Articles

Articles written by Fred.

TOPLINES 101 — A Short-course Introduction

There are several misconceptions about toplines and the terms used to describe them as well as how they look different when trotting vs standing. First, we have different definitions of “roach”—a very common term used by GSD detractors, but erroneously. A roached topline is one that (seen in a standing dog) rises from the withers to some point in the thorax-lumbar region, before falling off again in the vicinity of the pelvis. Look at some “overdone” Borzois and, less-commonly, some Greyhounds—if you can still find any. Think of a camel when you talk about a roach in canine toplines. In a true roach, there is a region in the topline between shoulder and pelvis that is actually higher. My challenge remains: with that definition, show me a picture of a free-standing dog with a roach!

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Double Handling – And Other Attempts to Gain an Edge

In attempting to define “double-handling” it should be understood that there are various attitudes toward it, so you should understand the context when using the term. It has a different meaning or at least different importance to different groups. At its root, the term means that there is some influence from outside the ring over the appearance/behavior of a dog in the ring—a second (or doubled) handler. On one end of the spectrum is the extreme position where if someone at ringside blows his nose, the AKC rep is likely to give the judge hell for allowing such “interference.” At the other extreme it may appear that someone has let all the lunatics out of the local asylum. Example: at one GSD national specialty in the Orient, as the judge was looking at posed dogs several yards further down the line, I watched screaming owners jumping into the ring to get their dogs (being shown by paid handlers) “animated”—which means that the dogs are supposed to be looking especially alert. Balls, squeaky-toys, and the like were excitedly shown to the dogs—one double-handler even had a rabbit in a cage that he shook in front of his dog’s face!

Keep in mind that the suggestions and techniques I offer here should only be used in situations where they would be allowed, or at least unnoticeable. Continue reading

The Art of Critiquing

In some registries and countries, the dog show judge is expected or required to critique the entries—at least, the top-placing dogs in each or some classes. A critique is supposed to be a description of the dog that gives spectators and readers a good idea of the salient features of the dog and the reasons for its placement in the line-up in a specific competition, or its relative value to the breed overall.

The more one reads magazines published for the canine aficionado, the more one sees reference to critiques—especially in regard to foreign shows but occasionally in connection with specialty shows in the U.S. and Canada. A critique is a fairly detailed evaluation of the dog as seen through the judge’s eyes on a particular day. He has a mental picture of the ideal, and a view of the competition for comparison, but unless a judge records his observations, he will remember only a few things about a few dogs. Memory is less reliable as time passes, but written or taped words age very well. Continue reading

Utility and Reliability: PennHIP vs. SV and OFA Hip-Extended Views

Fred Lanting

First, some facts:

  •      The “standard” view (positioning of dog for X-ray pictures of hips) is not the best… it is not the most accurate way to determine the real quality of hips. OFA, SV, and other registries have the dog stretched out on its back with legs straight out on the table, for the X-ray picture. While this is good for showing joint deterioration at the time, it is not accurate in showing true looseness, and it is not good for predicting what the hips will look like in a few years, when perhaps the dog has already produced puppies that inherit its hip quality.
  •      Accuracy in diagnosis and prediction, using that old ventro-dorsal position (lying flat on its back) increases with age of the dog being “X-rayed” (radiographed). At one year of age, which is when the SV starts “certifying” dogs, accuracy in predicting mature hip quality is rather poor—only the worst are identified when young, so progress in reducing incidence of dysplasia is still relatively poor.
  •      The SV has recently required a second hip radiograph after a dog has produced a certain number of litters, but popular dogs will still have put far too many dogs on the ground by then. That means many buyers will be stuck with pups that have less than ideal hips or chances of being valuable to the bred in that regard.
  •      The greater the number of truly “normal” ancestors in the near pedigree, the greater the odds that your dog will have good hips, meaning that it will have a better chance of avoiding both orthopedic problems itself, and of passing problems along to descendants.
  •      The only technique that gives an accurate, early, and relatively unchanging look at hip quality is the PennHIP technique and evaluation service. It is an abbreviation for “(U. of) Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program” developed at that university, and is available in a great number of countries. The German hierarchy (at least in the GSD world ruled by the SV) has typically, stubbornly resisted the better science of PennHIP and has thus condemned its members and followers to a world of limited improvement.

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What is a Dog?

There is and will always be considerable confusion among dog fanciers and other publics in regard to breeds of dogs and their relations to other dog-like animals. One of the words that some of us maintain is misused or, at least, used by various people in different ways, is “hybrid.”

