Sloping backlines and over angulation - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by Mackenzie on 11 December 2015 - 11:12

As we see today so many of the dogs have sloping backlines and the resulting over angulation caused by this. Can anyone give an explanation as to why and how this development is beneficial to the breed as a working dog. To my mind there can be no logical reason for permitting this to the point that any reduction or development to correct this is now probably impossible. It changes the whole function of the working dog in it’s physicality to allow long periods of actual work.

Regrettably, the only reason I can come to is Fashion and Money.


by joanro on 11 December 2015 - 12:12

You are saying precisely what has gotten accused of "Bashing" show lines. What you described and what I have been saying is a reality too many fanciers choose to ignore. I believe the stack has been 'bred' into the structure, exaggerating the stack. The structure is ani work or any function for that matter.
As for the sloping back, which accentuates the stack, actual deformity has crept into the breed....such as 'hinged' backs. Theyve even come up with a lable for the deformity as its so common.

by Mackenzie on 11 December 2015 - 14:12

If anyone regards my opening post as “Show Line Bashing” then so be it. I do not care. I have never bred, owned or handled a dog with such a backline. Also, the point that I am making is quite justified.

I can understand the position of Newbies that come to the breed and see these types winning and then thinking that the structure must be correct.

They then follow these animals and go on to use them. If anyone feels offended by the opening post they are welcome to join the discussion (provided that they present their comments in a polite and reasonable manner) and that is OK with me. Once again I ask the question “ Can anyone give an explanation as to why and how this development is beneficial to the breed as a working dog.



by Dakonic on 12 December 2015 - 08:12

It's a hard topic because people seem to have different definitions of what they consider overangulated. I personally quite like Linda Shaw's take on the GSD. True overangulation does not serve a benefit, it is more wasted energy in movement.

However the problem is so many people get stuck on one thing and don't come to understand how the structure works as a whole. I would take a dog that's a bit overangulated but other well put together over a well angulated dog that's not great otherwise. Another important aspect is strength of the ligaments in general, I've seen moderate dogs that still looked a bit loose when they moved. There's just so many factors and people unfortunately seem to dumb it down to a single perspective.

But as an example, one of my favorite dogs as far as conformation goes is Paris von der Mohnwiese, though if your average person saw her image they would likely consider her overangulated. But to see this dog in action? She is so fluid and powerful.

by Mackenzie on 12 December 2015 - 10:12

First I would like to thank Dakonic for their comments although they do not answer the question. The female Paris von der Mohnwiese is a well constructed female of good proportions. The picture of her here on the PDB shows her to be slightly overstretched which in turn makes for a steeper slope in the backline. She is not over angulated. Good female. Good breeding material. For the show people she is the wrong colour and they will not look at her long enough to appreciate her.

The faults of an incorrect backline and overregulation only takes a visual observation to decide whether the animal carries these faults. It is very plain to see. Any definition, however varied, cannot better the visual overall picture. Having seen it the observer will know it forever, or, at least they should do. So, what is the justification for introducing the faults and inbreeding on them? It cannot be justified so why do it?

It is very noticeable that no Breeder, Aficionado, or Breed Know-all has proffered an answer to the original question. Very disappointing. Are they going to let the breed deteriorate further and leave their mess to be cleared up by the future guardians of the breed?



by Dakonic on 13 December 2015 - 06:12

I explained that true overangulation does not serve a benefit, as it is more wasted energy in movement. Our dogs are supposed to be endurance animals, so the there would be no justification in intentionally breeding for this fault. But I meant with my first post that I do not think it's necessarily bad if the breeder's breeding and overangulated dog due to their others strengths that the dog has to bring to the table.

by Mackenzie on 13 December 2015 - 09:12

Dakonic - I understood the points you were making in your first post. However when you said “But I meant with my first post that I do not think it's necessarily bad if the breeder's breeding and over angulated dog due to their others strengths that the dog has to bring to the table” then I have to disagree with you.

