Sequoyah German Shepherds
Take a look at the page below to see some orphans that need a loving home!
The History of
the German Shepherd Breed
Description of the German Shepherd Breed:
Noble and Beautiful|
Dependability, and Loyalty|
|By nature, wary of
strangers, though once one is accepted by him, a friend for
an efficient, obedient worker, quick to learn and what
is learned is never forgotten. |
active dog, thriving on work—little is beyond his capabilities|
eyes indicate the love and affection he has for those who care
for him |
intelligent expression that will command attention|
loves human companionship|
one desire is to be with you and to please you|
will respond to his owner’s mood whether happy or sad|
keen sense of humor and enjoys playing games |
he is a
frightening adversary when defending those he loves
Words of Advice:
In bringing a German Shepherd into your
home, you are making an addition to your family. He will
become a part of it. Your house, your yard, and your
very possessions (in fact, all that you own) will, from then on, be
under his special protection. He needs your love and care
(attention to his grooming, exercise, food, and general welfare) for he will give you
not only his love but his very life if called upon.
Man even long ago recognized that dogs'
ability far exceeded their own in many areas and served as an
excellent complement to man, strengthening man's weaknesses -- the
dog could run better, see better, hear better and had a far more
acute sense of smell than man.
Wild dogs were captured and reared within
man’s encampment, and in return for food, shelter, and protection,
they would help man hunt and give him advance warning of predatory
animals. This was the beginning, and as man settled from
his nomadic wanderings his requirements of the dog changed.
Before long, man began to use the dog to help tend his sheep and
The size, coat, and color of sheepdogs
at this time varied greatly, dependent upon many factors:
Throughout the world, especially in
Europe, development was taking place. In Germany, as in
France, the United Kingdom, Holland, and others, the growth of large
industrialized cities meant that predators were quickly declining.
With advances in transportation and communication came
the forming of societies of herders. A greater awareness
of the excellence of the shepherding dogs of different areas was
noted and the first trends toward selective breeding
of herding dogs, record keeping, and a gradual trend toward one type
of dog which could work equally well under all conditions.
The establishment of dogs of fixed type was now at hand although
there were still great variations to be found from one area to
Breeders would meet and discuss the
relative merits and shortcomings of certain dogs. Dogs of high
merit became quickly sought after as breeders tried to fix
into their stock the sterling qualities seen in dogs from other
areas. It came to pass that in Germany, in 1891, a group of
enthusiasts formed the Phylax Society with the aim of fostering and
standardizing native German breeds. The society was short-lived and
in 1894 it was disbanded, but it had sown the seeds from which the
German Shepherd was to emerge.
I am only going to mention a few early
dogs and one truly significant person here in this history, though
it will readily be appreciated that there were many dogs and many
people whose efforts and sacrifices have furthered the growth of the
this time Capt. Max von Stephanitz appears in the breed’s history
and indeed it is this man who is acclaimed as the father of the
breed. Von Stephanitz had long admired the qualities of
intelligence, strength, & ability found in many native sheepdog
breeds but had yet to see one which embodied all of his ideals.
Chance was to play its part. While visiting a show with a
friend in 1899, he saw a dog that impressed him greatly to all
accounts, so much that then & there he purchased the dog and
promptly formed a society, the Verein fur deutsche Schaferhunde or
SV (German Shepherd Dog Club) as it is called. This was a milestone in the breed’s history and
marked the beginning of a new era for it. From this date, the German
Shepherd, as a specific breed, had arrived.
Von Stephanitz became the
SV's first president, & in a
short period of time achieved the standardization of form & type
in the breed. A standard was developed based on mental stability and
utility. The captain's motto was "Utility and Intelligence". To him,
beauty was secondary, & a dog was worthless if it lacked the
intelligence, temperament, & structural efficiency that would make
it a good servant of man. A breed standard was developed as a
blueprint, dictating the exact function & relationship of every
aspect of structure, gait, & inherent attitude.
Coats were often determined by the
weather -- Man in cold climates would raise dogs with longer, thicker
coats, while those of temperate climates would raise dogs with
in areas where predatory animals were found in large numbers
would need more powerful dogs than those lands with fewer predators. The
wolf, the bear, the coyote, etc. — all would influence man’s
choice of sheepdog.
Man's own personal preferences (with no regard to any "breed"
standards) even played a significant role in the development of
the early sheepdogs.
