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Just read this:

German Shepherds are living and dying in misery due to intensive breeding for “cosmetic” reasons, a major new report by the Royal Veterinary College has found...

...Dr Dan O’Neill, who led the research, which is published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, said a sloped back with shorter rear legs had become a fashionable look for show dogs, and that this was influencing breeding more widely.



German Shepherd dogs dying in misery due to intensive breeding
Apparently it caused enough of an uproar that the dog show has changed their rules. But why does it take a written rule to prevent it?
 

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I also very much dislike the tendency of 'animal advocates' and 'rescues' attacking people who wish to own a specific purebred dog. For myself, I either want a Black Russian Terrier or a Briard (someday). I have very specific reasons for wanting such a dog. And due to the protective nature (especially BRT) of these dogs, I don't want a rescue, I want a pup that I can raise and know it doesn't have a bunch of baggage to mix with its protective instincts, creating a dangerous and volatile dog.

Seems like people don't like you if you sit in the middle. You either have to be a full fledged 'rescuer' and HATE breeders, or you have to be a breeder and hate rescues (just my experience from the past few years).
I completely agree with both of those statements. As a working dog owner, and having gone both the rescue dog route (twice) and the breeder dog route (once), one rescue dog worked out and the other didn't. My female GSD was AMAZING and seriously the BEST DOG I have ever had and probably ever will have. Period. My male GSD is BRILLIANT and we got him at just under a year but in that short year of life he had three previous homes before ours. And they screwed him up big time behaviorally. Unfortunately even with all of my training experience (we even went to outside trainers with decades more experience than me who had no idea what to do with him) he was unable to be fully trusted around other dogs due to being chained at not one but TWO previous homes because he was an escape artist and their solution was to chain him in the yard while their other dogs had free roam and were able to bully him and steal his food. He was a whopping 32 pounds when I pulled him from the shelter while I was still an officer. Due to his intelligence and willingness to please and work with people he was a good candidate and initially he showed he could overcome the dog issues but because it was more of a trauma and not a training thing it was not something that would work well in the field. He is still a wonderful family pet though.

After him, I chose to go the breeder route because I needed a working dog that I knew could perform well in the field because people's lives depended on it. I was very fortunate in that someone who purchased a puppy from a working dog breeder realized that the puppy was too much for her and wished to donate her to our Search & Rescue K9 Unit so I took her. She came from one of the breeders who is contracted with the state to breed the GSD, Malinois, and Dutch Shepherds used throughout the state for all of the various law enforcement agencies in their K9 Units. So I knew I would be getting an excellent dog and while her gas tank never empties and she's constantly gogogo (which you would expect) she's fabulous in the field and is excelling in her training far beyond her teammates, two of which are rescues with relatively unknown backgrounds and another of which is from a show line GSD and is not as well bred for the working environment.

I don't think anyone should be condemned for wanting a specific breed of dog, especially if they are looking for a dog for a specific purpose such as a working dog or a service dog. It's their choice and as long as they try and do as much research as possible for a good breeder and find a good breed type for their lifestyle so they don't dump the dog six months down the road when they discover they can't handle the energy level or size, then go for it.

