HISTORY OF THE GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG
In Germany around 1891 a group of people interested in breeding the best sheep herding dog, formed a group called the Phylax Society. The aim of the society was to try and standardize the different native breeds to be found in Germany at the time. The group didn't last long in fact it disbanded in about 1894.
By this time a man named Captain Max von Stephanitz had taken a great deal of interest in the native sheep herding breeds to be found in Germany. He admired some for their coats, some for the temperament, and still others for colour, size and tail set. What he couldn't find however was a dog that had all these characters that he admired so much. So he decided to finish what the Phylax Society had started.
In 1899 Von Stephanitz saw a dog that he thought showed all the things that he loved about the different types of sheep herding dogs he had seen. He purchased the dog. The dog was called Hektor Linksrhein. He later changed the name to Horand v Grafeth. He became Von Stephanitz foundation dog.
Von Stephanitz then formed the society, Verien fur deutsche Schaferhunde (SV). He was the president of the society and directed the breeding programs, of course using Horand!! Dogs and bitches from different areas in Germany were used, each area having a special merit that Von Stephanitz wanted to use. Some provided tail and ear set, size, colour and temperament.
Von Stephanitz's motto was "Utility and Intelligence". He had the foresight to realise that the modernisation of the world would lead to the extinction of some of the native herding breeds in Germany and wanted his dogs to have an edge. Fortunately what made the dogs excellent herders also made them excellent protectors. He decided to bring to the attention of the German armed forces his dogs versatility and adaptability. During World War 1, these dogs became messengers, guard dogs and sentrys. Allied service men noted the bravery and intelligence of these dogs and took a number of these dogs back with them to the USA and the UK.
In 1919 the English Kennel Club gave the dog a separate register. By 1926 some 8058 dogs had been registered.
The War struck a huge blow for the German Shepherd. The word German was not to be uttered and to own a dog with this word in its name was unpatriotic. So the name was changed to Alsatian and Wolf dog. Sometimes the names merged to become Alsatian Wolf Dog. Ownership declined rapidly. A few hard core breeders kept up the breeding and their lines. In 1977 the name was changed back to German Shepherd Dog.
Once again the German Shepherd Dog has become a popular all round dog. At home in the armed forces or on the couch watching sport or herding sheep.
Above all the German Shepherd Dog is a working dog, breed to perform tasks and to use its intelligence. Therefore these dogs need to have a job to do. There are many things that these wonderful dogs can do. Such as Obedience Training, Tracking and Security Work. Let's not forget how good they still are at herding!
The German Shepherd is a loyal protective loving animal and if treated correctly will lay down his life to protect his adored owner. We feel owning this wonderful dog is a privilige and an honour.