Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Anything that has ever lived, never truly dies. Oh we may not actually see that person or that animal, but because they have lived, they still walk among us. For one reason is that we keep them alive in our hearts. Their memory lingers on. But if truth be told, it’s more than just our memories that keep them alive. It is their impact that they left that lingers behind. I know this all may seem philosophical but just give it some thought.

Every President of the parent club (GSDCA) that ever conducted a meeting, every board member, every person that was a member that has brought change to the club lives on in the history of this governing body of our beloved breed.

Every judge that ever judged the GSDCA’s National Specialty show that has pointed to the newest Grand Victor or Victrix has helped shape the genetic pool of this breed. Every judge that has judged at major specialty shows has helped dictate the style and movement of this breed through his interpretation of the standard.

Some past breeders are responsible for some people’s kennels that are now producing top winning show dogs. Some past breeders are responsible for putting smiles on family’s faces for all the love and devotion that their dogs are bringing to these people’s homes. Some past breeders are responsible for helping keep our country safe for their dogs are protecting our country by serving in the military or local police forces. When these dogs leave us, their legacy that they leave behind far outlives the short times that they lived here on this earth.

Great dogs are not born every day and I dare say maybe not even in a decade or two. Sure we’ll see some really good ones in our time, but very few great ones! Just think about it, when was the last time you saw a really great German Shepherd and the impact that he left on the breed? How often in your lifetime do you think you’re going to see it? I know everyone thinks that the dog that they own is great and just maybe he is, but I’m talking about the greatness this great dog leaves behind.

How often does a dog like GV Ch Lance of Fran-Jo come along? Lance was a little before my time, so I never got to see this dog in person. From his pictures, he looked to have been a stallion type dog. He appeared to be a hard, dry animal in breed type. He wasn’t necessarily my type of dog, but the impact of what this dog did for the breed remains till this day. Was he a perfect dog? Of course not. For all those that loved him and thought he did some great producing, there are others that blamed him for the problems in the breed as well. Whatever side of the fence you are on about this dog, one thing is for sure; very few ever changed this breed as much as this dog did. Very few have been talked about as much as this dog. Although he has been gone for many years now, his bloodlines are still behind some of today’s top winning dogs. This is truly an example of a dog that walked among us and still does today. A dog that has had this much of an impact on the breed never dies.

Any of the icons of the breed, the greats among the greats has never left us either. If you were fortunate enough to have been mentored by them or even to have shared a friendship with them, they still walk among us. It’s because they have lived and shared their knowledge with us that they never die. Anything that remains still lives on. It’s what they have taught us and we bring to our own breeding program today. It’s in the echoes of our mind that we still hear their words of wisdom. Every breeder that taught you what good movement was about, every breeder that pointed out good character and structure to you lives on every time you look at a dog now yourself. That mentor may not physically be standing right next to you, but he lives on in your memories by his teachings. A teacher never dies because their students carry on their teachings.

Every forefather of this breed that sat down and helped put together the standard lives on every time a judge sets foot in the ring. It is those people’s foresights and wisdom that is carried on in the show ring today. They paved the way for others to follow and for them to leave their footsteps behind for future generations.

Every writer that has written a good book about this breed, every editor of the German Shepherd Dog Review has been responsible for helping educate today’s generation so they too may bring their knowledge for the generations that follow.

Every dog that has played with your children, every dog that has protected your home never dies because your memories keep him alive.

It is because these people and dogs have lived that the breed continues today. The truly great ones (in whatever way you may perceive that) still walks among you and me today. Aren’t you glad that they touched your life? It’s because they’ve positively touched our lives that we pass on to future generations the wisdom of those that walked before us!

I can still hear the soft voice and laughter of Connie Beckhardt or the accent of Joan Ford answering a very novice person’s question. I remember Marge Dolan whispering in my ear at a show, “I want you to run for the President of our club.” I can still hear the cackle of LaMar standing ringside and proclaiming to me, “Darling did you ever see such a magnificent looking animal in your life?” These people have just gone onto another plain of existence perhaps somewhere in another galaxy, but their teachings, their friendship, their expertise still lives on and sets an example of what can be to those that now follow and look to pave their own path. May all those that walked before us, continue to walk with us now. Because they have lived, they never truly have died!

