Your German Shepherd is not 200lbs of “Pure Muscle”; a.k.a. Debunking the Clifford Syndrome.

25 Oct

We seem to have a cultural preponderance towards exaggeration. We get it. Heck, we love it and use it, but some forms of exaggerations just make you look like a dumbass. One of the most irritating and prevalent  forms is the tendency for certain types of dumbasses owners to believe with utmost certainty that their dog’s enormous girth is something to be proud of.

Not an ounce of glory on that dog.

And why exactly do these people feel the need to brag about their 200 pound dog?  It’s not a pissing contest. If anything it shows that either your dog is WAY above standard or morbidly obese, neither of which seem particularly appealing to us.

Yeah, your dog may be bigger, but our dad can totally beat up your dad.

Freak accidents happen. Some dogs will go well above standard in many breeds, but this is not something a good breeder is hoping for. The “Warlock” Dobermans, “Royal” Standard Poodles, “King” Shepherds, among others are each examples of the terrible things disreputable people will do to sell puppies to people who don’t know better. That inkling you have of the “King Shepherd” probably being a badly bred Malamute mix is likely dead-on and there is no hope in trying to convince them otherwise.

Big dog. Even bigger pituitary issues.

The reverse of course, is in the purse-dog phenomenon with “Teacup”, “Imperial”, “Micro-Mini Super Tiny Tinkle Tees” or whatever the hell they’re called now. Purchasers of these miller monstrosities are generally extremely defensive over their purchase (Which is commonly defended via yelling purchase prices at people who really don’t care. At least Kanye had himself painted as Jesus on a ceiling.That’s the kind of ridiculous expenditure we can get behind.).

Just ponder that for a moment.

The second group is probably among the most delusional in all of dogdom. Their dogs are 200lbs of “pure muscle”, even as you watch their rolls jiggle and shake as the dog struggles to eke out a full breath. Their dogs are badass, rough, tough and full-on man-eaters, despite the obvious muscular deficiency, wheezing respiratory function, and panting after short jaunt to their bowl, typically filled with the spoils of Walmart (a.k.a. Beneful) to enhance their toned physique. Despite veterinary advice, dog-people advice, and not-so-common sense, they remain convinced that their dogs are fit and trim, and not the chubby sacks of heart disease and fat we all know them to be.

Fat is fat, Husky. Fat is fat.

The third and surprisingly common example is that of the wishful thinker. They know their dog is 90lbs and they’re sure that’s what the vet weighed them at last week.  Despite evidence to the contrary, these individuals still routinely tell individuals their dog weighs ‘a buck ten’.   Maybe it’s wishful thinking or maybe it’s way to compensate for other….shortcomings.

Keep on Keepin’ on, Hillary.

So really, stop the madness.  There is no shame in owning a 70 pound dog. Or a 50 pound dog. Or a truly lean, mean creature. Fit is good!  But we will judge you for insisting that your 90 pound dog weighs 180, or if they actually do weigh 180, or if they weight 90 and are supposed to be 50… There’s just a lot of judgement coming from over here.

46 Responses to “Your German Shepherd is not 200lbs of “Pure Muscle”; a.k.a. Debunking the Clifford Syndrome.”

  1. Kyle October 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Right to the point! Again!
    My boy is above standard, but I know that and he’s not shown.
    He’s 29″ tall (max 27″ for Rottweiler) and tips the scale at 154 lb (shouldn’t be more than 130). But I do exercise him constantly, plus he’s not food driven in general and gets two small meals a day (sometimes one if he doesn’t finish it).

    But the obsession of locals with “King Sheppard”, “King Doberman” (also see a lot of “rare blue dobermans” with only TWO standard colours) is just ridiculous.

    And people that get those, without any knowledge to begin with, and then brag about their GSD being “king” or whatever other BS and 200 lbs – sorry, it’s a compensation. Nothing else. Like all those “gangsta” kids wanting to get a pit bull (lovely dogs, btw) or a Rottweiler and turn them into a monster (which with a pure bred rott won’t be a problem, but they will suffer the consequences), but they buy mutts, who’s breed characteristics were completely bred out of them, and try to turn them into a “bad ass” dog. And I am the one who gets grief for it, owning a huge, but perfectly trained Rottweiler, just because they have a “reputation” thanks to certain idiots…

    • Jenny October 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

      King doberman. Ugh!!! Just a small correction – in the AKC and CKC they come in 4 acceptable colours: black, red, blue and Isabella (fawn). They’re not exactly rare, just recessive colours – blue is the recessive of black and Isabella is the recessive of red. The recessive colours are prone to skin/coat issues.

