Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wishing you Merry Christmas

Some relationships grow stronger with time! And this has what happened with me and my readers of this blog. With passage of time Aringsburg’s German Shepherd Dog has grown to mark its name in the web. I’m blessed to have dog lover pals like you, who have loved my blog. I have always cherished your thoughtful comments placed for many of my posts on my dream breed – the German Shepherd Dog.

Let me take the opportunity of this Christmas time to wishing you and your dogs and other members of your family and friends all the millions of reasons to be happy. May my Lord bestow His blessings upon you all and upon all animal lovers on the planet. Let us pray for peace for the homeless animals around us who are devoid of love and food.
Wishing you Merry Christmas and good life ahead! "May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!"


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Friday, September 25, 2009

Purely Genetic Traits in German Shepherd Dog: German Shepherd Dog Character

Genetic Traits in German Shepherd Dog

Some of the character traits in German Shepherd Dogs are purely genetic. Just like the components like pigments, anatomy etc. are engineered into the dog genetically, so are these traits. Well bred GSDs have all positive traits in common. This post on character traits in German Shepherd Dogs is going to talk about the purely genetic traits in the breed - starting from the physical endurance to agility, distractibility and a few more!
genetic traits in german shepherd dog breed Physical Endurance: Physical endurance describes the overall physique of the dog including sturdiness, muscular tone and general physical condition. This is a genetic trait and breeders must keep this in mind while breeding. A well bred dog usually has a good physical endurance. A dog with an excellent physical endurance spends less energy while working. This ensures both quantity and quality of work within a specified amount of time.

Agility: Agility is another remarkable feature in German Shepherd Dog breed. Agility describes the total coordination of the dog, including its natural fastness. Reputed breeders keep the Agility trait in mind while breeding, so that the dogs natural tendency to pursue things with fastness and surefootedness is not spoiled.

Sharpness: Alike these traits, Sharpness is transferred genetically! This is why not all German Shepherds are equally sharp. Degree of Sharpness is how intensely he reacts to a stressful situation. It is also a by-product of his intelligence. For instance, if your Shepherd bites you for no apparent reason, and if he is sharp enough, he will immediately realize his fault. This will make him cool down to his normal status.

Feral Tendency: Feral tendency is a purely genetic trait, which is a tendency to revert to an animal in the wild. A well bred dog has a higher feral tendency and will act more intelligently than the other dogs. A dog with high degree of feral tendency can be more easily trained and acts more obediently during the period of stress and pain. Dogs with low feral tendency will mis-behave in stressful situation.

Distractibility: Distractibility is environmentally influenced genetic trait that describes the tendency of the dog to get distracted from its allotted work. High degree of distractibility trait means the dog is highly influenced by the environmental factors, which is not a desirable trait as it hampers the working ability of the dog. Remember, GSD is a working breed. Most well bred dog are have amore or less high degree of distractibility, but that doesn’t mean that dog is genetically weak. Most well bred dogs have the ability to maintain the competency, but hidden. All you need is to carry on a rigorously typical training session to make use of the competency and attentiveness hidden within them.

Dogfight Tendency: This is purely a genetic trait in German Shepherd Dog and other dog breeds also, but many canine behaviorists have defined it as a Genetic trait, based on environmental influences like distractibility. Most people seem to get confused with Dogfight trait, as this trait typically resembles closely with what we call “Fighting Drive”. Specialists have drawn a thin line to set Dogfight Trait apart from Fighting Drive. Dogfight trait is a genetic trait that describes a typical aggression towards other dogs, irrespective of breed, gender and age of the counterpart. I have seen dogs that are cool with strangers and even kids, but shows harsh aggression towards other dogs/ mongrels. The most important point of difference between the Fighting drive and Dogfight trait is that Fighting Drive mainly aims towards victory, where the looser, on showing submissive behavior, is released to escape. Dogs with the high degree of Dogfight trait aims at the victory, usually ending up with severe injury or even death in worst case. List of character traits in German Shepherd Dogs also includes Dogfight trait.

