Newbie Conformation Questions - Page 1

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by GSCat on 12 July 2017 - 04:07

Never showed before... this will be our first try, and I'm really nervous. I'm mostly concerned about me messing up the movements.

When showing a GSD, what is the difference between a full trot and run? If I'm in the ring with other dogs, what do I do if the dog in front of me is going too slowly so I don't break "full trot" and end up at trot or walk? What if I can't keep up with the dog if she gets really excited and decides to do a full-out run all the way around the ring? Is it OK to put a little tension on the leash to slow her down? If in a novice/amateur class, how close does the dog have to be to the perfect healing position for the walk?

How long should the leash be? is one of those combination traffic and "regular"6 foot leashes a good choice for the ring?

I've seen UTubes of different shows and seen it done different ways... for AKC, does the dog trot with the handler, or ahead of the handler? Full trot ahead of or with the handler?

What is it that the judge hands to each of the competitors right before they leave the ring?

Thank you, in advance.

by Hundmutter on 12 July 2017 - 06:07

Can't help re American ring protocol, or speeds in moving dogs (UK rings come in two sorts, General All-Breed Kennel Club competition style 'pocket handkerchief' sized rings, with consequent implications for gaiting GSDs; and Breed Club style, large rings where dogs are fast gaited).

BUT general handling tips:
I always found a 6 to (preferably) 8 foot lead in soft leather best, and tied a knot in it at the point I wanted my hand to rest when I shortened it up for gaiting the dog, to prevent slippage while you are jogging around after the dog. A regular 'traffic' style leash would probably be too heavy.

At this early stage in your & your dogs Show career, be guided by what the professional or regular Handlers do, on the day, and follow their example, rather than expect much detailed help from here on the board.
BUT if poster 'Xeph' comes on and answers you, listen to her, cos she does know what she is talking about re AKC rings, and also has some knowledge of practicalities re SV type shows.

Best of luck.

by Xeph on 12 July 2017 - 07:07

What venue are you showing in?

by Centurian on 12 July 2017 - 14:07

GS assuming this is a legitmate qustion and not a baiting question then my advice to you is to decide if you want to show your dog in an AKC sponsored show and ring or do you want to enter your dog in a German Style sponsored show and Ring . Because the answer to the questions are very different. I would be glad to help you , but you have to decide first.

BTW if you want the dog to trot as in the German Style that has to be communicated to your dog , it's a teaching/ learning phase for handler and dog that is intensly practiced. A trot is what a trotting horse does and is far different than running. German shows , you don't handle the dog but work with another person. Also you should visit the shows AKC or German whatever you decide to do. Watch and learn , BTW from my experience in the AKC , most judges , if you have a West German Show Line GS , have no clue as to what they are supposed to look at [ evaluate /critique ] and what they are actually looking at. That is not to say I never have put my WGSL in AKC events , I did as an opportunity to give my puppies show ring experienc while I waited for ther local or regioinal shows. Good luck ... Again if you decide to show German style I would be glad to give you advice if you PM me.


by Sunsilver on 12 July 2017 - 17:07

If you try to show an American show line dog in a German style show, you will most likely be put to the back of the class. Same thing if you try to show a German show line in AKC shows. The dogs are THAT different. (IIRC, the artwork in these two pictures is Linda Shaw's.)


An image

An image


by susie on 12 July 2017 - 18:07

Sun, when I was at Purina´s last year I realized the conformation differences between the dogs ( ASLs / GSLs ) are not that immense.
Although there are differences ( for me at that weekend the overly long back and the very thin, long heads with very long necks, combined with too long pasterns in some ASLs really puzzled me ) , but overall a lot has to do with the performance ( raising, training, handling ).
In my impression the main difference has been the difference in temperament, not in structure - a lot of the ASLs seemed to be very introverted, trying to avoid any trouble, something I don´t want to see in a GSD at all.

The ASLs may look "flat" when trotting, but they never learned to pull, instead they move like feathers, they don´t show any physical power at all, whereas "our" dogs learn to pull as puppies already, the more physical power, the better.

The picture Linda Shaw uses for the GSLs is the picture of a "pulling" dog, not the picture of a free running dog. I know we do have roached back dogs in the GSL breed ( I hate it ), but there are a lot of "normal" dogs, too, and the "trend" gladfully goes back to normal dogs for quite some years now.

by GSCat on 13 July 2017 - 04:07

Thank you.

My Czech working line GSD and I are going to an AKC Match Show, so I guess we'll be at the very tail end of the class. No points available, but a good opportunity to practice and get her used to performing/working around strangers/with an audience, and not be out a huge entry fee in case something happens that we can't go. She's going to be in heat, so we can't do any of the performance events ;-)

Yes, these are legitimate questions... I'm really this new at this ;-) I've always enjoyed watching Westminster on TV, but don't know if I'll like actually doing conformation or not. More importantly, whether my dog will like it or not.

Thanks, again.

by Hundmutter on 13 July 2017 - 05:07

Would suggest that it is one thing using AKC shows as practise runs; but given you are likely going to be 'down the line' anyway with your Czech WL dog, you ain't likely to get much Ring experience, you won't be in there long enough ! However, a Show is a Show and yes, you can get a lot out of the unaccustomed busy-ness, lots of people, noises, waiting around, etc.

Another thought, however: if you know she is going to be in season, should you take her ? Don't think AKC has a rule against it, but here in the UK it is generally thought a bit 'unsporting' to wave an in-season bitch under the noses of so many other dogs ...


by Sunsilver on 13 July 2017 - 13:07

Susie, from what I've seen of the German-style shows, the dogs still are taught to pull, and are gaited as fast as they can possible go at the trot. I'd call it a 'running trot', because the footfalls are out of sequence, and it's no longer a two-beat gait, which is what a trot is supposed to be. If this is changing, GREAT, glad to hear it! It's been a couple of years since I've bothered to watch videos from the Sieger show.

One of the main differences in conformation that you didn't mention is that many of the ASL dogs put their hock flat on the ground when trotting. Some German dogs do, too, but it's much rarer to see this in the German show ring. In order for the dog to do this, the dog must have a very long upper thigh, and extreme angulation. The American dogs are also sometimes very loose-ligamented, as you've noticed with the weak pasterns, and this can predispose them to joint injuries. Again, not something I want in a dog I own.

Best of luck at the match show, GSCat! Have fun...that's what it's all about! :)



by Ryanhaus on 13 July 2017 - 15:07

Hi GSCat,

Based on my experience in both the AKC show ring and the SV Conformation ring,

you would be wise to join the United Schutzhund Club of America, then you can

show your dog in an SV Conformation show, the different being that the AKC and SV

shows cost about the same, but with the AKC show you will get a ribbon for 1st, 2nd 3rd

or 4th place, so if you're 5th, 6th or 7th and so on you get nothing, not even a critque of your

dog from the judge.

With the SV Conformation shows you get a really nice trophy with a GSD on it for 1st, 2nd, 3rd,

or 4th, and also if you are 5th, 6th, or 7th and so on, you can get a critque from the judge, (a lot of

times the judge is from Germany), and also your dog will get a show card with a rating,  for untitled

dogs the highest they would receive is an SG (Very Good) and for titled dogs the highest would be

a VA (excellent select)

Puppies get a VP (Very Promising) P (Promising) or LP (Less Promising)

I have way more fun at SV shows than AKC, and have a bunch of trophies from the SV shows we have

attended  :)

Good Luck!!!!!


Here is a link to the SV shows:



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