    • Sarah Runyan October 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

      There are 4 colors of Doberman allowed in AKC. Black, Red, Blue, and Fawn. Fawns and Blues are in the standard. Only albino Dobes are not standard, as far as color goes.

    • Carla October 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      Dobermans have FOUR recognized colors (with tan points) Black, Red, Blue and Fawn. Blue and fawn are dilutes, but they are recognized colors and there are quite a few blue and fawn Champions and GR Champions. The ONLY disqualifying (and undesirable) color is white/albino as Z factor is dangerous and dogs carrying the Z factor should be desexed and taken out of the gene pool.

      In other words, if you’re going to criticize someone’s choice of dog, please know what the hell you’re talking about before you open your trap!

  2. H. Houlahan October 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    German shepherds, Rottweilers, and Labradors are, apparently, sold by the pound.

    When I’m out with my GSD, I am constantly told by random idiots that they had one “Just like that.” (No. No you did not.) But that theirs was “German police” and also, weighed 150 pounds.


    I’ve now taken to asking whether the dog died of heart disease or did the owner kill him when his hips gave out?

    • Victoria Price-Gee October 25, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Oh man, the “150 lb German police” dogs are the best…. and everyone seems to have them….

  3. Christine Vezina October 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    You know something’s wrong when 90% of the people meeting your standard-size dogs for the first time say, “But… They’re so little!”

    • Angie October 25, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      I totally agree, Christine! My APBT weighs 45 lbs. and I always get, “Why is she so little?” questions. I have to try really hard not to roll my eyes before I answer.

      • Staci October 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

        THIS SO MUCH.

        My APBT is just a BYB pup I got from the shelter, and she’s definitely on the large side- 55lbs. That’s about as big as you can get within standard, and to me really it’s too big for a female. So I have a hard time not having a meltdown when I’m told, “That can’t be a Pit Bull, she’s too small!”

    • Elise October 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

      That happens all the time with my 50 pound rescue APBT! I have to try to pull back my catty response of ‘actually, no pit bull should be 85 pounds’ in my super condescending voice. She is a little too ‘bully’ but isn’t fat. Result of poor breeding most likely.

  4. Nevaeh October 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    This is so spot on it hurts. As a Great Dane owner, for some reason people with obese or “king sized” dogs get extremely defensive about their dog’s size. Like, they’ll ask how much our dogs weigh and I’ll tell them 125 and 160 pounds respectively for our small female and medium sized male. Then add that both of them are a little underweight for the sake of their hips per the recommendation of a Great Dane rescue, a Great Dane breeder, and two different vets. And then they insist that what I have been told I’d nonsense and proudly tell me that their German Shepherd/Lab/Dobie weighs more than my Danes. Like, good for you, but you barrel with legs for a dog, despite how much I’m sure you love it (keep feeding it like that and you’ll love it to death), but you’re killing it slowly. Eventually I just started walking my dogs on trails where I’m less likely to see people, because everyone apparently had a Dane “just like that but bigger” or some kind of monster dog of another breed that was “way bigger”.

    • H. Houlahan November 3, 2013 at 1:37 am #

      There is very little that is more horrifying than an obese Doberman.

      They look like ticks standing on stilts.

  5. crystalpegasus1 October 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I get the “your dog is so skinny” comment pretty frequently too, GSD, 68 pounds (female). I typically smile and say, “No, you just haven’t seen one that’s not fat.”

  6. Steve Mize October 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    DEAD ON ARTICLE!!!!! I have Labs and they are very much in shape…as we compete in dock diving and disc dogs. I constantly see people who have even stated mine look thin..because you can see their cut behind the ribs…then i see there obviously obese dog and they say this is how they are supposed to look….I shudder….

  7. Renee October 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    I love it when people with obese dogs accost me cause they think I’m starving my greyhound.

  8. Yankee Shelties October 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    It’s a constant battle. As a society we just love to overfeed everyone including our pets. Feel the ribs, darn it! Feel the ribs to see if she needs to lose a few pounds. UGH! Harder to see on a double coated breed like a sheltie but hands on is the test.

