Dentition: Jaws should be quite strong, healthy and firmly developed, with healthy teeth. Upper jaw has 20 teeth, including 6 incisors, 2 canines, 8 premolars, and 4 molars. Lower jaw has 22 teeth, including 6 incisors, 2 canines, 8 premolars, and 6 molars. Normal dentition makes a combination of 42 teeth all together.

Incisors Set: 6 incisors of the lower jaw are set just behind the 6 incisors of the upper jaw.

Dentition Rating: “V” Rating for correct and complete dental configuration
“SG” Rating for a missing P1 or one incisor
“G” Rating for a missing P2 or two incisors
Missing incisors are rarely seen.

GSD Bite: Due to the incisors settings, the dogs holds a bitten article in a scissor grip. The bite of German Shepherd Dog is a called “Scissor Bite”.

Neck: German Shepherd Dog neck should be fairly long and strongly built, with well developed muscles. Short neck is undesirable and treated faulty. Throat should be free from throatiness (dewlap) – excessive folds of skin at the throat region. Very slight dewlap may be present.

The neck should be held at an angle of 45 degree, which may be raised further when excited and lowered a bit when trotting.


Forequarters: Forequarter includes the shoulder blade, front pair of legs, upper arms, elbow and pastern.

Shoulder Blade – As per the German Shepherd Dog standard, the Shoulder Blade should lay flat to the body. The Shoulder Blade sets obliquely at an angle of 45 degree.

Upper Arm – Upper arm is attached to the shoulder blade at 90 degree. Upper arm should be strongly built, with well developed muscles to give an impression of massive innate strength and power.

Forelegs – Forelegs, from the elbow to the region of pastern, should look straight, when viewed from any angle. The bones should be strong, oval and never round. According to German Shepherd Dog standard the length of the foreleg should exceed the depth of chest at a ratio of 55% to 45%.

Pastern – German Shepherd Dog standard puts special attention on the pastern. The pastern should be firm and supple. As per the standard, the pastern should be angulated at an angle of 20 degree to 23 degree and should be approximately 1/3 rd of the length of the forearm. Too steep or soft pasterns are undesirable. More close to this standard ensures more balanced gait of German SHepherd Dog.

Elbow – Elbow should neither turn inward nor twist outward. The length of the foreleg must extend at least beyond the lowest point of the brisket by 55% approximately.

Feet: Feet should be well built, compact and well arched. Toes should be set closed tight to each and must form a well arch. The well developed, heavy-duty pads should be durable and cushioned and not brittle. The nails should be dark, strong and hard. Dew claw may present in hind legs too, although not commonly found.

Body: Well muscular body should give an impression of power. The Length should exceed the Height so as to give a slightly longer look. According to German Shepherd Dog standard, the Length : Height = 10 : 9 or 10 : 8.5.

Height as per the GSD Breed Standard: GSD is a bit longer than higher. A fully matured GSD male should reach a height up to 62.5 cm i.e. 25 inches. Females should be 57.5 cm i.e. 23 inches high. 2.5 cm deviation (under and over) from the standard is allowed

Chest: GSD is a deep-chested breed. The Standard of German Shepherd Dog breed requires the depth of chest of a well bred specimen to be around 45% to 48% of the height. The chest should be broad enough with well developed and fairly long brisket. However, too broad chest distracts the endurance of gait, which has an adverse effect on the working ability of the dog and is hence a disqualification.

Ribs: The rib cage should be broad and wide enough, long and well formed. It should neither be too flat, nor barrel shaped. A bit too wide rib cage will make the elbow turned out, which will disturb the movement of the elbow while on move. Too narrow rib cages will make the elbow turn in, which again distracts the gait. Hence both these extremities are undesirable.

Abdomen: Abdomen should be firm and slightly concave – not bulging out, rather slightly tucked in.

