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Discussion Starter #1
As a spin off from the other thread, "Bloodlines and the split"

There were some generalizations made about the different lines (and some others that I have read in different threads)

- ASL- Extreme structure, weak nerves, lack of aggression and working ability
- GSL- Sometimes weak nerves, lack of aggression
- WL- Poor confirmation, too much drive, washed out pigmentation

Now I am not saying that I agree or disagree, this list is just for sake of discussion starter.

I would like to know if it is even possible genetically to fix these issues in the lines by mixing them with others?
 

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I would say yes, but I am not all in the know for lines. But I believ Elizabeth's boy, Stark, is a mixture of working lines and show lines(WGSL x Working(not sure what kind of line) lines). He is beautiful in structure and seems like an awesome dog.

So I think its possible that mixing lines can be done, if the breeder knows what he/she is doing and doing it right.
 

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If I am not mistaken, Elisabeth's Stark is a combination of all lines. 1/4 West German show line and 1/4 American show line through his dam, and 1/4 DDR and 1/4 West German through his sire (although I am making the assumption here that the Salztablick dog is WGR). Stark sounds like a very nicely balanced dog, not extreme in any way.

Amy, I am wondering... are you looking for opinions, or for facts? If you are looking for facts and information from breeders on whether or not it IS possible genetically, I should keep my mouth shut!

But if you are looking for opinions, I wanted to say that I actually believe refusing to mix lines is and has been detrimental to the breed. Many of the best show lines out there (in my own opinion, of course) are a mix of American and German show lines. And Daphne's Jag is part DDR and a good looking German Shepherd.

At this point, however, I don't necessarily think mixing lines is the solution. I would prefer breeders to choose dogs not for their lines (show lines vs. working lines, not specific lineage/pedigree) but for what the dog itself would bring, if that makes sense. I don't want to see a breeder choose a show line stud for a working line bitch because that bitch in question is over the top in drive - I would prefer the breeder to look for the right stud to breed to for balance, but be open to show lines as well. Otherwise, I would feel that all we would succeed in is producing dogs that would be either too much or not enough for many of those involved in the breed.

I am all for balance, but I don't want to compromise on other important aspects of the breed, either.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Genetics and opinions both.

The part of the thread that prompted me to think "spin off" was these two comments.

...Also while on my rant I personally know of several ASL who are now adding in the GSL in their breeding, trying to bring back some brain and stability of temperment, and these breeders are finding the non-roach back ones with the best temperment they can. Also the specialty ring is becoming less extreme, and some judges are actually stressing the temperment be at least somewhat stable. It will take time but I believe the breed may be going back toward the middle ground.

I also think WL should strive to look less like Mal's and more like GS, I see too many square bodies and the quickness of Mal's. Let's all strive to educate and not trash the other side. First lets breed to temperment, then health, then looks, If all sides did this we would have 1 breed very similar in time.
...if you breed by phenotype(that's breeding look alike to look alike to maintain a type or trait) or geneotype(that's breeding same genetic dogs to maintain a type or trait), then you willrun out of dogs to breed to KEEP the nerve component first in the breed. So if you are German showline of today then you would have to go to a sable or black or bi-color to get the nerve strength up to a level of first importance. You see WGSL have been trying to improve temperament by phenotype; that is breeding the best tempered dog that is still black and red to improve temperament. Won't happen; because this Black and red dog of good temperament, is STILL the immediate cousin (and thus genetically)of the black and red dogs who you are trying to improve on temperamentally. They just can't give up that black and red....argh!!!(Ever hear me talk about ego and money killing the breed). So every year at the Seiger show, the protection part where you can see a little of nerve strength is always the same, much less see dramatic improvement. The same with ASL, they are bringing in WGSL to improve temperament, (you don't think they are going to WGSL to lessen sidegait do you???). Nevertheless, the unintended consequence of this is a more moderate dog that people are saying the ASL are moving towards. BUT they couldn't do it without going to dogs that are Lance and Sundance free. (Is this starting to make sense)??...Cliff
It sounds like Cliff is saying that it is not genetically possible, yet people are still trying.
 

