Many thanks to Honey Gross-Richardson for doing this translation for my website.
Reforms with a Good Eye, Part 2 Leonhard Schweikert
The author of this contribution is:
In his present article, Leonhard Schweikert deals with the over – typification especially in the area of the hindquarter and the possibility of the latest up to date X-raying diagnostics.
The Cynological long time favourite:
Hindquarter angulation and hock joints
As ever before, a considerable problem in our German Shepherd Dog population, is the over-typification, that is, over-angulation in the region of the hindquarter. The problem should be viewed as more serious than for instance the size, for in comparison with the over-angulated dog, the large dog definitely still has working dog qualities. These are clearly and definitely denied to the over-angulated dog with an instability of the hindquarter! Anyone who still do not wish to face this truth, is sinning, transgressing, against the working dog characteristics of our breed!
To recognize the effect caused by this over-angulation, one does not have to be an expert: the exaggerated sloping back-line that we are constantly being reproached for by the public, and against which we find it very difficult to find a counter argument. This development has been gossipped about for years. Some speak of the “Porsche Design” others call it the steeply sloping rear end. It is high time, that we faced this criticism and do not ignore it any further, or even dismiss it as the idle talk of some who criticise the German Shepherd with ill intent. What does it say in the Breed Standard: “ The topline flows from the set on of neck over the high, long wither, and over the straight back to the slightly sloping croup without noticeable break. “ And at a different place, under the aspect limbs – hindquarter: “ The position of the hind legs is slightly set back, where the hind-legs viewed from the rear, stand parallel to each other. Upper thigh and lower thigh are of approximately equal length and form an angle of ca. 120 degrees, the thighs are strong and well muscled” ( Bold type by the author)
The development of the Depth of Hindquarter
Naturally not the entire German Shepherd Dog population is affected by this, however there are enough top dogs with this genetic disposition, that are apart from this, still heavily used at stud as well, and dominantly pass on this characteristic.
For clarification of the problematic situation, a comparison with horse breeding is definitely appropriate:
When the founder of the breed, Rittmeister Max von Stephanitz created The Standard of the German Shepherd Dog over 100 years ago, the horse must have been his model.
At that early point in time already, there were thousands of years of experience of the breeding of horses as a working animal. The horse was knows as the helper of man and indispensable in everyday life.
Beside the cattle and pig breeding, breeding of sheep was a huge economics factor in the 18th and well into the 19th century for producing meat and wool. For the herding of large herds of sheep, a useful working animal was needed. One could not fall back on the horse, as it was not suitable for herding. At best, in huge pastures, the horse could be used to ride the boundaries, but it was practically impossible to drive and direct the herd with horse and rider. So an animal was needed, with the enduring properties of a horse, in order to assist the Shepherds in their work.
Von Stephanitz took a medium sized dogs as the model and created his desired anatomy practically as though creating a blue print at the drawing board, derived from the anatomy of the horse. He had to be enduring, to be able to move as herding dog for hours at a medium speed. This prerequisite could only be met by the typical trotter structure. The anatomical virtues that made the horse so useful to man, in his work, the German Shepherd Dog should possess too. The structural proportions, (not the size) the angulations and many other useful features, were taken as the targeted objective, from the horse, and applied to the dog. Of special importance of the features adapted from the horse, is the hindquarter, for every movement is initiated by the hindquarter and transmitted over the back, to the forehand.
To summarize it is found, that too much or too little, that is over or under – in short, any exaggeration of anatomy will negatively impact on the health of the animal and be detrimental to its mode of locomotion, its movement. Only the anatomical features given in the breed standard give, especially in working dog breeding, the guarantee that with a minimal exertion of power an optimum of movement and endurance can be attained, and that well into a ripe old age, good health, fitness and willingness to work can be maintained.
A number of people have asked me if I would translate the SV directive that I received as an SV Foreign List Judge in regard to the measuring of dogs and initiatives to be taken in this regard at the forthcoming German Sieger Show in Nürnberg. My thanks to Honey Gross-Richardson for her translation.