It was this
strict adherence to this breed standard that was
later to make this new breed the world’s greatest all-round dog.
all started at a dog show in Karlsruhe in western
Germany. The medium-sized yellow-and-gray wolflike dog that caught
attention was of the primal canine type, supple and
powerful, and possessed endurance, steadiness, and intelligence. He
was a working sheepherder, born with this ability, requiring no
training other than direction and finish to become proficient at the
task. This dog, Hektor Linksrhein, was purchased by von Stephanitz,
renamed Horand von Grafrath, and became the first registered
German Shepherd Dog. Horand was greatly admired by many breeders who were quick to use
him in their breeding programs. Not surprisingly, he became the dog
that best exemplified the goals of early breeders. This
animal was the basis on which much future development would be made.
Von Stephanitz inbred heavily on Horand and also Luchs, his brother,
to consolidate the bloodline. Horand’s most celebrated son was
Hektor v Shwaben, who in turn sired Heinz v Starkenburg and the
litter brothers Beowolf and Pilot.
The degree of inbreeding was
necessarily high at this time, for although it carried risks of
incorporating faults, it likewise enabled the breeders to fix
permanently those qualities which today are such features of the
breed. Von Stephanitz
then inserted unrelated blood of herding origin through Audifax von
Grafrath and Adalo von Grafrath. The dogs of Thuringia, Frankonia,
and Wurttemburg were all used, each area providing dogs which had
special merits of tail and ear carriage, size, color, and
Each of these dogs in turn sired many
progeny and became pillars in the development of the German
Shepherd. Von Stephanitz was a cavalry captain and was ideally
suited to impose his strong will over the SV of which he was
president. In this capacity and with uncompromising dedication he
directed the breeding programs.
With the oncoming of the twentieth
century, and having seen the SV develop into the largest single
breed club in the world, Von Stephanitz was turning his attention to
the long-term future.
As Germany became increasingly industrialized and
the pastoral era declined he was able to foresee that in a growing
industrialized nation the role of the pastoral shepherd dog would
decline and the breed must be able to adapt to other work if it were
to continue as a functional animal.With
the co-operation of police and working dog clubs a set of specific
tests was developed in tracking, formal obedience, and protection
work. This was the prototype of the present Schutzhund trials. He
persuaded the authorities to utilize the German shepherd dog in
various branches of government service.
World War I --
1914 - 1918:
During World War I,
the dog served as Red Cross dogs, messenger dogs,
supply carriers, sentinel, tracking and guard dogs. Many
servicemen from the
USA, UK, and the Commonwealth saw first hand the German Shepherds
bravery, intelligence, and steadfastness, and many stories were
taken back home. Not surprisingly, a number of dogs were acquired by
servicemen and transported home with them.
In 1913, the German
Shepherd Dog Club of America was formed by Benjamin Throop and Anne
Tracy, with 26 charter members.
In 1915, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America's first specialty show was
at Greenwich, Connecticut.
In 1917, when America entered
World War I, all things German became tabu. The American Kennel Club
changed the name of the breed to the Shepherd Dog and the German
Shepherd Dog Club of America became the Shepherd Dog Club of
America. In England, the name of the breed was changed to the
In 1919, when the English Kennel
Club gave the breed a separate register, some 54 animals were
included, but by 1926 the ranks had swelled to 8,058, such was the
unprecedented success of the dog. At the end of the War it was
thought that the breed would not flourish were the word German to
appear in its name and it was therefore decided to call the breed
the Alsatian Wolf Dog after the German-French border area of
Alsace-Lorraine. The “Wolf Dog” tag was later to be dropped—again as
it was felt that this would prejudice the breed. Thus we had for
many years the misnomer of the breed brought about by national
hostilities. In 1977, following numerous campaigns by breeders the
name of the breed was changed back to the German Shepherd Dog by
which it is known in the USA, Australia, and most other countries.
World War I:
With the end of World War I came a new appreciation for the breed.
The German Army had made good use of the breed as a war dog. Tales
told by returning U.S. fighting men, some bringing shepherds with
them, and the intelligence and striking appearance of the dogs
caught the attention of the general public. Rin-Tin-Tin and
Strongheart, whose movies played on variations of the "boy and his
dog" theme, shot the popularity of the breed sky-high. Puppy
factories flourished to meet the demand, gutting the American market
with poor quality "German police dogs", resulting in a down-turn in
popularity of the breed.
Serious breeding did continue such as by Mrs. Harrison Eustis, of
Fortunate Fields Kennels, in Switzerland. Her approach was
completely scientific with exhaustive research of breedings
undertaken. The most widely known usefulness to which her dogs were
put was as guide dogs for the blind at the famous Seeing Eye in
Morristown, New Jersey.
Von Stephanitz had become alarmed at the trend in
the breed toward oversized square dogs. Other problems included lack
of steady temperament and faults of dentition. He and the breed
wardens decided drastic measures needed to be taken.
