German Shepherd Show vs. Working

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Full Contact K9 Warns of Problems with “Show Breed” German Shepherds Study Says “Working Breeds” are Healthier, Happier, Better Adjusted

Elite Dog Services

Elite Dog Services

German Shepherds really are the ideal working dog

Full Contact K9, an Atlanta-based elite dog services company, echoes the results of a new study by warning dog buyers about the dangers of so-called “designer dogs.” A report by the Royal Veterinary College in London reveals widespread rates of cancer, aggression, arthritis and more among “show breed” German Shepherds, a breed with which Full Contact K9 has extensive experience. The July report adds to years of research and outcry across the globe regarding “cosmetic” breeding within historically popular dog breeds, namely German Shepherds.

In the RVC study, over 30% of the shepherds died from preventable causes such as breeding-induced osteoarthritis, sloped backs, and euthanasia due to aggression. Originally bred as a medium-sized herding dog, German Shepherds with down-sloped backs and unnatural gaits have become popular among the show dog circuit over the last two decades.

“German Shepherds really are the ideal ‘working dog,’” says Evan Dunbar, owner of Full Contact K9. “When their bodies are in their most natural state, the breed is strong and sturdy. They’re the perfect dog for personal protection or law enforcement because they are naturally very physically capable.” Dunbar and other professional dog experts discourage the breeding of show dogs based purely on unnatural physical characteristics.

“What’s great about properly bred German Shepherds is that they have a very high desire to work and can perform rigorous physical activity,” says Dunbar. “When they’re bred for looks, they lose much of that ability and their temperament changes, too.” Today, rules set by the German Shepherd Club of Germany (SV) serve as a rigorous set of standards for German Shepherd dog breeders. Working dogs in this class are scored on the basis of utility, overall temperament, trainability, and agile, physically-correct bodies.

When purchasing a purebred German Shepherd, experts advise serious buyers to look for hip and elbow health clearances such as OFA, and working dog titles such as IPO. Purchasing a puppy based on coat color or type alone is a common and detrimental mistake. The dog should be evaluated as a total package.

“It’s just a shame, because so many people think they’re buying a best-in-class German Shepherd when they purchase one of these ‘Show Dogs,’” explains Dunbar, “when what they’re actually getting is a dog with chronic health problems and the inability to perform the kind of physical tasks and high-level training they were intended for.”

Full Contact K9 operates out of Atlanta, GA, and Silicon Valley, CA. One of the leading elite dog services companies in the United States, Full Contact K9 specializes in German Shepherd puppies, dog training, protection dog services, and more.

To find out more about the specific pedigrees and German Shepherd Puppies sold by Full Contact K9, visit or call 678.235.K9K9.

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Evan Dunbar
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