If you did not like the GSD you saw winning best of breed at Crufts you may need to give yourself a slap.
You’ll be surprised to hear, it had nothing to do with the dog at all.
Nor was it the fault of all the judges who have ignored the GSD breed standard over and over again with this banana backed dog and the hundreds of others like her that are paraded around show rings each weekend.
No, it was entirely your fault dear reader. Apparently you are all hysterical.
Here is what the GSD league said
“ The GSD League condemns most strongly the manner in which the Kennel Club and the Crufts presenters have created public hysteria regarding the German Shepherd Bitch who gained Best of Breed at Crufts 2016 under breed specialist judge, Davy Hall.”
Of course, the truth is rather different.
In fact the KC and Crufts presenters played no part in the initial outrage. They simply reacted to it. They could hardly have done otherwise given the enormous outpouring of anger.
Nor was Jemima Harrison responsible for the outrage by reporting on the events as they happened
The outrage arose when we watched the video of this sad specimen of a dog attempting to move it’s deformed hindquarters around the show ring at the world’s greatest dog show.
A place where the dogs on display are meant to be the most perfect examples of their breed. And where, not unnaturally, people expect to see a dog with a demonstrably well constructed biomechanically sound body.
Don’t shoot the messenger
The public are sending the GSD League a very strong message. They would be well advised not to shoot the messenger
And to consider these facts.
- Max Von Stephanitz created a straight backed dog when he launched the GSD breed
- The breed standards for the GSD states that the dog’s back should be straight.
- The GSD is beloved by the general public.
- The public find it deeply offensive to see an iconic dog breed which they love turned into a staggering frog, that scrabbles its way around a show ring on its hocks.
But it was a long day
The owners of the dog are not surprisingly focusing on the conditions of the day. This is because those conditions were not their responsibility
The heat, lights etc have been blamed by the owner for unsettling the dog, but these are all distractions from the relevant facts.
These conditions do not explain the structure of this dog with it’s deformed spine.
The noise and heat are not turning an animal that is supposed to run on its toes, into one reduced to running on its hocks.
Only terrible, breeding can do that.
We surround ourselves with those who agree with us
I actually feel sorry for the dog’s breeder because her view that a GSD should embrace what the public see as frog like conformation, has been validated for year now by dozens of highly respected (by their peers) show judges.
To an extent we all tend to surround ourselves with those who agree with us.
If the way you think is consistently validated by those you surround yourself with, exposure to the real world and the wider public can be a terrible shock.
The GSD breed standard
The GSD League also said in their statement
Cruaghaire Catoria is a correct type to the German Shepherd Dog standard
I can only think that they have read a different standard than the rest of us.
because the KC breed standard makes no mention of a banana back. Quite the reverse – it says
Back between withers and croup, straight, strongly developed, not too long. Overall length achieved by correct angle of well laid shoulders, correct length of croup and hindquarters. The topline runs without any visible break from the set on of the neck, over the well defined withers, falling away slightly in a straight line to the gently sloping croup. –
The emphasis is mine.
Yet the winning dog and many others like her have a clearly visible bend in their spine. This bend is why people are calling these dogs ‘banana backs’
The breed watch campaign
This isn’t just my opinion of course. Indeed, the KC have put the GSD breed onto their breed watch scheme where they list these points of concern
Points of concern for special attention by judges
- Cow hocks
- Excessive turn of stifle
- Nervous temperament
- Sickle hock
- Weak hindquarters
Anyone familiar with the movement of any four legged animal can see that the hindquarters on these banana backed dogs are weak.
These may be GSDS, but the GSD League seems to have forgotten that they are first and foremost, dogs. And dogs are not designed to run on weak, wobbly , hindquarters that are set six inches lower than their shoulders.
Upholding breed standards
There is no doubt that in a few breeds, the breed standard needs changing. We do have some breeds where poor breed standards lead to ill health.
But in many cases, it is not the breed standards that are the problem, rather the way they are interpreted by the breed clubs and by the judges who are supposed to uphold them.
That does seem to be the case here. Yet the responses I am seeing from the GSD are completely failing to acknowledge the concerns of the general public or the KC in this respect.
The arrogance of breed clubs and the view that their members are the only people with a right to comment on the structure of the breed is breathtaking, and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency
Dogs belong to us all
Dog breeds do not belong to breed clubs. And the GSD does not belong to the GSD League.
Breed clubs and societies have no right to implement policies that are harmful to dogs or that are offensive to the rest of humanity.
The welfare of dogs is our joint responsibility, as human beings.
Objecting to minority groups that inflict unwanted changes on one of our favourite breeds is not a form of hysteria. It is the right thing to do.
We are all responsible for this amazing species of animal that has shared our hearts and homes for thousands of years. All of us.
The truth is, we are accountable. The GSD League doesnt get to opt out of that accountability. If a million people express outrage at our actions, there may be a small chance that those million people are hysterical. But the chances are far greater that our actions are actually outrageous.
You made a difference
So in conclusion, you are not hysterical. Your anger is justified and your protests are having an effect.
Give yourself that slap on the back. You just made a difference. The GSD League isn’t listening, they have chosen the lonely path, but the Kennel Club is. And long may that last.
Let’s keep the momentum going now so that the KC have to act to ensure that GSD judges in the future stop giving awards to banana backed dogs.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could see all GSDs restored to their former proud, athletic, glory?
What do you think will need to happen for that to be achieved? What do you think the next step should be?