If you have a German Shepherd – especially if you’re planning to breed or take your dog to conformation shows – knowing the proper German Shepherd stack is highly important. There are various reasons why dog show handlers, show competitors, breeders, and German Shepherd owners are learning the correct German Shepherd stack.
But what is a German Shepherd stack?
First of all, the term Stack refers to the natural stance of any dog. This means that a German Shepherd stack is the natural stance of a German Shepherd.
Why is important to learn the correct German Shepherd stack?
Knowing the proper German Shepherd stack and how to do it correctly can provide a good look and insight to an individual German Shepherd’s stance and body structure. The structure and the angles of a German Shepherd’s body parts is important to properly determine if a German Shepherd has the right and ideal physical traits of the breed – especially in the conformation ring.
It is essential to do a German Shepherd stack and position the dog’s body correctly as the stack or stance will show the audience the German Shepherd’s structure. By doing a correct German Shepherd stack, you are showing your German Shepherd’s:
- Depth of chest,
- Neck length,
- Length to height ratio,
- Turn of stifle,
- The angulation of the croup and back,
- And more.
These physical standards are a respected traditional within the German Shepherd community.
Stacking a German Shepherd incorrectly can result in erroneous critiques from viewers and judges in shows. While knowing how to stack a German Shepherd correctly can highlight the dog’s good traits and reveal faults, a dog’s body can be manipulated to cover faults up or exaggerate angles.
Steps on How to Stack a German Shepherd
Whether it’s in a show ring or taking a stack photo, it’s important to stack your German Shepherd correctly.Before stacking, tiring your German Shepherd a bit a good idea. If you’re stacking your German Shepherd for presentation and photo purposes, you can walk your dog around to tire him a bit and get his tongue hanging out.
There are different ways to do a correct German Shepherd stack and here’s one step-by-step way to do it.
- Reach around the front of your German Shepherd. With your hand under his chest, lift him up a few inches off the ground. Make sure to place your GSD down with his front legs straight and as vertical as possible under his shoulder.
- While still holding your German Shepherd from under the chest, try and keep his front legs straight. You can use your foot as a marker and position it to where the dog’s rear leg – the one closer to you – should be, which is directly below the hip bone.Then, hold that rear leg by the hock, lift it gently, and slide it either forward or backwards.
- Reach over the other side of your German Shepherd’s body and gently extend his outer rear leg to the point that his hock will be straight and vertical . This is a bit challenging since different dogs present themselves differently depending on how far you pull his leg back.
- If you’re already happy with your German Shepherd’s stance, place your hand under the back of your German Shepherd’s jaw – at the point where his neck and jaw meet. Adjust his head, too, in his natural alert position.
- If you think your German Shepherd has the right stance already. Slowly and gently move away from your German Shepherd and hope that he holds this stance long enough for the judges to see or for a partner to take a photo.
If you’re stacking your German Shepherd to take a photo, instruct the person taking a photo to shoot on a dog-eye level – never too low or high for a dog.It’s also a great idea to practice stacking in front of a mirror to see if you’re doing it right. Practicing a German Shepherd stack in front of the mirror will also enable you to see what position your GS looks best in.
If you’re German Shepherd is a beginner, he may be quite a handful during stacking and it may take a few times to make himdo what you want and stay put. Be patient and repeat as needed.