I do have a slight problem with people purposely breeding designer dogs. I have met and worked with dozens upon dozens of these dogs and I can count on one hand the number of dogs that had no behavioral and/or health problems. If people want to continue breeding them, they need to be more cautious about what they are breeding and need to understand genetics a bit more. Working in the shelter, we got all of the puppies (if they were lucky...there were a few times as an officer that I got cruelty calls and found those puppies in worse conditions...) that didn't happen to get the coats from a Poodle cross or the looks from a Pug cross or the size or color from a Husky cross...in short, they didn't "look" enough like they were supposed to for the market. It is the "fad" breedings that are the worst, I think. Such as the time when '101 Dalmatians' came out and Dalmatian puppies were the hot thing, then Dobermans, then GSDs, then Chihuahuas, etc. Unethical breeders bred left and right to try and make a quick buck and that's where you got a lot of the poor temperaments and even worse health problems. The same thing has happened a lot with the designer dog crosses, the Teacup dogs, and a lot of the more popular breeds right now, including my beloved German Shepherd. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #23
@Horsef Sorry that you have to go through that. I couldn't like your post :sad: I saw a ton of homeless dogs and cats running the streets when I was in a rural town in Georgia last year. It was very sad. I'm not used to seeing it since most of the stray and homeless pets get eaten by coyotes around here, or taken to the shelter.
@k9kenai Yeah, the real problem is always when people are breeding/selling animals solely for money or fashion. They just jump in and buy the pet because it's cute or all their friends have one or whatever, and don't really take the time to research and learn about the needs of the animal.
For example, I was really interested in sugar gliders. I still think they are adorable. I loved that they bond so closely with people and will sleep all day in a pouch next to you. I did a lot of research on them, and was prepared/ok with everything... until I found out that they are worse than parrots with their bathroom habits and poop and pee on everything, for marking territory and the like. Well, that is not a house pet for me, the birds are messy enough! lol. But how many people just jump in and buy the animal, and then find out stuff like that later and don't want it anymore?
 
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Just read this:

Apparently it caused enough of an uproar that the dog show has changed their rules. But why does it take a written rule to prevent it?
Because it's exactly as it said in the article...it's considered "fashionable". It takes a ruling body to step in and enforce it rather than the breeders who are winning competitions with these types of dogs. Why would the breeder making thousands of dollars off of these "banana backs" want to willingly stop breeding them? :(

None of my dogs have that "banana back". There is a woman on another SAR team here that has one of those. I don't even know how that dog can walk let alone do SAR work. He's about two years older than my dog and I can pretty much guarantee he won't be in the field for long. I don't know how someone can put all that time, effort, and money into a dog that they can only work with for two to three years, max. And she wants to breed him!

I am part of a German Shepherd forum as well, and you will find that the good majority of us do not support that back. It is more the "show" breeders that do. The AKC recently implemented a new rule as well where if the back hips dip below a certain degree of angle the dog will be disqualified from the breed shows. I don't know why it has taken years for them to realize their mistake in supporting this. The German Shepherd is a working dog and they cannot work with hips and a back like that.

Of course, none of these rules will stop people from breeding these dogs and it will take decades before we begin to see any major changes. But there ARE German Shepherds out there that are still from working lines that have a straighter back and can actually WORK like they are intended to. These are the dogs you see in Schutzhund, police work, SAR, agility, herding, etc. Apparently the stuff most people don't care about and is never aired on television so the average person who happens to see a German Shepherd on TV win some big competition (as happened recently) will see these "banana backs" and think it is the norm and will go and purchase a "banana back" and not know any better, thus further supporting the "banana back" industry rather than the healthier German Shepherd industry.

I was at a dog park once with one of my straighter backed GSDs and I had a woman approach me and ask if she was purebred because she did not have the slope. I told her yes, she was purebred and they were not supposed to have that degree of slope; it was supposed to be much more subtle. She did not believe me. This same German Shepherd of mine was being groomed once at PetSmart and they have windows where the public can view and whatnot and when I went to pick her up the groomer said some guy had seen her in the window and left his card with his name, number, and offer to purchase her if she was intact (she wasn't). I googled his name and he was some big name German Shepherd breeder of old line German Shepherds. So apparently my GSD WAS a well bred GSD that even caught the attention of a professional, expert breeder. But it just goes to show you that the general public thinks that the "banana backs" are the norm and not the other way around. :(

That well bred German Shepherd lived to 17 years old. She had no hip or elbow displaysia. She probably would have lived longer but she was killed during a SAR training exercise when she ingested antifreeze while removing a burr from her foot. The cattle ranchers admitted to leaving a bunch of it out in the area to kill a pack of stray dogs that had been bothering their cattle. My male GSD is 6 years old now. No hip problems or elbow problems, either. My little female just turned a year old and apart from being tiny and a hard keeper calorie-wise she's healthy as well. The show-line GSD on our SAR team is 10 months old and already has elbow displaysia and his OFA came back as "Poor" for his hips.
 

