Today I wanted to write about some of the things that make a German Shepherd look like a German Shepherd. You’ll hear the breeder discuss the structure of the dog and the movement that he is known for. These are the things besides temperament that we pay the most attention to. But some of the smaller things on the dog can make or break the whole look of this noble breed. Without it, they just don’t look too noble at all.
I’m talking about the ears, eyes and feet of this dog! I’ve already wrote about the ears in another earlier post, but I just wanted to say once again without a good ear set, the German Shepherd’s head just doesn’t look noble at all! Floppy, soft, or ears sticking out to the side just ruins the look of the dog’s head. Even if you were to ask a novice person or the pet person something about this breed, probably one of the first things that they will comment on his the German Shepherds ears and how beautiful his head is!
You don’t hear too many people talk about the color and shape of the German Shepherd’s eyes. Probably (in this writer’s opinion) one of the most unattractive things on a dog’s face is if he doesn’t have the proper color and shape to his eyes. The GSDCA’s standard says, (and I quote): "The expression is keen, intelligent and composed. Eyes of medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The color is as dark as possible." End quote. Also I’ve seen and actually owned a champion who had gorgeous deep Mahoney colored eyes that matched her Mahoney colored facial hair. Very pretty!
Did you ever see a German Shepherd with a yellow protruding ROUND shaped eye? Yuck! Even though he may be the smartest dog on earth, he doesn’t look like it. No nobility on this dog’s face. This among other things only reinforces the need for a breed standard! The ideal eye shape for the German Shepherd is the same ideal eye shape for a beautiful woman……almond shaped! Take a look at some of the world’s most beautiful women and look at the shape of their eyes. Just thought I’d throw that in!
Now onto the feet of the German Shepherd. None of my three girls have great feet. “Bu” probably has the best feet, but it certainly wouldn’t be her claim to fame! I love a good looking foot. In fact, I wish I had better looking feet myself, but this isn’t about me! Another quote from the GSDCA’s breed standard about feet: "The feet are short, compact with toes well arched, pads thick and firm, and nails short and dark." End quote.
Some dogs with the less than ideal foot will have what they call a splayed foot. The toes are long and spread open rather than short and compact. You won’t see a nice thick, firm pad. The pad is not as “cushiony” but looks like it lies flat on the ground. Many times this type of foot has nails that always seem to grow out so quickly. Someone told me recently that she has a bitch that has beautiful feet and she never has to cut her toenails. In fact, she told me that she hasn’t cut her nails since she was a puppy and the bitch is now six years old! I want that bitch!
There’s something about the dog that has black toenails that makes the foot look that much more attractive……almost healthier looking for some reason. Sure the light nail is much easier to cut because you can see the quick in the nail whereas the black nail is a much more delicate situation trying to avoid the quick when you’re cutting their nails.
It’s all about the genetics of his pedigree. I don’t know how easily it is to correct some of these things. Maybe better feet would be the easiest of the three. I think that the ears are the hardest to correct in one generation. What do you guys think?
So ears, eyes, and feet will most definitely make or break the way that your German Shepherd Dog looks. A homely German Shepherd just isn’t too nice to look at. Oh he’s still a lovable brute, but he’s not going to win any beauty contest and I suppose that that’s alright for some people and sometimes the homeliest is the easiest to love. But for me when I think of this great breed, a picture comes to my mind and it’s not of a protruding, round yellowed eyed, floppy eared dog standing with splayed feet and his tongue sticking out looking goofy. The German Shepherd Dog must have presence…..preferably a noble presence!
My rating: soft ears, poor ear set: (1), splayed feet: (1), yellow round eyes: (1)