Puppy growth - Page 1

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by NatureDragon on 31 March 2020 - 12:03

Is it normal for GSD's to go 'up and down' as they grow and mature? My puppy looks 'high' in the rear to me right now. So I will use dogs in her pedigree as an example, so I don't offend anyone hopefully.
To me, this bitch is beautiful (at least her stacked picture from the side) and I hope my puppy will look like this when she matures, in terms of how much she 'slopes' downward.

This dog, also in her pedigree, I love his front and head, but after that I'm not sure what's going on. It's probably normal for the breed in some standard, as he has some kind of titles and ratings, but hoping my puppy won't have a curved spine or slope like this when she is an adult.

I suppose I"m just looking for someone to tell me 'don't worry, she is going to be fine, she is just in an awkward puppy growth stage'
At least if it is normal for this GSD breed to look 'funny' as they grow.
Thanks in advance to all the expert advise I know I will get.


by Rik on 31 March 2020 - 13:03

I can only speak to ASL, but it is very normal for them to go up and down during maturing. often referred to as "high in the rear".

I certainly can't tell you everything will be OK, I can only say that I have seen a lot of them go high and most looked fine at maturity. I can also say that in 40 years of GSD, I've never seen one shaped in the flesh like that curved pic. but who knows, I certainly have not seen all GSD's. I also know that photos can be altered.

also, a quick look at the progeny (and grand progeny), none appear to have this type top line, although quite a few have what would be considered a nice top (at least in stance) in show circles.



by Sunsilver on 31 March 2020 - 14:03

In the comments at the bottom of the page, someone says Uno's photo looks like his back has been photoshopped. The photo may not represent his true topline, if that makes you feel any better!

Do you have a photo of your dog that you can share?


by Hundmutter on 31 March 2020 - 16:03

I just looked at that pic of Uno and thought "His backline has been smoothed out by Photoshop", I did not scroll down & see the comment Sunsilver refers to (but obviously more than one mind with but a single thought !).

HOWEVER I am used to looking at large numbers of European bred dogs, rather than Ambreds, and I can assure Rik that such toplines (even if a little less electronically altered) DO exist - but with the caveat that these are almost always achieved, for purposes of posing for photos, by the Show Stance the dog is manoeuvred into and taught to Stand still in; the extremity of the line vanishes when the dog is allowed to move off naturally.

It isn't so awful, in any case; when the OP said she did not want her pup to end up looking like Uno, I thought we were going to be directed towards a picture of one of those dogs with an apparent 'hinge' right on the top of its spine ! (These DO exist too, but fortunately they are much less in evidence in Germanic / International type than they had become, and the number seems to be decreasing. I think breeders took the message on board !)

Depending on the bloodlines of the OP's particular dog, and the way her genes have fallen, she is as likely to inherit a spine which CAN, to a greater or lesser degree, be portrayed in that curve, OR stretched to look like Noditha's - but even Noditha could be made to stand so that she looked somewhat closer to the stance that Uno is portrayed in. THE SPINE IS FLEXIBLE.


Having said all that it is absolutely true that virtually all GSD puppies go through many  odd stages while growing into mature dogs. Sometimes it is this 'bum in the air' thing; sometimes its the, particularly boys, 'all legs and no body' look that they rock.  And sometimes the body proportions look okay, but the walk / gait goes all skewiff for a while ( so much so that HD has been diagnosed by mistake, quite frequently). So your dog is quite normal, NatureDragon !

There are no guarantees that the puppy / any puppy will end up with 'perfect' conformation; the perfect dog has not yet been invented, and what suits your eye might look less good in mine, and vice versa. However there is nothing to say that any pup who goes through even substantial 'messings about' growth spurts while growing up will be anything other than breed-typical by the time they finish.

by NatureDragon on 31 March 2020 - 20:03

Thanks all, I appreciate the input. I don't have a photo of my puppy stacked, i can hardly get her to stand still. I have one of her looking out of the window where she is standing still for a minute, and some video of her, but I dont know how to get those up on here. Sunsilver I can email the pictures to you.
I was going to find a local gsd person to show me how to stack her and get a photo, but that won't happen for a while now.
BTW I'm not looking for perfect, as it doesn't exist and GSD's have so many different looks depending what type, country, ect, but I just think her great grandmother (noditha) looks beautiful and was hoping she'd have a chance at maturing similar to her.

by NatureDragon on 31 March 2020 - 20:03

Sunsliver, I added photos under gallery including the looking out a window one, but it loaded upside down for some reason so hopefully you can flip it right side up with your viewer.


by Sunsilver on 31 March 2020 - 22:03

Noditha does indeed have a very nice topline. From what I can see with your dog, she definitely is NOT going to have an extremely curved roached back, if anything her back looks to be too level. Ideally, the back should slope gently from the withers, like her grand-dam's.