From the book: "CREATING A LIFE WORTH LIVING"...Dreaming is easy. Making it happen is hard. With a fresh perspective, Carol Lloyd motivates the person searching for two things: the creative life and a life of sanity, happiness and financial solvency. Creating a Life Worth Living helps the reader search memory for inspiration, understand his or her individual artistic profile, explore possible futures, design a daily process and build a structure of support. Each of the 12 chapters, such as "The Drudge We Do For Dollars" and "Excavating the Future," contains specific exercises and daily tasks that help readers to clarify their desires and create a tangible plan of action for realizing dreams. The book also provides inspiring anecdotes and interviews with people who have succeeded in their chosen fields.

My rating: Learning from a mentor: (4), Becoming a mentor: (4)

Monday, January 24, 2011


So the photographer has sent your dogs show winning picture to your house. You buy it and can’t wait to share it with everyone. You post it on some German Shepherd Dog lists that you belong to. You put an ad in the GSD Review. You even put it on Facebook. That’s how proud you are of your dog. You hope everyone shares in your enthusiasm. Some time goes by and you don’t hear from nearly as many people as you had hope to. And even the few that you do hear from are only with a lukewarm response. You feel disappointed and let down. How could they not love your dog almost as much as you do? The judge thought enough of him to put up. How come the public doesn’t see his outstanding quality?

Have you really taken a good look at the picture that you are putting on display? Is it really worthy of your dog’s quality? Does your dog really look good in the picture? Sometimes we are so excited to share pictures of our dog with everyone, we sometimes are showing pictures of him that doesn’t do him justice. I’ve always been of the belief if your dog has won an important win at a dog show and you want to brag about it but yet the winning picture isn’t all that good…..don’t use it. Use a good picture of him (perhaps at another show) and just brag about his latest win.

Please look at the picture and how your handler has your dog set up. People will introduce their dog to the public and the handler has him bridged in the front or stretched too much in the rear. If the picture isn’t complimentary to your dog, don’t share it with everyone.

Another thing about first introducing your dog to the public and this is just a personal beef of mine is when an owner comes on a list or Facebook and says “I’m sharing this picture of my Bozo, but he wouldn’t cooperate but I wanted you to see him anyway.” Why? Knowing that first impressions are lasting impressions wouldn’t you want his first picture to have a positive impact on his viewers? All they’re going to remember is that the dog was turning the other way, wouldn’t stack for the picture, he’s trying to sit down, etc. In our over enthusiasm to share our dog’s picture, we sacrifice the type of lasting impression we really want to have on the public. Be patient until you get the right picture to showcase the real beauty of your dog.

I’m going to use an example here that I just saw on Facebook last week. Someone posted a youngster winning a big win at a show. The dog was obviously way over stretched in the rear. Sometimes a handler will do this if a dog doesn’t have a lot of hindquarter to make him appear as if he does. This dog’s hindquarter was well angulated and didn’t need this exaggerated stretching. Well the comments that this picture generated was the talk of those that shared in the conversation for a few days. I almost jumped in, but instead decided to sit back and read what others had to say about this dog. Of those that commented, I didn’t see one person say that the dog was overstretched too much. Instead they were saying how crippled the dog was and no wonder there’s hip dysplasia in the breed. In their opinion, this dog wouldn’t be able to do a days work herding sheep or anything else that may have been asked of him. Comments continued that no wonder the American breeders are in the trouble that they’re in breeding cripples like this. As I said the dog had a good deal of rear but not as much as everyone went on and on about. He appeared to have much more rear because of the handler overstretching him. I don’t know who owns this dog and even if they gave their permission to use their dogs picture on a public network like Facebook for all of these people to pull him apart like they did.

