Sunday, July 26, 2009

German Shepherd Dog Coat Color: Dilute German Shepherd Dogs

I am really lucky to have some good dog lover pals around me. Yes, most of my peeps are dog lovers and some of them are specifically German Shepherd lovers. Rizia Robertson is one such friend of mine who seems to have given her heart to German Shepherds. During my last conversation with her, I told her I can talk about dogs for centuries without even getting tired. She said, “well you have a friend here who loves talking about dog – especially GSD”. Are you wondering why I’m talking about Rizia? Well guys, I just want to let you know that she has been the first one to inspire me to write about gene dilution in German Shepherd Dogs. My last post on Gene Dilution in German Shepherd Dogs was written being inspired by Rizia. Truth be told here… I had written the article on GSD gene dilution for blue and liver pigments some times back in 2007, but never published it until I felt the urge post it after having days of discussion with Rizia. I would like to thank her because of this. Rizia, let your love for German Shepherd Dog never stop!

This is again another piece of information about German Shepherd Dog gene dilution. Regarding German Shepherd Dog coat color the SV breed standard said, “the color of the GSD is in itself not important and has no effect on the character of the dog or on its fitness for work and should be a secondary consideration for that reason. The final color of a young dog can only be ascertained when the outer coat has developed.” It is hence, beyond all controversy, that amongst all undesirable factors in the GSD breed, the coat color is the one that should be included as the last point in the list. My personal view is that if the coat color doesn’t affect the working ability of the breed (which the breed is actually meant for), it should be excluded from the list right way so that the two mutations of black gene in the GSD: blue and liver are not considered to be faults in the show rings. GSDs have two pigment genes: melanin/ eumelanin (brown/black) and phaeomelanin (yellow/red). Melanin is normally black, which has two distinctive mutations in GSDs – blue and liver.

As per the standard the blues and the livers are genetic faults, and no reputable German Shepherd Dog breeder will breed these so-called faulty genes. The GSD breeders, who breed these genes, with both parents as carriers, end up with a shallow genetic pool. In most cases the liver and blue puppies usually come by accident. Frankly speaking, I haven’t yet come across a breeder who breeds to produce liver and blue pups deliberately. But here, again the same thing, I would like to say. If the color genes don’t affect the working ability, character and behavior of the breed, what’s harm in livers and blues? This is a very debatable question and I won’t go in for arguments and debates, nor would I like to criticize any bloodlines. I would rather say that diluted dogs may descends from high quality specimens from top bloodlines that have proved even in the Schutzhnd trial fields.

blue german shepherd dogs liver german shepherd dogs dilute german shepherd dogs
Just a gist about Blue and Liver genes in German Shepherd Dogs

Blue Gene in German Shepherd Dogs

  • Double recessive color gene
  • Rare color
  • Dilute gene, which means it dilutes the black pigment in the dog.
  • Considered a disqualifying fault by the AKC.
Liver Gene in German Shepherd Dogs
  • Double recessive color gene
  • Rare color
  • Dilute gene that blocks the black pigment in the dog.
  • Considered a disqualifying fault by the AKC
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gene Dilution in German Shepherd Dog – Blue and Liver Dilution

Blue German Shepherd Dogs and Liver German Shepherd Dogs

The blue and liver GSDs had been the rarest genes once upon a time that have always captured breeders’ attention. Fortunately these genes are not as rare as it used to be some years back. The search volumes for the blue and liver GSDs in the Internet have been on a rising, which is gives an indication that people are looking for these genes more these days, either for puppies or to get information about the blue and liver German Shepherd Dogs. There are actually two possible dilutions for the black color in German Shepherd Dogs - “Blue Dilution” and “Liver Dilution”. Here’s just some information about these rare German Shepherd genes – the recessive blue and liver gene.

Colors of these German Shepherds are different from the regular ones that we usually see in the dog shows. They are real striking in appearance, if bred correctly. If not bred well, these dilutions usually come with blues and brown nose, while the standard requires the nose, nails, eye rims and lips to be black strictly.

Patterns of Blue Dilution in GSD

Blue German Shepherd DogsThe blue gene in German Shepherd Dogs actually turns the pigmentation of both skin and coat into bluish or steel grey, which is usually very dark. The tan area, on the other level, remains almost the same tan markings as we see in regular shepherds. Sometimes the tan ground may take a faint silvery tint. In the German Shepherd Dog breed, there are great chances of the blue gene to occur in any pattern and type of coat. This finally dilutes the black pigment.

Patterns of Liver Dilution in GSD

Liver German Shepherd DogThe liver gene affects the dog’s pigmentation in almost the same way. The liver gene in German Shepherd Dogs dilutes the black pigment, thereby turning both the coat and skin into liver brown color. Like the blue genes this also dilutes the eye pigmentation by giving the eyes a wrong tint – silvery-yellowish-brown color. The liver gene can come in any pattern alike the blue one. The tan markings seem almost the same as in the regular GSD.

