Wobble/hocks - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by Hundmutter on 19 May 2015 - 19:05

To start the off-thred discussion suggested by Western Rider in the 'GSDs Hind Legs'


The point Cutaway was making - and that could be forgiven as 'on' topic, given the 1st

thred's title ! - was that S/L GSDs had been seen with cow hocks, i.e. wobbly back legs.

Cutaway asked if this was healthy or unhealthy;  looked for, or not, by the Show people.


The GSD is not the only purebred Breed in which some dogs suffer, either wholly or for a

short period of time in their youth, from being "Close going away / behind".   Nor is it even

confined to pedigreed dogs.  So no, it isn't wanted or looked for by breeders - and if you

read the GSD Standard, you are told the hocks should be parallel and the moverment


But as others eg Blitzen have said, it is not confined to Show lines;  also, it is not the major

problem some anti-GSD journalists [see that Crufts video excerpt] like to portray it as.

Cutaway may be interested to hear that since the UK's Kennel Club brought in its new Health

rulings a few years ago, and instituted pre-contest Veterinary examinations for GSDs and other

dogs in the "High Profile" / Breed Watch scheme, NO German Shepherds have failed

that examination and thus been unable to compete for Best of Group award, or had BOB taken

away from them.    I think I am right in saying that applies on ALL matters of those dogs' health ; 

but it IS most certainly on the specific issues of weak hindquarters and exagerated toplines.  

In other words, what I and others have banged the drum about for years, now:  there are no

evidential disqualifications on these conformation features from the point of view of GSDs'

health and "fitness for purpose".  And yes, before posters start telling me to 'Google it' again,

or point out that the SV does spinal radiography as well as hips & elbows these days,  I know there

is a wealth of opinion  and  theorising out there on the Web - but there is NO ABSOLUTE, PROVEN

LINK between any of the spinal or ambulatory conditions which can affect our breed, and the shape

of their back or croup, or the angles of their stifles, or the length of their legs.  The worst that

can be said is that overlong and excessive rear angulation is ugly;  and that in some dogs it

goes hand-in-hand with an inability to jump very high (although, equally, some dogs of modern

Germanic shape / construction CAN, and do, still jump and scramble over high targets !).


Many cow-hocked dogs grow out of that problem;  see them when they are mature and have

'tightened up' a bit and there remains no sign of them 'going away' badly.   And for those for whom

age and/or more exercise DON'T do the trick ?   Well, a quarter of Show Pekes were shown to be

cow-hocked when examined a while back;  its just that it is more obvious with a longer legged breed

like GSDs !  Having lived with dogs who were cow-hocked, and dogs who were not, my own exper-

ience is that:  it a) usually does not make a significant difference to the way they move;  and  b)  can

come and go, depending on whether the dog is tired, what surface it is walking, or standing still, on.






by Hundmutter on 19 May 2015 - 19:05

Stoopid site won't allow me to amend the post above by taking out the confusing

word "other" in para.3  (should read "GSD and other dogs in the "high profile" ...").

Tried amending it three times !

by Ibrahim on 19 May 2015 - 19:05

There isn't yet enough serious studies to prove whether cow hocks/loose hocks affect hips or spine negatively or not. Agree to that. But loose hocks and cow hocks (seen while going, not in still stand) affect trot efficiency, therefore both are to be considered serious faults irregardles the fact some judges do not penalize dogs having one or both.


by Cutaway on 19 May 2015 - 20:05


Many cow-hocked dogs grow out of that problem;

That statement makes sense to me as the dogs i saw/see it in are younger dogs. So if they "may" grow out of it, then i am guessing the judges do not get concerned about it during the judging of that age group but would be considered a fault in the adult groups. Its now apparent to me that 'cow hocks' are not desired but are looked at like Pano; it sucks, but its something that can happen and the dog will generally grow out of it. I am still not clear as to why it happens or what causes it?

I hope that its clear through my postings that i am honestly not trying to bag on any "Line" trying to put one style of GSD above another. My experience in seeing cow hocked dogs was at a dog show, and i still continue to see them at a local conformation GSD club and have been warned to not mention or ask about the wobble.

by Nans gsd on 19 May 2015 - 21:05

NO;  as IBraham said it is a major fault;  if a breeder wants to take a chance on a cow-hocked puppy and grow it up and wait to see if he/she grows out of it, fine, so be it;  BUT I do not recommend buying a cow hocked puppy.  Close in the rear while moving is one thing and is still a fault;  but hocks should be neither in or out in the rear movement either while moving or standing still.


