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by ValK on 01 April 2018 - 16:04

Rhumphrey what you did described above in "genetic manipulation" is exactly what was done in former DDR.

not long ago we did have here discussion about this.

sadly in western commercial model such approach unacceptable, albeit isn't totally impossible.
second serious problem with modern "DDR breeders" - lack of knowledge and first hand experience with ossis. thus all breeding are based exclusively on pedigrees, regardless of absence in dogs any traits, which in past did a DDR dogs what they were.

few remaining former DDR breeders, who still around and did make name in commercial breeding, unfortunately produce dogs rather to satisfy market's trend for particular fashionable type rather than sustain old working DDR type.

by Hundmutter on 01 April 2018 - 19:04

As can be seen from Sunsilver's pictures, what we have here in Mali (and what was wrong with Putz some 25 years ago) is a VERY different condition from the 'Dwarves' (where I agree with Sunny, every picture & description I have come across of a Dwarf GSD in 50 years of this breed has been exactly like those 2, either tiny and scrappy looking or occasionally like Nemo with a near-normal coat, but still very small). The reason I initially investigated dwarfism when Putz showed the peculiarities with his limbs was I wondered if there was some sort of achondroplastic dwarfism problem at work - like a dachshund, he was developing normal body size (and his coat actually was always standard and lovely, which rules out any all-round nutritional defecit, I would think !)  It was not likely to be a lack of exercise either, he was kennelled out but had as much chance to run around as his sisters, and was walked off the premises once he passed 12 weeks, as much as any of those pups had at that young age.

Actually the body size might be a clue as to how this 'works' within the dog's body - if a pup is growing too fast (for whatever reason, too much protein has been cited), and its body becomes too heavy for its age and 'normal' growth, the compensation may be that the Vit D does not 'reach' the legs !

Sunny said there would be 'bendy' bones with Ricketts - yeah that is what I originally thought, too, but apparently (bearing in mind the advice Ronnie was getting from this Danes' bloke) in dogs it can take this form, where the softened bones just don't grow enough, and bend downwards, almost, to give that splayed pasterns effect, the front legs do not have to grow long but bent outwards in the way we see with human children suffering Ricketts ...

Re the separate discussion about breeding a new 'line' - within any meaningful definition of line or type *, - I guess you have a point OP, although it is rare indeed to find anybody with the sort of dedicated interest (obsession, almost), not to mention the funds and space and leisure to breed selectively in the way you describe, which mirrors the process needed to create a NEW breed.
* Malcolm Willis has an excellent chapter on Selection Objectives & Methods in his "The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History of the Breed" (which btw I heartily recommend that everyone should read, alongside Goldbecker & Hart).

As the GSD is not an 'old' breed, having been created comparitively recently towards the end of the 19th Century & from a limited number of dogs (with or without any wolf in them) - [along with most of the breeds developed during the Victorians' passion for novelty], - there is a question mark over the value or the viabiity of setting out to do this; I suppose if there is a case, it's that the breed has just proved SO popular and is so numerous worldwide - and has been so messed about with by mostly amateurs doing a half-assed version of what Rhumphrey describes, mainly for money, that something might be worth doing. Whether you introduced so much new blood that the end product would be a GSD at all is debateable. There is enough similar blood among the herding breeds of Europe - the Belgian Shepherd 4, Dutch Herders and so on, to add into the now all but extinct dogs of the German shepherds of Thuringia, Frankonia, Wurttemberg etc.

But if you JUST use German Shepherds, all you do is work with lines descended from those same assorted pre-1899 German Sheep Dogs from which the GSD was developed. Whichever side of the Iron Curtain you choose. And if you can avoid the sidestepping into ASL in America and Alsatian in the UK ...


by Sunsilver on 01 April 2018 - 23:04

The reason I initially investigated dwarfism when Putz showed the peculiarities with his limbs was I wondered if there was some sort of achondroplastic dwarfism problem at work - like a dachshund,

Yup, this is another form of dwarfism that sometimes crops up in the GSD. I've never seen it other than in pictures, so I am guessing it isn't as common. 


An image


by Hundmutter on 02 April 2018 - 05:04

Wow - that's pretty extreme ! I could not find anything to say achondroplasia even definitely existed in GSDs - at that time. But it was 25 or so years ago, and almost 'pre-Internet'. Do you have any futher info about that pic, Sun ? Like that dog's pedigree or anything ? The more I see this, the more I think some genetic mutation is at work.

It certainly looks a bit more like we were seeing in Putz, although his feet were nowhere near as distorted (nor Mali's) and the forelegs are definitely more 'bowed'. Also upper arm is shorter.

Maybe it depends on how soon efforts are made to correct it ?


by Hundmutter on 02 April 2018 - 05:04

Speaking about, as the OP did ^, living long enough to find out that the more you think you know, the more you realise what is still to learn ... there was me thinking Putz might have been a singular case / event; and then along comes Mali and you realise it might not be unique after all; and then Sunsilver turns up this pic of a third and worse affected dog !


by Sunsilver on 02 April 2018 - 05:04

Hundmutter achondroplastic dwarfism is genetic. It CANNOT be corrected. The limbs are permanently stunted and deformed.

I couldn't find a pedigree for this dog, and had trouble finding a picture that I knew for sure was a purebred GSD and not a GSD crossed with a breed that is meant to be achondroplastic (corgi, dachshund, basset hound.)

Here's a video of an affected GSD. You will immediately see this is VERY different from Mali!


by Hundmutter on 02 April 2018 - 11:04

Hoo boy - then despite superficial similarities, we are back to the 'Ricketts' speculative diagnosis with Putz. I thought the reason he made some (limited) progress after being given the adjusted diet was due to the fact he was growing up anyway, being young. Maybe that would alter the appearence of achondroplasia too ? i.e. not correct it, but change it a little ? Not familiar enough with age development in the achondroplastic breeds to judge that. Would not have expected much change in an older body with Ricketts anyway, either - people who get it as children still seem to retain the bent legs.


Presumably there IS some difference in the extent to which a dog genetically affected by achondroplasia presents that change ?  If you compare your two pics (and these both do look like full GSDs as far as one can tell phenotypically), the forelegs are worse in the second dog, the feet are worse in the first; and there's no sign of that damage to the facial structure in the first dog.

The changes took several weeks to show up in the second pup, there is quite a lot of detail re his story there (but not his ancestry !).

Wish we'd taken pics of Putz at the time, so could make comparisons now (but if Ronnie ever took any, I'm unaware of them, or where they'd be now.)


by Jenni78 on 14 April 2018 - 23:04

That dog looks nothing like a dwarf. Just not a very well-bred GSD ;)

Pasterns can and do improve. I repossessed a dog of my breeding and she was so down in the pasterns and her feet were so spread that she appeared to have seal flippers. In 6 months she was normal and actually had really NICE feet and pasterns.

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