Official Standard of the German Shepherd Dog
strong and tightly articulated. The dew- claws, if any, should be removed from the hind legs. Feet as in front. Coat: The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible, hair straight, harsh and lying close to the body. A slightly wavy outer coat, often of wiry texture, is permissi- ble. The head, including the inner ear and foreface, and the legs and paws are covered with short hair, and the neck with longer and thicker hair. The rear of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair extend- ing to the pastern and hock, respectively. Faults in coat include soft, silky, too long outer coat, woolly, curly, and open coat Color: The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqual- ified. Gait: A German Shepherd Dog is a trotting dog, and its structure has been developed to meet the requirements of its work. General Impression - The gait is outreaching, elastic, seemingly without effort, smooth and rhyth- mic, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum number of steps.
This practice is now being enforced in Germany because the SV is very aware that worldwide public perception of our breed is of foremost concern. The German Shepherd Dog is recog- nized, loved and respected worldwide. This highly intelligent, dependable and versatile breed should always be capable of serving mankind in limitless capaci- ties. As you judge our beloved breed, please help us present to the public a dog that is strong, agile, steady and yes, beau- tiful in pose and in motion but functional as well. We are so proud of Kent Boyles and Rumor on their achievements in pre- senting an outstanding specimen of our Breed to Best In Show at Westminster Kennel Club. Rumor, shown in Figure 11 in a suspended trot, joins her predeces- sor Champion Covy-Tucker Hill’s Manhat- tan, shown in Figure 12 and handled by Jim Moses, as only the second German Shepherd to win this coveted award. firmness of back. The whole effort of the hindquarter is transmitted to the forequarter through the loin, back and withers. At full trot, the back must remain firm and level without sway, roll, whip or roach. Unlevel topline with withers lower than the hip is a fault. To compensate for the forward motion imparted by the hindquarters, the shoulder should open to its full extent. The forelegs should reach out close to the ground in a long stride in harmony with that of the hindquarters. The dog does not track on widely separated parallel lines, but brings the feet inward toward the middle line of the body when trotting, in order to maintain bal- ance. The feet track closely but do not strike or cross over. Viewed from the front, the front legs function from the shoulder joint to the pad in a straight line. Viewed from the rear, the hind legs function from the hip joint to the pad in a straight line. Faults of gait, whether from front, rear or side, are to be considered very serious faults. Disqualifications: Cropped or hanging ears. Dogs with noses not predominantly black. Undershot jaw. Docked tail. White dogs. Any dog that attempts to bite the judge. Approved February 11, 1978 Reformatted July 11, 1994
possible to show extreme angulation in the rear. Figure 9 shows this awkward pose and in fact, we can see that the length of bone causes the muscle of the thigh to appear thin and weak. In Figure 10, amorenatural pose, thehock joint nev- er actually touches the ground. This pose mirrors how a German Shepherd Dog would often stand on their own. Note the appearance of the thigh muscle as thick and strong. Every judge should discourage any unnatural stance that leaves the aver- age spectator with an impression of an animal that is grossly deformed. During the individual examination, after coming and going is observed, the judge should ask the handler to “let the dog stand naturally” which will allow the judge to observe the natural setting of the limbs. As dogs are being lined up and are hand- set, the judge should remind the handlers that the dogs should be posed in a more natural-looking stance. At a walk it covers a great deal of ground, with long stride of both hind legs and forelegs. At a trot the dog covers still more ground with even longer stride, and moves powerfully but easily, with coordination and balance so that the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine. The feet travel close to the ground on both forward reach and backward push. In order to achieve ideal movement of this kind, there must be good muscular development and ligamentation. The hindquarters deliver, through the back, a powerful forward thrust which slightly lifts the whole animal and drives the body forward. Reaching far under, and passing the imprint left by the front foot, the hind foot takes hold of the ground; then hock, stifle and upper thigh come into play and sweep back, the stroke of the hind leg finishing with the foot still close to the ground in a smooth follow- through. The overreach of the hindquarter usually necessitates one hind foot passing outside and the other hind foot passing inside the track of the forefeet, and such action is not faulty unless the locomotion is crabwise with the dogs body sideways out of the normal straight line. Transmission - The typical smooth, flowing gait is maintained with great strength and
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today (given the time to do so), should ask for a slow trot at some point in the dog’s evaluation. When evaluating a German Shep- herd’s structure, the ‘little things’ that should never be overlooked are: a solid back; feet that are compact and well- padded, with arched toes that move close to the ground and not ‘lofting’; and a properly angled croup that carries the tail as a rudder and activates a hindthrust that is powered by a properly muscled upper thigh. One area of current concern in this breed is a perception by the public that the German Shepherd Dog is over- angulated in the hindquarter and is therefore weak with bad hips. This perception is enhanced when dogs are hand-set to emphasize an extreme hind angulation. In this ‘pose’ the outside hind leg farthest from the judge is placed with the metatarsus bone and heel flat on the ground and the inside hind leg clos- est to the judge extended back as far as
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