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Discussion Starter #1
Reading v. Stephanitz's book about a Champion GSD who was 26.5" and 70 lbs. Serious?

I'm really confused by this. My Kaze is 26" and 90lbs, and he is underweight with ribs showing. How can a Champion dog be taller and weigh 20 lbs less and be considered healthy enough to be a Champion stud dog? My Kaze needs to gain 5-10 more lbs, but I've measured him multiple times, and yup, he's 26" at the withers.

I always question the accuracy of people when they post their dog's height and weight. I know a lot of people want their dog to be bigger than they really are, so their measurements seem outrageous. I think we humans do the same thing. Men tend to claim to be bigger, while women think they're smaller than they really are. I would witness that first hand as a military recruiter, because we had a height/weight qualification for enlisting. I had to ask my applicants their height and weight, and when they came for the appointment to sign up, I'd do a height/weight measurement in the office. The majority of men were shorter then they thought, and the women weighed more than they said. So strange how we're programmed.

I wonder if the same is true when we measure our dogs. "Bigger is better" still seems to be the norm. I see people posting on here about "is my dog too small," but rarely see people post "my dog is HUGE, I'm worried for him and his health." It's usually "my dog is HUGE, yippee! He's bigger than all of your puny standard-sized dogs!" Haha. I know, I'm exaggerating a bit, but it's just funny.

So, back to the topic at hand! 26.5" and 70#? Really?
 

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A 26 inch tall dog should NOT be 110 lbs. A 28-29 inch dog LEAN should maybe be in the 100-110lb range. It's how males should be 25" tops but weight should be about 85 lbs tops. Berlin is 28" tall now - oversized obviously. He's 83 lbs now. He still has the lean frame of a puppy at 16 months and has little muscle mass yet so I expect him to fill out and add probably another 5-10lbs of muscle. He MAY hit the 100lb point but I really hope not. If i had my way he would be 70lbs.

People are use to seeing fat dogs and thinking they're healthy. On a body condition score of 1-9, 4 is considered a good weight. Realistically I want my dog to be a 3.5. It's healthy. If i can't see some rib I consider my dog overweight. Statistically dogs slightly underweight are going to live longer than overweight dogs.

A 100lb dog that's 26inches is an overweight dog. Unless it's a bully breed and had large muscle mass that just isn't seen in german shepherds. Light and athletic. And if you look at siegers chosen by stephanitz they were very lightly built dogs. Because that's an athletic dog that is going to be able to work longer with less arthritic danger.

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That's berlin in my avatar. 28". Tall boy. 80lbs when that picture was taken. Lean and healthy

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Some pictures I've used in the past to compare his size. Exept for lack of muscle mass that can be easily noted in the chest and hind end, he is the perfect size for his frame. 83 lbs.







Nest to him is Zeke, who is a little over 25 inches, 95lbs, and VERY overweight. I would prefer him to be down to 80lbs max, and we are working on it (at last weigh in he was down to 85lbs - woo hoo, still looks big)



 

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Discussion Starter #5
So here is Kaze when we first rescued him at 86#. He is standing still and you can see every one of his ribs:



Here he is 2 months later at around 90# with no ribs showing:



He was never really exercised, and has very little muscle. I'm fixing that, and taking him for 5-10 mile bike rides daily with my huskies. So that's what I meant by wanting him to gain 5+ lbs. He should naturally put on muscle to help him fill out better, even though he is already 2.5 years old, oversized, and done growing.

Don't get me wrong, I know the breed standard and am not looking for a fat or oversized dog. I'd prefer him to be within the breed standard. I just couldn't imagine how anorexic or sickly he would look if he was 25 lbs less than where he'll naturally be when fully filled out. That would be over a 1/4 less of his current body weight. I think you'd see his entire skeleton, and people would think I'm starving and neglecting him if he were that skinny.
 

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If that was my dog I would not want him to be any heavier. I think he looks perfect in that first picture. Again that's what I want to see in my dogs.

And I'm awake because I work emergency veterinary medicine. I have daily access to amazing orthopedic surgeons and we often talk about weight, size, conditioning, risks of arthritis or injury with Berlin being a sport dog, ways to prevent that, etc.
 

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My dog is 26.75" and 66 lbs (though spent most of his life around 68-72). He has a fine bone structure, reminds me of the GSDs from 50 years ago.

(And I know his height is correct- he was measured by agility judges)
 

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the height was due to leg length , not body depth
This. I have a male who is VERY tall and weighs 75 lbs. He has very long legs and very little body depth (he's exactly what people think of when they think of juvenile neuter and how it makes dogs stuck in the "teenager" phase).
 

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A little rib is actually desirable.

Why is everyone so horrified if their GSDs show a bit of rib? :confused:
 

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Yes I have had many tell me the last 2 ribs should be easily seen, but when ty came to us every bone was sticking out, his ribs were countable from across the room and his hip bones protruded.

He was a skinny minnie lol that is about a week after we had got him.

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I like to see a little rib. Cajun is 26" and weighs 70lbs when super lean. When he was rescued he weighed 38lbs and was almost dead. Eli is 27" at last measure and he weighs 90lbs, but he has a lot of body and is a very long dog. If I let him put a bit of extra weight on he tops out at 95lbs. A past GSD Xander was 29", a big, heavy bodied, long dog and weighed 105lbs. Most people want their dogs big and are afraid to keep them lean. They should be thin, especially if you are working them hard. If my dogs had extra 5 or 10lbs on them, I shudder thinking how much harder it would be on their joints when I run them or do agility.
I agree, I think your dog looks great in the first picture - that's how I keep my dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks everyone. And yes, I've also been told and have read on here that you should be able to feel the ribs, but not see them. I know to look for the hourglass figure view from above. I didn't think you should see every rib. Kaze is very long and narrow, and just looked underweight. My huskies have been running long distance for years and look like little body builders. I understand they are built differently than GSDs, and their breed standard is different, but I like my dogs to be athletic and not too skinny, not too fat, but all muscle.

Kaze was kept in a house and backyard, rarely went for walks, and was fed the cheapest food they could buy. Now I'm feeding him raw, and bikejoring to help him make up 2 years of lost muscle, stamina and endurance to get him ready for search and rescue training.

Thanks again for replying!
 
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