  9. Rosemary October 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    I happened to be at Purina Farms a year ago when the National Labrador Retriever Specialty was being held. The dogs in the best of breed competition were consistently so obese that it was not only a wonder that they made it around the ring, but if they were to hit the water after a duck, they would bob around like corks due to all their fat. This was obscene! I doubt that any of them could perform the task they were bred for in that condition.

  10. yv0nnej October 25, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Laughing ..this is so true& honest. I may have to print this off& hang it at the dog park! As someone who does agility, I actually prayed my Vizsla was at the verryyyyyy bottom of the standard& I wouldn’t cry if she was a little under. No, my stupid responsible breeder gave me a dog that fell right in the smackdab middle for a female V.

  11. Amy Crawford October 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    I have a 105 lb. Irish Wolfhound. Comments alternate between, “that’s a horse!” and “aren’t they usually bigger?”
    I’m going to start telling people he’s a rare miniature Irish Wolfhound.

    • Diane October 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Visiting a hospital with my therapy dog, I hear it all the time — “my friend/sister/grandfather/cousin used to have one, but it was A LOT bigger!” The hound that I take for hospital visits is absolutely average – 34″ and around 150 lbs. Then there are the folks who tell me about the GSD/doberman/rottie they used to have which was a lot bigger, too. Uh huh. You learn to just smile and nod your head. Even among the breed people, the bullshit abounds. If you believe what you hear, there are a lot of 40″ Irish wolfhounds running around. Back when I had mastiffs, it was the weight that got exaggerated. There were lots of purported 275 pound mastiffs. Now with the IWs, it’s height measurements that get creative. My little guy (32″, which is the bottom end of the standard) still got his CH. But I did have to put up with some “miniature wolfhound” jokes. There’s no way I’d let them get fat. Not with heart disease vying for number one killer. Feel the ribs. Cut down the food quantity. It’s just that simple.

  12. Alyssa October 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Spot on!! I have seen all of this and it’s definitely aggravating!

    I have a 1.5yr old GSD female that stays around 55 lbs working weight and about 23″ tall. Because she’s sable, the first thing that is always asked is “Shepherd mix?”. The second I say she’s a GSD, 100%….. that always opens the floodgates to their personal stories and comments on how my dog isn’t a correct shepherd…. “Wow…. she’s really small, and her color isn’t correct… definitely some mixing in there! I know shepherds… she’s not pure!”… Or… “Back in the day… I had the ‘real’ type of GSD that was 140lbs and could stand up on two at 6ft tall! He just loved to sleep all day and be a couch potato!” ….. Oh my…… I’ve learned to just walk away, because none of them care to listen. But you know… of course, all their dogs have “champion blood lines”… so they must be right.

    Thanks for the good read and a good laugh!

    • Kat November 6, 2013 at 2:23 am #

      Oh my god, I feel your pain. I have a Dutch Shepherd, and unfortunately she gets lots of attention in public for her wild stripes and bright orange eyes. People always ask me what she’s mixed with, then a) insist that I’m making the breed up, b) say ‘I’ve never heard of that kind of German Shepherd or c) say ‘Ohhh, she’s like one of those Seal Team 6 dogs, the Beggan Matinwas!’

  13. adrian west October 25, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    I am told I need to feed my dog more food because she is “too thin” and she needs more fat on her. My dog is a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier (type b rat terrier) weighing 10Ilbs, lean and muscular. These same people did not comment and said how cute she was when Teensy was 4 pounds overweight looking like a barrel on sticks. My dog couldn’t run, she jiggled when she did and couldn’t run for too long. I will never let her get to 14Ilbs again because it was hard to get that weight off and keep it off…, she can literally run circles around those obese dogs of others and then some. Every type b Rat terrier I see is obese or getting there or the standard rattles are too. I cannot stand it, but they are the ones killing their dogs.

  14. Gwen Calavera (@GwenCalavera) October 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Ha ha, the opposite happens with a bull terrier. I tell people my dog is 45 pounds and they expect a WAY bigger dog. He is super compact and his shoulders are right about at my knee but he actually IS pure muscle. For almost his entire life he’s eaten raw and walked at least 3 miles a day. He’s also had much larger dogs attack him and despite being 1/2 or even 1/3 of their size, easily held his own. It’d definitely NOT the size of the dog but some people will never understand that.

    • Paul October 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      My Callie is around that size too and yeah the people who fear him would swear he was a hippo. Solid muscled lap dog…just right.

