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German Shepherd Dog and White Shepherd History

Updated on June 2, 2015

Black German Shepherd

Source
Deutscher Schäferhund- portrait.
Deutscher Schäferhund- portrait. | Source

The German Shepherd Dog is a rather recent breed of dog having been originated as a breed in 1899. They belong to the herding group of working dogs and were originally developed for herding and guarding sheep. Since their origin they have been used in police work, military and as service dogs. Generally dogs that originated as working dogs were valued for their usefulness rather than their looks. This was true of the German Shepherd until the 1890’s. The sheepherders who used the dogs cared for its usefulness and not appearance, so the dogs were not bred with any concern with appearance.

What’s in a name?

Because of World War I and World War II the word German became unpopular for a while, resultiing in various attempts to change the Name of the German Shepherd. Dog.

  • The American Kennel Club changed the name to “Shepherd Dog” around 1917.
  • The German Shepherd Club changed its name to the “Shepherd Dog Club of America.”
  • In European Countries the name of the breed was changed to “Alsation” which refers to “the Alsance Lorraine area,” according to Total=German Shepherd. Com. That website also notes “Other commonly used names…are GSD, German Shepherd, and Alsatian Wolf Dog.

Wikipedia describes the dog as a large size dog originating in German. “…Relatively new breed of dog dating to 1899.” They are categorized as working dogs in the Herding group. About 4.6% of AKC registered dogs are of this breed. Because they are intelligent, strong and do well in obedience training they are often used in police work, military, and service work.

Standardization-

Standardization of dog breeds started in the 1800s in Europe. In the local communities of Germany, shepherds would pick dogs, which they thought had the best characteristics for herding sheep, such as intelligence, speed, strength and sense of smell. This resulted in dogs that performed well but were not consistent in looks and ability from place to place.

In 1891 the Phylax Society was started in Germany to standardize breeds in Germany. In three years it broke up due to conflicts as to what the society should be promoting. This conflict included whether dogs should be bred for working traits only or also for appearance

Important to the development of the breed was Max Von Stephanitz an ex- cavalry Captain who studied at Berlin Veterinary College and an ex-member of the Phylax society. He believed in breeding dogs for working. In 1899 he bought a dog-named Hektor Linksrheim at a dog show. He changed the dogs name to Horand von Grafrath, which became the first German shepherd dog and the first dog registered in the breed register of the “Society for the German shepherd dog,” which Stephanitz founded. He had named the breed Deutscher Schaferhund that in English means German Shepherd Dog. Since all heding dogs in Germany were designated by that name, the others became know as Old German Shepherd Dogs,“ according to Wikipedia.


The dog Horand was the first official German Shepherd Dog from which all German Shepherd dogs descended. The stud records show tht there were four cross breedings with wolves


In 1919 The UK Kennel Club registered fifty-four dogs and had over 8,000 by 1926, according to Wikipedia. During World War II soldiers had been impressed with the dogs which led to more popularity. In the United States the first German Shepherd Dog registered was Queen of Switzerland. Unfortunately her offspring had defects from poor breeding and the breed declined during the 1920s The breed made a comeback in 1937 and 1938 with Sieger Pfeffer von Bern was the Grand Victor in American Kennel club dog shows, according to wikipedia. Anti- german feelings during the Second World war caused a decline of popularity.However, by 1993 they were the third most popular breed in the United States.


Source

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtUJ2LEAOQk&feature=related

White Shepherd Dog

A White Shepherd and a White German shepherd look pretty much alike but they are not quite the same. A White German Shepherd is a German shepherd that happens to be white colored. The White Shepherd is a separate breed of dog. Originally white was one of the colors of the German Shepherd breed but according to the website of the White German shepherd Dog Club of America the white coat became a disqualification in the dog breed standard. This has led to two groups of fanciers, those who wish to keep the white dogs as part of the German Shepherd Breed and those who wish to have them as a separate breed.

It was in the 1960s that the white coat became a disqualification in the dog breed standard for German Shepherds. That does not mean that they cannot be registered as German shepherds, but it does mean that the white coat is a negative factor in judging them. However, some German shepherd fanciers believe that the gene pool of white dogs is not large enough to separate them.

There are some differences in the dogs that are being bred as a separate breed. There are differences in the shoulder, pelvis angle, length and height standards, according to the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America.

The website “dogster.com” states that the White Shepherd breed ...developed mainly in America from a strain of white German Shepherds. There has always been occasional white puppies in German Shepherd litters. Some 19th Century shepherds favored white herding dogs to make it easier to tell the dogs from wolves. By the early 1900s some white dogs were bred together and by 1960s a new breed was established.

Sources:

The Dog Breed info Center

Wikipedia

White German Shepherd Dog Club of America

WWW.total=german -shepherd.com

© 2012 Don A. Hoglund

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    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      That is interesting, Sweetie. I had never heard about that in german Shepherds.Thanks for commenting.

    • sweetie2 profile image

      sweetie2 5 years ago from Delhi

      My best friend has a German Shephard female dog and she was very lovely one but unfortunately she was spoilt. She wont eat unless my friend or his nephew would feed her from their hands, putting food in her mouth. Only thing she ate from plate was when she was given Chicken or cooked meat. Her vet told us that this is common problem with GS that once u feed them then they make a habit of it.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi cammyshawn,

      That would be a beautiful dog. Thanks for commenting on my German Shepherd hub.