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I don't know, I think what Cliff is trying to say, in his example, is that many show line breeders are trying to improve temperament and nerves by breeding not to what is the best, but what is the best within those same lines because they are unwilling to sacrifice type, uniformity, and the other traits they value that seems restricted to those lines. But because the two dogs being bred are so closely related, an overall improvement in nerves among those lines cannot be achieved.

That example, if I am reading it right, is different from a German Shepherd breeder breeding a working line to a show line, or breeding a German show line to an American show line for the sake of producing more balanced overall dogs. It is more a matter of people not trying and being more motivated by a uniformity in type and what they have winning now, than it being genetically impossible. BUT I am referring to that post only (have not read the rest of the thread) and am more likely wrong than right. Just saying how I perceived it.

Also, I think that while it is possible to "fix" high prey drive or extreme angulation, I wonder... at what cost? If breeders focused on breeding out high drive or extreme angulation or roached backs as a sole (or at least highly influential) purpose in their operation, we would, as said before, lose other components to the breed that may be more important than a lack of a slight roach or a relatively high prey drive.

I guess my thoughts are - yes, it's possible, but it will likely not be an improvement over the state of the breed now, either. Specifically working to fix those problems through selective breeding to outside lines will not result in a better example of the breed and instead lead to new problems within GSDs as a whole. I think the problems you listed for each of the lines can be bred out eventually, but the results aren't going to be worth it because in the big picture, there is just much more to improving the breed than those traits. While every breeding should aim to pull away from the extremes and breed towards the total German Shepherd, fixing the problems listed should not be prioritized over other goals.

Sorry, just rambling here. Not even sure if that makes sense to me.
 

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Rei,
You first paragraph is exactly what I am saying in terms of what the WGSL people are trying to do. They are bottlenecked genetically and they can't improve things by going to the same genetic dogs regardless of the outward show of temperament(phenotype).
What the American breeders that are going to WGSL dogs are doing is a better answer, because the genes are different and the jump in drives and nerve is not too dramatic. But if these breeders want to really improve on the nerve component, they would also mix in some DDR lines which are often very nice conformationally and better nerve than WGSL, yet less drive than West workinglines.
As for breeding to eliminate angulation or hyper drive, I don't think that is the best approach to get to the middle, though in all of these solutions a certain uniformity has to be sacrificed. The GS is not a uniform dog. It is made up of too manydogs. Doc has written about this in the past and I agree with him wholeheartedly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The GS is not a uniform dog. It is made up of too manydogs. Doc has written about this in the past and I agree with him wholeheartedly.
Should it be? To what extent is this because people are breeding "incorrect" GSDs?
 

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I only uniformity I seek is in temperament. I want functional structure but I have seen many different types of German Shepherds that were very functional. That's just me.
 

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I think the DDR dogs would possibly be a good fit with the ASLs for the reasons Cliff mentions. If I were a breeder, I would not really be attracted to the WGSLs as an addition to the Am conformation dog. But it certainly is greatly widening that genetic component when brought in.

When a person looks at the bottlenecks and large backmassing of genetics in the showlines, it looks like there really is very little place to go within the lines. Sure, a person can try to find the best within them and work on improvements. But it seems like it might be difficult to create consistency because of the genetics carried along that keep showing up in production.

It at times looks like some lines are very much the result of the genetics of a few dogs and that is pretty narrow. The Palme and the Lance are hard to avoid and then the backmassing on them gets really big.
 

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this was my ddr sire (zorro lines) x american show line (dolmar) male, if I could have cloned him I would have, he was the perfect all around dog , I would buy another in a minute if I could find one .
 

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I think the splits are good for genetic diversity. If a widespread problem were to pop up in one type, you have outcross options that are still considered the same breed. I don't think people who haven't been involved in the lower number breeds realize how good of a thing that is.

I don't ever see a day of a uniform GSD and I don't think that is really important. It seems most of the more popular breeds have splits. If nothing else there is a split between pet and show bred dogs in most of the popular breeds. In some there are working, show, pet and performance lines.
 

