Sunday, October 28, 2007

History Of German Shepherd Dogs -- Vol-II

Before you start reading this please check out my last post History Of German Shepherd Dogs -- Vol-I. This is a continuation of the first part.

Both the Thuringian and Wurttemburg sheep dogs were first exhibited in a show held at Hanover in the year 1882 – the year that marked the beginning of the evolution of a dog that was having a mind blowing ability to control herd of sheep. Drastic steps were taken to synchronize these varieties of typical sheep dogs in one single breed. Intelligence and Utility were the watch words for the breeding program. Selective breeding was one of the determining factors in the project. The Swedish sheep dogs were rejected at the very first sight, since they light built body, and lighter bones.

Those dogs were selected that had the typical shepherd qualities, such as expressive heads, moderately lighter weights, good bones and good gait. The dentitions were to be quite strong. The bites were to be quite resistant and such that it would redirect the sheep to the desired direction without damaging. Dogs with erect ears were chosen to get the sound and noise and especially the shepherds’ commands from distant more accurately.

This was how the selection was actually made for the perfectly selective breeding program.

Coming up next! More great facts on how we got such a beautiful creature. Stay tuned.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

History Of German Shepherd Dogs -- Vol-I

Well now, I was thinking of what should I write on this time. How if I write something about the history of the German Shepherd Dogs? This is a very long story indeed. So I've planed to present it in a series of a few distinctive volumes. Just read on. And I'm sure if you are a real GSD fancier, this will be a topic of your real interest.

Germany is the birth place of the breed. The very name gives a very clear cut indication of the fact. The look and the glamour of the German Shepherds Dogs that we find today took almost a century to develop. It was not until the late 19th century that emergence of the breed was noticed. And it’s beyond all doubt that it was due to the far sighted vision of the Prusian cavalry captain Rittmeister Max Emil Frederich von Stephanitz (commonly known by Captain Stephanitz or Captain Max von Stephanitz) that we dogs lovers got such a great gift.

Shepherd dogs were truly wonderful natural working dogs that were used by the shepherds of 18th and 19th century to herd their sheep. Not being descended from a specific origin, those shepherd dogs could not be given the honor of a specific breed with a specific standard. Although they were really varied in appearance and gait but most of them had the true basic instinct to work. Captain’s attention was attracted by two such types of dogs – one that used to work in the highland of Thuringia and the other is from Wurttemburg.

Shepherds Of Thuringia: Shepherd dogs from Thuringia had erect ears, curled tail and were wolf-grey in color. They were stocky and of small stature. There were two main varieties of the Thuringian Sheep Dog: i) short-haired and ii) shaggy-haired.

Shepherds Of Wurttemburg: The Wurttemburg dogs were larger in size with heavy bones and bushy tail. They were comparatively swifter than the shepherds of Thuringia and had good gait but bad ear carriage. They were stocky and of small stature. Alike the Thuringian Sheep Dogs they were of two varieties too: i) short-haired and ii) shaggy-haired.

These two types of dogs were the base of the dfevelopment of the breed. Stay tuned ... coming up more to learn.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

11 months Old REX -- Waiting For The Next Command

I just want to show the apperence of a purebred GSD(while sitting) when viewed side ways. Trainer: Mr. Kanchan Kumar Ghosh (delivering command off the cam.)

Alert, Attentive, Resilient & Anxious for the next command



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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

GSD Acclimatizes To Warfare

Friends! Lend me your ears please. I’m talking about something regarding Alsatians in wars. Alsatians played a real vital role in the wars, although other breeds such as Airedale terriers, Rottweilers, Collies, Lurchers, Giant Schanuzers, Bull Terriers etc. were also trained to become used to gunfire and bangs of exploding grenades and shells. Training up the war dogs was as important as giving guidance for loading of rifles and hitting the target.

Dogs – especially GSDs used to be the invaluable assets to the European regiment in World War I. The funny thing is that the services of dogs were not appreciated during the early years of the World War I. But they started to gain high respect when it was realized that dogs can accomplish great things. With the demand rising high, the War Office had put forward an appeal before the dog shelters and dog owners to give their dogs for war training. To meet the ever rising demand for a true courageous, intelligent and powerful breed of dogs, an incredible number of 48,000 Alsatians were enlisted with the German war force. The saddest part of the story is that many GSDs(apart from these 48,000 dogs) were forcibly taken from their owners. The time was really hard for the dogs and their owners but they would have to suffer times more harsh if they hadn’t been enrolled in armies. It was becoming increasingly tough for the owners to feed their dearest companions with the progressive wars. Major (later Colonel) James Baldwin served the army by training dogs for the war. He used to teach dogs “Wind Scenting”.