Sensory Threshold: Sensory threshold is a purely genetic trait in German Shepherd Dogs. This trait describes the level of stimulus that a given amount agitation can make the dog to respond. The dog may whine, scream or bark in response to agitation. This describes the amount of stimulus that makes the respond to agitation. Dogs with higher sensory threshold take longer time to respond to agitation; they handle such situation more intelligently. They usually have stronger character with higher feral tendency. Dogs with lower sensory threshold gets agitated easily, which in turn means they have lower Feral tendency.

Well, I have posted all the character traits in GSD in the three posts including this. The first two were respectively on Psychological + Physiological traits and psychological, but genetically based. Stay tuned… up next more interesting information about German Shepherd Dogs.


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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Natural Traits in German Shepherd Dogs: Psychological traits in GSD - Physiologically Based

Psychological traits in GSD physiologically based

Hello friends... hope you have liked post psychological and genetic character traits in German shepherd Dogs. Check out the last post on NATURAL TRAITS IN GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG. As I said before, I intend to write about some other character traits in German Shepherd Dog breed that are psychological, but physiologically based. That means these traits are purely psychological. While identifying the character and personality traits in German Shepherd Dogs, you can clearly notice that these animals have high degree of self confidence, and shows typical behavior of aloofness at times, which will make a stranger think twice to make friends with them immediately. Alike some of the other dog breeds, the heavy-weight personality of German Shepherd Dogs blends well physique of the breed. Physiological traits in German Shepherd Dogs are the traits backed by the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions in the dog.

character traits in german shepherd dogHere are the details of the German Shepherd Dog character traits that are psychological, but physiologically based:

The character traits of any dog breed depend on many factors. German Shepherd Dogs are sometimes quite hard by nature (both mentally and physically) and pain tolerating capacity is high, while soft at some other times. Both hardness and softness in the characters are the psychological traits in GSD that are physiologically based.

Hardness: Hardness is the trait that is both psychological and physiological. It is a mental resiliency (backed the physical and biochemical soundness) to not-so-pleasant experiences. Hardness is judged by putting the dog into situations where the pain threshold can be determined. Pain threshold is the point at which the dog starts reacting to pain. The intensity at which the stimulus (physical and mental pressure and stress) starts evoking pain the threshold stimulus. To be a bit more simple, the pain threshold is the point at which the starts not to tolerate the pain any longer. Since the threshold stimulus varies from breed to breed for a given stressful situation, the pain threshold level differs too. A well bred German Shepherd Dog has comparatively high level of pain threshold than most other dog breeds. By saying this I mean to say that the capacity of tolerating pain has been genetically engineered into the breed. Hence “hardness” is not 100% psychological and physiologically trait in GSD and other dog breeds, although, as a matter fact the level of hardness also varies form dog to dog within the breed itself. GSD has higher “Hardness” trait, means they can tolerate tremendous stress with little negative attitude. That in turn means that the GSD needs to handle strongly and requires strong corrections when they are disobedient.

Now what does it mean when I say that “Hardness” in GSD is a psychological trait, being physiologically based? From physiological view point, the hardness in GSD means that the dog is strong by nerve. It relates to the thick sheathing around the nerve fibers in the body of the dog which makes its pain threshold higher than other breeds. Sometimes the hardness is so high that corrections to disobedient behaviors sometimes become quite tough for les- experienced trainers. This is why an experienced specialized dog behaviorist/ trainer will always suggest not to hit him while training. This will make the training process harder and ineffective.

