Monday, September 27, 2010


According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s standard for the German Shepherd Dog, these are the disqualifications for our breed:


Cropped or hanging ears
Dogs with noses not predominantly black
Undershot jaw
Docked tail
White dogs
And dog that attempts to bite the judge

Surprisingly enough, all of these disqualifications (except the last one) are all physical things. That just about blows my love of the movement of this breed right out of the water. Many of you that know me, know that I’m a movement nut. Okay I admit it; I’m crazy for a good moving dog. But it’s not a disqualification if your dog isn’t a good moving dog. You just don’t show him under a judge that is “nutty” like me!

So the next time you hear someone say something about someone’s dog that can’t move out of their own way, carry a copy of the breed standard with you to show them. If he can’t move, that’s not a disqualification.

Oh there are other things in the breed that are considered serious or undesirable traits. To view them, go on the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s website and look at the breed standard.

Some of the other things that I dislike about some dogs that are not disqualifications are: light protruding round shaped eyes. There is just something so unattractive to me about a homely face on a German Shepherd and in my opinion ones that have eyes that look like this, well lets just say he’s not going to win any beauty contest. Top that off with ears that stick out like a donkey, well you get the picture.

Missing teeth doesn’t bother me as much as a very overshot jaw or one that is undershot. Any missing teeth other than first premolars are a serious fault. I wonder why they need all those teeth anyway – 42 teeth, 20 upper and 22 lower. I wonder why it’s considered a serious fault.

I’ll tell you one structural fault that I truly dislike and that’s a bad back. Now a bad back can mean many different things to different people. It could mean that the dog is roach backed, shows a dip behind the withers, soft back, swayed back, running downhill into the shoulders, etc. The only thing that I want to see moving on the dog when he gaits is his four legs. I love looking at an iron back and a dog that carries a great top line in motion. You won’t see this dog moving with a soft back that moves every which way or a dip in his back. You won’t see the dog running downhill in motion making him look like his rear is running into his shoulders.

Then there’s the croup. A certain popular dog in recent times was notorious for producing flat croups. I remember watching his stud dog presentation at a National one year. It was a huge class, but the majority of them all had this same unattractive flat croup.

How about the front of the dog and the lack of a good shoulder? Does this bother you? I love a good front on a dog. Nothing is so unappealing to me than when I see a dog reaching from the elbow. And nothing is so shocking to me to see people show pictures of their dogs moving like this and saying what a great mover he is!

Besides a dog trying to bite a judge, there are other undesirable temperament problems. A dog that shies away from the judge, backs up, belly crawls on the ground, tucks his tail, his eyes looking as if he’s ready to bolt and say “Let me out of here”, one that growls or shows is teeth……all undesirable traits.
And how about the pigment of the dog? Ideally rich, dark colors are what we all hope to achieve when we produce litters of puppies. This is not always the case. We have lines in the breed that consistently produce washed out colors in their dogs. Of course it’s not a disqualification, but stand him next to a dog that’s richly pigmented, and then it becomes even more noticeable.

So what fault bothers you most? Is it locked hocks, kicking up in the rear with no follow through? Perhaps it’s a lack of length of coat. Or maybe you don’t like a German Shepherd that acts like a Golden Retriever in personality……loving on everyone he meets. What is it that you just can’t live with in this breed? And I’m not talking about health and genetics here. I’m just talking about the breed standard.

My rating: Disqualifications and faults of the breed: (1 - 4)

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