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RhosynGSD - Largest German Shepherd Dog Database in Australia FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)



Category: Main -> About German Shepherds

Question
·  What are the Breed Improvement Schemes?
·  What is Hip Dysplasia, and Elbow Dysplasia?
·  What is Haemophelia?
·  What is the difference between a GSD and an Alsatian?
·  Do GSDs make good family pets?
·  Can my breeder guarantee my puppy will not have hip problems?
·  Do German Shepherds shed a lot?
·  What about long-coated GSDs?
·  How do you choose which dogs to breed with?

Answer
·  What are the Breed Improvement Schemes?

The GSDCA (German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia Inc.) has introduced a number of schemes for the screening of adult dogs, for hereditary diseases. These schemes are Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, and Haemophelia A. Adult Dogs (over 18 months of age) after having successfully passed the above schemes are encouraged to be presented to Breed Survey.

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·  What is Hip Dysplasia, and Elbow Dysplasia?

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia are two (2) separate diseases that cause degeneration of the hip and elbows joints, and can only be diagnosed by X-Ray. Evidence of passing the HD scheme is an “A” stamp, and a “Z” stamp for Elbows. The X-Ray is taken after the animal is twelve (12) months of age.

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·  What is Haemophelia?

Haemophelia is a blood disorder that reduces the blood-clotting factor thereby causing abnormal bleeding. At this time these is only a test available for Males. Evidence of passing is an “H-Neg” certificate. This is no longer prevalent within German Shepherds, due to earlier identification of “problem” bloodlines, which have been removed from breeding programs.

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·  What is the difference between a GSD and an Alsatian?

There is no difference. After each of the World Wars, anything German fell out of popular favor. To avoid the use of the word German, "Alsatian" (from the Alsace-Lorraine area) was used. In some countries, GSDs are still known as Alsations. The name in Germany is Deustche Schaferhund which means "German Shepherd Dog". The word "Dog" is part of the name.

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·  Do GSDs make good family pets?

Yes! GSDs are naturally protective of their "pack". Young children should never be left unattended with a puppy, however, if the children learn to respect the puppy as a living being, the puppy will be a wonderful companion for the children as they all grow up together. Your dog's ranking in the "pack" should always be established as the bottom (Omega) member below humans.

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·  Can my breeder guarantee my puppy will not have hip problems?

NO! Hip dysplasia is considered to be polygenic. That means that it's caused by a combination of genes that may not show up in any litter previously. No matter the certifications in the pedigree it is possible that your puppy could be predisposed to hip dysplasia. That's why preliminary hip x-rays after 6 months are a good idea. Treatments (both surgical and drug) can be done early to alleviate problems down the line. If in doubt, find an orthopedic specialist. Be wary of a breeder that says their puppies will definitely not have hip problems. But, a responsible breeder will guarantee their puppies for life. The guarantee may vary. Some breeders will require you to return the puppy for a replacement; some will refund all or part of your money; some will not require you to return the puppy, but still offer a replacement or refund. Do not be dismayed at a requirement for a return of a puppy. A puppy may be in severe pain and an owner may not be emotionally prepared to put a puppy down who really should be put down. A responsible breeder will want what's best for the puppy/dog.

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·  Do German Shepherds shed a lot?

Yes. The GSD is a "double-coated" dog with an undercoat and guard hairs. The guard hairs will be shed all year. The undercoat is "blown" twice a year.

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·  What about long-coated GSDs?

"The correct GSD coat is relatively short with an obvious undercoat. As such it is quite waterproof. Some dogs are born with long coats which usually, though not always, are devoid of undercoat. Such coats are less useful and more difficult to groom, but many pet owners seem to like the long-coated version. Thus there is not strong selection against it, though very few breeders would deliberately breed from long-coated stock. The normal coat is dominant to the long version, so there are three kinds of dog: normal, normal but carrying the long coat gene, and long. About 10% of the pups are born long-coated." (1) This being said, if you don't intend to show your dog in conformation, there's no reason to avoid the long-coated GSD. Long-coated GSDs can and do compete in obedience and other working disciplines. You should be aware, however, that the longer coat does require more attention when grooming.

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·  How do you choose which dogs to breed with?

There's more involved than availability, looks, and temperament This is not an easy question to answer. We use phenotype (the physical appearance of the dog) and genotype (the genetic make-up of the dog) as the basis for our breeding. Before hand, we compile a five-generation pedigree of the possible mating. Doing a test breeding on paper allows us to evaluate the generations that will be behind the puppies. Are we doubling up on a weakness? Some of the strengths and weaknesses I am evaluating are head type, eye shape and colour, ear set, topline, tail set, length of leg, shoulder layback, bend of stifle, coat texture, pigment and bone. Does our bitch have ears that are too large? Then I want to be sure not to double up on individuals who had that characteristic or who tend to throw big ears. What we want to see is that the pedigrees of the potential parents mesh and compliment each other. Knowledge of pedigrees in conjunction with the validation of titles and ratings acquired at shows and trials are the basis for a lot of breeding choices. With the knowledge of the genotype or by breeding based on pedigree, one can line-breed on a dog with exceptional breed worthiness. Breed worthiness would include health (as in a dog that is a well known good hip producer), longevity, type and temperament. Line-breeding will bring out the best and the worst of the line. With the doubling up of genes, it is essential to only line-breed on exceptional candidates. Through this practice, a specific type can be reproduced. Line-breeding should be well contemplated and seriously undertaken, as it may bring out negative genetic problems as well as doubling up on essential sound genes . Out-cross breeding occurs if there is not a relative on either the dam or the sire’s pedigree side that is the same, within five generations. An out-cross does not maintain type and may produce dogs of various types within a litter. Breeding a litter that is a total out-cross will cover up the problems in the lines. Breeding on phenotype with both parents on premises is a large consideration for all breeders. Manifestation of the dominant genes are there for all to see if a breeder has the opportunity to observe and interact with the sire and dam and study their true form and temperament. We focus on breeding our German Shepherd Dogs in regards to all of this information. We cannot control how the genes will match up. We can only study and put in an educated guess when trying to produce good dogs. Sometimes, we use our own stud dog; sometimes we go to an outside source. All in all, the sires and dams we consider for breeding partners have obtained their hip and elbow certificates, Breed Surveyed and excellent grading in the conformation.

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