Dog expert Julia Robertson has welcomed new guidelines announced by The Kennel Club which no longer allow German Shepherds to be stacked or held up by their leads – how they are typically shown posing when being judged at dog shows.

The new rules, which came into force on Monday 1st August, and have been welcomed by the Julia who is the founder of a therapy centre which treats dogs suffering from chronic pain and arthritis through myotherapy – a specialised ‘hands on’ manual muscle treatment used to manage conditions brought on through compensatory issues.

Having treated dogs suffering from issues which have arisen due to things such as stacking, and the impact it has a dog’s gait, she said:

“Forcing them to hold a certain position for judges can put undue loading on joints and muscles, and if a dog is already having difficulty holding a pose, through conformational or other underlying lameness, the stress this practice puts on them can make their condition even worse.”

“I have been working with dogs suffering from chronic muscle and skeletal pain for 14 years and have seen the damage stacking can do.”In its announcement, the Kennel Club GSD Breed Standard will read, ‘Characteristics: Versatile working dog, balanced and free from exaggeration. Must be capable of standing comfortably and calmly, freely and unsupported in any way, in structural balance, whilst both rear pasterns are vertical. Attentive, alert, resilient and tireless with keen scenting ability’.

Perhaps a brighter future lies ahead for this breed because when you compare German Shepherds of a later year to the current breed shown on TV each year at Crufts, you can’t help but feel something went truly wrong to get to this point.


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