Softness: Softness in the character traits in German Shepherds is just the opposite of the hardness. Wild dogs in the nature are comparatively softer than the pets. In fact the softness is a natural trait that helps the dog to save himself from natural dangers. Softness breeds a bit of fear in them which acts as the natural measure for protection themselves form real danger – as I said in my last post. Softness in German Shepherd Dogs is another psychological trait that is associated to the fear from stressful experience. Excessive softness is a behavioral fault in the GSD breed. This is because these dogs are bred to work under a wide range of stressful situations. If a German Shepherds fail to do that, it means it doesn’t satisfy the breed’s actual purpose.

You will probably like to read about BREED EVOLUTION TEST IN GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG (Schutzhund) that has been designed to separate German shepherds with correct physical and character traits from the ones that have undesirable traits.

Up next purely genetic traits in German Shepherds! Stay tuned...


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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Character traits in German Shepherd Dogs - Psychological and Genetic Traits

Psychological and Genetic Traits traits in German Shepherd Dogs

Just as all breeds have their own respective characters German Shepherd Dog has its very unique character traits too. A German Shepherd lover would always describe the breed as royal, assertive, courageous, adaptable, intelligent and powerful and last but not the lest the most talked about dog breed in the world. Well, now it’s important to discus the character traits that have made German Shepherds the most popular of all dog breeds. Picking the right breed is of utmost importance for you if you are a first time owner. If you are in love with this breed, you need to know his character traits in advance so that you can handle him correctly as he grows.

Here are the details of the character traits of German Shepherd Dog breed:

Since the character traits of the dog depend of more than factors, they are grouped under heads such as Purely Psychological traits, Psychological + Genetic traits, Psychological + Physiological traits and Purely Genetic traits. This post is all about the character traits in German Shepherd Dogs that are purely Psychological and Psychological, but genetically based. My next post will talk about the Psychological + Physiological traits, followed by a post on Purely Genetic Traits in GSD.

Purely Psychological Traits in German Shepherd Dogs:

Trainability: GSD, by nature, is one of the most intelligent dog breeds that can be easily trained to work on a wide range of projects. This is a multi purpose dog breed that have been trained for war, guarding, guiding blinds, as companion dogs, working in movies, working in police and detective departments, working in drug detection departments, working as PAT (Pro Dogs Active Therapy) and shepherd dogs to herd cattle. His inquisitive to learn things helps him learn new tricks in short span of time, and this is what helps the trainers to train him easily.

Confidence: German Shepherd Dog, by nature, is highly confident. This psychological trait has been environmentally engineered into the breed. This is a by-product of the ability of the dog to bear more stress than many other dog breeds. German Shepherds have been bred to tolerate comparatively more stress than others. This means the break even level of bearing stress is higher than many other dog breeds. This makes the dog enhance his ability to struggle and win more stressful situations, which in turn makes him more confident as compared to many other dog breeds. Remember, as soon as he reaches the optimum stress point – that is the break even point he cannot accept more stress and in such situation he will normally respond back adversely due to lack of confidence like any other dog breed.

Psychological + Genetic Traits in German Shepherd Dogs:

Courage: Courage is a psychological trait that is defined as the absence of fear. German Shepherd Dogs are courageous, which means he doesn’t fear the danger. This trait can be viewed as a by-product of confidence trait. Courage this can also be viewed as one of the genetic traits, because this has been bred into the dogs by breeding out the fear, through selective breeding programs. Dogs in natural state are usually soft and not so courageous.

Fear: Fear is both psychological and genetic trait. Rather more of the Psychological trait than genetic. Many well breed German Shepherd Dogs that have been bred to discard out fear have still shown fearful behavior. Fearlessness is a natural psychological trait in German Shepherd Dog, but Fear, on the other hand also acts as the natural measure for protection form real danger. Excessive fear in German Shepherd Dogs is a serious fault. Proper socializing to sounds, strangers, and different situations is a must to nurture the dog’s natural fearless trait, although in few cases socializing doesn’t help to regain or nurture the fearless trait in German Shepherd Dogs. This happens due to incorrect breeding when fearfulness becomes a genetic trait.