SOMETIMES:  it is about the muscles,tendons,ligaments holding all the rear together grow at different times making the dog seemingly cowhocked;  sometimes I have seen in severe cases a cowhocked dog exhibit HD when being x-rayed.  My past experience in a lot of working dogs in close/cowhocked rears usually stay that way;  in otherwards what you see at 8 weeks - 12 weeks usually is what you are going to get as an adult.  YES they can go through some growing stages particularly larger breeds that make you think "OH MY GOD" what happened to his/her rear;  sometimes the dog can be OVERWORKED at a critical growth period/time and you can actually ruin or injure their rear permanently.  Like jogging them too far too young, too fast... Normal puppy play and exercise should be done;  without a lot of jumping/jogging/hard work until their bones and joints are set and matured.  A good diet also helps to keep up good muscle tone and bone formation without overdosing on calcium/phosparus(sp) and a bunch of supplements.  Just an appropriate diet for appropriate age groups is sufficient.  also overweight dogs tend to be cowhocked more often than not as they are not physicallty able to carry a lot of excess weight.  Lean muscle mass is really best.  I hope this helps you.  If you can get a book called "Dog in Motion" is has great illustrations of rear(s) standing and in motion.  Actual "wobbling" in the rear would concern me.  There is a disease called "Wobblers" known in Dobermans sometimes that can be seen which is neuro in nature, there are some other breeds that this Wobbler's disease can affect also, possibly Great Danes??  No sure all the various breeds.  So your dogs strength and fluid motion comes from a strong rear;  also sometimes a dog can have weak knees that can exhibit a problem rear.  There are many different reasons why you might see weaknesses in the rear.  Still concerning to me. 


Good luck  Nan

mrdarcy (admin)

by mrdarcy on 19 May 2015 - 21:05

Hundmutter, not the stoopid site but when you add " " to the title it mucks things right up so I took them out for you.


by Hundmutter on 19 May 2015 - 21:05

Oh Mr Darcy, I'll remember that in future !  Did not know.  Very

strange manifestation ...Omg Smile   T Y.

by Ibrahim on 19 May 2015 - 21:05

Very good post Nan.

Wobbling and cow hocks are two different things, but a dog can have both at same time, again they are two different issues and each has its causes.



Strength, fitness and health of legs and their proper locomotion depend on all of following:

Bone strength

Muscle mass and strength

Ligaments (in my language the exact translation is strings)

Healthy joints

Length of bones

angles (between bones, joint angles)

age stage

Disease/infections etc

and allover fitness/conditioning of dog


I will make a note on bone lengths and joint angle.

In the rear assembly, from engineering view, the wider the joint between any two bones is the less stress and thus a stronger assembly. Those joint angles vary from one breed to another, based on purpose/function of breed, for example in a GSD they are less open than say a breed that is a galloper or a hunter. But there is a limit that no breed should cross in narrowing those angles, this limit when crossed and dog has no extra enough increased muscle mass and extra strong ligaments to make up for narrowed joint angles, problems occure, one problem is wobbling.

Example to explain stress related to joint angle

Try to raise your arm horizontally (your arm making a 90 degree with your shoulder), after few minutes you will reach a state where you can not keep lifting it that way, but if you lift your arm higher than horizontal, say your arm making a 120 degree with your shoulder, you can keep it that way for longer. A clever Marshall does that in a millitary parade.


What actually hapenned is some show GSDs crossed the (safe) joint degree, especially at the knee and knee joint angle has become too small to sustan stress, same goes for angle between hock and lower thigh bone, if you add to that, longer lower thigh bone and longer hock bone, here you have a disaster.

One final note: some think the knee joint became less open due to increasing the length of the lower thigh bone, that is not true, there are dogs with long lower thigh bone and with still open angle of knee.

by Nans gsd on 20 May 2015 - 01:05

OK Ibraham:  I'll buy that, but what you have to keep in mind and what is of the utmost of importance when breeding, DON'T duplicate faults, like if the bitch has a weaker rear, sure as _ _ _ _ , do NOT breed her to a male with a cowhawked/weak,wobbling/shitty rear.  You will most likely get a shitty rear FOR SURE...  no where else to go...And BY LUCK if the grandparants come thru with a good strong, wherever rear, figure you lucked out THIS TIME.  BUT it will come back to haunt you in another generation, and probably that generation will be the next. 


My scenario, breed the best to the best, whether it is working, show lines, AM or German.  That is dogs, an their genetics,  wished I could cut some slack, but NO...  Best to the Best, =  good/great structures...


Let me add particularly pay attention to the GSD as a whole as their variations curently and from their past can come up regularly, whether you want them or not and take several generations of breeding the
Best to the Best to clean up the faults you have created...JMHO. 


by susie on 20 May 2015 - 18:05

I don´t like cowhocked and/or wobbling hindquarters in a puppy.
They grow out of it? Really? Maybe they only got good training - think about it.
Muscles are very important for any animal/human.The better the muscles, the better the movement = less wobbling or cowhocks...
but this doesn´t change the sceleton and the angles of the bones, training only changes the movement.
Too much angulation = too much angulation, wobbling or not.

There is a standard:
Too much angulation = disadvantages in movement, speed, ability to jump ( no working dog )
Not enough angulation = wide restrictions in the gaits, mostly in trotting ( no German Shepherd dog according to the standard )

I don´t want to wait till my dog "grows out" of any negative growth period, be it wobbling, pano, or anything else.
I want a puppy able to play, able to run, able to LIVE like a "normal" dog - everything else is not normal in my eyes.



Contact information  Disclaimer  Privacy Statement  Copyright Information  Terms of Service  Cookie policy  ↑ Back to top