Loin: Broad and powerful loin should be well built and quite muscular to give an impression of great innate strength.

structure german shepherd dog anatomy, GSD standard of GSD structure, German shepherd dog standard of german shepherd dog measurements, GSD anatomy of german shepherd dog anatomy, about german shepherd dog information, german shepherd dog infoTopline: One of the most important parts to put special emphasize on, while judging the breed quality is topline. Topline – the region between wither and croup –
The GSD withers are higher than the back and slopes towards the rear. The German Shepherd Dog back is straight and strongly developed without any droop or roach. The higher wither give it an appearence of slightly slopping from front to back. Many breeders prefer a very slightly gentle curve (almost straight and not perfectly straight), which reflects their lack of knowledge about the German Shepherd anatomy. Too long topline is both undesirable and disqualification. The overall length is not derived from a long back, but is achieved by the correct angle of the shoulder, correct croup length and right hindquarters. Topline is well judged when the dog is stacked properly. Arch back, roach back, banana back are disqualifications as they disrupt the structure, thereby disrupting the gait. Week and soft back are disqualified.

Wither: Well built wither should have a good height. German Shepherd Dogs must be high at the wither, which is desirable. Wither should join the back of the dog in a smooth line instead of any abrupt change in the structure and without disrupting the smooth flow in the topline from wither to where the croup starts.

Croup: Croup should be moderately long, broad and gently downward slopping towards the tail at an angle of approximately 23 degree. The slight downward slope should not disrupt the flow of the topline. Short, flat, steep and narrow croups are disqualifications; too long croup are not desirable either and hence rejected.

Hindquarters: Hindquarter of German Shepherd Dog includes thigh, upper thigh bone (femur), lower thigh bone, Hock and the rear legs. Thigh should be well developed, muscular and broad so as to give an impression of power. While having a side wise look, the upper thigh bone (femur) of a German Shepherd Dog should slope gently to the slightly longer hock. The angulations of the hindquarter should correspond to the front angulations in perfect proportions (without being over-angulated or under-angulated). Dogs that display over-angulated structure when stacked may look good in some eyes, but are undesirable. Powerful hindquarters should be strong enough to give powerful forward propulsion, to make the dog move forward in high pace effortlessly.

Upper Thigh: Broad with well developed muscles. When viewed side ways, the upper thighs are almost diagonal to the lower thighs and are connected to each other at an angle of 120 degree approximately, provided that the forequarter is neither over angulated nor heavily under angulated.

Hock Bones: Hock bone should be strong, moderately long with the well curved stifle. Hock joints should be powerful and strong. Hock joints should not be tucking in (cow hock) or twisted out. These are undesirable as well as disqualification. Cow hock in German Shepherd are very commonly seen and should be excluded out of the breed program. Due to the deviation from the alignment of hock joint, the dog cannot deliver right degree of propulsion and the gait won’t effortless.


Gait of German Shepherd Dog: German Shepherd Dog with right structure and mental soundness, should exemplify a royal movement. GSD is a trotting dog and is the most outstanding trotter. His stepping sequence follows a “Diagonal Movement”. He always moves his foreleg and the opposite hind leg in opposite direction. Without a highly balanced structure a GSD cannot be a good trotter with Diagonal Movement. Strong and well balanced limbs enables him to deliver right degree of propulsion so as to get an extensive reach. A well balanced gait requires the dog to make the maximum coverage of ground by giving hard thrust with his hind foot that takes him well forward to reach exactly middle point of his body, simultaneously the opposite front foot well extended forward, without and noticeable change in the topline that remains still sloping from front to back. While in brisk trotting the head is taken slightly forward, neck lowered, tail slightly raised upward (not sickle tail or gay tail) and ears may sometimes slightly folded back but must be of tough textured and firm.


The overall idea is, while in trotting the gait should be perfectly free from bounciness smooth, supple, and long reaching.