Moodiness: Moodiness is also psychological trait, but also genetically inherited. Moodiness is a typical behavior, which should be viewed as the inclination or tendency for inconsistency in behavior. Moodiness leads the dog to work great one day and worst just the next day. This inconsistency does not imply that the dog is a worst working dog or suffering from under nutrition. Moodiness is just a psychological or sometimes genetic fault, which cannot be noticed until it reaches the extreme level.

Viciousness: Viciousness is again another psychological trait, but genetically based. It is an inclination to outburst with an unwarranted vicious aggression which deviates from the GSD standard as a behavioral fault. Though noticed not too often, such aggression is observed under unpredictable situations. When exhibited, such behavior may be quite detrimental to the pack members and owners.

Temperament: Temperament is a psychological trait, which can be significantly influenced by the environment, but at the same time can be observed as genetic trait too. Temperament is determined by three distinctive categories… full, moderate and poor. A GSD with full temperament will be full of zest and zeal, while moderate temperate means the dog has a moderate level of zesty attitude and a poor temperament is used to describe a sluggish dog that is lethargic.

Stay tuned for the up coming post on Psychological + Physiological Character traits in German Shepherds.

Meanwhile check out my post on basic instincts of German Shepherd Dog


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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Brindle German Shepherd Dog - The Lost Pattern

The Lost Pattern in German Shepherd Dog Breed - Brindle GSD

Colors and patterns in German Shepherd Dogs
have always allured the breed’s lovers. Sadly some colors and patterns are no longer existing in the German Shepherd Dog breed, as far as my knowledge goes. Blue is one of the rarest colors in the breed, while merle and brindle German Shepherd Dogs are almost out of existence. This post is about the brindle German Shepherds and is dedicated to those readers of my blog who really spare thoughts about colors and patterns in German Shepherd Dog breed. Irresponsible breeding program and negligence have thrown many patterns and colors into extinction; and brindle is just one of those extinct patterns in German Shepherd Dogs. I think it’s just because of the illogical decisions of some Kennel Clubs that many breeders and owners do not prefer keeping and breeding certain colors and patterns. I want to show my heart felt gratitude to those organizations that are working to prevent certain pigmentations and patterns from going extinct. Remember, there are NO problems related to health, genes, behavior and more specifically the working ability of the breed just because of its color. If a dog has a sound health and temperament and sound working ability, he is a good dogs, and Max Von Stephanitz – the breed founder said, “No good dog is a bad color.” So what ever color gene we have today, we need to deploy them to correct breeding program in order to prevent them from extinction like brindles and merles. These are all simply variations in color genes and do not affect the character of the dog.

brindle gsd, colors and patterns inn german shepherd dogsBrindle German Shepherd Dogs or Brindle Black Tan had been one of the founding patterns of the breed, and we have lost it, quite unfortunately. This particular gene actually affected the tan marked ground. This, in turn, made bi-colors and black tans show marble marks or dark stripes over the tan grounds, just like the brindle boxers. Candidly speaking, I have never seen a brindle dog, but I can guess who beautiful a brindle German Shepherd Dog would look like owing to the contemporary anatomical structure! We could develop the anatomy of the breed – beyond doubt! We have developed the structural aspects such as angulations and top line, but sadly lost certain genes like Brindle. Hopefully, if the brindle pattern re-appears, today’s German Shepherd breeders and owners will embrace it with love, and with a mission to protect it from further extinction. The brindle German Shepherd Dog was last surveyed in the year 1922, and unfortunately no GSD with brindle gene has been recorded in the books of any kennel club.

Eye pigmentation has always remained un-related to that of coat. Brindle coats appeared in both dark and faded versions. Many dark brindle black tan German shepherd Dogs were in the possession of faded eye color, while some dogs that had brindle markings on faded tan grounds had rich eye pigmentation.

