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"Old Style v's Roach Back"

I think I will only just touch on this subject as it is huge with a lot of differerent opinions. I do however believe in the old saying "A picture speaks for 1,000 words". In saying this I would like to ask you to log in to You Tube and look up "Pedigree Dogs Exposed". This show was aired on the ABC in October 2009, After viewing this video, I would like you to honestly ask yourself "Is this right?", "Are these dogs in pain having their back arched like this?". These dogs are primarily used for showing.

If after viewing Pedigree Dogs Exposed and you believe this is the style of dog you are looking for then please call the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia in your state as this is the style of dog their members breed.

If you prefer the "Original Straight Back German Shepherds" then please feel welcome to pop us an email and I will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.


I have had many, many emails from concerned German Shepherd lovers over the years asking the old question;

" Why are German Shepherd's being bred with such an arched back"? This question has become more and more frequent and very disturbing to us and this is what has persuaded me to write more on this subject. Our wonderful German Shepherds are now being called "Frog Dogs","Banana Backs", "Roach Backs", "Harbour Bridge Dogs" and the list goes on. What has greatly concerned me is comments like" Well they have created this roached back and I am sure they do not know how to get rid of it now" and another was "Not fond of it personally", and I think it is going to come back and bite us in the behind relatively soon. "We humans created this monster, now we need to fix it". Another I received was "VERY unbecoming on a German Shepherd". I am sorry but if that is what is considered acceptable conformation, I think people need glasses and another " I can not believe any one would condone doing that to a dog. We should all say no to this disfiguring of the breed not to mention the discomfort it could bring to that type of structure.

None of this is the dogs fault at all. Hopefully one day the breeders that have caused these un-natural features upon our beautiful German Shepherds will one day return them to what makes us proud to be owners of the Straight Back Original German Shepherds.


I would like to start this topic off from information taken fom the book " The German Shepherd Dog word and picture" by V.Stephanitz. This was the english translation version re wrote in 1923. Rittmeister Von Stephanitz is recognised throughout the world as the greatest authority on the German Shepherd. He was president of the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, SV. On page 535 he talks about the spinal column:

The spinal column, which extends from the head, by way of the neck to the end of the tail lies in the upper part of the body; this in conjunction with the ribs which are joined to it, and the fore-and hindlimbs, forms a bridge like skeleton for the body, which by means of the muscles which hold together, bind, support, stay and carry it, serves then for the forward motion of the animal. The upper part of the body is generally called the back; it is divided into the withers, the back proper and the loins which end in the buttocks.

The withers which are the fore part of the back serve as a passage to the neck; they are composed of the spinal process of the first dorsal vertebrae, of which the upper ends , in the case of dogs run in an almost even line and do not undulate as with horses. The withers externally do not come so strongly into evidence. The back and shoulder muscles are attached to the spinal process, this produces high and long withers which favour a long step and endurance, and are therefore necessary for service. Finally, a good powerful development in the height of the spinal process, in conjunction with a good breadth formation, renders possible a broad and oblique position of the shoulders, which again is essential for the suitable position of the forelimbs. The back itself succeeds the withers, which stand in closest realtion with the loins which are carried by the lumba and extend as far as the buttocks. The kidney lies under the first two vertebraes of the lumba. The breadth of the back tapers off somewhat in the region of the loins, because the lumba carries no ribs. This is very important part indeed and must be especially strong and well knit for the transference of the "follow through" of the hindquarters. The side processes of the lumba are covered on the upper side and in the abdominal cavity with strong muscles which serve in motion. A good breadth in the region of the loins is therefore necessary for efficiency.

" The back should be Straight and Powerful". A vaulting already formed and strongest in the region of the loins and extending upwards is called a "high" or "fish" back. The strength of the muscles is not turned to such good account here, as in a straight back. Curved spine diminishes the power for efficiency and therefore an especially serious handicap. The gait of a good German Shepherd should be easy and gliding that during an even trot not a drop of water would be spilled from a full glass placed on his back.

These words were from the man that created our wonderful German Shepherd, Max von Stephanitz.


I would also like to add some comments from Helmut Raiser's article published March 30, 2004.


Helmut Raiser needs no introduction to the German Shepherd World. This is his opinion of the current German Shepherd being bred today.


Defenders of the German Shepherd dog are locked in a fierce battle about it's future following claims that breeders have made it curvaceous and hopelessly soppy. Helmut Raiser, a former breeder with the German Shepherd Association, says he wants to purify the race and return the animal to it's origins as a work dog with a fierce bite and a 48kmh gallop. The dog is an "Anatomical Disaster". Nowadays he might still be a dog at the front, but he's a frog at the back. His backside is sunk as if a brick were hanging from his testicles. Helmut wrote this in an article for Wuff magazine. Mr Raiser, a dentist from central Germany blames the problems of the 100 year old Shepherd dogs physique on excessive inbreeding and the increasing prevalence of show dogs, bred for their beauty rather than their utilitarianism. Incontinence, hip problems, nerve damage, bone deformities and listlessness are some of the unpleasant side effects he said. Mr Clemens Lux, manager of the Barvaria based German Shepherd Association accuses Mr Raiser of exaggeration. He insists the situation is all under control.


Really! You make your own mind up on that comment.


These articles have been found on a public domain source and in no way reflect on an individual breeder or club. These articles have been published on our website to help educate and answer the question " What is the correct German Shepherd"?. A Straight back or a Banana back, which I am constantly asked to answer.

German Shepherd Roach back

Roach Back



















































































































Straight Back