by Gordon Garrett, B.A., CKC Judge (All-Breed), GSD Authority
Pictorial examples and explanation of movement in the GSD apply to all breeds!
I am going to show some pictures of German Shepherds moving; the
photos are courtesy of Facebook, they will not be identified but all have asked for comments regarding their dogs when the photos were posted. I will comment on each one. I
thought about starting with heads but the German Shepherd breeders have done such a good job breeding proper heads, that they are as they should be.
Now then, the first
dog photo (at left below #1) seems to be a female, she has good reach and drive. She does not extend her rear drive as much as she should do, perhaps because she has a little more slope to the croup than ideal. Notice that she lays the metacarpus almost flat on the ground as she reaches far forward with the hind leg. The back is firm and faultless. I would say that her front leg is lifted a bit more than desirous but overall, she presents an excellent picture.
The next dog (at right above #2), looks like a male,
he reaches lower to the ground with the front foot but does not seem to be as extended as the first dog. The back is proper, the dog is more compact, I think the croup is also too steep as we see the metacarpus almost flat on the ground on the forward reach. I notice on the rear extension the knee buckles on the drive forward and the toes curl rather than drive in a straight line back.
This dog (at left below #3) travels close to the ground and seems to reach properly with both front and rear legs. Notice the follow-through is proper and not excessive, the toes do not curl and the metacarpus and knee joints seem to straighten properly. The back is firm and overall, the dog is balanced. The topline is sloped like it should be.
This dog (at right above #4) extends well but the first thing I notice is the buckling of the rear. It seems to reach properly with the rear leg, taking the weight on the foot, there seems to be a bit of imbalance as the front foot comes down not at the same time as the rear. There is also a curling of the rear foot in the drive forward.
This female (at left below #5) does lift her front foot but that could be because she is carrying a ball. I like her rear drive that is almost straight back. Her croup looks steep and maybe the back yields a bit. She is short coupled and I do like the balance and follow-through. She might over reach with the rear.
The last photo (photo at right above #6) is a beautiful picture and the dog presents himself well. I think
this is the best picture. When he reaches forward with the front foot it looks like he bends the pastern to take the landing easier but both front and rear feet almost land at the same time and the rear foot is taking the jar at a good angle. The metacarpus is not flat on the ground. The rear drive seems to be correct, a bit of curling of toes as the dog drives. I think the croup and back are correct. And front and rear legs seem to be working together, close to the ground on forward reach and drive.
I looked over what I wrote and I stand by it. I commented on these dogs that are all excellent and I take pleasure in looking at them all. Breeders have done a wonderful job in developing the breed and I am proud to have been a member of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada.
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