This picture of the brindle Alsatian dog has been taken from the book on German Shepherd Dogs, authored by Brian H. Wootton. I would earnestly request my readers to help me out by providing more information about the brindle German Shepherd Dog. Also please provide me with pictures of brindle Alsatian dog, if someone has any. I promise to give you a credit for the picture in my blog.

Thanks a bunch in advance.

Many many thanks to Mary Mcintire from Michigan for sharing with us an excellent photo of her brindle GSD, named Rue.

Check out White German Shepherd Dogs FAQs


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Sunday, July 26, 2009

German Shepherd Dog Coat Color: Dilute German Shepherd Dogs

I am really lucky to have some good dog lover pals around me. Yes, most of my peeps are dog lovers and some of them are specifically German Shepherd lovers. Rizia Robertson is one such friend of mine who seems to have given her heart to German Shepherds. During my last conversation with her, I told her I can talk about dogs for centuries without even getting tired. She said, “well you have a friend here who loves talking about dog – especially GSD”. Are you wondering why I’m talking about Rizia? Well guys, I just want to let you know that she has been the first one to inspire me to write about gene dilution in German Shepherd Dogs. My last post on Gene Dilution in German Shepherd Dogs was written being inspired by Rizia. Truth be told here… I had written the article on GSD gene dilution for blue and liver pigments some times back in 2007, but never published it until I felt the urge post it after having days of discussion with Rizia. I would like to thank her because of this. Rizia, let your love for German Shepherd Dog never stop!

This is again another piece of information about German Shepherd Dog gene dilution. Regarding German Shepherd Dog coat color the SV breed standard said, “the color of the GSD is in itself not important and has no effect on the character of the dog or on its fitness for work and should be a secondary consideration for that reason. The final color of a young dog can only be ascertained when the outer coat has developed.” It is hence, beyond all controversy, that amongst all undesirable factors in the GSD breed, the coat color is the one that should be included as the last point in the list. My personal view is that if the coat color doesn’t affect the working ability of the breed (which the breed is actually meant for), it should be excluded from the list right way so that the two mutations of black gene in the GSD: blue and liver are not considered to be faults in the show rings. GSDs have two pigment genes: melanin/ eumelanin (brown/black) and phaeomelanin (yellow/red). Melanin is normally black, which has two distinctive mutations in GSDs – blue and liver.

As per the standard the blues and the livers are genetic faults, and no reputable German Shepherd Dog breeder will breed these so-called faulty genes. The GSD breeders, who breed these genes, with both parents as carriers, end up with a shallow genetic pool. In most cases the liver and blue puppies usually come by accident. Frankly speaking, I haven’t yet come across a breeder who breeds to produce liver and blue pups deliberately. But here, again the same thing, I would like to say. If the color genes don’t affect the working ability, character and behavior of the breed, what’s harm in livers and blues? This is a very debatable question and I won’t go in for arguments and debates, nor would I like to criticize any bloodlines. I would rather say that diluted dogs may descends from high quality specimens from top bloodlines that have proved even in the Schutzhnd trial fields.

blue german shepherd dogs liver german shepherd dogs dilute german shepherd dogs
Just a gist about Blue and Liver genes in German Shepherd Dogs

Blue Gene in German Shepherd Dogs

  • Double recessive color gene
  • Rare color
  • Dilute gene, which means it dilutes the black pigment in the dog.
  • Considered a disqualifying fault by the AKC.
Liver Gene in German Shepherd Dogs
  • Double recessive color gene
  • Rare color
  • Dilute gene that blocks the black pigment in the dog.
  • Considered a disqualifying fault by the AKC
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gene Dilution in German Shepherd Dog – Blue and Liver Dilution

Blue German Shepherd Dogs and Liver German Shepherd Dogs

The blue and liver GSDs had been the rarest genes once upon a time that have always captured breeders’ attention. Fortunately these genes are not as rare as it used to be some years back. The search volumes for the blue and liver GSDs in the Internet have been on a rising, which is gives an indication that people are looking for these genes more these days, either for puppies or to get information about the blue and liver German Shepherd Dogs. There are actually two possible dilutions for the black color in German Shepherd Dogs - “Blue Dilution” and “Liver Dilution”. Here’s just some information about these rare German Shepherd genes – the recessive blue and liver gene.