The Breed Standard is the blueprint that every Breeder should strive to achieve. The movement, stamina and endurance is one of the most important and fundamental points to breed for along with character to a working dog. The Breeder’s, IMO, who choose to ignore these in favour of inferior strengths are doing a disservice to the breed. Even if the inferior strength brings something to the table it will further stamp in the fault of the a sloping back and over angulation thus making it even more difficult to reduce or eradicate. Breeder’s worldwide seem to think that for a breeding plan all that needs to be done is to follow the latest show winners. It doesn’t work in the best interests of the breed as a working dog. Any form of breeding, whatever the species, takes much more than that.

It does not matter what titles are in the breeding family behind the dog they only give an idea of what may be achievable. Nothing is guaranteed.

Back to the original question “Can anyone give an explanation as to why and how this development is beneficial to the breed as a working dog?”



by Hundmutter on 13 December 2015 - 11:12

I do not believe that "over angulation" IS 'beneficial' to the breed's working

But I am with Dakonic in believing that peoples' opinions differ in what they
see as over-angulated, or 'too' sloping. People see what they want to see,
as often as not - ASSisted by often only viewing dogs in still photos,

frequently exhibiting overstretched show stances.
And by the media. [EG "Pedigree Dogs Exposed."]

Increases in hind angulation came - in its beginning - with both the UK and
the US Show scenes - note: NOT the Germans - concentrating on obtaining
a longer second thigh, because a flatter backed type of dog looks better and
more balanced when stretched out for the Judges Individual exam. Like so
many features, it gradually pervaded the rest of the breed.

This is what I observed during the 70s and 80s. Sorry if you regard me as
one of those self-appointed 'experts'; I just tell it like I (saw) it.

I have plenty of anecdotal evidence of peoples' misperceptions - like the
guy who, on meeting my Taz, said: "Isn't it nice to see an Alsatian (sic)
with a nice straight back and legs, not like those mutants we see on the
telly !" My dog was show-bred, very 'Germanic' in type, heavily line-bred
on Uran Wildsteigerland, and as 'un-English' in stance as they come. (While
not displaying any tendency to 'hinge' his back).
These and similar remarks about dogs I've handled over the years lead
me to believe many, many people do not see the 'true' dogs. Or at least
cannot see the difference between a poor specimen exhibiting these two
factors and a good dog, as indeed they usually can't when it comes to
other faults, like long feet, overdone heads, etc.

by joanro on 13 December 2015 - 12:12

Mac, I didn't say you were breed bashing and your question is legit. However it has been debated so much, continuing without resolution, to the point that the topic is the reason for the split within the show line/ working line of essentially all breeds; hounds, herding, terriers, working...take your pick and you will find equally flabgasting issues being propagated by breeders for the sake of pleasing judges and winning in the show ring. The average joepublic sees the 'Champion show dog" and believes that is what the breed is supposed to one ever mentions function and purpose for the breed. All any one hears is 'CHAMPION'!
I answered in my first post; "....what I have been saying is a reality too many fanciers choose to ignore. I believe the stack has been 'bred' into the structure, exaggerating the stack. " Mac, its all about 'looks', not function. The mentality of the show fanciers of any breed is ; more is better. Exagerated structure, coat, color, exess skin, excess long ears, etc. in any breed of show dog, turns heads and gets the judges attention. None has anything to do with function, it has to do with judges favor to help 'win'.


by Dakonic on 13 December 2015 - 13:12

But the thing is, no dog is perfect. As I'm sure you know, no dog is going to fit the breed standard to a T. And I never said inferior strengths? I would not consider them strengths then if they are inferior. There are things other than rear angulation that affect movement and endurance. A dog with correct angulation yet a roached topline and a herring gut isn't likely to do as well as a dog who is otherwise well put together but overangulated. In the latter the curvature of the spine, especially if coupled with a steep croup will lead to most of the dog's drive in movement being upwards rather than forward. Which is even more wasted energy. Ideally people would not breed a dog like that but I'm just using it as an example, are other aspects to structure that can affect these things too. Imbalanced angulation being another, wasp waist, lack of chest, imbalanced proportions, weakness in pasterns, flat feet, etc.

People need to take the dog in its entirety whereas so many people today just focus on the rear.


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