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Conformation Showing > Difference in stacks (63 replies)

by Donnerstorm on 08 October 2011 - 09:10

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I have always noticed there seems to be a big variations in how different gsds look when they are in a stack position.  They seem to range from a dog that looks like it's just standing there normally all the way to some that you expect to end up in the splits.  Is there something that says what a correct stack is supposed to be or is it just judges preference? Are there any good books that you guys recommend that cover the conformation showing stuff really well?

by Ibrahim on 08 October 2011 - 12:10

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Teaching a stack

by GSDNewbie on 08 October 2011 - 13:10

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There is a general everyone uses and a dog can look really aweful and different from what it truly is if stacked badly. This is where experience comes in adjusting stacks to fit the dog being stacked to make it look its best instead of thinking foot placement must be exact like everyone else is even if your dog is not built like them. I personally prefer to see a dog stacked for its benefit than forced into an unatural to it forumla. A stack is not going to change conformation that is lacking but it can  at least be made to at least look well done and better to the eye. The problems in the dog will seen be seen by experienced judging eyes.

by Blitzen on 08 October 2011 - 13:10

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Many times the way a dog is stacked depends on the dog's structure and what the handler is trying to showcase/hide. There is also the current trend of setting up the German SL dogs to look as if they have a distinct arch to their toplines. I've seen a few of those dogs in person and they do not look like that in a natural stance. I had a GSD whose Urma came with her and it didn't really look like the same dog as far as the topline went. Not sure why that is done; it's not very attractive IMO. If you search the V dog pedigrees here, most will have photos, you see how they are stacked.

I guess I'm going to get flack for saying this, but don't ignore the AKC dogs if you want to learn how to best stack a GSD. Generally speaking, IMO,  AKC handlers are a lot more skilled at setting up (and gaiting) the breed than most I've seen at SV shows. I think that is because the AKC style of showing is a lot different, the dog are groomed more and more attention is paid to theatrics than showing the dog ala natural. AKC handlers are not usually seen in the ring wearing jeans, sweat shirts,  track suits, tank tops and hot pants. No "team colors" allowed. It's a more formal atmosphere, and, to ME, the dogs just look better when presented that way. The SV handlers think it is stupid to dress up to show a dog. 

For me, the  best way to learn how to set up an individual dog is to use a full length mirror.

by noddi on 08 October 2011 - 14:10

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Bltzen,your last post is spot on,very relevant to the show scene here.One very rarely sees handlers in the germanic type shows or the general champ.shows here in the UK with more german type judges,suited n booted as we say.Most wear jeans,jogging bottoms,t shirts n fleeces n shorts in the warm weather,altho.Elmo V.Huhnegrab,s handler (Mr.Steve Cox)is usually suited n booted.Carol S.

by Blitzen on 08 October 2011 - 19:10

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I can understand the jogging suits I guess, but somehow hot pants, belly shirts, and tank tops in the show ring just doesn't look professional to me, Noddi.  I'm sure the men here will strongly disagree LOL. 

Suited n booted? I like that!!! Are  handlers allowed to sport the team colors in the ring in the UK and do the owners wander in and out of the ring socialzing with the judges as happens in the US at the SV shows? I assume that is permitted in Germany too? The first time I saw that my jaw dropped to my chest. AKC judges never see the catalog until they have finished their judging assignment. That is supposed to keep them honest and the dogs anonymous. That doesn't usually work too well so they may as well be allowed to peek ahead of time. Here, for the big shows like the upcoming NASS, all the entries are listed on the internet for weeks before the show including sire, dam, breeder, owner.  That just cracks me up too; I am easily entertained these days.

I think it's best to not take any show wins too seriously cheeky

by Donnerstorm on 08 October 2011 - 20:10

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The video you posted was very helpful Ibrahim thanks. Blitzen I have noticed a lot of the arched backs also, I did not realize you could get a dog that had a straight back to look like that by stacking.  Which just shows how much I don't know.  If the dog does not normally look like that why in the world would they make it? IMO it is not attractive at all, more of a turn off.  I have never been to an SV show, I have watched AKC conformation shows bc they are all over the TV. I was curious about your comment that the SV shows don't spend as much time grooming etc. I wouldn't expect it during sport, but wouldn't you always want to spend the extra time to make them look as good as possible before showing them? And the extra time to make yourself look nice and professional?

by Rik on 08 October 2011 - 21:10

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The dogs rear is going to pretty much dictate the stack.