If you go and pick up a copy of “The German Shepherd Today” by Strickland and Moses you will see pictures in there about how to set a dog up. A dog can look like a square box and given to the professional handler can look like he has more rear than he really does. The example is in this book. I believe a sable youngster is standing four square and then she is set up to look absolutely gorgeous and curvy in the hindquarter. So pictures can do your dog justice if you know what you’re looking at before you buy it and show it off. Or on the other hand, it can do a disservice to your dog.

The key here is for the owner to know what they are looking at. Another example of poor advertising is when an owner shows a dog in motion that is obviously a poor moving dog. He’s lifting in the front……it’s so obvious he’s lifting at the elbow and I always scratch my head wondering how hard this is to see. Just take a look at the picture and if you see the elbow is bending in the front while he’s moving…..well then this is incorrect and you’re advertising it! But time and time again, owners are advertising their “beautiful” elbow movers and exclaiming it as great side gait. Then you’ll see those dogs that are kicking up in the rear and the owner brags about his dogs wonderful follow through.

A picture can make or break your dog. The public sometimes is very unforgiving when they look at a picture of a dog. One bad picture and your dog is remembered looking like that. It is up to the handler to make sure your dog is set up properly and just as much responsibility lies with the photographer taking the picture. If it’s a German Shepherd Show photographer well then he knows how this breed should be stacked before he snaps the photograph. He wants you to like the picture enough to buy it.

So sometimes a picture can make a good dog look bad or a bad dog look good. Not unlike some people that are photogenic and some that are not. But we’re really not talking about whether or not your dog takes a good picture or not. It’s whether YOU know what YOU are looking out in the finished photograph before you advertise him. Is your advertising dollar being well spent?

So every picture tells a story doesn’t it? Not necessarily! Sometimes yes and other times pictures can be very deceiving.

My rating: Using good photography of your dog: (4)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Are you of the belief that if a German Shepherd Dog is a good one that he can win in any ring (All Breed and Specialty)? There are some specialty people that wouldn’t be caught dead in an All Breed ring and there are some all breed people that never show their dogs in a specialty ring. Some specialty people feel that the reason some all breed people won’t show in a specialty ring is because they know their dog won’t win there. These same specialty people feel that those all breed dogs are not of the quality of dog that wins at a specialty show. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? I don’t know but I do know that there are some great dogs in our breed that can and does win at both of these types of shows!

Like in many things in today’s society, there seems to be a division even among dog show people. Many people put our German Shepherds into two different categories when it comes to show dogs and that is specialty dogs and all breed dogs. Some don’t believe that a good dog will win anywhere. They are of the belief that a good dog is in the specialty ring……period! These same people expect that the specialty dogs are the ones that you’ll see competing at the National level….that is the National Specialty Show at the end of the year that is put on by the Parent Club (GSDC of America). They do not expect or think of the all breed dog competing at this level. But indeed, there are those dogs that have won high honors at an all breed show like taking Group 1st and Best in Show competing at the National Specialty show and many times winning top honors as well.

Recently I was thinking about some of our top winning dogs of the past and was looking at some of their pictures. It got me to wondering that if some of the “greats” of the breed were alive today, how well would they do in the ring against our present dogs? Do you think that they would still be the top winning dogs that they once were?

Let’s take for instance one of the all time history making German Shepherds in our breed. That is GV Ch Lance of Fran-Jo ROM. Why do I call him all time history making? He wasn’t in my opinion (by looking at his picture) that extraordinary looking. But this dog more than any other dog in the history of our breed changed the look of the German Shepherd forever. Gone was the boxy, square looking dogs of the earlier years. He introduced a more sloping top line and with a more extreme hindquarter. The way the dogs were stacked when they were set up was completely different from the years before. Lance produced a prettier standing animal. If Lance was shown today, would he, could he still be crowned the Grand Victor?

Would the extreme front and rear of the GV Ch Mannix of Fran-Jo (a Lance son) make him a competitive and winning dog today? How about the beautiful breed type of GV Ch Woodside’s NestlĂ©’s Quik, would he still stand out today?

And what about some of the great producing bitches of yesterday? Think that they would be great producing with today’s blood lines? How about Lance’s mother, Frohlich’s Elsa v. Grunes Tahl ROM. She wasn’t a bitch with much angulation at all but she produced her famous son that was dominating in this area. Her father Ch Riter v. Liebetraum had even less hindquarter. Where did all this hindquarter come from then?

