German Shepherd Breeding
The words German Shepherd Dog often conjure up visions of a heroic dog of film fame or a military canine doing its job alongside a soldier. While the characteristics of both are embodied in the breed, it is important to be careful about German Shepherd breeding when selecting a new pet. The popularity of the breed has sometimes resulted in people producing puppies and dogs with only profit in mind. Ignoring stable temperament and correct conformation often leads to dogs with health and behavioral issues. The breed is a fairly modern addition to the canine world first appearing in the late 1800’s as a herding dog. Those pursuing early German Shepherd breeding lines focused on dogs that were intelligent, loyal and had the structural integrity to handle working long hours in the outdoors.
The Start of German Shepherd Breeding
Captain Max von Stephanitz viewed an agile dog of medium build herding sheep at a dog show in Karlsruhe, Germany. Intrigued by the dogs proficient working style he sought out the owner and purchased the shepherd. The male dog was called Horand von Grafrath and was the first of the breed to be registered. Looks were not nearly as important to the captain as soundness, natural ability and temperament. He was an integral part of the development of the German Shepherd breed standard that focused on these traits.
During World War I the Germans made use of the breed as messenger and patrol dogs. Their role became even more prominent during the second world war. The American soldiers brought the dogs home with them, and the breed became very popular in America. It has remained so through the decades. Unfortunately, as the popularity of the dogs increased in the show ring, the focus on working ability and characteristics typical of the breed were forgotten by many breeders.
The more recent trend in German Shepherd breeding to go back to German lines to restore that natural ability and good temperament is a welcome one. Responsible breeders strive to ensure their dogs are healthy by utilizing health certifications. Their inate working ability is also proven with the use of temperament testing and Shutzhund titles. The German standard emphasizes producing puppies that have the attributes to make a versatile and healthy companion. This results in dogs that are excellent protection dogs, excel in competition and become loving family pets. Working with a trainer that is experienced with German Shepherd Dogs is also a vital part of raising a working breed. Cute shepherd puppies grow up to be large adult canines. Use a professional trainer that is proven with working dogs to avoid pitfalls when training your puppy.