  15. Mary October 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    My ‘Beef’ with people with overweight dogs is when they complain that the dog is ‘very fussy’ about eating. People if your dog takes more than 15 minutes to eat or leaves some in his dish he is getting too much food! Period! Reduce the amount you are feeding until the dog eats it all with gusto! I have never owned a dog that took more that 5 minutes to eat their meals. Lean dogs live happier longer lives.

  16. Lynae Eakett Greene October 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    My Shiba Inu is 29 lbs, she eats a conservative amount each day, and spends time running around outside. She is 9, and not fat, but not lean either. She’s 5 lbs over the breed standard for a female. I can’t say for sure that it’s the breeding, I adopted her and she was originally purchased for $1400. But I know it’s not our lifestyle, or over feeding. She’s happy, and healthy. It’s irritating when I see obese dogs with owners that are so proud of their rolley polley doggie I want to scream! I had a neighbor with a basset hound that was so fat he couldn’t wag his tail. He could barely walk, and he had so much fat deposited all over his body that it had no where else to go but his back. Dogs shouldn’t have BACK FAT!!! I felt very bad for him, he had to be in a lot of pain. He had a sweet disposition, but his owner truly sentenced him to a life of suffering.

    • transgenesis October 29, 2013 at 4:47 am #

      I too have a shiba and often get “someone shrank your dog.” Our shiba is 1 yr old and 25 lbs, but he has a much smaller frame than most; they can definitely have a dense, muscular build. Our husky hit 57 lbs and we put her on a diet immediately for the sake of her hips. It really makes me sad seeing obese animals.

  17. Jessica October 25, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    OMG, yes! I have two Great Danes, both rescues, and both females. My 19 m/o pup just barely meets breed standard, but she meets standard, I’m not showing anyway, and she’s healthy and active. But, since she’s petite, “she must be a lab mix or something.” Our 4 y/o foster failure is taller, but both have gotten comments about being so skinny because I make sure they both stay at an optimum weight (little bit is 95#, baby foster failure is around 110#). Dane hips, especially those with uncertain genetics, don’t need to cart around extra fluff. It drives me nuts that so many people tell me my dogs are so small because they knew someone who had a GD that came up to *here*.

  18. Linda October 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    I can’t list the number of times I’ve been asked if my my standard-sized Airedales are miniatures. But the sad thing is a lot of time they look like miniatures in the show ring too. That might be the subject of another post.

  19. Joy Clark Brunton October 26, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    Only just discovered your blog and have to say I love it. You say so many things that I think every day at work (I am a veterinary receptionist) but am unable to voice. I hope you don’t mind me piggybacking on your blog. You inspired me to write today. Kind of an adjunct to this blog.

  20. Skittlegryph October 26, 2013 at 1:03 am #

    I get told all the time that my 11-year old rescued pug is “soooo skinny!!1!”. No, she is the healthy weight my vet says she should be! Fat pugs are sad.

  21. Ruth October 26, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    OMG – love your rant on this! I have a large breed dog – not giant, but big. My CH male is at the top of the standard at 28 inches – but he is in the standard, and while he was typically the tallest dog in the show ring at local shows, he gets lost in the crowd at Specialties. But I keep him lean and fit because we do agility and other dog sports, plus we hike and backpack and other active fun stuff (steep climbs up mountains, not stroll along the river – ) My boy generates two very common reactions – people frequently say – OH He’s big – I’ve never seen one that big! And I explain, yes, he’s at the top of the standard so you probably haven’t seen one that big, but seriously, he’s not a mutant. Then – the second question is ALWAYS – how much does he weigh? And I tell them, and people are equally shocked because they think he must weigh at least 20 pounds more than he actually does. And THEN they tell me that THEIR dog weighs more than MY dog – and it’s almost always a lab, and if not a lab, then a GSD! No, really people – your 22 -23 inch lab or GSD should NOT WEIGH MORE than my 28 ” working dog – no way! And if you want to tell me your dog is “all muscle” I just have to walk away, because your dog is at least 40 50 pounds overweight, and I don’t even need to see the dog to know that. Your poor dog…
    But equally bizarre are the people who are very involved with my own breed who criticize me behind my back because “I keep my dogs too thin.” Seriously? My dogs are active and happy and living many years longer than the breed average – and when you tell me how much your dog weighs, I cringe…no, it’s not muscle, it really really isn’t. Yep, I’ll keep my dogs “too thin”, thank you – funny how they seem to live longer and stay healthier that way!