As for handler attire, those AKC handlers would be coming out of the jackets and ties after about the third lap at full speed in a german show ring.

by Blitzen on 08 October 2011 - 23:10

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The SV people groom their dogs well, I don't think they are as obsessive about it as the AKC people. I don't know how they manage to tote all of that stuff to the show grounds without a semi. Cattle dryers, generators, boxes of grooming sprays and other chemical enhancers.  Dozens of leads and collars in every color available.  They trim and backbrush coated breeds for hours at a time. It's a lot of fun to watch. I've never seen a grooming table at an SV show, maybe I  missed it?

Rik, most GSD prohandlers I know would love to have bigger rings that would allow them to move out their dogs for longer periods of time. They'd still have to dress to impress; they'd just sweat a lot more. 

by jc.carroll on 09 October 2011 - 03:10

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I do a lot of grooming at SV shows, some for my dogs, and (admittedly, gasp!) some for my competition. A gentleman had a young dog that looked rather drab at a regional. He was trying to get her prettied up, but didn't have all the supplies. I asked if he wanted me to sparkle her up a bit before her class, as I was doing one of my own dogs. He said sure, so I finished my girl, and did his dog up. She wound up winning her class, lol!

Never seen a grooming table either. I generally just tidey my dogs in the parkinglot, or behind where everyone's sitting ringside. Mostly I just sit on the ground, and someone else holds the dog. Very informal and all. I have a small tote with a rather obscene amount of gear obessively organized into a tiny space. Various rakes, brushes, combs, trimming sheers, nail clippers, glossy sprays... plus a first aid kit for dogs (and people), a muzzle, fur-saver, ear cleaner, and a spare set of gloves for the handler.

In a lot of the AKC shows I've circled through, the GSDs coats need to be super-poofy, compaired to how they show in the SV. A bit too intense for my liking, but Blitzen's right; it is fun to watch ^_^

by Blitzen on 09 October 2011 - 03:10

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No colored chalk or a cattle dryer, JC? Ya gotta have a cattle dryer if you want a super-poofy GSD. 

I used to show dogs in AKC shows (not GSD's). Back in the day we started with a clean dog, spritzed it with water a few hours before judging time. Used some powdered chalk or cornstarch on the white parts and put the dog into the crate to dry. A quick brushing to remove the chalk and tidy the coat and we were good to go.

Now my friends in that breed have these enormous cattle dryers that they drag to shows. No electric hookups? No problem ...they also have a gennie in the trunk. Ever see one of those dryers in operation? I wonder how they keep the dogs on the table without nailing them down. It's like putting them inside a 50 MPH windtunnel. A longcoated GSD would like it was groomed using an Afrosheen Blow Out Kit.

I have to confess I do love to see well groomed dogs in the ring and cannot stand long toenails or untidy feet. As obsessive as most of us may be, we can't begin to compare to the rough collie handlers. You'd have to see it to believe it. The use  steamer trunks for tack boxes.

Gotta love dog people..............

by jc.carroll on 09 October 2011 - 04:10

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Can proudly say I've never coloured a dog for the show. Sure I put Sun-In on my rottie to give her a red stripe from tip to tail for purely cosmetic reasons (success!), and I tried recently to darken my terrier's black spots with Black-on-Black to make him look sharper (fail!).

Funny you should mention rough collies though. At the risk of getting off topic, that's what my mentor bred, rasied, and showed. It's also what I learned about grooming on. Never heard about the corn-starch. It was either chalk or talc. But after collies, even the worst bur-filled longcoat GSD tanlges are an easy project

by Ibrahim on 09 October 2011 - 12:10

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The way you stack a dog, the height and angle of camera plus the ground topography affect how below dog elements look:
Chest depth
Under line,
Rear angulation
Front angulation
Croup lay
Croup length
Also the conditioning and excercise play a role in how good a dog looks in a stack, in an old thread I was given directions how to best take pics of a stack but can't find that post. Here are some examples.


by noddi on 09 October 2011 - 14:10

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Afternoon Blitzen,just logged on n now to your questions.No,its not allowed by our kennel club show rules to wear items that bear a kennel name or dogs name in the ring,tho.some owners do wear shell suits etc.with their kennel name on outside of the ring.One is not permitted to engage in conversation with the judge except to state age/sex of animal.Ppl.are supposed to remain in the ring while their class is in progress but this is very rarely adhered too,especially at breed club shows.Judges here in the uk too shouldnt have access to the catalogue but these days most know the dogs/bitches anyway.The german side of the breed in the uk have now started having regional,non kc licensed  shows run on the german system culumating in our British Sieger Show.Carole S.

