American Show line GSD questions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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American Show line GSD questions

Don’t know if this is the correct thread for this post. If not, feel free to move it.


We are looking into getting a male GSD from a local rescue group. The dog we are looking at is an American show line GSD. Thus far, I have only been in email communications with the rescue (later this week they will bring him over to my house). The current foster parent said that the dog has “a slanted back-side”. She also told me that he had “knock-knee”, which apparently has been corrected with vitamin supplements.

My questions are in regarding to the American show line. I’ve read that there are more health / temperament issues with this line of GSD. Does anyone know if that is indeed true? Does anyone out there have an American show line GSD? If so, how is his/her health? I’ve read that the extreme angulations on this line can cause a greater risk of hip dysplasia. Is that true?

So far, they have sent one picture of him. He was sitting so I could not see his back / hips (he is a beauty, though). They said they would send a full-body picture when they got home. If I can figure out how to get the picture off my son’s cell phone I’ll post it here (I had them send the pic to my son’s phone because he has a larger screen).

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!!

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 03:56 PM
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the only way to know what the temperament on the individual animal is like is to go meet the dog and interact with him....if he is friendly and open and it clicks, by all means, rescue him. Make sure he fits into your lifestyle - if you want to take him places, that he likes to go, if he is slightly apprehensive about thunder that you can deal with it, etc..and that is for ANY rescue...not just a ASL.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 03:58 PM
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I'm not a fan of ASL's, but I think it just depends on the dog as far as temperment. You can get a pretty good idea of stability by doing a few simple tests (how he responds to a stranger, sudden big movements, walking on unstable surfaces, etc). I think it's fairly easy to tell general "nerve" of how the dog will be in day to day life upon first meeting. No amount of socializing is going to 100% fix a skittish dog. And it would be very hard to "break" the good temperment of a solid one.

The myth of angulation = higher chance of HD is indeed just that...a myth.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 04:32 PM
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I agree with the above posts,,and it sounds like he may be cow hocked ? which is no big deal (obviously it would be in the show ring),

and what justine said about angulation is soooo true, if he has alot of "rear", it by absolutely no means that he has HD..he just has alot of angulation..

Temperament and soundness first priority..Keep us updated

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 04:42 PM
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I've had two ASLs and one mostly German showline. My male ASL had epilepsy and died very young from uncontrollable seizures, my other (his half sister) is still doing well at 13 1/2. My GSL girl was 13 when she died and didn't age quite as gracefully as the ASL girl has. She had moderate athritis as she got older but my ASL girl is only occasionally stiff at 13+ and still can and does stand on her back legs, leap off the deck, etc. The GSL girl was by far the most driven and biddable of the three. Both my ASL girl and my GSL girl outlived their littermates though. The GSL girl had a couple littermates with serious health issues (epilepsy, DM, HD and her mother later developed EPI). Both had generally nice temperaments. The ASL girl was far more independent and not as drivey but they both were smart (as in they figured out how to open doors and the such!). The GSL girl was same sex aggressive, as was the ASL boy.

So what it comes down to is, health often depends on the individual, their care and yes, luck. My GSL's mother developed EPI a couple years after she had the litter but AFAIK none of her puppies did. My ASL girl would get hotspots and ear infections very often until she was switched to raw food. I suspect had she not been switched, she may not have been as healthy or lived as long. The health issues which are a concern for the breed are a concern for ASL, GSL, GWL and pet bred dogs, they don't affect just one line or type. I haven't seen much proof that HD is more common in ASLs - both of mine had many generations of OFA good or excellent dogs in their pedigrees. Angulation really does not play much of a role in hip health but extreme angulation often comes with "loose ligaments", which may affect the dog's overall mobility in old age (or may not).

If your purpose is to get a pet, you can find a suitable dog from any line. To weigh the odds in your favor, select from a breeder who does health testing and who's dogs tend to live into old age. The breeder should be as honest and upfront about their dogs as possible. See as many of the relatives as possible and if you like their temperaments and have a breeder who is good at matching puppies with owners, chances are pretty good that if you get a puppy and do your part (GSDs require a lot of socialization and early training) you will end up with a good companion.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your replies! Jakoda, what do you mean by “cow hocked”? I don’t know that term.

I’m still concerned about the knocked knee issue. She said that the supplements have really help him and now he goes on hikes without any issues at all! When they first got him, he could not even walk. Apparently, he was kept in a kennel all day long and rarely let out. I don’t know if that affected, or caused, the knocked-knees, though. He is also under weight so if we do take him, satin balls will be on his menu!!

From what the rescue folks have told me, he has a very good temperament which is a big plus, of course! However, he is not neutered. They actually advised me not to have him neutered because, as she puts it; “his temperament is so good now she’s afraid that it will change after he is neutered.” I’m not sure I agree with that logic, though. I’ll have to do some more research on “neutering and temperament changes” but I think we’d most likely have him neutered after his adjusted to being with us and has put on a little weight.

BTW, he is 2.5 years old. His name is Vador but we’ll be changing it.

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Scout, 5 year F calico cat

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 05:03 PM
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I'm not sure I believe that logic either, especially with a "rescue" on recommending he not be neutered..Honestly, I'd neuter him

Anyhow, cow hocked, basically 'knee knocked" as you put it..but I don't think that would make him unable to walk..I'm thinking maybe he was down on his pasterns but supplements have helped strengthen them up?? I can see if he was stuck in a crate all day, why he'd have walking problems, he probably had no exercise, therefore has little to no muscle tone..

You can build up good muscle tone by swimming,,he may even benefit highly from some PT (physical therapy) wth a water treadmill..

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 05:22 PM
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What kind of a rescue adopts out an un-neutered dog?

You want him to gain weight gradually and since he's already potentially got some issues because of poor care I would keep him a little under weight. That's what I do with Rafi. I would also put him on Ester C, fish oil and a good joint supplement. Good nutrition, regular, moderate exercise and a good supplement regime can go a long way in helping joints, muscle mass, etc. Rafi came to me looking pretty ratty and had very little muscle mass, loose hips, a bad shoulder, etc. but he is very athletic now and no one would know he has problems. I'm just careful with what and how much he does.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 06:05 PM
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Check out the individual dog. If you are wanting a companion, you will want to be sure he is of good temperament and sound nerves. You probably don't want a shy or nervous dog. I have had healthy dogs of ASL and unhealthy ones. I have also had the same experiences with German show and German working lines dogs that I have had.

My first GSD was a boy with extreme anguation. He was a nice companion dog. I have three American line dogs now. They are all healthy, have good hips, and would make a family companion without any problems.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 11:13 PM
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I'm also really skeptical about a rescue that recommended you NOT neuter a dog. What's the name of the group?


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