Shelly Leibowitz

Q&A with Fred – GSD Toplines

Hi Fred,

I have been going back and forth on a topic close to my heart and part of what my decisions will be in regards to breeding… and that is toplines. I CANNOT stand the “arched” (or roached) toplines I see in the German showlines. I tried to get used to it, tried to train my eye to it, and I just can’t do it. It seems all of the showline males available have arched toplines from very slight in the “older style” dogs like Little Man (Leri Unesco) who I used for my first breeding to almost hinge-backed dogs. I see in just about every German showline litter that most of the puppies are hump-backed. I just can’t justify breeding that. And how do I justify that to buyers? Even the pet people know a deformity when they see it! Regardless of whether or not they are what wins in the German ring, and how the German judges try to explain it, it is NOT correct to the standard, and just based on anatomy and basic physics, it is NOT more efficient. In fact, in the case of hinged-backs, it is a perfect site for osteoarthritis to set in, complete with bone spurs, and that is not a good thing to happen around a spinal cord. Continue reading