Thursday, February 25, 2010


When I write my articles either I’m writing from what I know or have experienced or I am doing research on the subject that I may not be familiar with. Today I was going to write about the German Shepherd Dogs top line and once again I was looking for material on the web to help me provide you with the best information about this topic. As you all know there are a gazillion websites out there all claiming to know what ever it is that they are writing about. Beware! They all don’t know what they are talking about! Just because they write about something doesn't necessarily make them an expert on the subject!

Case in point: One website that I was just on this morning was talking about the top line of our breed and she/he talked about the MANY disqualifications of the breed……none I may add that were even remotely true. The writer claimed that different top lines were a disqualification. For my readers, please note the following are the ONLY disqualifications of our breed according to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America: cropped or hanging ears, dogs with noses not predominantly black, undershot jaw, docked tail, white dogs and any dog that attempts to bite the judge. That’s it! However, there are some things that are less desirable, but are not a disqualification! Example: a long coated dog.

If you are a student of the breed or you just want to know the most up to date information about the German Shepherd Dog, do yourself a favor and check out the best place to get the information you need which is on the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s website ( Most all of the information that you need is right there and is set up and maintained by dedicated volunteers of the breed. This is the grand daddy of all websites for anything pertaining to this breed. It is the Parent club for German Shepherd enthusiasts.

Remember when you are looking up websites for information, many of them are written by people who have their own agendas and ideas about things. Because they write about it doesn’t mean it’s true and it doesn’t mean that they are the “end all” and have the final say about something. Check out the writers credentials. Explore different websites and question where they are coming from. There are many great writers on the web and many dedicated individuals that have many years of experience and expertise on any given subject. Just do your research and if you question something, refer back to the Parent Club website to check it out.

When I write about something, I never claim to know everything there is to know about a given subject. I realize some things are open for discussion and there are MANY more people than I that have more knowledge about certain topics. My writing just opens the doors for communication and that’s always a good thing. No matter how long we’ve lived, we can always learn more. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge.

Beware of websites that try to persuade you one way or the other to the writer’s viewpoint. You will find websites written strictly about the American bred German Shepherd. Then you’ll find ones written strictly about the German bred German Shepherd. It doesn’t matter where they’re born, they’re all still German Shepherds. You might view the different pictures and see a distinct difference in the look of the two dogs. You might see a difference in the dog’s top lines from these two countries. You may see a difference in their pigment as well. Is one better or more desirable than the other? It’s all a matter of taste or preference. Some American breeders wouldn’t be caught dead with a dog that they considered to have more of a roach look to his back. Then the German breeder might be critical of the sloping top lines seen on the North American German Shepherd. Remember when a breeder breeds a litter; he tries to breed to the standard as he interprets it. “One size fits all” is not necessarily true when it comes to breeding. I am of the belief that a good dog is a good dog not matter where he comes from.

When it comes to looking up information about the health or genetics of our breed another great place to get the help that you may need is to join a German Shepherd Dog e-mail list. You’ll find many of them on Yahoo. Check them out but beware again, not all of them might be the type of group that you may want to become involved in. Check out what their group is about and their requirements to join in their discussions. You can get some GREAT information and help when you need it from these groups. Many of these groups have breeders, judges, veterinarians, handlers, etc. that are part of their memberships. Some lists that you may like to inquire about are: (my list) –, (see the GSD Showcase Yahoo button to join on this blog), (with this list you will need two referrals to join),, and if you like to help with the rescue efforts of the German Shepherd Dog, here is a great group you may like to consider, If it’s information you want, anyone of these excellent groups should be able to help you.

So as you can see there are many wonderful groups and websites that can help you achieve all you want to with your dog. Just do your research, ask around and then inquire about the group you may want to join. Most German Shepherd Dog people are friendly and many are very knowledgeable, but there are those who claim more knowledge than they actually have. So just do your homework.

From "The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History" as written from a satisfied customer.....Geneticist and German Shepherd breed devotee Malcolm B. Willis, Ph.D. is the acclaimed author of the definitive work, The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History. With his comprehensive explanations of genetic principles, Willis details the genetics of reproduction, behavior, hip dysplasia, and other inheritable diseases of the German Shepherd dog. This book is an essential addition to every breeder's library. It is also a remarkably educational resource for anybody who is committed to fully understanding the genetic history of the breed and preserving its future.

My rating: GSDCA website: (4), e-mail groups: (mostly 3-4), GSD websites: 0-4)!, The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History: (4)


  1. Very good point Barbara. My favorite comments I've seen on websites by people who "know shepherds" were that sables were mixes, rare, or DQs (of which none is true), that shepherds are aggressive to children, and that if you wanted a dog with a good temperament you had to get one with a black spot on the tongue. Still scratching my head on that last comment! Recently saw a website that actually stated they were hypo-allergenic dogs. I'm not too sure that person has ever even met a GSD!

  2. Hey Erica....and I was always told that dogs with a black spot were mean dogs! Go figure!