How about Cobert’s Melissa ROM who never made her championship but produced some top champions including GV Ch Lakesides Harrigan ROM, Sel Ch Cobert’s Reno ROM, Sel Ch Lakesides Gilligan Island ROM, etc. Would she still be able to produce top winning dogs today?

Does the style of a great dog change from decade to decade? And if it does change, should the standard be re-written to keep up with this change? Just a thought and question for you……what do you think, would the great ones of yesterday be great ones today?

My rating: A good German Shepherd never goes out of style: (4)

Friday, January 7, 2011


Yesterday I offered to print an article about anyone's German Shepherd Dog rescues as I believe the work that is done to even rescue one dog is a miracle in itself. True to his helpful nature and his love and dedication for the breed, Bruce McElmurray wrote to me and asked if I would like him to write an article about Connie Williams rescue in Central Colorado. She's also the owner of a rescue list that I send this blog to. I am delighted that Connie consented for Bruce to do her story and have me print it here. Thank you both for this article so the public can get a better understanding of what it is you do.  So the following is Bruce's article about Connie and her rescue efforts.

The face behind the rescue:  Connie Williams

This is about the rescue that I volunteer with, 'German Shepherd Rescue of Central Colorado Inc, a 501c3 state licensed corporation'. Connie Williams, Executive Director, lives on top of a mountain in central Colorado, where she runs the all volunteer rescue organization. Since I don't know about other rescue organizations I will write about the one I am familiar with and what it does from my viewpoint. Connie has several German Shepherd dogs of her own from when she used to show, train and breed German Shepherds. Rescue does not really allow time to do anything but rescue and eat and sleep, so those passions of hers to breed, show and train have presently taken a back seat to saving dogs in need.

Christmas puppy abandoned at 12 weeks and left with a neighbor:

So much goes into the actual rescue of a dog facing death that it is hard to find a starting place As Executive Director she usually starts her day off with reading e-mail, where she gets requests of owner surrender, or volunteers from shelters sending requests for rescue for dogs. Also adoption applications are reviewed and transports in progress and the other daily demands. There is also a web site sponsored by German Shepherd Rescue of Central Colorado that is an extensive network established for other rescues to communicate and facilitate rescues. The rescue also has its own page on Pet Finder for those looking to adopt a GSD. The rescue adopts out to Colorado and several surrounding States. I believe Connie's day starts out like most, where she has to tend to her GSD's as well as the rescues she has on hand. After being fed, watered, and attention given then she can grab a bite to eat while she does computer time and looks for dogs to rescue. Computer time can be exhaustive but there is no extensive time available as other things will not wait.

Another rescued dog - "Black Jack!"

Connie has been involved in rescue for several years and is the go to lady for questions from the various rescue sources due to her many years of experience with the breed. When a rescue is coming in Connie usually goes to pick the dog up. The information on the GSD is reviewed and a file started, the dog fed, watered and settled in. She usually allows a few days for the dog to adjust and settle down from the ordeal it has been through. Then there is the bath, clean up and nail trim where she examines the new rescue carefully. From day one she is silently evaluating the temperament, behavior and demeanor of the new rescue. What commands does the dog know, is it house trained, does it have any injury, deformity or illness. While doing all this the other rescues and her own dogs are competing to get her attention. Even though Connie has been a trainer, breeder and competitor for 40 years she has always rescued dogs in need during that extensive time period.

