This is Rumor, a pure-bred German Shepherd. Two years ago she was the “winning-est” dog in the U.S.A. She entered the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show twice, and won Best in Show last year. (See Rumor Has It on Mutts.)
This is Future. She is also a pure-bred German Shepherd.
Can you tell the difference between the two?
Take a good look.
Rumor meets all of the breed standards: a well-muscled body that is slightly longer than high, high-set erect ears, a slightly curved bushy tail, and the withers higher than and sloping into the back.
Future would never meet American Kennel Club Standards and make it as far as The Westminster.
Look at her back. It doesn’t have the gentle slope. It’s totally straight. And that’s by design.
Future was bred by The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, to be a guide dog. The straight back enables her to adapt and tolerant a harness – the integral part of guide dog equipment.
Some German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia. But the Seeing Eye’s program has all but eliminated that. Plus, many guide dogs are bred to be smaller, making them more adaptable to tight spaces, such as on an airplane.
Just as Future may not be a show dog, Rumor may not be the perfect guide dog.
Both are highly intelligent. Both are good-looking.
And both are champions.
One in the show ring.
And the other to the person who depends on her for sight.