Many dictionaries inadequately define hybrids as being “individuals produced by breeding (crossing) different races, varieties, species, etc.” Disagreements arise when the correspondents do not agree (even temporarily) on the same definition. If you include wolves and domestic dogs in the same grouping because there is no hindrance to one fertilizing the other and resulting in equally-fertile offspring, then I cannot agree to call the result a hybrid. No more than Chinese and Caucasian humans’ children are hybrids. A better term for either might be “mixed” (we use the term “mixed-breed” in speaking of dogs, but usually “mixed heritage” re humans). Since canids mate and produce offspring which in turn are just as fertile, I feel it is wrong to call them hybrids. Dingoes, coyotes, wolves, and domestic dogs are all really breeds of Canis (dogs, canids). Their offspring should not be called hybrids, but rather “crosses” just as we would call a Cockapoo a “cross.”  Continue reading

Fred’s predictions with the 2013 Kassel Sieger Show

Fred’s predictions at the time (August 17, 2013):

I expect good VA recognition for Nino Tronje if he is shown (he’s mostly owned by Mort Goldfarb), plus Enosch Amasis, Omen Radhaus, Mentos Osterbergerland, Quattro Partnachklamm, Labo Schollweiher, Etoo Wattenscheid (if his bitework is good enough), Fulz Zenevredo, and Yankee Feuermelder. The Furbo son Leo Zenteiche might be VA, as he is owned by Christoph Ludwig (very influential) though there is pressure this year to vary the bloodlines more.

The Remo son Figo Nordteich stands a good chance, and the Vegas son Tyson Fixfrutta does, too.  The Enosch son Kronos stands a chance, too… I was very impressed with him last year. Others who will place very high include: Ballack Brucknerallee, Schumann Tronje, Chacco Freiheit Westerholt, Iliano Fichtenschlag, Yoker Pendler, Pepe Kuckucksland, and Pacco Langenbungert. Continue reading

USCA Sieger Show – Lake Geneva, WI May 10-13, 2013

Expert handler has classes available for UScA Sieger Showusca2

 

May 10, 2013 weekend: I have classes available; let me know ASAP if you would like me to show your dog. I offer many years experience as an expert show handler, and as an SV breed judge. I know the judges well, what they are looking for, and what they want from handlers. Remuneration negotiable, but I ask for only a pro-rated share of my expenses, not any extra fee for handling. (The more dogs I show, the lower the amount.)

Whether or not I show your dog, I will have copies of my books available. You really should have the GSD book and the Orthopedics Disorders book, too. Order in advance so I pack enough for the trip.

2010 Sieger Show Report

Sept. 3-5, 2010, Nürnberg (aka Nuremberg):


As most of my readers know, I have been sharing my impressions of the Sieger Show (known in Germany as the Hauptzuchtschau) for a couple of decades. In these years, I have been leading tour groups to this main breed show, with several subsequent days spent visiting notable breeders and local training clubs. I try to offer a mix of: 1. Intensive dog study (including teaching novices about the breed, the show, and the particular dogs; 2. Introductions to breeders (usually some of my group will buy a dog from one or more of them); and 3. Sightseeing. This compromise gives something to everyone.

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The New Knowledge of DM (“GSD Myelopathy”)

German Shepherd Dog Myelopathy, also known as DM for Degenerative (chronic and progressive) Myelopathy (spinal cord disease), or CDRM in the UK, is the first disorder that comes to mind when German Shepherd Dogs and spinal lesions are spoken of together. Almost peculiar to Shepherds, the first symptoms are usually seen at more than 5 years of age and typically last 5 to 30 or so months, perhaps a bit longer if aggressive measures are taken to forestall euthanasia. All accounts to date concede that there is great variation in age of onset: the youngest case reported to Glasgow researcher Pamela Johnston in the course of her studies for her doctorate at the University of Glasgow, Scotland was five years old, and the eldest 14 years, while the majority were about nine years old at first presentation. Most early signs are seen at or shortly after about 6 years of age, if the observer is experienced and keenly looking for it. In my experience, many cases drag on for 2 years, a few go three or more years, and several I have seen last little over 6 months. Continue reading

Thyroid Problems and Suggestions on Dealing with Them

INTRODUCTION

While I am a German Shepherd Dog breeder, I have much all-breed experience in handling, judging, and consulting; as a scientist I also have been drawn to certain medical aspects of cynology (dog science). This said, we proceed to the subject; viz., the fairly common occurrence of impaired health that is traceable to, or at least suspected of coming from, a defective hormone production and regulatory system — specifically involving the thyroid gland. Incidentally, some readers may already know that Greyhounds, GSDs, Chow-Chows, and other breeds have greater incidence of low thyroid activity than the general or average dog population. Some breeds of dogs do better (have less “need” of as much of the hormones) than others, but enough breeds do not, especially in the low normal range. If your vet picks up a textbook that tells him your dog must be healthy because it is within that range of “low-normal”, sing to him or her from the Gershwin song, “It ain’t necessarily so!” Also, remember that the base ranges that are now considered the norm were established on Beagles, and that breeds do indeed differ in regard to their hormone needs. The list of “exceptions to the rule” has grown so much that any reliance on the old “normal” range must now be considered foolish for that growing number of breeds.

All endocrine glands are “connected”; i.e., they can influence each other’s action and efficiency. If any part of the endocrine system is out if kilter, so will be the rest. If the endocrine system is not running properly for any length of time, damage could become permanent (adrenal failure, pancreas failure, etc). Two of the most important glands in this discussion will be the pituitary and the thyroid. For a detailed discussion of the pituitary dwarfism in the GSD and related breeds, see www.siriusdog.com/articles/ or use a search engine [such as Google] to find my articles elsewhere on the Internet. Also, you probably should order my book on the GSD. I recommend you get the Orthopedics book at the same time. Continue reading