Colors of these German Shepherds are different from the regular ones that we usually see in the dog shows. They are real striking in appearance, if bred correctly. If not bred well, these dilutions usually come with blues and brown nose, while the standard requires the nose, nails, eye rims and lips to be black strictly.

Patterns of Blue Dilution in GSD

Blue German Shepherd DogsThe blue gene in German Shepherd Dogs actually turns the pigmentation of both skin and coat into bluish or steel grey, which is usually very dark. The tan area, on the other level, remains almost the same tan markings as we see in regular shepherds. Sometimes the tan ground may take a faint silvery tint. In the German Shepherd Dog breed, there are great chances of the blue gene to occur in any pattern and type of coat. This finally dilutes the black pigment.

Patterns of Liver Dilution in GSD

Liver German Shepherd DogThe liver gene affects the dog’s pigmentation in almost the same way. The liver gene in German Shepherd Dogs dilutes the black pigment, thereby turning both the coat and skin into liver brown color. Like the blue genes this also dilutes the eye pigmentation by giving the eyes a wrong tint – silvery-yellowish-brown color. The liver gene can come in any pattern alike the blue one. The tan markings seem almost the same as in the regular GSD.

In either of the two dilutions the dog looses it black pigmentation, which is replaced by either blue or liver pigments. Remember the gene that gives color and the gene that gives pattern are two distinctive genes. This ensures a good chance that either dilution can come with three different patterns, viz. solid color, two-toned pattern and agouti. Both these dilutes in German Shepherd Dogs are seen with two-toned pattern and agouti, more commonly than with solid colors. Solid blue and solid liver German Shepherd Dogs are rare of the rarest genes in the world. In most cases the liver and blue German Shepherd Dogs comes with liver-brown and blue noses respectively. Both these gene dilutions in German Shepherd Dogs affect the eye pigmentation too!


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

German Shepherd Dog Show – What Does a Judge Look For in a perfect GSD?

perfect GSD, german shepherd dog showGerman Shepherd Dog Show

Candidly speaking, I don’t show my dogs like the many other dog breeders and owners around me. I try to attend as many dog shows as possible – especially the German Shepherd Dog specialty ones. If you want to learn about the German Shepherd Dog breed, it’s not enough to just read books. You need to visit shows and should try to evaluate why certain dogs win and others don’t. Reading books and gathering information about German Shepherd Dogs is like the home work that you used to do back in your school days. Try to apply your knowledge in the dog show; be a judge yourself. Remember, judging a dog – especially a complicated breed like German Shepherds is just next to impossible unless you know the breed well. At the same time you must know what actually a judge looks for in a dog in the ring. Well, he looks for mainly working ability, for which the German Shepherds were originally developed. Keeping this in mind, judges compare every single dog exhibited in the ring to his image of a perfect specimen of the breed (as per SV standard)... not only anatomically, but mentally too.

Here’s a synopsis of the major criterion based on which the dogs are judged in the show rings:

german shepherd dog show perfect german shepherd dog
Proportions of body: By this I mean to say specially the ratio of height : length. The H : L ratio of a perfect German Shepherd Dog should be 8.5 : 10, which gives a harmonious blend of length to height.

Strength of the rear portion: An ideal GSD must have a strong back, with tight ligaments of the hind legs. This is checked during standing and while on move too!

This is of utmost importance. The judge checks the angles between the bones of shoulder and hind quarters. Over angulated specimens are rejected.

Development of chest:
The judge checks if there is enough room for the lungs. The dog should have good depth of chest, which is around 50% of the total height of dog at wither.

