Why Is A Breed Standard So Important?

Written by Tina M. Barber

Reprinted with permission from the March/July 1998 SSDCA Newsletter

The breed standard is a blueprint of the breed it was written for; a guide for the judges to select dogs that conform "closest" to the standard, and a tool for the breeders to help them determine the correct dogs that will improve the quality of future generations. In some cases the Standard can be revised through the efforts of the "parent club" membership vote. Individuals, except for the breed originators, have never attempted to change the standard of any breed, without full membership approval. It is my understanding that only 25 people (although none have admitted to it as of yet) voted to make the following changes to the ISSDCR Breed Standard of the Shiloh Shepherd. The rest of the wording is just a copycat version of those written by the ISSR, SSDCA, and the breed founder.

There were only 3 "tiny" changes made, but they are of extreme importance to the breed, the most critical one being that of rear angulation. Is this what we have been striving for? Should the Shiloh look like a long-haired-American Bred German Shepherd? Who made that decision? The CKC already has a class for "Long-Haired German Shepherds." These dogs should look just like their "short haired" cousins, except for the coat. They also have classes for the White German Shepherd. Therefore if the ISSDCR wants to breed dogs that look like that, why can’t the members just change to those breeds, instead of trying to change the Shiloh Shepherd!

A) Please note the pictures to your right. A 20 degree angle (topline) can be determined by multiplying the height (at the withers) by .8. If your dog is 30" tall then his height at the croup would be 24." The GSD pictured here is a perfect example of how your dog’s topline would look. A bitch 26" at the withers would measure 20.8" at the croup, etc.

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B) It was also brought to my attention that "maybe" they meant "just the croup." Upon intense research through books, and with experts on this subject, I was informed that; a 20 degree "croup" would be considered too FLAT (restricting rear drive) , if you measure from the palpable points, such as the "buttock bones" the dog sits on, to the crest of the ilium, the ideal for most breeds should be 30 degrees. Although the GSD’s can handle a little more pretty well; 45 degrees would be considered (steep) "over"- angulated.

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C) The second change that was made concerns the pasterns. A 20 degree angle is great for dogs that DIG, like the Jack Russell Terrier, but not for dogs that must TROT. VERTICAL pasterns restrict the "suspension," fluidity, and elasticity needed for the flying trot! The original GSD standard called for 25-30 degrees, later it was changed to 25 as being the ideal; many American GSD’s range closer to 40, almost 45 degrees. Although these "changes" may not seem like "much" to the novice, they could change the desired structure of our breed DRASTICALLY.

It's your BREED too --stay informed and active!!!

Upon examining the future breeding guidelines (especially the "MAW" inbreeding) of the new registry, and through intense examination of the "NEW" breed standard,…..

the SSDCA, Inc. members prepared a "composite" for you, of what the FUTURE SHILOH SHEPHERD may look like! J

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