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I think that as each generation gets farther away from the land, the farther most people get from understanding animals.

My breed is Papillon, and last time I went to get a dog I checked out rescues. I said in the beginning of one conversation that I was experienced with the breed, but after a few minutes I was getting a lecture. Didn't seem to matter that I have had these dogs for 50 years. It also seemed to me that any Papillon going through the shelter system was snapped up by a rescue. I managed to sneak one past them by turning up at the shelter before it opened the day after the dog was listed.
 

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I guess my point is this: Dog show judges supposedly care about dogs. They wouldn't spend their lives working with them & breeding them if they hated dogs. Same with horse show people.

Yet these "experts" who "love" their dogs/horses seem blind to the obvious. I've seen videos of horses cantering where a little girl who knew almost nothing would exclaim, "Mommy, why do they make the hurt horse run around?" Horses with enormous bodies and tiny legs, or misshaped dogs who OBVIOUSLY are not able to move or breath or see properly - how can people who spend their lives with these animals not see the obvious?

I can kind of understand how Joe Blow might buy a badly bred dog through stupidity. I don't LIKE it, but it doesn't shock me. But how can JUDGES who spend their lives around these animals be so utterly oblivious?
 

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I guess my point is this: Dog show judges supposedly care about dogs. They wouldn't spend their lives working with them & breeding them if they hated dogs. Same with horse show people.

Yet these "experts" who "love" their dogs/horses seem blind to the obvious. I've seen videos of horses cantering where a little girl who knew almost nothing would exclaim, "Mommy, why do they make the hurt horse run around?" Horses with enormous bodies and tiny legs, or misshaped dogs who OBVIOUSLY are not able to move or breath or see properly - how can people who spend their lives with these animals not see the obvious?

I can kind of understand how Joe Blow might buy a badly bred dog through stupidity. I don't LIKE it, but it doesn't shock me. But how can JUDGES who spend their lives around these animals be so utterly oblivious?
I wonder that too, and I think that's part of the reason why I never got involved in the dog show world. I have heard different things from different people and I don't know what opinion is valid and what is not, or if all of them are valid in some way or another. Some people think it is because the dog show world is a huge clique and if a judge stands up to how the dogs are being bred then they will be exiled from that world. Others think it is because they see nothing wrong with it as long as the dog is performing and winning, or that these are judges and "breed experts" who have been breeding this way for decades and do not want or need to change their ways. I am sure there HAVE been judges who have stopped and said "wait a minute...what is happening with these dogs? Why are we continuing to produce these?" but those are not the ones you see at the big shows. Those are not the ones that get all of the attention and that new breeders and dog owners coming into the breed look to for advice. I do not know why it is like that, and I do not know when (or if) it will ever change. I hope it does, one day. I have been to a few more active shows such as agility, herding, etc. and these judges are completely different and the dogs you see are completely different than the ones that you see on TV. I personally think it boils down to human ego and that those types of judges feel they would be criticized by their peers should they question the genetics of an animal.

What I have seen in the German Shepherd forums is that more and more people are looking for breeders who have dogs that are titled in active sports such as agility, tracking, and Schutzhund. I do not see very many seeking dogs that have won titles for Show. Perhaps if more people outside of the Show world start buying dogs that are bred to work instead of show, then those show breeders will begin to lose their market and realize that what they are producing is no longer wanted and will hopefully stop producing those poor dogs and will begin to produce the healthier dogs that people want. And perhaps the younger generation that is finally taking notice of the poor health of these Show dogs will begin working towards advocating for healthier Show lines and will take the place of those judges and "breed advocates" in the future and will pick the healthier, well bred dogs as winners instead of the dog (or horse) that is "fashionable".
 
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