Cow Hocks - Do They Affect Working Ability? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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Old 09-24-2014, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Cow Hocks - Do They Affect Working Ability?

I was wondering if cow hocks affect working ability in German Shepherds as I believe that they are an undesirable trait? And yet I've been told that cow hocks are quite common in German Shepherds. Are they genetic and if so are they dominant or recessive? Cow hocks are when the back legs point outward and the back knees point inward right?
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:50 AM
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No, they do not affect working ability. Yes, there is a genetic component, but probably polygenic and not just a simple recessive/dominant trait. Yes, it is a fault.

Toes point out, hocks point towards one another.

Lisa Clark

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Old 09-24-2014, 11:14 AM
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are you concerned about your dog?

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Old 09-24-2014, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Ihczth for the explanation. Is it common in German Shepherds?

Carmen, yes he does seem to have cow hocks. I will try and get some pictures if you like?
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Old 09-25-2014, 12:46 AM
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We had a male GSD in agility class and it did affect him in that venue/sport. He was a little over a year and he belonged to one of the trainers at the GSD club. This dogs temperament was wonderful, my favorite GSD at the club. He was more awkward and I remember the agility teacher telling her he would get used to it and it didn't matter because he loved agility and thought he was great at it, they did not take that away from him.That dog had a few obedience titles under his belt by the time he was a year, his amazing obedience and focus grabbed my attention. It did not affect his ability for obedience. Sadly he had to put down at a year and a half because his kidneys failed. I will never forget him and I was in shock when it happened. I will never forget that dog. Issues with his feet or not, he was by far the most obedient and hardest working young GSD I have met to date.

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Old 09-25-2014, 03:04 AM
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My pup stands like his cow hocked especially when pulling. However when he walks and gaits his legs are quite straight.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:14 AM
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How old is the dog?

I don't know the level of truth behind this, so I'm hoping Lisa or Carmen can clarify... I'd heard that while on a base level it is genetic, it can be common in pups and go away (or improve) as the pup ages and develops better muscle tone?

My female was fairly cow-hocked when she was a younger puppy. Now at ten months you can barely see it unless you really look for it, after a season of swimming and conditioning in the water. Certainly doesn't affect her mobility, agility, or stamina.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:15 AM
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waiting for picture .

cow hock is a position taken to carry the weight , creating a tripod effect. Long bodied dogs with excessive rear, (long stifles) and soft ligaments will stand this way.

This is a pup , probably not even 12 weeks of age.
The muscles need to develop as does the ligament and cartilage.

Feed the dog a good diet which promotes lean muscle , and ligaments with integrity .

Allow the dog free-choice movement .
A new owner is likely to be over critical , and over zealous.
When someone says provide exercise they over do it and go on long marches , exhausting the pup , or doing something high impact , or abrupt changes in direction, stop and go. Just let the dog follow you around outside , uneven terrain being good .

This is not an indication of future hip problems .
The pup is developing muscles.

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Old 09-25-2014, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
cow hock is a position taken to carry the weight , creating a tripod effect. Long bodied dogs with excessive rear, (long stifles) and soft ligaments will stand this way
...
This is not an indication of future hip problems .
.
Thank you for this. My dog stands this way, I've been asking people for 2 years ans couldn't get an answer though I had an idea that he stands this way because he's supporting his weight and it's something in his structure that makes him stand This way

Now you explained what it is and he most def has a very long back. I don't know what stiffles are and not sure how to tell whether he has soft ligaments

And especially thank you for the last part. For some reason I thought they're connected. I have a cat with a broken back that healed that stands this way. She has a hump in her back and he has a slight hump too so I thought maybe it's his back that will have problems and that makes him stand this way.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:21 AM
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... Sadly he had to put down at a year and a half because his kidneys failed. I will never forget him and I was in shock when it happened. I will never forget that dog. Issues with his feet or not, he was by far the most obedient and hardest working young GSD I have met to date.
OMG, crying again, so sad, so young! As my niece (39 downs syndrome) would say 'Father God wanted the dog to sit beside him'..

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