Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Secondary sex characteristics……….just what the heck does that mean? Quite simply put it means that a boy dog looks like a boy dog and a girl dog looks like a girl dog. How important is it for our breed to exhibit these characteristics? It’s very important for a noble breed like the German Shepherd. Nothing is more displeasing to the eye especially when looking at a male with a bitchy head with thin, spindly bone.

In my last litter, I only had two bitches. Both of them are big girls because the mother is a good sized bitch and the father is a very big boy. However, one of the girls although she is big has a beautiful bitch head. Her sister on the other hand looks like a male. Her head would be the envy of some males that lack in this area. She has huge bone. I can not tell you how many times when she lay in the whelping box I lifted her leg to make sure I didn’t make a mistake by calling her a bitch. I kid you not I probably lifted her leg more times then she probably was comfortable with…… was like I was waiting for something to grow “down there!” It never did…….she remained a female!

It is unfortunate sometimes when I open the pages of the German Shepherd Dog Review and I’ll admire a good looking dog that is being advertised. I look at his name and I know it’s a male name, but I take a double look because I’m thinking to myself, “Wow, what a nice looking bitch this is,” and Wow it isn’t a bitch, it’s a male!

A male should have a noble head, oval shaped bone, and should exude masculinity so there’s no mistaking him for a male. He shouldn’t have that flat look on his nose leading down from his eyes. There should be some sort of a “stop” or what I used to call the “Roman nose.” This gives the dog a look of character with depth rather than that most unattractive flat faced look. You can see this look especially when viewed from the side of the face. His chest should be well filled in if he’s an adult and should not be lacking in prosternum. I’m sorry but I just find some of the pushed up fronts with a lack of prosternum not very attractive at all. It has seemed of late that this has become the “fashion trend” of the moment. But like most trends, they run their course and return to the “norm.”

The bitch on the other hand should look feminine while she too has the oval shaped bone noted for this breed. She is smaller than the male and if she were to stand next to him there would be no mistaking her for a bitch. Her movement because of her size seems more effortless than the male.

I don’t know where the loss of masculinity comes from. Sometimes you might find this to be true in pedigrees that are heavily inbred or line bred on the same lines. Sometimes it just happens that the best male in the litter has the smallest head while his lesser quality brothers have the larger heads. It’s just the luck of the draw when it comes to genetics. But to intentionally breed to dogs that lack important secondary sex characteristics does nothing for the breed. We saw this trend when some of the inbred dogs back in the late 70’s – early 80’s were being used. While these inbred dogs produced some gorgeous bitches, it wasn’t always the case with the males that they produced.

There is nothing more rewarding than walking your male on the show grounds and heads turn because he’s drop dead gorgeous and there’s no mistaking his sex. Can there be anything more exiting than a small/medium beautiful female that just floats across the ground because it’s easy for her to do so?

Because the German Shepherd is considered a large dog, there’s a certain picture people have in their mind when they think of this breed. When this breed doesn’t exhibit good secondary sex characteristics then they look weak and fragile. This is a strong, working/herding breed. Who wants a spindly, fine boned German Shepherd male?

Show me a good looking head on a dog with beautiful bone rather than his smaller good moving brother. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a “movement nut!” I believe that a dog that can move correctly is structured correctly and of course in order for the German Shepherd Dog to do the work that he was bred to do, he must be able to move correctly to do it. He doesn’t need to be beautiful looking to do this work (herding sheep, police work, therapy work, search & rescue, etc.). However, that being said, when you enter a dog in a conformation ring, he is being judged on his movement AND breed type. When a judge awards a dog his championship title, crowns him Grand Victor, or Best in Show, he is saying to the audience this is the best representative according to this breeds standard. So that must include BOTH structure for moving/working AND beauty. Ideally our dogs should have both. And this would mean that the male looks like a male and the female looks like a female. The difference is striking and it should be!

My rating: Masculine heads on males: (4), Feminine heads on females: (4), judging to the breed’s standard: (4)

No comments:

Post a Comment