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Discussion Starter #1
In three weeks Sabra and I will enter our first AKC "B" match. I am also going to show her sire as well. While I have 18 years of conformation show experience, everything with German Shepherds is different. They stack differently and they are not gaited around the ring by your left hip. None of the leashes, leads and collars that I have used for my other dogs will work for these two German Shepherds. My current leashes and leads are white and they are too small and too short. I need to purchase all new equipment for handling these two dogs. We are also going to show in UKC shows.

I have gone to websites and am having trouble chosing appropriate sizes and lengths. It is hard to tell the size of a collar link from a website and it is difficult to tell the diamter of a leash or show lead as well.

Would anyone feel comfortable making SPECIFIC recommendations as to what is correct and appropriate for showing a growing puppy GSD bitch (neck is 18 inches now) and an adult male (neck is 24 inches)? Brands and sizes/lengths would be much appreciated. I guess that it should also be said that I am only 4 foot 10 inches tall. With Sabra, I do realize that I will need to purchase at least two different size collars potentially or work with a leathersmith that will give me extra holes for growth. We are doing basic obedience and conformation classes that both begin this weekend. I will wing it with what I have for now, but would like to get pointed in the right direction for showing.

Sabra is black and tan and currently a "blanketback". Not sure if she will change to a saddle or stay in the current coat color. Her mother is a bicolor. Her sire is a black and red male with a full saddle.

Let the adventures and shopping begin :).
 

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"I like Daffy" Moderator
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I would get 6 ft leashes in either brown or black. I like the leashes at Leather Leashes, Leather Collars, Choke Chains - Leather Leash Store. The people who own the company show GSD's.

As for collars, I like the sepentine or snake chain collars because they release smoothly and quickly. I get them in brass to make the brass hooks on my leashes. Collars are really a matter of personal preference for both you and the dog. The Leather Store also carries chain collars as well as martingales.

My goal would be to use the smallest, finest, least obvious equipment I could so that the judge is lookint at the dog, not the leash!
 

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"I like Daffy" Moderator
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Nylon collars are also good as they are strong and don't pull out coat. I would get either black or brown to match the coat and the leash.
 

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I use Alpha1 products. I have a black rolled leather slip collar, a thin black leather slip (not rolled but "flat" leather), and a black leather martingale. I also got a thin black leather leash. All the hardware is gold colored. The products are very strong, appropriate for GSDs (I'm not showing my dogs with shoelace leashes and chains that look like dental floss) yet they are not heavy or distracting. Since the UKC has very small rings my black leather leash is pretty short, but I also have a leather 10' lead I use for SV style shows that I bring along in case the ring is large. I'm not sure on the exact sizes but I bought these things years ago (before Nikon was 1 I think and now he's 4 and I still use them).







When Nikon was a puppy (3-5 months) I used this simple nylon combo
 

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A good place I've found who do great work on collars and will buy one once Piper is old enough is..Pacocollars.com..Check them out! They have a facebook page too
 

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Paco makes really nice stuff but it's more decorative, not for show/conformation ring.
 

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You can use whatever you want to use, but the fallback/standby/choice for most of the pros I've shown in a ring with and for my mentor and myself is a Fursaver and a 1/4in 6ft leather lead.

For the Fursaver, shop around. You can go for the Herm Sprenger (original) or a knockoff, makes no difference. Get a 22in and a 28 in for the two dogs, or just get a 26in and dead lock the bitch. Chrome looks great on dark necks, and brass or silver blends into everything else. Jeffers Pet is probably the cheapest, but they don't have a lot of selection: Herm Sprenger Fur Saver Collar - Jeffers

Unless the last two years of dog show vendors and online searches have been for naught, you will NOT find a cheaper price on a show lead than this place: Leather Leashes From Schafer Kennel
1/4 in wide and 6 ft. You want the dog gaiting ahead of you in the ring, and 6ft should be enough to let out.

If you're new to the ring with these dogs a leather/chain combo or a fine chain or (shudder) nylon cord can really give you a disadvantage. Fine chains may bind in the coat and can leave your dog wheezing and hacking once they're locked and tangled and a piddly sewn-leather lead or a nylon lead won't stand up to a shepherd if they have half a mind to go elsewhere. Once you're more familiar with the dogs in the ring you can 'graduate' to finer attire, but at first I'd highly recommend sticking with the standby. :)

Of course, all of this is just my opinion/experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone. We did our first conformation class together yesterday and EVERYONE thought that Sabra was a dog/male. I got a lot of "doggy bitch" comments already and she is only 4.5 months old. She is just about out of her 18 inch narrow puppy buckle collar and it looks as though I will need to purchase at least a 20 inch and a 22 inch collar for her to begin with for the next few months. God help us if she keeps growing at this rate. Neither of her parents or grandparents is over the breed standard, so my hope is that this is just a puppy growth spurt.

The shopping has begun thanks to your recommendations!
 

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I also have Alpha1 show leads (8, 10, 12 ft). Love them. I am looking at adding some collars from there as well, but was waiting for Molly to mature a bit (for sizing). Other wise I have some older show chokes I use. My obedience lead is a 6 foot leather leash that my mother showed her obedience dogs on (the lead is older than I am and still going strong). Interestingly enough, every dog I have had qualify has been on this particular lead.

krisk
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have gone ahead and ordered Alpha leashes and collars. In addition, I have ordered very narrow round/rolled leather collars (both choke and buckle) for her as well. This will cover daily use, obedience training and conformation.

Thank you for your recommendations, everyone. It really helped.
 
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