The standard of a dog breed is established by the specialty club and is approved by the All-breed club. The standard is intended to describe dogs most fitted to perform the tasks for which the respective breed is to be used. While the standard is a guide to perfection in the breed and usually defines the perfect dog, such dog does not exist. A german Shepherd Dog is not disqualified by a few or many minor deviations from the standard. In judging the dog, the judge is not seeking a perfect dog, he is just choosing the best ones in the class.
Judicial opinions also vary. Some judges simply refuse to give prizes to dogs with missing premolars (a minor fault) and will place a definitely inferior dog over another, no matter how good, with a gap in his mouth. This is the reason for the rules which require a dog to win in a series of shows to obtain the title of champion. Otherwise, one show would settle everything.
The novice fancier of the German Shepherd Dog must be warned against the condemnation of his dog for some minor or minute faults. Especially, he should not attach too much importance to faults that can be remedied. Fatness or thickness is not so much the fault of the dog as of the keeper. A fat dog may be reduced in weight, or a thin one may be fattened. The possession of the correct coat at a given time is less important than his known ability to grow a correct coat. A flabby dog in a show is almost certain to go down to defeat, but it has nothing to do with his fundamental merits.
But the pride of ownership should not prompt us to forgive the obvious serious faults:
Disqualifying Faults: Albino characteristics; cropped ears; hanging ears (as in hound); docked tails; monochidism; cryptochidism.
Very Serious Faults: Major faults of temperament; undershot lower jaw.
Serious Faults: Faults of balance and proportion; poor gait; marked deficiency of substance (bone or body); faulty backs; too level or too short croup; long and week loin; very bad feet; ring tails; tails much too short; rickety condition; more than four missing premolars or any other missing teeth, unless due to accident; washedout color; overshot bite. Majr faults include poorly carried ears; too fine heads; weak muzzles; improper muscular condition; faulty coat; badly affected teeth. Minor faults are too coarse heads; hooked tails; too round or protruded eyes; discolored teeth; condition of coat due to season or keeping.
German Shepherd Dog Official Breed Standards: