I am an oversized German Shepherd breeder. Cringe now, if you must. It seems some of you are so quick to assume things based on size. Because someone had posted a video of my dog Ash, there were many on this board who said various things about a video in which he was walking on crusty snow that basically amounted to clearly he had all sorts of health problems, I in turn replied that he has been tested through the OFA regarding hips, a degenerative myelopathy clear non-carrier, in addition to TLI testing within normal range at 25.1 and posted a pic to him because I'm DARN PROUD of how good I think he looks at almost 6 years of age
He is also considered oversized at 30" at the shoulder and ranges anywhere from 125-135 pounds depending on the season, completely healthy with no problems, our vets are completely fine with his weight because he is in proportion. Never have we pushed our dogs to be a certain weight nor told ANY of our puppy owners to do that, actually quite the opposite. Some of the remarks seemed so shocked and horrified that something outside the standard of the breed even existed, like he was some vile creature from the black lagoon which had surfaced to eat the neighborhood children. I don't get that. I made a few other points in that thread, of which I would like to re-paste here because I do not know if it will even be seen by many on that thread and because I have seen oversized dogs discussed numerous times on this board before anyway, I may as well restate it so people can see what an oversized German Shepherd breeder's opinion is since the other thread will probably be buried soon enough and it couldn't hurt to at least show the flip side on what seems to be a hot topic.
Obviously coming onto a forum like this, just like with most of the other GSD forums, most will not like larger GSD, so of course it's like how much effort should I put in to fight a gang up of 20 to 1. However, I will say this, why is it that almost 20% of the GSD tested through the OFA test with some form of dysplasia? Obviously it's not just due to size, because most shepherds are well within the normal standard size. Hip dysplasia will be aggravated by excess weight, true. People that don't care about their dogs and just breed the biggest to the biggest without any regards to health (and most likely do not bother to do any type of testing anyway) will probably produce dysplastic dogs. That is not us, and while I am sure there are "breeders" out there (most likely through the classified ads) that do this, I know there are many of the larger GSD breeders that do health testing as well. Can I attest to what they do? Nope, I can only say what we do. From a business standpoint, since someone mentioned this was an "ad critique", frankly it would be stupid for me to breed a dog that either has problems or produces problems. Why? Because for my contract, I do not offer a puppy as a replacement. I give $ back if the dog has an issue, and since we're only hobby breeders who don't produce many puppies anyway, why would I want to produce dogs where I know I'll end up having to give back $$? Unfortunately, there are people out there that like to circulate that big = hip dysplasia. If that is the case, then anyone that buys a small GSD is all set because if big = hip dysplasia, wouldn't small = no dysplasia? Of course not. It's about the health of your lines, knowing your dogs and what they produce, knowing what their relatives have produced. Hip dysplasia is still going to happen, regardless, but you try to do the best you can to limit it.
Some of these comments made about Ash are made because of the notion that big GSD automatically have dysplasia, that "clearly their frames cannot support their weight" or "just because they're bred larger than they were meant to be", hence the problems. Hogwash. Why is it then that on OFA's website, some of the breeds that have less of a percentage for dysplasia versus the GSD include giant breeds (including the LARGEST breeds of all) such as the Irish Wolfhound, the Great Pyrenees, the Anatolian Shepherd, the Great Dane, the Leonberger, the Tibetan Mastiff, and the Kuvasz. What I find interesting is that the Belgian Sheepdog, Tervuren , Malinois, and Dutch Shepherd, all VERY comparable breeds, have much better % than the GSD at 2.9% / 3.5 % / 5.4 / 7.1 % dysplasic of dogs tested. Obviously the GSD has been a top 10 breed for a long time, and this is where one of the issues lie. People just wanting to crank out puppies. It's not due to size, but breeding practices. In the end though, assuming a dog automatically has dysplasia or reading into the dog "walking funny" JUST due to knowing the size is absolutely ridiculous. I'm sure that most on here will disagree with any or everything I have to say, but that's the way it is. Call my dogs ugly, TOO BIG, "shameful to the breed founder and a disgrace to Von Stephanitz", I can live with that. Don't call into question health issues that aren't there or try to say our dogs are mistreated due to someone seeing something that isn't there. I understand a lot of you don't like larger dogs, but don't let that be a motivation to make off-the-wall claims. Oh well, I've said my peace, don't know if there would be a point in responding to anything else but "Que Sera, Sera".
Final note - I watched my video again and I think part of what people may think is Ash "in pain" is actually him walking on crusty snow. The snow had glazed over the top because it had snowed a day or two prior, and you know what happens when the sun starts melting the top of the snow and then it freezes overnight...crusty snow. I don't like walking in crusty snow with my two legs cause you don't know if you'll actually sink in or not, and never thought people would perceive issues and read into a video so much but such is the internet.
Not all large German Shepherd breeders are bad, we may breed outside of the standard but we strive for our dogs to be just as healthy ans well-tempered as anyone else's. Even if they may not be the ideal shepherd for those here, they are ideal in the eyes of the companion owners we breed for. The stereotype of "If it's a giant, then we get clients!" type attitude doesn't exist with us, and hopefully at least someone's eyes may be opened with this or at least not absolutely loathe the next large GSD they see. If not, I tried, I can't invest hours and days on the internet trying to justify what we do to people who will not see eye to eye with us regardless. Breeds change and evolve over time, and of course there will always be variations within them, the German Shepherd Dog is no different. At least someone may see that at least some of the statements made on this board may not be completely accurate.