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This is my first dog, so I have loads of questions. I imagine some people will respond with "hey search the forums" and there are some stickies on various subjects, but I'm looking for more of an overall evaluation of my dog and her development.

About my dog:









She's about 8.5 months old, a solid black german shepherd. She seems to be well proportioned, and hasn't gone through an awkward lanky phase like my brother's labrador retriever. For the first three months I had her I took her everywhere I could, so she loves people. The comments about her are always the same. "She's a german shepherd? But she's so little!" At 8 1/2 months she weighs a little over 50lb, and is about 20" at the shoulder. A few weeks after I picked her up the breeder told me I could expect her to reach 70lb, but at this point it seems pretty unlikely. Her weight seems to have leveled off over the last couple months, while her frame feels bulkier and more substantial.

Her first heat started earlier this week, which seems to be pretty early. She had vaginitis the week before, and the vet told me it could be related to her going into heat, but he gave her antibiotics anyways. A friend of mine has a german shepherd who had her first heat at 11 months. What I'm curious about is, how does this relate to the rest of her development? Do dogs have a growth spurt at sexual maturity the way humans do, or does the presence of sex hormones stop growth? You see how this ties into me worrying about having a tiny dog? :D

The lazy sit:





I've been told it's normal for puppies, and that I can train her to sit on her haunches, and that it could indicate possible hip dysplaysia. Her parents had A1 / A2 hip ratings, if that means anything. So will she grow out of it? Are there perfectly healthy dogs that have a lifetime of lazy sitting? I do have to admit, I like when she leans on my leg, then just sort of rolls into it to offer her belly for scratching. I just want a healthy dog!

Schutzhund/IPO:

Is a 55lb german shepherd suitable for IPO? She's a tenacious tugger, but I can't hold her up in the air like I see people in videos do. :laugh:

I'm not sure of the point of this post. I know my dog is normal enough from reading other threads. I just want some idea of what to expect. Anyone have pics of their petite shepherds?
 

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A German Shepherd should be a medium sized dog. It is a working dog. Think of Search and Rescue, a large or overweight dog would be much more difficult to manage in small spaces, helicopters, they might be more prone to injuries, and carrying them out of a search if necessary could be a real pain.

And, slow and steady is better growth than rapid growth.

The puppy sit is perfectly normal, hip problems can happen even from sire and dam with normal/good/excellent hips. But slow and steady growth, and keeping the dog at its proper weight -- not overweight will ensure the best possible outcome for the hips.

GSDs grow up and fill out at different rates. I have had a dog that was his final height and pretty much breadth at 10 months old. And out of him was born a dog that seemed to still be growing at three. If you ask my parents, they will say he was still growing at six. I sold a pup that was much larger than the one I kept at eight weeks, and by the end of basic obedience class, my girl was larger than theirs. In short, I really don't think anyone can tell you by the heat cycle or by the weight of the sire and dam, or by the siblings what your bitch will top out at. Whatever her size, one day it will dawn on you that it is just right.
 

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Show bitches in the UK should be around 22inches at the shoulder,so i think she is fine.Boys are bigger.I think people are breeding oversize GSDs for some reason, which makes correct ones seem small.
 

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She's fine.
 
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