All about the Purebred Dog

by Linda J Shaw

The Illustrated Standard has Arrived!

My Illustrated Standard for the German Shepherd Dog has arrived, fresh from the printer! It is more beautiful than I hoped to imagine! I opted for a heavier cover stock with lamination and 80lb satin coated paper, and the result is sturdy and elegant. It is quality through and through. The drawings have reproduced beautifully, and the colour illustrations are fully saturated. I am thrilled. So will you be. Head over to THE STANDARD page, listed above, for the full particulars.

You can contact me for more information at:


by Linda J Shaw

The Illustrated Standard for the German Shepherd Dog

Well, after two months of proofs, proof-reading, tweaking and editing, and much help from my wonderful designer Heather, the manuscript is heading to its final print run tomorrow. I decided to go with Maracle Press in Oshawa, Ontario, on the recommendation of a friend in the graphic arts business. They do absolutely beautiful work, and the proof I vetted today is gorgeous.  It won’t be long now!

by Linda J Shaw


Well, after many years of thinking, planning, researching, discussing and, yes, procrastinating, my book, The Illustrated Standard for the German Shepherd Dog, is done. Almost. The manuscript is done – all 187 pages. Over 450 of my drawings have been completed. Over 90 photographs of really good dogs have been assembled. The design and layout has been completed by my design whiz schutzhund friend, Heather Dickinson. The cover art, again thanks to Heather, is done. COVER WEB

It has been through several edits. I always find something to tweak. It has one more edit before I am completely happy. The file is now out for print quotes. Hopefully I will have a retail price in the next few weeks. Once that is done, it will be available for order prior to printing.

I have put just about everything I know about the structure and movement of the GSD into this book. It is unlike any book ever published on the breed.

I go into considerable detail on rear angulation; what’s normal and what’s not, and why.

I go into considerable detail on back structure, and why the roach is not normal, based on published scientific research.

I go into considerable detail on the normal anatomy of both skeleton and musculature.

I have produced a frame by frame full stride analysis of the gait of one of the breed’s best movers, compared and contrasted to a frame by frame full stride analysis of the gait of a wild grey wolf. The results are startling.

I have a detailed section on the genetics of color and pigmentation, with full colour illustrations of almost every colour variation in the breed, as well as a full colour section of illustrations of the internal anatomy.

I could go on and on, but you should read the book. I will be updating its progress through the publishing process here.

One thing that this book is not, is like any other book currently available on the breed.

L Shaw

by Linda J Shaw
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Imagine that this bitch is gaiting past you at a conformation show. How would you expect her to be evaluated? I have eliminated her coat so that her structure and proportions are easier to see.
I would suppose that the average judge, from just about any country, would have this to say: This female is a medium large, medium strong bitch, square in proportion. Although she is balanced, showing equal length and strength of stride both front and rear, she is lacking angulation of both the shoulder and the hindquarter. Her back shows a lack of strength behind the withers, and her croup is short and level.  She lacks forechest, substance and depth of chest. In motion, her stride is shortened, lacking both reach and follow through, although she does show a good period of suspension, more than most of the dogs in the ring. Compared to the others however, she appears to be running downhill. In short, this female lacks the structure that conformation judges think is required of a working dog, and would be unable to sustain an enduring, working trot.
Except that this is not a German shepherd dog. It is a wild, northern Gray Wolf. This animal, with this structure, can easily travel fifty miles in a day, and regularly covers a massive territory. She has the strength and endurance to pursue buffalo and caribou for hours, over rough country and through deep snow, and when a prey animal has been worn down or cornered, she has the stamina and strength to kill it, sometimes taking many more hours. What this bitch is showing us is structure and gait that is the ultimate in long distance endurance, at any speed. She has no more angulation than she needs, with enough reach to give a big, roomy stride but not so much that she will exhaust herself. Her back is as strong as iron. Her withers are moderately high and her spine is straight and level. Her chest is sufficiently capacious and no more, and her croup is the length and slope it needs to be for a big, powerful, perpetual stride. Her longer legs give her the agility to navigate the roughest territory. She is the model of vigour and efficiency.
So why is it that the structure and gait of our modern show dogs, American or German, bear no resemblance whatsoever to the wolf? There are plenty of working bred dogs that are not dissimilar. But no conformation judge, German or American, would put up a GSD that is structured like this wolf or moves like her. They seem to prefer the results of a few decades of inbreeding over that of millions of years of natural selection. And maybe that is not such a smart thing to do.

by Linda J Shaw

In my last post, I included several pictures of dogs taken more or less at random. They show the weak, over-angulated hindquarters that are so common. These dogs were not simply posed badly.  They were standing on their own, and I waited for them to walk themselves into a decent stance. They didn’t. They couldn’t. Many of these dogs went Select.

I was beginning to think I was wasting my time, when I spotted a very nice female who turned out to be the Winners Female. Whatever position she took, she looked good. I’ve always thought that it is hard to take a bad picture of a good dog, and this bitch proved it. She was clean from every direction. She didn’t sag to the ground while standing informally. She moved beautifully with a strong, clean, suspended gait. Remember suspension? That feature of the breed that the over-angulated dog is incapable of achieving? She didn’t overextend, or pop her head in the effort to throw her forehand a mile beyond her nose. She didn’t drag her feet, or flat foot her way around the ring. She was absolutely the most correct dog in the ring. I think she was last place Select. She should have been Grand Victrix.

Unfortunately, a really good dog will always look underdone when in the ring with extreme dogs. They don’t have the exaggerated stride length, so they appear short-strided by comparison. They don’t have the extremely sloping topline or steep croup, so they look higher in the rear. Judges hate that, at least some do. Plus so many specialty dogs are over-sized; the bigger the dog, the longer the legs and the longer the stride. And because the over-done dogs cannot suspend, they resort to speed. The result is all the flash that so many judges reward, and audiences love. It takes a really brave judge to put up a correct dog. It’s too bad judges don’t have the six to eight hours of gaiting that would leave the extreme dogs struggling and the correct dogs still working.

Fortunately I was able to spend time in the ring with this female, getting reference photos of her standing and gaiting. Informal or posed, she always looked good.

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All content copy-righted Linda J Shaw 2000 - 2014.

Use of any material strictly prohibited without written permission of the author, Linda J Shaw.


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