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Discussion Starter #1
For those that have experience of raising OS GSD's in years past, were there health problems that came up that were directly attributed to the larger than normal body of the dog?

Not dogs that suffered problems because they were overweight too. But those that were properly fed and exercised - just obviously oversized? Thanks!:)
 

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my girl was 27" and 65lbs in her youth 1-3yrs, 85lbs in her prime 4yrs+.... reaching 100lbs at one point (8yrs) then back to 85lbs until her death at 13yrs.

she had HD, was past the window of candidacy for surgery at the time of diagnosis (btwn 2-3yrs)..... managed pain thru supplements, swimming and Adequan in the later stages. despite the HD she lived a normal, active, healthy life - no other medical issues... I can count her vet visits on one hand and her largest bill was well under $500.
 

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Thank you Fodder. My female is very close 27" atw and 80lbs and won't be 2 yrs for another 3 months.

I've been trying like crazy to find a way to protect her bones and joints and feed the best I can afford to provide the best foundation for her (including the decision not to spay (and unfortunately expose her to other risks) - to try to prevent future HD or structural problems. I didn't seek out an oversize GSD. I just didn't pay attention to the weights of the parents. It wasn't until my vet got a look at her at 11 weeks that he guessed 90lbs at maturity and I was shocked and started to worry about the future.

I am only feeding her 3 cups per day but that has not held her weight where I wanted it to at 70lbs. I can't restrict anymore because the nutritionist said she would not be getting proper nutrients if I do. She looks lean and has a great tuck and muscle development, coat's super shiny. I'm thinking this is getting to be a hopeless situation as far as control on my part. I don't want her to have pain that needs to be managed for the majority of her life.
 

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HD is a classification - a dog can be diagnosed due to the shape of the femoral head (bone/ortho) the structure of the socket (bone/ortho) or the way the ball fits into the socket (laxity), or all of the above. my girl had an orthopedic problem that could not have been prevented and had little to do with her size. too heavy causes issues for obvious reasons - stress on the joints but being underweight or having low muscle tone causes problems too... solid muscle kept my girl mobile and alleviated the stress on her joints. it's the same concept of dogs that have the femoral head removal - the muscle then supports the hip. the pain management I speak of was mainly for arthritis that set in. if you google around and look at the difference between penn hips and OFA, this might make more sense.

the best thing I did for my girl was left her alone - she exercised as much or as little as she wanted and she was happier because of it.

x rays as soon as you're able will give you peace of mind and either confirm or change the direction you're going. she's close to 2.... structurally, she is who she is already.
 

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Thanks, I understand. I got the story that my female's sire could not pass OFA because he got kicked by a horse. But then - I tracked one of his earlier offspring (male) that is also being used as a breeder in another city and he cannot pass OFA either (they said because of allowing to jump in and out of a pick up truck) - so I can only think they are both BYB's and lie as it suits them as both are still breeding with papers and offering litters. The 2nd breeder, from this line - the minute I told her I had a sib and there were suspected problems with the sire - broke off all communications with me and continues to breed....

As a result - I'm thinking that my dog has a predisposition for a genetic problem in this specific area - not just due to OS.
 

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Robyn is right around 28 inches tall and weighs right around 80. She waeighed 68 pounds forever, never moved up or down until right around 2 yrs old. The vets always write slim and slender or ideal. She does have HD but I can't say it's because if her size. She had her first FHO when she was just over 4 and the second surgery will be pretty close to 5 yrs old. Then there is Brennan, another breed but not a big dog that had HD too, so I am not sure size plays a role in getting it. I do think smaller and less weight is better for recovery.
 

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Thank you for sharing your personal experience. Surgery requirement will be a death sentence for my dog. Financial....:(
 

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Thank you for sharing your personal experience. Surgery requirement will be a death sentence for my dog. Financial....:(
Oh I can relate:( I should be able to go grocery shopping for myself again in 2025....
 

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Thank you for sharing your personal experience. Surgery requirement will be a death sentence for my dog. Financial....
Hello sorry to butt in but how exactly does German shepherds get HD is it from been to large'' bigger than a regular shepherd ? Or is it just from over weight or from poor breeding ? Ps not to say you guys have poor breeding in anyway just curious to know how it's caused ?
 

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All of my gsd's except for one have topped aroud 26/27" and weigh in anywhere from 75-85lbs. No issues because of size, no HD, However, my 'mutant' was 32" at the shoulders, weighed in at a lean 125..he ended up with spondylosis whether it was from size or just "cause", dont know, his hips/elbows were fine,,but he was the biggest couch potatoe I ever had,,Would I want another 'that' big? Heck no,,he was a 'surprise'..
 

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Sinister is 28-28.5 inches at the shoulders and he weighs 85 pounds. He just turned 7 years old last week. He has never been overweight a day in his life and has been raised on high quality kibble since I brought him home at 11 weeks old.

