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Jora, my GSD was pretty fast. In fact, at one of the last CPE trials I ran her, she was 9 years old and her and a 10 year old BC were the two fastest dogs of any height in their level (Jora being just a second or so faster than the BC). This is her...

Jora isn't oversized though, she's 23" and about 62lbs. I agree that the reason you don't see heavy dogs competing as much is because they often aren't great jumpers. This isn't just giant breeds but also breed which tend to be shorter and stocky. The biggest issue with such dogs I have seen is that they often knock bars, some even when they are run in preferred, which is a jump height lower than what they measure at.

I feel the reason you don't see more GSDs excelling at agility isn't so much a size thing but a drive issue. A lot of the GSDs I have seen competing are just doing because their owner is asking them to, they seem to have no drive for it though and just trot around the course. Also some are just not built for it due to physical exaggerations that have been selected for. My male GSD was driven enough but jumping was awkward for him due to the length of his rear legs.
 

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its like seeing a mastiff in there, ive seen it, but you dont see it very offten :) my gsd has one compititions, but shes about the fourth of the size of a normal one, (48 pounds & 22' i think)
That is actually normal sized for a GSD girl. GSDs are not supposed to be huge, heavy boned dogs and many of the ones you see are oversized.

It is a bit odd that people are comparing GSDs to "draft horses". There are breeds which are similar in build to the horse draft breeds but GSDs really shouldn't be one of them. GSDs are supposed to be athletic, medium sized working dogs.

"The German Shepherd Dog is medium sized, slightly longer than tall, strong and well muscled, bone is dry, the whole dog presenting a picture of firmness." United Schutzhund Clubs of America - Breed Standard
 

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Anyway, I don't think one breed is necessarily better than any other. I think a lot of top agility people will go for a BC or BC mix. When you want to compete nationally and internationally, nothing wrong with sticking with what you know and are familiar with. Which goes to show how much is training. I think many of the top agility trainers could take a nice GSD and do very well.
I think most top agility people buy performance bred BCs for the same reason that top SchH people buy working/sport bred GSDs or Mals. Buying a dog from a breed and lines that are proven in your sport can certainly tip the odds in your favor. That said, I have seen people go buy the most off the wall BC they can find, thinking they will automatically get a great agility dog. Too often they end up with a dog that they can rarely even Q with. Not all handlers are cut out for training and handling such intense, driven dogs.

And of come people seem to do well with whatever they train though. And there are other breeds that can be very good at agility. Last year a Terv won at the USDAA National over the top BCs. And the AKC Agility Invitational tends to have a much wider range of breeds competing for the top placements.


The issue is not just size and structure, but proper technique. Look at all the work MRL has done with Glory as a puppy, doing all that flatwork and teaching the dog the *correct* techniques for jumping, so the dog can collect and make fast turns into and off of obstacles. The ability to DO the obstacle is not what makes a dog fast or slow, it's the ability to maintain the speed and drive and work the course in the shortest distances.
Very true. There are dogs which are greater than the sum of their parts, so to speak. Dogs who structurally aren't ideal but have the drive and enthusiasm to excel. And there are dogs with great structure who will never be top level competition dogs. And dogs with outstanding potential in every way, except training/handling. I think the biggest things that will help anyone be more successful would be working on drive building, teaching solid foundation skills, teaching your dog body awareness through tricks and keeping your dog in good physical shape (lean and muscular).
 
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