Right now she's still too young for anyone to be sure how her back will turn out. As she matures, she may develop more muscle over the withers, which will make them higher. Also, the way a dog is positioned greatly affects the slope of the spine.

All in all, from what I see in the pictures, I really do like her build. It looks like she has good bone, and good, solid working structure with no exaggerations, such as an overly angulated rear. And that's a pretty nice pedigree she has, too!

by NatureDragon on 31 March 2020 - 23:03

Thank you Sunsilver. While I find her great granddam very gorgeouls, I'd rather have my puppy be a little more straight than the curved roach one. How many years will it take her to be fully formed?


by Hundmutter on 01 April 2020 - 04:04

Many GSDs are fully mature in height and stature by about 3 years of age (maturity of their mind can take a little longer !); by then they have 'filled out' and are hopefully, through work and exercise, putting on muscle too.  Some dogs, seems related to their genetic makeup /bloodlines, reach that point by a bit earlier - 18 months to 2 years.  It can take a bit longer - I would normally expect a male to be fully mature, and indeed in his 'prime', by 5 years. Bitches tend generally to mature a little quicker. They do vary though, and sometimes by 'not very much', it can be pretty subtle  -  like humans, really.






by Hundmutter on 01 April 2020 - 04:04

Let's please get the lazy terminology right, rather than perpetuate it through these pages. AGAIN.

Uno (doctored pic or not) does not have a 'roach' back. A roach is really an arch in the back;  bulldogs and whippets and all manner of other breeds have a (deliberate) arch over their loin, often written into their Breed Standard. In a lifetime around GSDs, I think I have (in the flesh, not pictures)  seen three GSDs who really did have 'roaches'. None of these were competing 'Showdogs'. One was a member of my dog club so I saw him every week. Believe me, he did not look like Uno.

The modern GSD - like its forbears - has a:    (UK translation of German i.e. original Standard)

"Back  -  the area between the withers and the croup, straight, strongly developed and not too long. The overall length is not derived from a long back but is achieved by the correct angle of a well-laid shoulder, correct length of croup and hindquarters. The withers must be of good height and well defined. They should join the back in a smooth line, without disrupting the flowing topline which should be slightly sloping from the front to the back. (my emphasis) Weak soft and roach backs are undesirable."


Breed fanciers and breeders may have varying opinions as to the extent to which that topline, as described, slopes, or is curved, to fulfil the Standard's requirement, and to what degree the area over the loin starts to 'fall away', with that slope causing a more curved overline.  These opinions tend to vary between groups of fanciers (Work / Show / Sports etc) and nationalities (ASL - Ambred; the UK 'Alsatianist'; the rest of the world), so it depends who you are talking to at any given time. Some feel that all GSD backs should be "straight" for their entire length - actually this is a description that can imply a weakness in the spine. It is not, as you can read above, part of the Breed Standard; nor is the description "flat backed" which some use.

Now this is why I have always said I will not 'critique' any dog reqested on here from one photo.  One still pic does not convey the bodily make-up of the dog; you need to see it stand still, you need to see it move, you need to have your hands on it, to accurately assess the shape and flexibility of its spine, its strength of musculature, its gait.

When I look at the pedigree page photo of Naditha, I see - in that particular picture - a bitch who has overall correct proportions but whose (actual) 'back' - the piece that is wither to loin - looks a little too long [i.e. what a Show Judge - or a Kormeister - would usually term 'stretched'].  So IMO if she appeared like that in the flesh before me, I would say that

gentle flowing sloping topline  was missing. Not interrupted, by a roach (or any other irregularity, come to that), just missing.

But I do not think she is a gross example of this; she is a nice looking animal. I would recognise that when she walked away from the camera she might well (and did in life I believe) present less of an impression that her back was a bit 'flat'. (Something NOT called for in the GSD Standard).

The forgoing isn't just 'my opinion', which most of my posts usually are, it is 'GSDs 101'. 

I'll finish with an anecdote: I used to own the black & gold dog shown in my avatar / icon photo here, named Taz.  Taz was very Germanic bred, with dogs from the best, BZBS winning, German Show kennels in his ancestry (and some very good UK ones too). One day a man came up and engaged me in conversation (this was not very long after "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" had aired, with its emphasis on wonky hocks and over-stretched rear angulation in GSDs - although Jemima was not applying these criticisms to ASL dogs, just European ones lol); this guy said "It is so nice to see a German Shepherd without that awful curved topline so many have these days."  ??? I said, "Well, I can stand him up so he looks like that instead, if you want !"


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