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As long as the splits aren't examples of massive backmassing. Splits like DDR and Czech dogs have good structure and good temperament, without too much backmassing, the working lines are starting to saturate on Fero and Troll especially in sport world and need the influx of DDR and Czech dogs. The Scandinavian countries Sweden in particular have done an excellent job of mixing the lines and maintaining high working integrity in their dogs. If you examine their pedigrees you will often find German working, DDR, Czech, WGSL usually through Mutz vd Peltzerferm , and they have been dong this for 40 years. No genetic bottleneck and their dogs are very much like dogs of earlier times and boy do they work good.
The problem with the two SL in terms of mixing is it is difficult to mix a ASL with the harder workinglines because the nerves of the progeny will not support the drives/toughness. This is why so many working people say never do it. Now you can go ASL to WGSL, though some WGSL dogs have awesome drives. But when you have softer drives you want sound nerves like the DDR dogs, THEN you can breed to anything. But, alas the DDR and Czech dogs now need to outcross or they will end up like others with extensive backmassing. Many of the Western working lines with extensive backmassing on Troll, Fero are already known as "sport" dogs. Same direction of too much of one thing as Anne has written about on many occasions.
So in the end, the splits should always be working AWAY from themselves to stay strong,IMO.
 

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I think the DDR dogs would possibly be a good fit with the ASLs for the reasons Cliff mentions. If I were a breeder, I would not really be attracted to the WGSLs as an addition to the Am conformation dog. But it certainly is greatly widening that genetic component when brought in.
What about West German Working Lines?
 

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My young dog is a cross between DDR and ASL. He is an awesome dog. Strong nerves, good drives, nice structure. He is already working a strong retrieve -- dog pans, tennis shoes, socks, as well as his dumbell. His heeling is flashy and precise. He also had 2 points toward his AKC championship. I would do another such breeding in a heartbeat.
 

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My question is, how do you get a breeding like Daphne got? When you study out the yang, work hard, and pick a potential stud dog, and then they say no because you don't have the right line? How do you improve upon that dog then?
 

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Daphne,
Not surprised your dog has the whole package....wonder how I knew that click would work:), I'm not the conformation hater people think I am:p
Jackie,
First, I have to ask you who are some of the people you are listening too???
Second, there are people who already have in their mind what they want to do and with what, even though the principle is flawed. (Like the WGSL people who want to improve temp for their protection routine at the Seiger show, yet want to use the same genepool to do it....and it hasn't been successful and it won't) Well, I think you want to have the typical winning extensive sidegaiting showdog AND have the type of temperament that you realize the breed should have. It is not only very difficult to do but even if you got this dog who do you breed him/her to. Another extensive sidegaiter that won't have the same strength of temperament, or to a more moderate dog with strong nerves(like Daphne's DDR) but lose some of that extensive sidegait you won't part with. Tough Decision...trust me.
But Daphne's got it and has for years, and other are stuck in their personal wants not allowing them to get to where Daphne is. You have had some good advice given to you in the past...but if it conflicts with personal desires its not used:) Remember, its not what you like but what ought to be that grounds you breeding program.
Robin on this forum,also, has a gorgeous partial DDR female puppy that is also going to be quite successful in the showring. People like her and Daphne really have my respect as conformation breeders. Talk to them and I'm sure they can help.
 

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First, I have to ask you who are some of the people you are listening too???
In regards to? Or do you mean just in general?

Well, I think you want to have the typical winning extensive sidegaiting showdog AND have the type of temperament that you realize the breed should have.
Do you actually mean ME, or is that a general "You"? I don't like "extensive/extreme" side gait. I don't like extremes and try to go for the "middle". I'd rather have strong nerves than extreme sidegait.
 

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Okay Xeph,
What do you consider that pupy you have in terms of sidegait...I think you put some pics up of her gaiting.?
 

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IMO she's a very moderate bitch. Clean on both ends, gaits on her pads.

Many people compliment me on her front, but others want to see "More" reach and drive. I don't see how one could put much more in her without her going over done. She looks pretty from the side, especially when she goes nice and easy.

I do feel she's "loose" right now, and only time will tell if she'll tighten up. I like her much better now than I did at the 6-7 month mark.
 

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this was my ddr sire (zorro lines) x american show line (dolmar) male, if I could have cloned him I would have, he was the perfect all around dog , I would buy another in a minute if I could find one .
doesn't have anything to do with the subject but I LOVE his FEET!
 
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