This is Stryker - before and after his rescue - tied up and left to die:

Then the new rescue has to be checked by a veterinary clinic and will be spayed or neutered if not already. She will then microchip the dog and if the new rescue is in need of training that process will be started. She has a master military trainer that comes on occasion to help her with this. By now this new rescue is her special dog. I'm sure she has some memorable dogs in her many years of doing rescue but from what I have observed, each dog when rescued becomes her very special dog. If the dog has infirmities or medical problems it goes on a special program which Connie then administers.
"Shadow" and Rob:

Often when I talk to Connie she is in bed with her feet up to relieve the pain in her back/neck from all the work required in taking care of so many dogs. Even though in frequent pain she does not stop tending to, feeding, cleaning up after, training and grooming these wonderful and extremely grateful dogs. She does this 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Add to this her lung problems, it is a personal sacrifice to function for the dogs. Vacations are the rare opportunity when she gets to watch a program on television all the way through. As you can see, being Executive Director is a hands on working position. The rescue has a few volunteers like myself that help where we can. I process her applications and investigate the potential adopters to make sure they are capable of providing a loving forever home for the rescue. The rescue has some volunteers who foster dogs, and some who manage the web site. One volunteer is a master trainer who volunteers also. When it comes down to the grunt work however, there is only Connie.

Once I complete the application investigation I send the information back to Connie with a recommendation and she then reviews it and if she has a dog that would suit the potential adopter she contacts them to arrange a meeting with that dog. She has much to consider as many adopters have small children, other dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, and specific traits, colors, size that they want in a dog. They live in private homes, apartments, mobile homes, etc. Many are likely not to get a dog because of their unreasonable requests and expectations but Connie strives to match dogs to adopters that are suitable.

About half of those wanting to adopt a GSD are qualified or suited to adopt a rescue dog. The dogs come from varied circumstances and some were severely abused, emaciated, some no longer wanted, some abandoned and left to die...and just about every conceivable condition and circumstance. Connie lovingly and with devotion tries to rescue as many as she can and make sure they get the loving homes they deserve. To be able to sleep at night this aspect requires a crystal ball to see into the future, an on site evaluation, and judgment. That dog's future rests in her hands.

So how do you describe someone like Connie who devotes her life to saving at need dogs? A woman with a neck/back problem that needs surgery along with serious asthma and lung scarring struggles through each day for the benefit of the dogs. I have heard her say many times that she will keep going as long as she can because there are GSD's that need saving. Words seem somewhat inadequate to express this type of devotion to the GSD breed.

I'm writing this instead of Connie because she would never see this from my perspective as a volunteer. She would relate to you the nuts and bolts of how rescue is done, and omit the personal sacrifice and daily struggles aspect. In the old west they used a term "born with the bark on". Well, Connie Williams was born with the bark on. She is tough as nails, sometimes harsh - probably because she has seen the result of the worst of human kind and what they can do to their 'pets'. Just from my limited exposure I have seen a little of it and it makes my blood boil. But take time to get to know her and once you scratch through that bark you find a compassionate heart, someone who can take the most abused dog and love it and nurture it back to health - both mental and physical. Doing what she does requires a tough exterior to preserve your sanity. As long as there is another dog out there in need, Connie and others very much like her grit through the pain, inconvenience, emotional drain and will do their very best to save that German Shepherd and put it in a loving home.

From the book:  "SEARCH AND RESCUE DOGS: TRAINING THE K-9 HERO"........ From the devastation of the World Trade Center to earthquakes in Central Asia, search and rescue dogs have proven invaluable in helping to find victims of disasters–whether man-made or natural. 
  • Clear, step-by-step lessons on training your dog for a variety of search and rescue operations
  • Ways to keep your dog–and yourself–safe in the face of disaster
  • Practical information on procedures and equipment for dogs, handlers, and human volunteers
  • The ultimate experience of the interdependence of Human and Dog

My rating:  GSD Rescues:  (4)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


For the longest time I wanted to have someone from one of the GSD rescues write an article for me about what they do and about their stories of the dogs that they rescue. I’ve put out word on some of the rescue lists that I belong to. I got responses promising me an article and because “life gets in the way” I never did receive anything. I truly wanted to give these fantastic people their “just due” for all the unselfish work that they do. I would have loved to highlight some of the special dogs that have touched their lives……as I know they all do. I understand that these dedicated people are just that…..dedicated to what they are doing and that is trying to save the lives of our beloved breed.