Tail: Tail should be at least as long so as to reach the hock joint but not to extend beyond the mid point of the hock. It should be bushy without any kinks, curls, twists, or any other interruptions, and shouldn’t be carried upward. Although undesirable, yet slightly sideward-bent tails with hook at the end, are seen and is not a disqualification. Sickle tail and gay tail are serious faults and hence disqualifications. Tail raised beyond the horizontal is faulty and is disqualified. A very strong willed and a dominant dog will carry his tail up, especially seen in males. Moreover, dogs bred for working often have high tails. A high set and a high carriage are different of course. Desirable is that a correct tail set of a strong dog can be carried up at approximately 45 degrees from the level.


German Shepherd Dog Coat: German Shepherd Dogs comes in three distinctive categories of coat.
a) Normal Coated GSD – Stock Coat/ Stockhaarige
b) Long Coated GSD – Long Stock Coat/ Long Stockhaarige
c) Open Coated GSD

Normal Coated GSD carries think under coat and closely lying, dense, hard, and straight guard coat. We do not have a standard regarding the length of the coat, but too short hair is faulty and is disqualification. The guard coat should be waterproof and seasoned for all season, weather and environment.

Long Coated GSD comes with fairly longer hairs, which are not always straight and do not lie flat and are not closely compact. Hairs inside and the back of the ears, back part of the front les, loin area and the throat are very longer. This type of coat is usually not waterproof and hence is not desirable, especially for working line German Shepherd Dogs.

Open Coated GSDs are long haired GSDs, whose hairs are longer than the Long Stock Coat/ Long Stockhaarige version. The hair usually part on the back, forming a parting line along the back bone. The texture is slightly silky and not water resistant. Sometimes, such GSDs are found with a bit longer muzzle, with narrow appearance. The degree of protection and working ability are seriously diminished because of the low degree of body heat radiation, which makes the dog easily exhausted.

Color Pattern: The German Shepherd Dog Standard has a say about the color patter and pigmentation too! Read on about the color pattern in GSD.

Behavior: The German Shepherd Dog standard ahs some to say about the behavior and temperament of the dog. Click here to know more about the GSD behavior.


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Understanding German Shepherd Dog - German Shepherd Dog Tail Positioning

Here's a tale of the tail! Let us now talk about the German Shepherd tail carriage. It's all about the language of tail that you can judge many things regarding the mental state of the time. Deviations can't be denied in this regard, because it largely depends on how your GSD carries its tail usually. If your German Shepherd Dog carries his tail higher in normal circumstances, this is a deviation from the normal and hence it might be a bit tougher for a stranger to understand your shepherd's mental state properly. Here are ten most significant German Shepherd Dog tail carriage positions that can help you understand what actually a Shepherd is feeling or thinking. It's all about the understanding the signals.

Tail carried Horizontal: If your GSD is carrying his tail almost horizontally, apart from his hind legs, without stiffing it, he is having a more attentive and closer watch to his surroundings and the elements therein. The elements, here, denotes everything that are going on in the surrounding, including the flight of a bird, approaching of a strange person, wafting off of leaves, playing of the squirrels, a running sheep etc.

Tail carried apart from the hind legs Stiffly: If the GSD carries his tail stiffly apart from his body, this is an indication that the dog is getting mentally prepared to accept an initial challenge. This usually happens when he finds an intruder getting into his territory. This action is followed by "deep grumbling bark", displaying "Social Aggression".

Tail Carried Upward: If the GSD is carrying his tail upward (in a gentle curved way... not upright or vertical), this is an indication that the dog has gathered enough confidence in himself and wants to assert dominance or show his bossiness. If the German Shepherd carries his tail high with sharp upward bend, he tends to show his dominance with aggression.

Tail Carried Lower than Horizontal: If a GSD carries his tail but with a distance from his hind legs, he displays a relaxed attitude. He is waiting for you to come near; he is friendly.

Tail Carried a Bit More Downward: If the GSD carries his tail a bit too downward, closer (but not tucked) to the hind legs, his is giving any of the several signals. He may want to show that he is disturbed or depressed or or insecure or is just not liking to mingle.

Tail Tucked to Hind Legs: Tail tucked to the hind legs, with usually the ears laid flat at back are submissive signals. This indicates that he's scared, but can also challenge you directly.

