Dachshund toplines: a slippery slope?

The UK Breed Standard describes the required topline as “back reasonably level, blending harmoniously between withers and slightly arched loin“. Back in 1939, Sayer illustrated the ideal topline and some examples of typical faults.

fig23-26

The faults he described were the hollow back (Fig. 24), hindquarters higher than the withers (Fig. 25) and a roached back (Fig. 26).

Interestingly, he didn’t describe the reverse fault of Fig. 25; a topline that slopes down from higher withers to lower hindquarters.

Is that just a fault that we are beginning to see emerging today and if so, why?

Here are some outlines of dogs with that sloping topline:

Sloping toplines.jpg

Their toplines have angles of between 5 and 15 degrees from the horizontal. None of them could be described as “reasonably level, blending harmoniously between withers and slightly arched loin“.

You might argue that some of them are simply being stretched out too much in a show pose, which could explain the outline.

However, you may not be able to see from these outlines, but the majority of these dogs also have over-angulated hindquarters, with excessive length of lower thigh. Their hock joints stand too far away from their body and the rear pasterns cannot possibly provide the strength required to hold the dog more upright, with the correct topline.

Following the apparent fashion for over-angulated rear ends it’s a slippery slope from correct toplines to these faulty ones.

Where will it end if breeders and judges can’t recognise what’s happening? Can anybody remember Jemima Harrison’s “Half dog, half frog” image from 2008? The image below (from “Dumb and Dumpy: Can the GSD be saved?” Der Spiegel 2011) might give you a clue.

Spiegel GSD image

You would think that this faulty topline would be obvious even to novice Dachshund judges and breeders. We’ve already got enough of a challenge getting people to understand the correct 2:1 proportions and ground clearance required by the UK Breed Standard without adding in this further exaggeration.

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