  22. AER October 26, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    I thought y’all would appreciate these… Ugly “labradoodles”, not even f1 crosses but instead crosses of crosses. This lady charges $1700! For one of these mutts. And I have seen them in person – they are not really cute or smart.

    Judge away.

    • Gail F. October 28, 2013 at 5:07 am #

      $1700 for mixed-breeds. I guess there are people who will actually pay that much; I see ‘Doodles” all the time. And she uses Northwestern University to back up her supposed breeding philosophy; I’ve never heard that NU, a fine educational institution, was an authority on dog breeding…The Labradoodles in the ads are not unattractive; but for God’s sake, if people want a fluffy mixed-breed, there are thousands waiting in pounds and shelters…

  23. beth October 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    We have three dogs; two Shepherds and a Samoyed. They are fit and at the proper weight. People tell me they are thin. … they are not. Vets tell folks their obese dog is at a good weight. Fat is the new normal. Sad.

  24. Connie Kaplan October 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    I get it when the owner is overweight too…but in my neighborhood there are a number of fit owners with overweight dogs…scratching my head….

  25. rontuaru October 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    I’ve never understood the “my dog is HUGE” brag. We’re not talking about houses, salaries or penises, folks! Usually when someone proudly states that their dog weighs 20 pounds more than it should, I respond with, “Wow, I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you get a handle on that real soon!” then I change the subject or walk away. My Rattie is very lean and muscular. (My ACDs are too, but they have more coat so it’s less visible) He also has his nuts, which help him stay that way. I’m not sure which I worry about more: being harassed about his being very lean or about him not being neutered.

  26. katharine October 27, 2013 at 2:47 am #

    hello dog snobs.
    i wasn’t sure where to leave this so i’ll put it here
    comedy gold

  27. Rachel October 27, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    I personally had to deal with this all the time with Rottweilers,I own a 75ib lean male. So I of course have to get a crap load of people bragging about their 180ib giant one,and comments how small mine is.
    Can their dog run and jump like mine can? doubtfully. So why is it better then mine again?

  28. Paul October 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Right on target as always…no matter mountain dog or chi…fat is not cute or powerful, fat means your pooch is going to die early or have medical issues. I also want to open fire on the idiots breeding bullies with mutant shoulders.

  29. ShannaShanna October 28, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    I get this stuff all the time with my female GSD. She’s right at the upper end of the standard in size, but at a healthy weight, so people either think she’s really skinny or feel the need to tell me about their monstrosity of a GSD, but of course it’s from Germany and only knows German protection commands. My dog is my working guide, so I deal with the dumb comments a lot. When I was training her as a puppy, it was amazing to me how many people didn’t realize she was still a baby and needed to let me know that my girl was pretty but sooo small!

  30. Julia October 29, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    I used to actually be a police K9 handler, and people loved to tell me they had a dog just like him, and big too. I would ask them how much they thought he weighed ( which was actually 83 pounds in fighting weight, and very, very fast) and often got guesses starting with ” At least 115-120.” Yeah. I want to lift that into an attic to search. Also, in California, its illegal to force feed geese to make fois gras, but people are proud of their 42 pound mini dachsie. Yike.

  31. Cara October 29, 2013 at 3:35 am #

    My parents foster Great Pyrs. They took one in that was *so* fat she could barely move–she panted when drinking water and was at least 125 lbs. It was so sad and pathetic. They eventually got her down to 100 lbs (which really, is still overweight for a standard female Pyr). A dumbass potential adopter accused them of starving the dog b/c he had his heart set on a 150 lb female Pyr (uh, they’re not supposed to be that big!) and saw pictures of her beforehand when she could barely waddle and was pissing herself all the time because she couldn’t squat. That was apparently the dog for him and he was mad that she had lost weight. For the life of me I don’t understand how anyone could think a morbidly obese dog is healthy or desirable.

  32. bitterzuur October 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    I only just found your blog and I like it very much sofar.
    I changed from a neckless cattle dog (15 kilo’s of pure muscle;-)) to whippets. 12,5 and 17,5 kilo’s when in racing condition. I’ve had to endure some BS about their weight. Nowadays I react by looking the commenter over and saying: My dog has a healthy weight….. Sometimes I show people that at some places it just can’t be muscle, cause there aren’t any in that place.
    A nice rant about overweight dogs that won’t eat all their food

  33. wedding dresses elie saab December 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re utilizing? I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest site and I’d like to find something more secure. Do you have any solutions?

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