A brief historical overview
The head of the German shepherd is a voluminous, broad skull, vigorously turning into a wedge-shaped, voluminous face. The ratio of the length of the skull and the muzzle should be 50% to 50%. The transition from the forehead to the muzzle should not be either coarse or protracted. I mention this because in some dogs, in the absence of the above ratio, the muzzle is much longer than the skull. To put it another way, in such cases we can speak already about the “long canine”. Too long canine is a negative sign for the practical use of the animal, because it can not develop the appropriate force with the grip. In addition, for a professional observer, such a dog is not a pleasant sight. The fangs of the shepherd dog are its main tool, and since we breed this breed as a user, worker, we must pay close attention to its “tool”. “Long canine” is often associated with a weak lower jaw, and problems with teeth can be associated with problems that have too little space in the weak lower jaw for strong support, as a result of which the dog may not retain a full dentition during its life.
Type of constitution
The concept of the constitution combines all the properties of an animal’s body: the features of its anatomical structure, physiological processes, and indicators of overall viability. Different approaches to the study of constitutional characteristics in animal husbandry have led to the creation of a large number of classifications of types of constitutions. In different countries, for different breeds, a different classification of types is used. For example, in our country, when working with a German Shepherd, the standard classification of constitutional types, developed by Academician N.P. Kuleshov and supplemented by M.F. Ivanov and E.A. Bogdanov. According to this classification, five basic types of the German Shepherd constitution were considered: loose (wet), rough, strong, dry and tender.
With the transition to a qualitatively new level of work with the breed, with an increased uniformity of livestock, there is no need to classify a large range of diverse types. The most acceptable was the classification adopted in SV, providing for small differences in the type of German shepherd. This “kraftig” is strong, “kraftvoll” is full of strength and “mittelkraftig” is of medium or sufficient strength. More drastic deviations in constitutional type, bordering on friability, rudeness or, on the contrary, dryness and overdevelopment of a dog are considered uncharacteristic for the breed.
According to the job descriptions of the German Shepherd Dog Owners Union (VDH bureau in Augsburg in the German Dog Breeding Association), which is the breeding founder responsible for the standard, it was first defined at the first meeting of members in Frankfurt am Main on September 20, 1899, to the proposals of A. Meyer and von Stephanitz. The additions were made by the 4th General Meeting of Members on July 28, 1901, the 23rd Meeting in Cologne on September 17, 1909, the meeting of the Presidium and Consultative Council in Wiesbaden on September 5, 1930 and the meeting of the tribal committee and the Presidium on March 25, 1961. Within the framework of the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Owners – WUSV, the standard was revised, cataloged and adopted at a WUSV meeting on August 30, 1976 with a decision on the credentials of the Presidium and the Consultative Council of March 23/24, 1991. The German Shepherd Dog, the planned breeding of which was started in 1899 after the founding of the Union, was bred on the basis of the middle German and South German varieties of guard dogs existing at that time with the ultimate goal of creating a useful dog with high working qualities. To achieve this goal, a German Shepherd standard was defined, which concerned both physical qualities and temperament and character traits.
The head is wedge-shaped, of appropriate size (approximately 40% of the height at the withers), should not be coarse or too light. The overall impression is dry, moderately wide between the ears. When viewed from the front and side, the forehead is only slightly convex, without a frontal groove or with a very weak expression. The ratio of the skull to the muzzle is 50% to 50%. The width of the skull approximately corresponds to its length. The skull (when viewed from above), evenly tapering from the ears to the nose, with a noticeable, but not pronounced transition from the forehead to the muzzle, turns into a wedge-shaped muzzle. The upper and lower jaws are highly developed. The back of the nose is straight, deflection or crook is undesirable. Lips dry, tight, dark color.
Nose. Must be black.
Must be powerful, healthy teeth, in full set (42 teeth according to the dental formula). The German Shepherd has a scissor bite. This means that the incisors should go behind each other like scissors, while the incisors of the upper jaw are scissors-like facing the lower incisors. Straight bite, over-or under-focus are not allowed, as well as large gaps between the teeth (intermittent set). The jaws must be powerfully developed so that the teeth sit deep in the row.
The top line runs almost continuously from the base of the neck, through the well-marked withers and slightly lower back in relation to the horizontal to the slightly inclined croup. The back is strong, strong, with good musculature. The croup should be long, falling slightly (approximately 23 degrees to the horizontal) and evenly go to the base of the tail.
The chest should be moderately wide, the chest bone as long as possible and pronounced. The depth of the chest should be approximately 45-48% of the height at the withers. The ribs should be moderately arched, barrel chest as undesirable as flat ribs.
Were limbs: when viewed from any side are straight, when viewed from the front are absolutely parallel. The shoulder blade and shoulder are of equal length and, due to their powerful muscles, fit snugly to the body. The angles of the shoulder-blade joints are ideally 90 degrees, allowed up to 110 degrees.
Elbows, neither in standing nor moving, should not be either turned out or pulled together. The forearms, when viewed from either side, are straight and absolutely parallel to each other, dry and with strong muscles. The metacarpus is about 1/3 the length of the forearm and forms an angle of about 20-22 degrees with it. Both too obliquely (more than 22 degrees) and the sheer metacarpus (less than 20 degrees) have a negative effect on the utilization properties of the dog, especially on endurance.
Feet round, well-knit and arched, pads hard, but not fragile. The claws are strong, dark in color.
Wool quality: normal wool for a German shepherd is wool with undercoat.
The top coat should be as tight as possible, straight, hard and tight. On the head, including the inside of the ears, on the front of the limbs, on the paws and toes, the hair is short, on the neck it is slightly longer and thicker.
On the back of the limbs, the fur is extended to the pastern or to the hock, on the back of the thighs it forms moderate hair.
Black, with red-brown, brown, yellow to light gray markings. Black and gray monophonic, gray with a darker bloom. With a black cloak and mask. Imperceptible little white markings on the chest, as well as very bright inner sides are permissible, but undesirable. Nose with all colors should be black. The absence of a mask, bright to piercing eyes, as well as bright to white markings on the chest and the inner sides of the limbs, bright claws and a red tip of the tail should be assessed as weak pigment.
The undercoat is peculiar to a light gray tone. White color is not allowed.
The former president, Dr. Rummel, rightly believed that feeding only ready (soft) food is unacceptable in case of insufficient development of the lower jaw, and his main thesis is to make sure that the puppy must be allowed to chew and chew as much as possible during the period of intensive growth. This will significantly help to improve the blood supply and will benefit the development of the dental system as a whole. Of course, the transmission of a trait such as a light, weakened lower jaw also plays an important role, which breeders must take into account.
Since we are talking about canine teeth, it is worth mentioning that an adult German shepherd should have forty-two permanent teeth (a puppy, on the contrary, has only twenty-eight teeth). In dogs of this breed, there is always a scissor bite, in which, as the name suggests, the teeth act like scissors. Naturally, the whole set of teeth should be available for the shepherd dog, and they should be strong and healthy.
Continuing the conversation about the head of the German Shepherd, one should point out the fact that it is one of the essential signs of sexual dimorphism, i.e. A dog’s head is different in shape and strength from the head of a bitch. The notion of a “good type” implies, among other things, a flawless, well-shaped head, with the right proportions. The head determines the type of dog so that in the old days in the description of the exterior used the concept of “like a stallion.”