Monday, October 19, 2009


Well another German Shepherd Dog National Specialty show is over, but the excitement surrounding it isn’t. Some people are just returning home now and others have “almost” settled back to normal. Telephones are ringing, e-mails are sent, and announcements about peoples show wins are bragged about over the German Shepherd e-mail lists.

I can’t remember seeing more outstanding quality than I’ve seen at this show. The breeders should be very proud of what they are producing. I saw better movement than I’ve seen in a very long time. The breed type was beautiful. There were a few dogs with questionable temperaments, but over all, the temperaments were fine on most of the dogs. Speaking of temperaments, I would like to address the temperament testing that I seen at this show and others that I’ve been to.

By now, most people who own a German Shepherd know that they should be aloof but approachable. They shouldn’t be shying away. They shouldn’t be tucking their tails, and most certainly, they shouldn’t be growling or trying to bite the judge. It doesn’t take too much effort on the experienced judge’s part to know when a German Shepherd is displaying bad temperament. He can tell by looking in the dog’s eyes, or by the way he holds his body. Sure, some dogs are very well trained to stand for the individual part of the examination. It is up to the judge to determine whether or not this dog has the ideal temperament according to the German Shepherd standard.

Two of the three judges, did a quiet approach to each animal and watched their response and judged them accordingly. They did not take an extraordinary amount of time to determine the dog’s temperament. I loved their approach. If an animal displayed inappropriate temperament, they were not considered for an award, and in some rare cases, some were excused. The other judge had her own way of judging temperament. She too got her best dogs up in the front of the class. However, in this writer’s opinion, she devoted way too much time on temperament testing. If a dog displays bad temperament, I do not think it’s necessary to keep going back to it time and time again. It only stresses the animal more, and the public display is embarrassing for all associated with the dog. I feel the audience takes note of it the first time. Going back to the dog repeatedly doesn’t change the dogs mind about the judge. It only makes him more distrustful the more that he’s pushed. Bad temperament should not be overlooked; however, spending too much time on this doesn’t do any good for anyone. Eliminate the dog from consideration or excuse it if need be, but get on with it and go to the next dog.

This is not the first time that I seen judges push a dog’s temperament. Going over the dog for what it seems like the hundredth time, stroking it, lifting its tail time and time again, feeling this muscle and that muscle, is just too much. If the dog is supposed to be aloof, then he’s not too happy with this public display of “affection!” I don’t know the AKC rules for judging temperament but I'm sure they have guidelines for doing it.

There is nothing more wonderful than owning a German Shepherd with the IDEAL temperament! In fact, it should be one of the most important things when judging these magnificent dogs. Take a look at this years Grand Victor and Grand Victrix. They are both excellent representatives of the breed and something that we all strive for. These are the type of dogs that you can take anywhere and be proud of. However, there has to be a better way of determining a dog's temperament than mauling it to death. Again, these are my opinions about this subject and I'm sure you all have your opinions about it as well. Temperament should reign supreme, but how a judge determines it is another matter or personal interpretation.

All three judges did an excellent job, in my opinion finding the “best of the best!” How they went about doing it was an individual preference and showed what the most important thing was for them when they judge the dogs. Make no mistake; it couldn't have been an easy task to do. They were standing for many hours while judging the entries that were brought to them. Overall, I think most people would say that they all did a good job judging.

Once again, I congratulate all the winners. You won against some of the best dogs in the country…………lots of reason to “strut” your stuff!!!

My rating: temperament testing – quiet approach to the dog: (4), petting, stroking time and time again: (2)

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