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Old 10-15-2009, 01:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dog called both "straight back" and "too sloped"?

I am so confused... I have had several people comment on Bianca's conformation. One was a Shepherd breeder and another who owned Shepherds for years. I've heard compliments such as that they really like her level topline, how they like to see (her) a "straight backed" GSD rather than one with a very sloped back, how she does not look like the American show dogs, and similar comments.

Then the other day on another dog forum ( this one if anyone wants the context) I was told that Bianca was too sloped, has "strangely long back legs" and that she is a "show GSD" which "leads to all sorts of health issues" and can't do work. I've also had a vet comment on something like this once.

I mentioned that she definitely does not have any skeletal or any other health problems, and how she can definitely "work" all day as she showed me at the dog camp last weekend.

I am trying to figure out how my dog can have both a straight back and a too sloped back! Has anyone else been told both these things by different people?
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dog called both "straight back" and "too sloped"?

Can you post a picture?
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dog called both "straight back" and "too sloped"?

Here you go:



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Old 10-15-2009, 02:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dog called both "straight back" and "too sloped"?

I guess I can see how people can say she is a sloped back and a straight back. Her back is far straighter than the general show GSD but not quite as straight as some of the working line GSDs that I have seen.

I guess it depends on what you considered "slopped" or not, as silly as that sounds. If you considered a slopped back one with an extremely steep slop and those "frog legs" then your dog would have a straight back. If you considered slop any slop, no matter have small, then I can see how your dog could be slopped.

I think it's a bit extreme to say that your dog will definitely have health problems and can't work. That's just ridiculous. Either way, your dog is gorgeous!
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dog called both "straight back" and "too sloped"?

Your dog has a straight back and loin, with a slightly curved croup. The curve of the croup looks more steep than some other dogs' might because of the nice level back and loin that precede it. If you are able to look at the pictures of early dogs, such as Jung Tell of the Kriminalpolizei, champion of Holland, 1913, or Norbert v Kohlwald, PH, champion 1911/12 of both France and Holland, you will see the same kind of conformation, complete with the longer leg to body ratio. Some people call this type of conformation in a German Shepherd old-fashioned, for obvious reasons. Both examples I have chosen as examples were working dogs in the real world and would have been able to work modern show dogs into the ground. In fact, far from causing health problems, this return to the earlier, real-world working type of conformation may bring with it greater health and longevity, as long as the dog is properly fed and exercised and no other health problems are present. As you no doubt know, having followed the forum, the German Shepherd comes in very distinct and disparate types.

The American show lines even have a less distinct split between the two groups 'open' and 'specialty'. The so-called 'sloping' back belongs to the Am lines, where the back and loin are straight and long, the croup relatively short and shallow, and the 'back' runs downhill due to the over-angulated (over-flexed) hock. The dog stands and walks on the part of the hind leg above the foot which gives the dog a very weak, loose 'side-gait' trot which is also quite spectacular to watch (however useless it is for any real-world work). Since the dog is walking on its leg instead of its foot, the thigh bone and its accoutrements must be longer in order to compensate. Coupled with the 'show' stance of the 'stacked' dog, the thigh is then drawn back so it appears diagonal instead of longitudinal, masking its actual length. Someone accustomed to this type of conformation might see a normal, upright leg as 'long', since their eye is educated to a different set of angles.

The German 'high' line show lines feature a camel-like 'roach' back, a somewhat shorter loin than the Am lines, and a steep, short croup, with extremely long thighs. The hock is tacked onto the leg at an odd angle almost as an after-thought and the dogs move at a walk and a gallop at a crouching, awkward gait sometimes referred to as bunny-hopping. At the trot the back flattens out somewhat and the dog has a flashy, loose, extreme 'side-gait' which judges love.

Both groups excuse what they have done by fallacious references to the trotting gait and sheep herding, though dogs of either 'high' lines or Am lines which actually do any herding are practically non-existent. Even in the Schutzhund/sport group of dogs it is difficult to get away from the over-long thighs and over-angulated hocks, although to give this group credit, they do try. Their dogs are shorter coupled and more athletic by far, and far more likely to be able to do work in the real world, at least as far as their physical structure is concerned.

Think of your dog as closer to the 'prototype' German Shepherd, a rare dog growing even more rare as the years go by, something precious and wonderful. Treasure her as you would a rare and special antique, a memory of what once was, and mostly is no more, due to people's ignorance and ego and be glad you have her. khawk
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dog called both "straight back" and "too sloped"?

Personally, I feel the 'straight back' and 'sloped back' terms tend to come up when novices are talking about GSDs. AKC-type dogs do not have sloped backs. They have excessive hind end angulation (and often long stifles) which causes their rears to sink low when they are stacked for the show ring. The dog's back is not the problem at all. In fact, the back is straight. It just declines from the withers making it appear 'sloped.'

IMHO, it's just a terminology issue. I think Bianca is a fairly moderate dog and I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dog called both "straight back" and "too sloped"?

She's a pretty girl, and she's yours... You love her, who cares what those people think?
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Old 08-01-2010, 02:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagocanine View Post
I am so confused... I have had several people comment on Bianca's conformation. One was a Shepherd breeder and another who owned Shepherds for years. I've heard compliments such as that they really like her level topline, how they like to see (her) a "straight backed" GSD rather than one with a very sloped back, how she does not look like the American show dogs, and similar comments.

Then the other day on another dog forum ( this one if anyone wants the context) I was told that Bianca was too sloped, has "strangely long back legs" and that she is a "show GSD" which "leads to all sorts of health issues" and can't do work. I've also had a vet comment on something like this once.

I mentioned that she definitely does not have any skeletal or any other health problems, and how she can definitely "work" all day as she showed me at the dog camp last weekend.

I am trying to figure out how my dog can have both a straight back and a too sloped back! Has anyone else been told both these things by different people?
Don't worry about it your dog is fine I am a breeder of straight back dogs and love the heck out of them **removed by Admin**

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Old 08-01-2010, 06:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Chicagocanine -

I think anything people say about your dog should be taken with a grain of sand, unless that person is a conformation judge.

I have heard vets say some very stupid things about dogs, including one who told me my Malinois couldn't be a Malinois because she didn't have a curly tail. (Huh?) And I've heard a lot of people offer all sorts of opinions, sometimes educated, but most of the time quite ignorant. It seems like anyone who's watched a TV show about dogs or read an article in a dog magazine has an opinion of how a German Shepherd looks and about the fact that they "all" have "hip issues".

I've gotten a lot of comments like, "At what point do their hips usually go bad?" or "Does she have bad hips?" from people who'd literally just met us at a pet store or while hiking. Usually people who followed this by telling us all about how they've owned Shepherd for YEARS and are terribly knowledgeable about the breed.

So I would not let it worry you too much.

Looking at the photos, I would say that Bianca does have a nice, level back but a very angled croup. So I suppose you could say that she has both a straight back and slanted hips, but not exactly a sloped back. Her croup reminds me a lot of my Abby, although Abby's topline is not as straight. And yes, Bianca strikes me as a German show-line type dog if I had to put her in a box and place a label on it.
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Old 08-01-2010, 07:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Chicagocanine,

I really don't think you should tolerate this situation and clearly you'll need to rehome that sloped straight backed thing-a-ma-bob dog, and I would be willing to put myself out to do a good deed.

Please contact me as soon as possible so I can pick her up.

Wayne
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