Yesterday when I came home my nephew and his friend were here. I was asking my nephew about how his dog was doing because he knows how much I adore his dog. My nephew told me he was doing fine and then he told me that his friend was in the car with his own little dog. Me being the dog lover that I am went over to the car and his friend got out and was holding in his arms a little miniature white poodle. He told me that he just rescued the dog a few days ago and she is nine years old. I told him “God bless you for being so kind to this little “oldster” that would have been put to sleep by now.” The little dog was so happy (and grateful?) in this young boys arms.

Anyone can love a beautiful show quality puppy or adult. You can’t help but admire their beauty as they stand out among all the rest. It takes a special heart however, to give love to those that are less pleasing to the eye due to lack of quality, old age, physical handicaps or emotional problems.

I wish I knew everything that the rescue people do, but I don’t even though I know some of you that do this work. Most don’t brag about their generosity. That I believe among other things sets them apart from other people. But I do know that besides physically rescuing the dogs that there is much more that is involved than the obvious. It’s the people behind the lines that screen and look for the best homes for these unwanted dogs. It’s about the feeding, watering, bathing, sheltering, medicating and exercising and playing with these dogs. It’s about the endless hours spent on the telephone locating and finding these dogs. It’s about finding transportation to get these animals from one location to another. It’s about asking for donations. It’s about putting on raffles, selling things at dog shows to earn money for these rescues. It’s the writing on the different GSD lists letting people know what they are doing. It’s about letting people know the help that they need to take care of these animals.

Many of these rescue volunteers not only take care of these dogs but they are also taking care of their own dogs. Some of these marvelous people have their own health problems, but miraculously and without a selfish thought towards their own welfare, they continue until they no longer can. Much of the work that they do taking care of these animals cuts into their own personal lives that they could be spending with family and friends. There’s little time socializing when you have needy animals that demand your attention. There’s little time to go out for a dinner and a movie. And vacation time……………what is that?

I wish I could do better as far as giving these fine people their just dues and recognition for all that they do to comfort and save the German Shepherd Dog. My invitation is still open to anyone that would like to write a story about your rescue or a special dog that might have touched your heart. For it is you that know the hearts of these dogs. It is you that experience first hand the appreciative kiss on the face from a dog that was hours away from leaving this earth. It is you that can write this story better than I for you are the guardian angels of those that are left behind and I am just left in wonderment of all you do. My saying “Thank You” is nothing compared to the dogs “Thank You” but still, I’m sending it your way…….anyway!

From the book: "LOST SOULS: FOUND! INSPIRING STORIES ABOUT GERMAN SHEPHERD DOGS".....Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories about German Shepherd Dogs is a heartwarming, thought-provoking compilation of over 50 true stories which address the cruelty of animal neglect and abuse and the joy rescued dogs bring to their new homes. This book is a must-read for German Shepherd lovers and people who are considering adopting dogs. A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF PROCEEDS FROM EVERY SALE IS DONATED BACK TO GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG RESCUE GROUPS. Excerpt: I was approved as a bone-a-fide dog mom by my local rescue and, confident I would be taking home a particular female, I had painted a room pink for her and purchased doggy nail polish. Upon finally meeting my girl, the rescue director cautioned me about her extreme dominance and need for discipline, which was not my forte by any means. Still stubborn and hopeful, I walked her until she quickly proved our mismatch by dragging me across the yard. Begrudgingly I moved on to meet several less dominant dogs, and to my surprise the one turned out to be Jackson (now Beau), a male with striking hazel eyes, who adopted me the moment we met. The pink doggy room is now used for storage, the nail polish was given away, and Beau is an absolute dream companion. -Lisa Hall

My rating: German Shepherd Dog Rescues: (4)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about the anatomy and movement of the German Shepherd Dog. I do believe I know enough, however about what is good movement and what is not.

I love seeing all the wonderful pictures of some magnificent looking German Shepherds that people have advertised on “Facebook!” I’ve got to say the German breeders have produced some of the most handsome looking dogs that I’ve ever seen. As far as pigment, coat length and heads go, it’s hard to beat them. That said, as much as I love their breed type, what disturbs me is the shortness of back on some of these animals. And then here in this country, we sometimes have bred an animal with too much length of back or loin.