by Donnerstorm on 09 October 2011 - 16:10

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O.k those post bring up a whole skew of questions. I probably should have mentioned that about me, the answer to one always brings up another in my brain.  1. Ibrahim those are very pretty gsds are they yours? You seem to have a lot of the technical knowledge yet you are always saying you are new, are there books that you have read that were really informative? Now the show questions. I was shocked to find out recently people dyed their dogs, now I see talk corn starch chalk, what do those do? Do they just whiten up the white parts? How do you sparkle up a dog? is it just the grooming, etc? I learned to groom bc when I was 8 my first dog was an American Eskimo, a guy down the street bred them and one got loose one day and I brought it home from then on he couldn't get rid of me.  I would show up at feeding time to help out, he taught me to groom them because I wanted to help, anything to play with the dogs.  After about 6mo of me cleaning kennels with him etc he talked to my parents and let me have the first pick out of a litter for all the help, that's what I learned to groom on. He used to show his but being a single guy and me an 8 yr old girl it was never apropriate for me to go.  I have always been mesmerized by the conformation shows how they get the dogs to look so majestic.  I just always had wl it was hard enough over the yrs in my rural area to find a mentor w the wl , but now with the sl guys there isn't anyone around here.  It is a VERY interesting side of the gsd, so much new stuff to learn, seems like a lot of work but just as much fun as the wl guys, I dnt remember the last time I went looking at books on the wl guys (prob a cpl months).  I didn't think I would be so intrigued with the sl side. ok sorry to derail my own post. Where do you guys find things like gloss spray? I would think do most people that show have a mentor before they start or do they show up at their first show not knowing what the talc is for? There is A LOT to know. 

by GSDNewbie on 09 October 2011 - 16:10

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Perhaps a grooming thread should be made so this one remains stacking information. If others want  fashion wear at the show thread as well.

     Ty for the stack photos, it helps to see as many placed differently as possible to see how different they can look depending on how they are set up.

by Ibrahim on 09 October 2011 - 17:10

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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:39 pm

I am relatively new compared to some who had GSDs for more than 20 years, therefore I feel shy to say I am otherwise especially that some of the members on the PDB were and are still my teachers, as a matter of fact I read few books, but to tell the truth most of the theoretical knowledge I got from here, if you check older threads you will find many started by me and members answered my questions, provided me direct info/explanation and guided me to articles to read, they would post diagrams and teach me angulations etc, since English is not my first language some answers were re-explained several times for me, the sure good thing I started with was no shame to say "I did not understand" and "please re-explain", lol. The other thing I did, sometimes was good and sometimes not, whenever I got a piece of info I would check it practically on my dogs, I had good results in regards to anatomy, gait, obedience, feeding etc but bad results with training my dogs bite work, I think I did so many mistakes that no trainer can now rectify them on some dogs. Whenever there was some technique or correction mentioned on a thread I would try it on a dog, but maybe that was not right.
And yest all dogs pictures I posted are either mine, were mine or one of my friends'.
Here is one old thread, enjoy it and have a laughing cheeck at me.

I couldn't find that specific thread, I will ask the administration about it.

I got it here it is:


by noddi on 09 October 2011 - 18:10

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Donnerstorm, i learned from scratch.Bought Cassie in 1986 ndecided to have a go at showing the following year after spotting the 2 papers we have here in the UK.I attended a local open show when Cassie was about 8mths.Knew absolutely zilsh about showing,was literally pushed into the ring by a fellow exhibitor(after she,d enquired as to whether i was entered in puppy)who said...We,ve all had to learn how to do it.I now,as a seasoned exhibitor,try to help ppl.who are new in all aspects of showing.There are stalls at all championships shows in the uk selling grooming stuff,food,leads n collars ,health supplements ,bedding,cages.Carole S.

by SitasMom on 09 October 2011 - 18:10

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The SV magazine has an excellent article on stacking dogs this month, excellent photos for comparisons, too bad I cannot read German....

by mfh27 on 10 October 2011 - 23:10

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This thread needs pictures from the experts (ie. not me).

Natural stack

Starting to hand stack

Hand stack (no hip pressure)

Hand stacked (hip pressure)

I noticed with Addy, and I guess any dog, that getting their front legs straight underneath them gave them a steeper slope to the top line.  Got a critique of his position in the last photo?

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