Jet of Iada (Picture in the right)
Jet of Iada was a famous GSD, who became the first wartime search & rescue dog in the world. Jet marked a name of his own and became an example of a perfect Alsatian with accurate degree of smelling instinct. His mind blowing ability of scenting victims out of the rubble and debris of destroyed buildings set Jet apart from the rest.

World War 2 pioneer Search & Rescue dog awarded the Dickin Medal (the canine equivalent of the Victoria Cross) to Jet for his stand out service of saving a lady who was buried in the debris on the top floor of a blitzed building in Chelsea. Jet was also awarded the RSPCA “Medallion For Valour” after he saved a rescue team from a falling rock while searching for victims at William Pit Coal Mine disaster at Whitehaven, Cambria.

After the war Jet (picture: Right above) and his mate Thorn were given the responsibility of leading the Civil Defence section of the Victory Parade in London in June 1946.

Nemo
Alsatian dogs were also desperately used in the Vietnam War. The US soldiers used their basic smelling instincts of the pure bred GSDs to search for the tunnels and detect the smell of the guerrillas. Nemo was the first hero GSD of his kind to return from the Vietnam War. Nemo returned to US with honors, as the first sentry dog who was officially retired from his active service.

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Varied Names For The Breed (German Shepherd Dogs And Alsatians)

Hi folks! One most interesting thing about the breed that is worth talking about here is people’s confusion regarding the name of the breed. I am really tired of explaining people that German Shepherd Dogs and Alsatians are same. Yes my friends, German Shepherd Dogs and Alsatians are same. Learn here how a single breed got varied names. Let’s have a brief look on the history of the breed, spanning back to 18th - 19th centuries.

VARRIED NAMES FOR ONE BREED
At the end of the World War I, it was feared that the German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) would fail to maintain its glory and would fail to flourish further if the word “GERMAN” had appeared with its name. This is because, during the World Wars, anything with a reference to Germans was not favored in UK. Hence, to avoid the word “GERMAN” in the name, it was decided to use the name “ALSATIAN WOLF DOG” (Remember -- not simply “ALSATIAN” ). Now the question is – “where did term “ALSATIAN” come from?” Why Alsatian? Why not something else?

Here’s why….

The word Alsatian was used after the border area of “ALSACE -- LORRAINE”. ALSACE (pronounced as “ALSASS” in German), which is a region of N.E. France, situated between Mountain VOSGES and River RHINE. This area was a long disputed region — disputed by France and Germany, but was annexed by France during the 17th century, by incorporating a section of Lorraine into Germany in the year 1871 as an Imperial Territory of ALSACE – LORRAINE.

Captin Max Von Stephanitz(father of the breed: full name -- Rittmeister Max Emil Frederich von Stephanitz) continued working on the development of the breed. And with the passage of time the breed went on developing and flourishing all over the world with the name "Alsatian Wolf Dog". Later it was felt that the name shouldn’t be supported by any supportive tag. Finally decision was taken to drop off the word “WOLF DOG” that had long been used as a tag along with the name. The breed was finally named simply as “ALSATIAN” (without the tag).

The esteemed breeders and GSD specialists held numerous campaigns and finally in 1977 the breed once again regained its very own name – GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG (the literal translation from the German term “Deutscher Schäferhund”)

Presently this breed is known as German Shepherd Dog in America, Australia and most of the other parts of the world. The term Alsatian is still valid, although in some parts of the world the breed is also known as ALSATIONS instead of ALSATIANS. Great Britain was the first nation to recognize the breed as Alsatian. The German term is DEUTSCHE SCHAFERHUND, which means GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG. The word “Dog” is an integrated part of the breed original name, and shouldn’t be called simply GERMAN SHEPHERD. The German term is also spelled as DEUTSCHER SCAFERHUND – a very subtle difference in the spelling is hereby noticed.

During each world war, GSD’s popularity in United States was on a desperate wane. But GSD could regain its lost glory and popularity immediately after the wars, when the courageous, royal Alsatians(German Shepherd Dog) had returned back home in their kingly jest from Europe with their soldier masters. And they became really famous as the war dogs, although they were predominantly a breed of working dogs and were recognized under the working group and herding group.
So friends! For God's sake, please don't confuse yourselves with the names of the breed.
Up next.. lets talk about German Shepherd Dogs in Wars. Keep in Touch.

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About This Blog

All you need to know about German Shepherd Dogs. Read out what I have to share with you regarding the amazing German Shepherd Dog breed. Are Alsatian dogs and German Shepherd Dogs same? Who was Max Von Stephanitz and What is SV? Also learn a bit more in depth on German Shepherd Dog training tips, German Shepherd puppy care tips, German Shepherd Dog behavior, German Shepherd instinct, German Shepherd Dog standard and history of German Shepherds.
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