He has Lyme's Disease but doesn't have any issues with it. When he was a year old the Vet checked him over and pulled his leg back in a weird position and he yelped and she said that he might have mild HD. He has been om joint pills his whole life and has zero issues with his hips. When he was younger he had Demodex Mange twice but since then he has been on supplements.

So no major health problems thank goodness and I hope it continues to stay that way. :wub:
 

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We had a way OS collie when I was a kid.He was big boned and a little overweight on top of that.No health issues ever he lived to almost 12 yrs old.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hello sorry to butt in but how exactly does German shepherds get HD is it from been to large'' bigger than a regular shepherd ? Or is it just from over weight or from poor breeding ? Ps not to say you guys have poor breeding in anyway just curious to know how it's caused ?
It's just a concern Jayjay. If you have a dog with less than stellar hips in their lines, it would seem to make sense that you do not add additional load to that area. Certain large breed dogs are prone to this problem more than smaller framed dogs. It's more about what may "add to" an eventual problem, not what causes it.

It makes you wonder though, some of your shortest lived dogs are the very large breeds and many that live the longest are some of the smallest....
 

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Just my amateur opinion.....but the larger breed dogs didn't start out freakishly large as some are now.I think when people start breeding for extremes and disregard balance and health is when you get defects embedded in the lines.
 

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Hello sorry to butt in but how exactly does German shepherds get HD is it from been to large'' bigger than a regular shepherd ? Or is it just from over weight or from poor breeding ? Ps not to say you guys have poor breeding in anyway just curious to know how it's caused ?
It's just a concern Jayjay. If you have a dog with less than stellar hips in their lines, it would seem to make sense that you do not add additional load to that area. Certain large breed dogs are prone to this problem more than smaller framed dogs. It's more about what may "add to" an eventual problem, not what causes it.

It makes you wonder though, some of your shortest lived dogs are the very large breeds and many that live the longest are some of the smallest....
ya I have friends and they had big dogs through the years and I have seen them with really bad hips one of them was a Rottweiler... A Germans shepherd cross...and my friend still has a dog that's alive his about 8-9 yrs old he is a Labrador he's him a very bad he waddles like a penguin he's like really weak on his feet he's extremely fat also so I think that don't help... What about the showline shepherd breed do they get more problems over having lower back hight than a straight back shepherd I'm curious to know this cause I have a show breed female shepherd she's only a pup both her parents where hip and elbow scored with no problems but does the show line affect them over having like slanty kind of back compaird to the straight back shepherds....
 

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I've had great danes in the past, and currently a huge GSD female weighing in at 85lbs at 16 months, I've always kept my dogs lean and muscular. I think the key is not letting them get overweight. Over time that can take a toll.
 

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Lucky my boy is over 13 . Don't know his exact age as he was rescued. He is 28 in at the withers and the most he has ever weighed was 88lbs. He is currently showing signs of stenosis of the spine and from the beginning we knew his hip structure was poor. He has lived past the average age for many breeds his size. we have kept an eye on his weight and until two years ago played fetch daily for two sessions of 45 minutes ,went hiking etc. Not huge exercise ,no sports just fetch and going with me whenever possible. Very healthy. he has major mobility issues however is is likely 14.5 year old. I have seen here GSD who are as old and older and who are still pretty active. Did his size play a part in his current mobility? Was it the poor care and lack of nutrition ? I just know I love my big guy.
 

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My Sting is 10 years-old, 30 inches tall, 126 lbs. Only health issue is pannus in one eye only which developed when he was 5 1/2. No issues with that as he takes the drops well.

In my opinion, size does not effect a dog's health. Care and good genes do. It is well to remember that the OFA Registry is not limited to big dogs. Joint issues can effect any size dog.
 

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My late Yukon was 30" at the shoulder and a flop ear.

He was diagnosed with HD but never seemed to have a problem with it. I adopted him as an older dog and when I got him he weighed 115 lbs. Because of his HD I trimmed him down to 95 lbs which seemed like a healthy weight for him. FWIW I've also had smaller GSDs diagnosed with HD so I'm guessing his size had nothing to do with it.

His size really didn't have any advantages and only one disadvantage which was that he could reach half-way across the dining room table by just stretching ... he learned not to do that.

He died from a muscle wasting disease and his size was detrimental at this stage of his life. I had a hard time helping him up, assisting him with walking, etc. The disease had one advantage and that is as the muscles in his head deteriorated, his ears came up. It's been my experience with a Cocker Spaniel, an OES and Yukon, that drop ears/flop ears don't allow the ears to "breathe" and all three had various ear problems off and on during their entire lives except of course once Yukon's ears came up he no longer had any problems.

Yukon was a fantastic dog, a wonderful companion and I miss him so much.
 
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