I did some research on the internet about the movement of our breed. Now I’m not going to write a description about it here on this blog. If you want to read about it, take a look on the GSDCA’s website about the standard. What I did find is many, many videos on “You Tube” showing the German Shepherd Dog in motion. Many of them were downright awful, in my opinion. For the novice seeing these videos they might think that this is what our breed looks like in motion. If we only had some of the great movers of our breed on video in slow motion, what an educational piece of work that would be.

My question is this, if the dog’s back is too short, where is he going to go with the rear thrust of his hind legs? The back hunches up from the powerful thrust of those hind legs. The front in many cases lacks the proper lay back of shoulder or the dog has a short upper arm. This being the case, the whole top line in motion gets distorted.

If on the other hand you get a dog that is too long in back, his back is whipping all over the place…….too much movement going on over the back. He carries a soft top line and this makes the dog look weak instead of the strong, powerful animal he is meant to be.

If one looks at some of the animals in the wild…..the ones that are known to be powerful movers, I can’t think of any of them being short in back. Take for instance the big cats. These animals are long striding. Their powerful hindquarters propel them forward through a strong back to their powerful fore assemblies.

Because the German Shepherd is a herding/working breed, the anatomy of this breed is extremely important in order for him to do the work he was bred for. If he is built correctly, he won’t tire as easily. If he’s built incorrectly, then he has to put forth more energy due to a faulty anatomy.

Having a bad croup also takes away from the proper movement of the breed. Too long, too short, too flat all will disturb the correct movement of the German Shepherd Dog. They will kick up in the rear; they won’t get their rears up under them and they won’t follow through in their motion. Once again, I’m not an expert on this subject, but I know it when I see it.

I think it’s so beneficial looking at people that advertise their dogs especially when I see them put moving pictures up of their beautiful animals. But I’ve got to ask this question and I see it time and time again. Why advertise a dog in motion and it’s obvious that his best quality is not his motion? What do I mean by this? Many times I see pictures of dogs in motion and they are reaching from their elbows. Then I’ll read the feedback on these dogs and people will say, “Lovely moving animal.” Are you serious?

Anyone can pick out a beautiful looking dog. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do that. Handsome is handsome and I believe most people can agree on what makes a dog to be so. Knowing what a good moving dog is, is having a good eye through education and studying of this breeds anatomy while in motion. If you are one of the lucky ones that owns a good moving dog, well he’s just about all the education you’ll need. But seriously, you need to know why that dog moves the way he does. You see it for yourself, but do you know why he’s moving that way? Do you understand about each component of that dog’s structure that enables him to move as well as he does?

In an ideal world, I would like to look at a gorgeous representative of this breed standing true under himself…..meaning his front assembly doesn’t have to be rearranged for a picture. He doesn’t have to be hand set because his front is straight under him. He’s not pinched in at the elbows and he doesn’t stand east/west in the front. His top line is strong without being overly long and not bunched up because his back is too short. He’s not caved in in the rear because his hocks can’t handle an overly angulated rear. The dog should present a beautiful picture when standing on his own without a handler having to “fix” his imperfections. He shouldn’t look like a hyena with a quirky looking front, a rounded top line and a rear that looks like he’s squatting all the time. Yup, that’s what some of the pictures that I’ve seen looks like in this writer’s opinion and others that I’ve spoken to about this subject as well.

From the book: "GERMAN SHEPHERD VIRTUES: LESSONS LEARNED FROM OUR FAITHFUL COMPANIONS"......There are certain characteristics we find honorable in each other and valuable to leading a good life. We call these characteristics virtues. -Melissa Sovey. This beautiful gift book uses the model of the German Shepherd-with their associated traits of service, loyalty and honor-as guides or role models for virtuous behavior. Stunning photographs of German Shepherds are accompanied by quotes reflecting on 44 virtues. The quotes and the subject matter easily apply to all of our canine companions. This book would make the perfect graduation gift, or as a token of appreciation for anyone who owns or works with a service dog... or for anyone who loves and appreciates the lessons that all dogs have to offer us.

My rating: Understanding the GSD anatomy and its functions: (4)