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Old 06-20-2014, 06:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Topline/Body Length

Lets talk about the length of the GSD's topline/body. I know that the breed standard states that the German Shepherd should be longer than tall.
I've seen dogs with shorter toplines, and some with longer. Is it something that breeders strive for? Is there any advantages of a long/short topline? How does the topline length affect a dog's performance/agility?
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A dog that is longer can accomodate a longer stride. A shorter dog can turn more easily.
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm simply a casual observer.....but as the previous poster mentioned....a shorter topline perhaps would not allow for the classic GSD gait.....overreach is part of the equation....maybe...?

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Old 06-20-2014, 08:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've only recently seen some very well bred WL GSD. To be honest, I never realize how long they were. It really was impressive to witness.


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Old 06-21-2014, 08:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A shorter coupled dog is better for sports. It depends on *where* the dog is short. If I'm looking at puppies moving around, I will always err on the side of the shorter one, rather than one that might be a smidge too long. That is my preference.

ETA: Reach comes from the shoulder. A more square dog does not necessarily lack in reach, although it may appear so because typically breeders who are not selecting for longer or perfect torso proportions are the same people that aren't selecting to maximize reach.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I would rather have a bit shorter back. A long back is common in many working line dogs. Beau can cover a lot of ground at an amazing speed but I worry about future back injuries enough that I am doing back strengthening excercises. FWIW "sit pretty" is a good one.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren43 View Post
I've only recently seen some very well bred WL GSD. To be honest, I never realize how long they were. It really was impressive to witness.


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Hmmm, my experience with WL (6 different dogs, predominately Czech) is that they were all, except one, shorter-coupled. The two I have now, the male is straight Czech, the female more DDR. The female is longer, the Czech boy is short-coupled, built pretty square, which I prefer. I guess I favor that type of conformation because I am primarily a horse person who owned, trained and showed Arabians, who are naturally short-coupled, nice and square. In my mind it equates with versatility.

One of my rescue GSDs was SL, long back with the more extreme angulation, and he had the gait that went with it. I loved him dearly (lost him last November), but when I have a preference, it is for the shorter backed dogs.

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Old 06-21-2014, 11:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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One rescue I had was from around Austin TX, a beautiful red sable, and he was over 29 inches, but perfectly proportional (I used to call him my Thoroughbred). His size was an exception, but he was still extremely atheletic and never seemed to have any structural issues. We lost him to hermangiosarcoma, so I have no idea how sound he would have remained in old age.

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Old 06-21-2014, 11:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan_GSD_mom View Post
Hmmm, my experience with WL (6 different dogs, predominately Czech) is that they were all, except one, shorter-coupled. The two I have now, the male is straight Czech, the female more DDR. The female is longer, the Czech boy is short-coupled, built pretty square, which I prefer. I guess I favor that type of conformation because I am primarily a horse person who owned, trained and showed Arabians, who are naturally short-coupled, nice and square. In my mind it equates with versatility.



One of my rescue GSDs was SL, long back with the more extreme angulation, and he had the gait that went with it. I loved him dearly (lost him last November), but when I have a preference, it is for the shorter backed dogs.



Susan

The female was shorter. She was the mother of the male, but she was also pregnant at the time, so it was hard to determine her actual shape. But the male just had a presence about him and took up what seemed/feel like a lot of space. That being said he seemed extremely agile.

In this area we see plenty of SL poorly bred GSDs. I've never been like wow, that's a beautiful dog. Usually they are short in height and body and their owners keep them heavy, it's pretty sad.



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Old 06-21-2014, 05:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you all for the feedback! I, personally, think a shorter topline looks more "sporty." My DDR/WGSL boy has a fairly long topline. It's not unusually long, just long.
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