The most significant change that has taken place to the topline of the German Shepherd Dog since its inception 114 years ago has been a downward bend to the spine commencing at the lumbar spine region, more specifically at the anticlinal region, the commencement of what can be referred to as the loin.
This developmental change has not only changed the topline skeletally but it has inclined the pelvis, relative to the pivot point within the withers it has lowered the position of the hip and consequently lowered the position of the knee, in effect bringing the hip and knee closer to the ground in stance and in gait.
Amazingly, to me at least, very few people if any even at an 'authoritative' level mention this 'profound change' never mind discussing its impact on the dogs locomotion, on its movement. It is a change that on the 'big stage' at the highest 'authoritative' levels been accepted without challenge or even cursory debate. Without asking the question why? Without even asking the question 'explain to me why why this is better?' Maybe it is better but maybe it's not, maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. If you accept that the GSD is still fundamentally a working dog, only understanding its impact on the dogs locomotion provides the right answer. On the other hand if you see the GSD as being no more than a working dog relic, that it is now no more than a 'show dog', then the impact this has on locomotion becomes minimal, for you understanding the mechanics are irrelevant, a waste of time, its all about aesthetics, more about 'perceived beauty', you either like it visually or you don't, simple as that.
In the first colour photo you see a dog with a continuous straight line of the thoracic and lumbar spine. The only real difference between this topline and dogs of the late 60's such as the dual Sieger 'Volker vom Zollgrenzschutz - Haus' is the raising of the thoracic spine which makes the slope of the withers and its relationship to the back less defined, but otherwise it is the same.
In the second photo you see a downward bend to the lumbar spine and whilst there is a bend just like the dog in the first photo the lumbar spine is straight. When this occurs, i.e there is a bend to the lumbar spine but the lumbar spine remains straight, it creates a sharp peak, it creates a sharp angle at the spines downward transition point [and as an aside this does not allow a smooth rounded flow at the tail set]
The final photo shows the same downward bend to the spine but the lumbar spine is not straight, it is slightly curved. This curve of the lumbar spine creates a more flowing smoother transition point [and a smoother tail set] An irony and an interesting contemplation isn't it that a curved spine is more 'aesthetically pleasing' than a straight spine!
This structural change has an impact on the dogs locomotion that is little understood and therefore rarely discussed. I have stated my views and thoughts on this developmental change on my web site so I refrain from doing so here, I merely demonstrate something that is significant in regard to the breeds developmental change. A play on words but I say it anyway; '' all the above is something that is seen by many but isn't''.