    • cammyshawn profile image

      cammyshawn 5 years ago

      White shepherds are beautiful! I have one that we believe is mixed with white wolf. I really enjoyed this hub. Voted interesting and beautiful.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Mary and thanks for commenting. One of the nicest dogs I've had was a white German Sheherd.Thanks for the votes.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I had a white german shephard once and it was a wonderful companion and friend. Good Hub. I voted it UP, etc.etc.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Daughter of Maat,

      Thanks for commenting and sharing on my German Shepherd hub. I'm glad you learned something new.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Angela and thanks for commenting. A hub about your friend training police dogs would be interesting and informative.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      I LOVE puppies!! This was a great hub, I didn't know there was a difference between a white shepherd and a white german shepherd. Voted up and shared!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This is so interesting. I have had two shepards and now have 2 friends that train dogs for the police department and another friend that is a shepard breeder and shows them as well. I will share this on twitter, google+ and with hub followers.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Beth,

      We also have a rescue dog that had some sort of neglect or abuse.In our case it is a Siberian Husky. It can be a challenge to win their trust.Thanks for your comments.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Becky,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my hub about German Shepherd dogs.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      A family member use to own and train king shepherds. Their size is immense -- literally, my cousin could put his whole head into the open mouth of one!! We all trusted the dogs -- obedient, intelligent, loyal and quiet. They were trained to only eat from him and no one else; which posed a bit of a problem when he went away on overnight trips.

      I have a long coated German Shepherd and, like all herding dogs, loves to herd me and my kids. He was a rescue dog who was badly abused. It took time, but now, he is gentle as a bunny and has infinite tolerance to children. He's 13 this year and still active.

      Dogs, whether German Shepherds or any other breed, are awesome. Truly, man's best friend. :)

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting information on the Shepherd breed. My parents bred and trained German Shepherds in the late 1960s through the 1970s. They are great animals, extremely smart. Enjoyed reading your Hub. Thanks

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      leenamartha,

      I agree that they are not for everyone. I think that sort of applies to all breeds. People should try to find a breed suitable for themselves and their lifestyles. Thanks for commenting.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Peggy,

      Thanks for relating you experience growing up with German Shepherds.I learned some things in writing about them.I had thought that Alsatian was the proper name for them but found out that was only used during the anti-German period.Thanks for the fote and for sharing.

    • leenamartha profile image

      Leena Martha 5 years ago from USA

      German Shepherd is a fantastic family dog, not just fantastic for herding and as a watch dog. While they can be very protective of their owner/family, they are very loyal and loving. Usually they need an experienced owner with a firm training. It's not a dog for everyone.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Don,

      That was my parents favorite breed of dog and we (kids) grew up with them. They are a great family dog if raised right...protective and loving. I enjoyed reading this informative hub. Voted up, interesting and useful and will share.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      coolmon and beadreamer,

      The German Shepherd has become so associated with working as service dogs for the blind,police work and the military that people forget the origins was helping shepherds herd sheep.

      ketulpatel,

      I think they are one of the best known breeds.Glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • ketulpatel profile image

      ketulpatel 5 years ago from Pune

      I am a big fan of the German shepherd. Great hub. Really liked it

    • beadreamer247 profile image

      beadreamer247 5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Yes, all "shepherd" dogs were/are bred for herding - that's why they get their name "shepherd".

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      I didn't know the German Shepherd was breed for herding and guarding sheep. I enjoyed reading your article.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Sis,

      They are smart dogs. The only trouble with smart dogs is that they get boredWe had a Border Collie-Shepherd mix once and she was always dreaming up something to amuse herself and annoy me, I think.Thanks for reading this hub and commenting.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Dahoglund -- the smartest dog I ever owned was a German Shepherd named "Joshua." I've written about him as he was so outstanding. He lived to be 17 which is unusual for Shepherds. He just seemed to instinctively always do the right thing in any situation. After all these years I still miss him. Excellent Hub and enjoyed it tremendously. Best/Sis

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      drbj, I think all the herding breeds have instinct to herd.The German Shepherd is intelligent and used for many uses. In our case the dog and kids sort of grew up together. In some cses the dogs might need some training to be watchers over children. When I was researching Border Collies there was mention that the dog could have the wrong reaction to a running child and treat it like a sheep breaking from the herd. I imagine that could be true of all herding dogs.

      I'm glad you like the hub and I appreciate your comments.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      It would seem, dahoglund, from your description of shepherds and their herding instincts, they might be the ideal dogs to watch over and herd little children. I like the breed, too, and I like this hub. Voted Up.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi beadreamer. Thanks for adding the information. I have found that the White Shepherd we once had was great with the kids. She did have a tendency to herd them around. I have a friend who won't own any other breed than the shepherd. I appreciate the comments.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      JKenny, thanks for commenting. When we were last looking for a dog at the shelters there seem to be a lot of Lab mixes. Maybe because we live in a hunting and fishing area.

    • dahoglund profile image
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      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Susan. We had a White Shepherd years ago. They are nice dogs.Thank you for visiting and leaving your comments.

    • beadreamer247 profile image

      beadreamer247 5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Good to mention this great breed. Unfortunately the US had breeders changing the appearance of the German Shepherd, buy dropping their hip etc...it was horrible and the result was that nobody wanted the dog and they got their Shepherds from Germany, the original way. I am glad they realized it.

      Also to mention is that the German Shepherd is a fantastic family dog, not just fantastic for herding and as a watch dog. While they can be very protective of their owner/family, they are very loyal and loving. Usually they need an experienced owner with a firm training. It's not a dog for everyone.

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Interesting hub. My nan used to have a Belgian Shepherd, although she was convinced that it was a German cross-bred with a Labrador. Thanks for writing this. Voted up etc.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The German Shepherd has always been one of my favorite breeds. I had one while growing up. One of friends had a white Shepherd. Interesting and great hub on this breed.