The Essence Of The Breed
BY Joan F. Fox

The most versatile breed in the world is arguably the most challenging to judge. The various jobs that this breed may be required to execute demand that form follows function,is what judges really need to always keep that in mind when making decisions. This is where we all need to understand that the dogs used for herding, in performance venues and the dogs used as working dogs require a different structure. No need to argue any of this as they are all one breed ..... German Shepherd Dogs!

Our Standard is among the best of all the breeds but clearly we need visualization to bring the words to life. Please take a moment and look at the photos of gaiting dogs on this page. That elusive moment of correct extension is almost impossible to capture but please keep these images in your mind as you judge or assess dogs in or out of the ring.

What significant words come to mind when you describe the Essence of the Breed? The look of eagles, strength, curves not angles, ground covering gait? The first thing should be confidence of temperament. Without this the dog is not able to do what we require. Pet, show, herding or working, they must all have the correct stable and sometimes aloof temperament.

We can analyze any standard until it becomes parts and pieces, but our breed demands the totality of the dog must be strong and sound in all aspects and move covering the most amount of ground with the minimum number of steps. This cannot be seen if a dog is strung up on a tight lead and racing around the ring.
The Essence Of The Breed are those things that make a herding dog that can stand and move on its own with soundness, strength and balance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Fox, under the kennel name of Campaigners, has been involved in breeding, showing and judging German Shepherds for over 45 years. She has served on the board of the GSDCA and has chaired or assisted on many committees of the club. In 2006 she received the Lloyd Brackett award has been a breeder/owner of over 125 champions.

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