In 1922 Germany introduced a system of regular breed surveys - a
criticism of each dog, with a graded description and recommendation
for (or against) breeding. This type of system never caught on in
America due largely to the cultural differences inherent in American
society. However, good dogs were still produced as German dogs were
easily available for American dollars highly sought after in
At the 1925 Sieger show
von Stephanitz selected Klodo von Boxberg as world sieger. This dog was dramatically different from the type of dog that had
gone before him. He was of lower station, deeper and longer in body,
short in loin and with a far-reaching gait. As it turned out Klodo
proved to be a potent sire, successfully heralding a "new" type of
shepherd. That same year Klodo was imported to America by A. Gilbert
of Maraldene Kennels in Hamden, Connecticut. Klodo, through a number
of important sons and daughters, is largely responsible for both the
faults and virtues of modern North American lines.
1936 John Gans
imported Sieger Pfeffer von Bern and in 1938
Sidney Heckert Imported Odin vom Busecker Schloss. Through their
intense inbreeding and line-breeding, these were dogs that molded
the majority of our modern day lines. Pfeffer was German Sieger in
1937 and had a great show career in America. Through Pfeffer a
uniform type in America was established but with the faults of long
coats, missing dentition, faulty temperament, overlong bodies and
loins, and orchidism (missing one or both testicles).
II (Late 1930's - 1945) and After:
In Germany a very active market developed for German Shepherd Dogs.
They were actively
sought in countries such as Japan, Italy, Scandinavian,
South America, France, and others. The SV matured with innovations
such as the "a" stamp (European hip scoring system), a tattoo identification system, emphasis on
producing bloodlines, and stricter regulations for top ratings given
The German Shepherd Dog was widely sought after
during World War II, employed by Allied and Axis forces, as mine
detectors, sentinels, guard work, messenger, and other services. In
America, Dogs for Defense was formed, providing thousands of dogs to
the army. Even at the outbreak of World War II, the
trained dogs of the Allied Forces were seen wherever the troops
traveled, spreading the breed’s popularity like a blanket around the
In America the reverse happened as show status was
emphasized, professional handlers began to control the sport and
systems such as the Futurity/Maturity system emphasized early
breeding of dogs before their true genetic worth became clear.
The SV began to place more and more importance on training degrees. The mid-sixties saw a minimum Schutzhund 1 degree, and the AD, an
endurance test. Temperament and courage tests became more demanding,
and the SV forced breeders to concentrate on problem areas such as
missing teeth, poor croups, etc. Since SV officials were also the
jduges at the Sieger show, it was only the animals meeting their
dictated requirements that received the top honors. Schutzhund 3
become mandatory for the top VA awards.
Although starting with a common base, the
breed in Germany and America has taken a separate but parallel
course. The Americans and the Germans have
evolved closely-bred, although differing breeds in looks, movement,
style, and structure. Both systems have cemented both desirable and
undesirable characteristics into the breed. The Americans have the
option to pursue their own views and choose their own bloodline
courses whether from within or outside their country. The Germans,
controlled by the SV, will likely continue to look within to develop
the breed. The future will be interesting for the breed in both
WHAT IS A DDR
GERMAN SHEPHERD? <----
Since World War II, the German Shepherd has
gone from strength to strength and is now one of the world’s most
popular breeds. This is as it should be, for while task for task
other breeds may surpass it, no other single breed has been able to
master such a wide range of skills as the German Shepherd Dog.
The German Shepherd is large enough to
tackle a man and win a contest, yet agile enough to cope with a
flock of sheep. He may not be able to outrun a Greyhound but he can
show an amazing turn of speed, and having developed from natural
working strains, he can maintain a steady canter far longer than
most other breeds.
It can be seen from the foregoing that
our modern German Shepherd is a king among dogs, noble of head,
athletic in body. Here is a dog developed to be functional, the
epitome of dedicated and carefully planned breeding.
But there can be problems too. The
very popularity of the breed has, itself, been the cause of much
Rapid popularity has meant that at
times many undesirable breeders have appeared on the scene with the
sole object of making money. In this situation, mediocre dogs are
bred thus perpetuating faults. The
sheer numbers of dogs meant that sooner or later disaster would
happen. The wrong people obtain the wrong dogs and ultimately
someone gets hurt. Also, the breed’s wolfish appearance makes
it a prime target for the press who often fan the flames of public
In spite of these setbacks, serious
breeders have maintained the breed, though there are, of course,
periods when much debate takes place over varying points -- Backs may
be getting too long, angulation too steep, ear and tail carriage
faulty, dentition lacking, movement poor, etc. All of these
debates illustrate that we must be continually on our guard
lest our breed degenerate.