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German Shepherd Dog and White Shepherd History
Black German Shepherd
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 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.
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.
The Dog Breed info Center
White German Shepherd Dog Club of America
© 2012 Don A. Hoglund