Doug Goodman

Texas Horror Writer. Cadaver Dog Handler.

Doug's Blog

Torpedo-Headed Dragsters

Posted by douggoodman on July 18, 2009 at 10:20 PM

I went to the dog show hoping to find a dog, or at least, a breeder.  My search for a new human remains dog has taken me from black-mouth curs to labradors, until I settled on German Shepherds.  Some good people recommended checking out the shepherds at the dog show.  As fate would have it, the SARQuest booth was located between the Labrador Rescue Association on one side, the German Shepherd Club on the other.  Or as my daughter aptly put it, "old dog and new dog."


I was excited to see the dogs.  I had researched the breed, which is not hard to do when your parents are one-time breeders of the dog you are looking into.  They gave me many good insights, from the obvious (looking for a "roached" back, which is where the spine arches like a rainbow) to the harder to discern(looking for the angle in the dog's pasterns, which can affect a GSD's ability to walk long distances).  Overbreeding issues also came up, such as breeding the back hips so low the dog looks like a dragster.  Some of my SAR friends told me to watch the knee angles and leg bone lengths, which can look good in a show dog but will make working the dog difficult over time.


After spending hours absorbing all this info, it was time to sit down at the dog show and put it to test.  I grabbed a seat in the corner so that I could get a good look at the dog's gait.  (Some shepherds overstep the rear paw over the front paw, and others can have a "wiggly butt" as I like to call it.  No, I do not know the proper term for "wiggly butt.")  I spent the the next few hours watching so many GSDs that all my eyes saw were black and tan.  But now I can make the statement that a lot of the dogs I saw were great for the ring, but just aren't what I'm looking for.  I don't need pretty; I need functional.  I spoke to one breeder who asked me what kind of shepherd I was searching for.  I wanted to tell her I was after a good-tempered dog with lots of drive and a love for the smell of dead things, but I knew the answer would be "Great.  But what do you want to SEE?"  So I explained that I am looking for a close-coated short female.  Color is not an issue only an issue if the dog is all-black.  It is too hot in Houston for an all-black dog, IMO.  She thought her dogs would be too large for me, but told me to give her a look anyways. 


The dog show was not a failure.  Sometimes to find what you want, you have to define what you do not want.  I do not want torpedo-headed dragsters.

Categories: Search and Rescue, Finding A New Dog, Dogs (General)

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