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Old 02-27-2014, 04:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Colorado Breeders and general conformation questions

I've got several questions and hope someone has some answers. Forgive me if I sound ignorant of breed standards, but I've always had GSDs as pets, and not conformation or schutzhund dogs.

1) Can anyone give advice on a reliable breeder in Colorado? I'm NOT interested in showing or working with high-drive dogs. I'm looking for another social family pet.

2) I've viewed various Colorado websites and find that most breeders know something about the hip status of the parents, quite a few list elbow status, and a lesser number know about DM status. My 10 year old is struggling with DM and we are very close to the end, I'm afraid . What information would you want to see for the parents, as far as OFA ratings, genetic testing and so forth?

3) Here's the silly bit. Neither of my shepherds has/had a roached back, but I'm seeing a lot of that in the pictures. Do the backs look roached because of the way they are stood up for the photos? Or is this the way they are actually conformed? I've seen some pictures of GSDs with straight backs, even when posed, but they are few and far between. Is the roach back something that predisposes for later problems? Is a straight back preferable or indicative of other issues?

TIA for any assistance with these matters.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sorry can't help with CO breeders but I can help with question #3, it's great that you are asking and not drawing conclusions off the bat.

First regarding top lines/backs there have been lots of discussions regarding what 'roach' back is vs 'straight' vs angled top lines. You can use the search function on the forum to look up the threads that go into this in detail.

Second, yes, how they are stacked can greatly affect the appearance of their top line in photos. Personally I don't like the way the GSD breed is stacked, it's too extreme IMHO.

Third, in general, a dogs top line does not affect whether it's likely to have health problems or genetic issues. Most importantly, you'll often hear and read on the net that 'straight backed working line dogs' do NOT get hip dysplasia. That is false, false and totally false.

All lines American Show, West German Show, Working lines and the subsets within can end up with hip dysplasia.

Your best bet is finding a good breeder that knows his/her lines and carefully breeds to avoid health issues through testing and tracking progeny from his/her breeding program, even that's not always a guarantee but you can certainly stack the odds in your favor.

Good luck with your puppy search.



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Originally Posted by twelvegates View Post
I've got several questions and hope someone has some answers. Forgive me if I sound ignorant of breed standards, but I've always had GSDs as pets, and not conformation or schutzhund dogs.

1) Can anyone give advice on a reliable breeder in Colorado? I'm NOT interested in showing or working with high-drive dogs. I'm looking for another social family pet.

2) I've viewed various Colorado websites and find that most breeders know something about the hip status of the parents, quite a few list elbow status, and a lesser number know about DM status. My 10 year old is struggling with DM and we are very close to the end, I'm afraid . What information would you want to see for the parents, as far as OFA ratings, genetic testing and so forth?

3) Here's the silly bit. Neither of my shepherds has/had a roached back, but I'm seeing a lot of that in the pictures. Do the backs look roached because of the way they are stood up for the photos? Or is this the way they are actually conformed? I've seen some pictures of GSDs with straight backs, even when posed, but they are few and far between. Is the roach back something that predisposes for later problems? Is a straight back preferable or indicative of other issues?

TIA for any assistance with these matters.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm in CO and don't know any breeders around here that I'd get a dog from. There might be good breeders here and I just haven't found them yet. A lot of the breeders I've found here have roached-back showline dogs, which I don't care for.

Regarding roaching and stacking, the roaching is their conformation. Yeah you can alter a dog's appearance with a stack, but there is only so much you can do. It would be extremely difficult (probably impossible) for me to stack my fairly-straight GSDs with such a roach as many show dogs have. A roach is not there only in the photo, as some people try to claim. Take this video for example. You can clearly see the dogs' roached toplines as they are moving.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf95aY8E7_E

If you don't want a dog with a roached back, don't get one from a breeder that has those dogs.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input so far. Some of the shepherds in that video moved like my DM shepherd in the back end. Strange.

Anyone care to comment on what testing you want to see in the parents? Or is it just too much of a "crap shoot" to put much weight on that? I spoke with my vet on whether DM was absolutely ONLY a genetic issue in GSDs and she sort of looked at me sideways and said she wasn't convinced.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm in Colorado and I got my boy from Rocky Mountain German Shepherds. They primarily breed showline, but I think they are now delving into working lines as well.
My boy has a very straight back and is not roached. I have been very happy with the kennel and know several other people that have dogs from there and are very happy. With that being said, I don't believe they do DM testing but show all of their OFA ratings on their dogs. I would call several breeders in CO and ask them if they do DM testing on their dogs.
I personally think it best to visit first hand each facility and see the operations and dogs in person.
Good luck with your search!
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you. Is a show line dog more of a general pet sort of animal, as compared to a working dog?
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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ugggh....I know I should just let it go...and maybe it's because I was into horses for so long and conformation is a huge deal the whole business about 'roach back' bugs me.

Most people don't know what a 'roach back' really is.

To the OP I wouldn't worry about 'roach' back as it's fairly rare.

*Most* of the non-straight back dogs are this way because of rear leg angulation not because the back itself has too much curve/slope.

I'll dig up some threads and link them in case you'd like to read up on it.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Roach-less WGSL Breeder Recommendations?

roach back?
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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One more thread with some good pics and discussion about top lines in the GSD.

Hope this helps!

Working SV breeders?
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you. Sorry about the use of the term "roached". I understand the difference between sloped and roached.
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