Tail Wagged Slowly: Slow tail wagging indicates that the GSD is confused.

Tail Wagged Broad: When the GSD is wagging his tail broad, it is an indication that he wants your touch. This not necessarily happen with the person or dog he already knows, but the action can also be displayed when he finds someone new and wants befriend him or her.

There are many such subtle things to be noticed in your German Shepherd Dog and a responsible German Shepherd owner usually does this. Understanding the the body language of a German Shepherd dog is the best way to understand what's going on in his mind. Eyes speak a lot too! All you need to have a bit of patience and eagerness to learn more about German Shepherd Dogs.


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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Choosing German Shepherd Puppy - How To Choose German Shepherd Dog

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“How to choose German shepherd dog” is one of the most common questions that I have been facing since years. Choosing German Shepherd Dog can be as easy as A B C for someone, who has been keeping, breeding and rearing the German Shepherd Dog breed for years now. I mean to say, experience is the key! While choosing German Shepherd puppy, you need to look for certain things that many people usually miss out, and the result can be a real nightmare!

Make no haste! Sit back at home, and look for a good German Shepherd Dog breeder. Now, who is a good breeder? How can you find him? All I can say is that a good German Shepherd Dog breeder is the one who doesn’t breed for money. Secondly, a good breeder breeds for quality and is known for the quality of puppies he breeds. Once you get a good German Shepherd Dog breeder, you need to look for the other criterion while choosing German Shepherd puppies. Remember, a breeder isn’t anyone who owns a female dog who has litter! A breeder is the one who has a grip in the science of breeding… rather the art of it. Get an insightful information on caring German Shepherd puppies

Temperament is something very important. This is the one most important thing that makes a puppy fit or unfit for your family. It’s only after a thorough evaluation of the litter as a whole that you can pick the right puppy. Don’t let the cute playful faces choose you. Most of the first-time dog owners make mistakes by letting the puppies choose them, instead of the reverse. Mentally good puppies are friendly, trusting and curious. They won’t stiff themselves when picked. They should approach you without hesitation, crawl into your lap and start chewing your fingers. A German Shepherd Dog with a sound temperament can make a sound companion.

See the parents of the litter. Evaluate the way they interact with each other when kept together. See how both of them interact with you as a stranger. Look the signs of the unwarranted aggression towards you. Remember adult German Shepherd Dogs have their own unique valor and should have the right degree of aggression. If they are over aggressive, it’s a bad sign altogether. Over aggression and Shyness are both behavioral faults, which are genetically transferred on to the to choose german shepherd dog, how to choose german shepherd puppy, choosing german shepherd puppy, good german shepherd puppy, perfect german shepherd puppy, how to choose german shepherd dog, how to choose german shepherd puppy, choosing german shepherd puppy, captani max von stephanitz

Structure and bones are next very important things to look for while choosing German Shepherd puppy. Notice your prospective puppy moving around carefully before paying for it. He should have the right German Shepherd topline, proper curve of stifle, and bones should be strong enough. The pics that I collected from the net, show the proper bones structure and pigmentation of a good German Shepherd puppy.

Puppy’s lineage is another vital thing to look for, although its hard to determine it unless you’re experienced in choosing German Shepherd Dogs. Remember a good litter is jus a result of a right combination of genes. If the breeder has good bloodlines, it doesn’t mean he will produce a goods litter, because the best female can produce the worst puppies, if not mated to the right kind of male. If you are not good at determining blood lines, you need to bank on an experienced person.

General Criterion like other health issues are to be considered before picking up the puppy. Make sure, the puppies do not have skin rashes, ears free from matter, and they are energetic. The eyes should be clear. Avoid the puppy that has a running eyes or ears.

See the movement, while choosing German Shepherd puppies. Movement of a healthy German Shepherd puppy should be effortless and the puppies should be playful. Avoid picking the one who stays away from other litter mates.

A German Shepherd Shepherd Dog Looks like this when stacked:

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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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