In either of the two dilutions the dog looses it black pigmentation, which is replaced by either blue or liver pigments. Remember the gene that gives color and the gene that gives pattern are two distinctive genes. This ensures a good chance that either dilution can come with three different patterns, viz. solid color, two-toned pattern and agouti. Both these dilutes in German Shepherd Dogs are seen with two-toned pattern and agouti, more commonly than with solid colors. Solid blue and solid liver German Shepherd Dogs are rare of the rarest genes in the world. In most cases the liver and blue German Shepherd Dogs comes with liver-brown and blue noses respectively. Both these gene dilutions in German Shepherd Dogs affect the eye pigmentation too!


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

German Shepherd Dog Show – What Does a Judge Look For in a perfect GSD?

perfect GSD, german shepherd dog showGerman Shepherd Dog Show

Candidly speaking, I don’t show my dogs like the many other dog breeders and owners around me. I try to attend as many dog shows as possible – especially the German Shepherd Dog specialty ones. If you want to learn about the German Shepherd Dog breed, it’s not enough to just read books. You need to visit shows and should try to evaluate why certain dogs win and others don’t. Reading books and gathering information about German Shepherd Dogs is like the home work that you used to do back in your school days. Try to apply your knowledge in the dog show; be a judge yourself. Remember, judging a dog – especially a complicated breed like German Shepherds is just next to impossible unless you know the breed well. At the same time you must know what actually a judge looks for in a dog in the ring. Well, he looks for mainly working ability, for which the German Shepherds were originally developed. Keeping this in mind, judges compare every single dog exhibited in the ring to his image of a perfect specimen of the breed (as per SV standard)... not only anatomically, but mentally too.

Here’s a synopsis of the major criterion based on which the dogs are judged in the show rings:

german shepherd dog show perfect german shepherd dog
Proportions of body: By this I mean to say specially the ratio of height : length. The H : L ratio of a perfect German Shepherd Dog should be 8.5 : 10, which gives a harmonious blend of length to height.

Strength of the rear portion: An ideal GSD must have a strong back, with tight ligaments of the hind legs. This is checked during standing and while on move too!

This is of utmost importance. The judge checks the angles between the bones of shoulder and hind quarters. Over angulated specimens are rejected.

Development of chest:
The judge checks if there is enough room for the lungs. The dog should have good depth of chest, which is around 50% of the total height of dog at wither.

Gait and extension:
This is checked when the dog in on trot. The dog should effortlessly reach forward with powerful propulsion, thereby covering the maximum amount of ground. The trot should not be suspended.

Masculinity and Femininity:
This is all about expressions! Dog like bitches and bitch like dogs are undesirable.

The dog must calmly accept the examination – especially on touch. Irrespective of gender, the subject should not react fearfully or with shyness to the gunshots. The dog should remain lively through out the session.

Endurance and Condition:
The dog should have sound physical condition. It shouldn’t tire out after a few trots round the ring.

Dental Configuration and Jaws:
Ideal GSD has scissor bite. Undershot lower jaws are undesirable. Jaws must be prominent and strong enough with a full set of dentition.

The dog should have both the testicles descended.

This is not just the end of the story. GSD is a shepherd dog and hence expected to bear all the most desirable shepherding traits. The judge merges the above qualities with the correct shepherding traits that a perfect specimen of the breed should possess.

Correct shepherding traits of a perfect German Shepherd Dog

Correct shepherding traits include his most important aspects of nature that he should possess to carry out his work as a shepherd dog successfully. A perfect specimen of the breed must have a strong personality, with keenness to work, alertness in his job and aloofness towards the external factors, apart from his job. Let me try to describe these traits distinctively.

Keenness: Keenness is the degree of interest to work as a shepherd dog with the livestock. Without having this trait in his dog, the sheepherder cannot expect him to manage the large herd of sheep grazing around. With high degree of interest to work the German Shepherd Dog breed can be put to any kind of work, apart from just herding.

Alertness: A perfect example of the most appropriate specimen of the breed must show alertness while on work. A good shepherd usually reacts to the slightest alteration in the situation. He would be attentive enough and would tend to keep eyes on the surroundings of his working area.

Aloofness: Often misunderstood as unfriendliness, this typical trait of the German Shepherd Dog is worth mentioning when it comes to his working ability. The dog owners (the sheep herders) will never expect his dog to leave his work and run behind some other things and animals while on duty. He may show a brief interest on the external factors (strangers, other animals, or other distracting factors), but should not show high degree of excitement. As soon as he determines that the external factors (strangers and other animals) are not menace to the herd of sheep, he would turn back to his job.

With all these physical and mental traits in appropriate degree, a dog can be a perfect GSD, and a perfect German Shepherd Dog can work under any condition. All these factors merge in perfect blend to make German Shepherds the world’s most versatile breed. Being put to any kind of job these dogs have shown stand out results. Starting from herding sheep to war, rescue, guiding blind, guarding properties, sniffing out narcotics and land mines, acting in the movies, acting as therapy dogs, police dogs etc, the German Shepherd Dog breed earned a great deal of fame across the globe.


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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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