For anyone that might be interested, this is the detailed description of the coat/hair as described by von Stephanitz and added to by Herr Trox in 1974.
Die Beurteilung des Deutschen Schäferhundes
The Judging of the German Shepherd Dog by Rittmeister Max von Stephanitz
Revised and supplemented by Walther Trox, Hagen, published by the SV in 1974
Interpreted by Honey Gross-Richardson, GSDCA/ANKC Interpreter
The coat, which is rather short on the head with the exception of a tuft at the lower edge of the set on of ears, merges into a good stock hair. In males, the region of the set on of neck throat and nape, tends to be heavier coated. In old, strong dogs, especially in winter, a slight, mane like ruff, is formed by the coat growing against the grain. The skin of the neck should be well fitting, should above all, not form any throatiness or dewlap.
As the remaining parts of the body, chest, back and the limbs, as part of the movement apparatus, or being in connection with this, must be dealt with in a similar manner, I shall discuss a few more aspects of lesser significance before I go into them. I shall first of all, stay with the coat. I have just spoken of the coat on the head and neck of the stock haired dog. From the neck, a line of especially long and strong hair goes over the back down to the tip of the tail. The single hair on the back is around 4 to 6 cm in the winter-coat. Whilst the forechest is especially densely, but not long coated, the length and density of the coat on the sides of the body lessens downwards. Only the thighs are again, and this is for protection, longer, and more densely coated. On the underchest the hair is, unless in heavy winter coat, fairly short, whilst the section of the hindmost part of the belly, lying between the upper thighs, and the inner upper thigh where it joins the body is sparsely and only thinly covered with stock hair and is without undercoat.
Forelegs, rear pasterns, feet and toes are covered with short but harsh hair. On the back of the fore legs, the slightly longer hair forms a slight feathering, on the rear side of the thighs, however, breeching. The tail is well coated and somewhat bushy, but does not appear round, but seems flat viewed from the side. The hair is a little longer on the under side, but without flags. Formation of flagging is only found, strictly speaking, only in the longcoats. . In all cases also in the long stock coated dogs. Compared to that, the tip of the tail of the Stock Coated dog, carries a more or less S shaped curved tuft, the lack of which is certain proof of either a natural stumpy tail formation, or for an artificial shortening of the tail. Long coated dogs with over-long, silky soft top coat, generally parted in the middle of the back, tufts on the tips of the ears, pronounced feathering on the fore legs, excessive breeching and flags, very bushy tail as well as lacking undercoat, have been entirely excluded from breeding for a very long time.
For the Working Dog, a weather resistant coat is a prerequisite. The best is offered by the stock hair, (top coat) of the right hardness and length, that is well intermingled with a woolly undercoat. (base hair). A stock hair that is too short lessens the working ability, especially if it has also become too fine. The German Shepherd Dog requires a harsh working jacket, and not a fine society suit. A coat that is too short, can be caused by inappropriately keeping the dog in the lounge. However in most cases it is, just as the coat that is too fine and soft, a result of inappropriate breeding for beauty, instead of for work, sometimes also of over-breeding. In judging the German Shepherd Dog, attention must be given to the coat condition, also to the hair covering the inside of the ears, that I have already mentioned. Mixed types of coat variety sometimes appear as a throwback to crossing coat types of working ancestors. These should only be assessed on their working ability, as they are only of very little significance, breeding wise.
Often the coat on the back and along the sides, instead of a lying straight , is a slightly curled wavy coat that does not permit the coat being close fitting, and is therefore lacking the protection offered by the good stock coat. Long Stock Coats with pronounced feathering on the forelegs, slight ear tufts and tails with flags, or bushy tails, are often lacking the undercoat and lastly have the same deficiency of working ability as the 4 to 5 decades back completely eliminated Shaggy Coat of the Oldgerman Shepherd Dogs with their only slight dense undercoat development. Long Stock Coated dogs are permitted for breeding, however, they can not be Breed Surveyed. Dense, strong hair, and a shiny coat leads one to conclude of good physical condition and good health.