In April last year, the footage of the best of breed German Shepherd (above) scurrying bent-backed and stressed round the big ring at Crufts sparked an outcry way beyond the dog-world. (See the footage here).
Now, a new study published today in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology articulates the troubling state of the breed today in finding that the two leading causes of death for the German Shepherd in the UK are musculoskeletal disorders and "inability to stand".
In fact, if you add in deaths from spinal cord disorders (which often lead to paralysis in GSDs) this new study suggests that almost half of German Shepherds (45%) die from issues that are likely linked to the stresses caused by abnormal conformation.
One can only say "likely", because this study (from VetCompass which mines data from over 500 UK veterinary practices) does not prove it. It does not differentiate between Sheps with a sloped back and those with a more normal one. For that, we will have to wait for the results of a KC-funded locomotion study at the University of Surrey which is quantifying the different GSD types.
But the truth is that there are very few German Shepherds in the UK (or indeed elsewhere) that are anything like as sound in body as this favourite-of-mine dog from 1925, Ch Klodo vom Boxberg.
Here's a typical "Germanic" showline dog for comparison.
In Germany, whose show breeders are ultimately responsible for fucking up the breed, there has been a lot of discussion and some small indicators that change might be on the way. There will be many watching to see if there is any moderation in the dogs at the German Sieger Show (the German showline dog's flagship event) in September.
There is also now a splinter group in Germany - the RSV2000 - which promotes a more workmanlike dog.
And just look at this dog which won Best Puppy at a show in Sweden earlier this year.
To those of us who weep when we look at the modern show German Shepherd, it all offers a small glimmer of hope.
Then I go to the breeder website for the 2016 Crufts best of breed Cruaghaire Catoria - or "Tori" as she is known - and see that they are planning on breeding her (for the third time) this autumn (see here).
I am not sure who is going to win the battle of the GSDs.
Hopefully the dog.