Gait and extension:
This is checked when the dog in on trot. The dog should effortlessly reach forward with powerful propulsion, thereby covering the maximum amount of ground. The trot should not be suspended.

Masculinity and Femininity:
This is all about expressions! Dog like bitches and bitch like dogs are undesirable.

The dog must calmly accept the examination – especially on touch. Irrespective of gender, the subject should not react fearfully or with shyness to the gunshots. The dog should remain lively through out the session.

Endurance and Condition:
The dog should have sound physical condition. It shouldn’t tire out after a few trots round the ring.

Dental Configuration and Jaws:
Ideal GSD has scissor bite. Undershot lower jaws are undesirable. Jaws must be prominent and strong enough with a full set of dentition.

The dog should have both the testicles descended.

This is not just the end of the story. GSD is a shepherd dog and hence expected to bear all the most desirable shepherding traits. The judge merges the above qualities with the correct shepherding traits that a perfect specimen of the breed should possess.

Correct shepherding traits of a perfect German Shepherd Dog

Correct shepherding traits include his most important aspects of nature that he should possess to carry out his work as a shepherd dog successfully. A perfect specimen of the breed must have a strong personality, with keenness to work, alertness in his job and aloofness towards the external factors, apart from his job. Let me try to describe these traits distinctively.

Keenness: Keenness is the degree of interest to work as a shepherd dog with the livestock. Without having this trait in his dog, the sheepherder cannot expect him to manage the large herd of sheep grazing around. With high degree of interest to work the German Shepherd Dog breed can be put to any kind of work, apart from just herding.

Alertness: A perfect example of the most appropriate specimen of the breed must show alertness while on work. A good shepherd usually reacts to the slightest alteration in the situation. He would be attentive enough and would tend to keep eyes on the surroundings of his working area.

Aloofness: Often misunderstood as unfriendliness, this typical trait of the German Shepherd Dog is worth mentioning when it comes to his working ability. The dog owners (the sheep herders) will never expect his dog to leave his work and run behind some other things and animals while on duty. He may show a brief interest on the external factors (strangers, other animals, or other distracting factors), but should not show high degree of excitement. As soon as he determines that the external factors (strangers and other animals) are not menace to the herd of sheep, he would turn back to his job.

With all these physical and mental traits in appropriate degree, a dog can be a perfect GSD, and a perfect German Shepherd Dog can work under any condition. All these factors merge in perfect blend to make German Shepherds the world’s most versatile breed. Being put to any kind of job these dogs have shown stand out results. Starting from herding sheep to war, rescue, guiding blind, guarding properties, sniffing out narcotics and land mines, acting in the movies, acting as therapy dogs, police dogs etc, the German Shepherd Dog breed earned a great deal of fame across the globe.


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Friday, June 26, 2009

How to Help a Battered German Shepherd Dog Regain Confidence

Helping a Battered German Shepherd Dog gain Confidence

My Experiment with Rani

Rani was a German Shepherd Dog whom I had rescued (purchased) from an owner who tortured her. Rani (3 years old female) hailed from a good bloodline, as her pigmentation and structure suggested, but did not have the essential mental and behavioral traits of a pure bred GSD. She was little bit too difficult to handle, owing to some behavioral problems that she had developed - probably because of mistreatment. She was shy and sometimes too aggressive to humans. She used to bark continuously when kept alone, while couldn’t tolerate other dogs when kept together. She was highly unpredictable. These were probably due to the fact that she had lost trust in human beings - quite simply natural in most abused dogs.Most German Shepherds that have been abused often becomes too difficult to be handled. I spent hours and days with her to understand the root of her problem, and after a detailed study of her behavioral aspects, I was pretty much sure that she was actually suffering a sheer lack of confidence, that eventually made her a "Difficult Dog".

Read out my article: How to Deal with Difficult Dogs.

Dogs losing trust on humans often turns out difficult, and can't be treated the way you treat other pets. And that had what exactly happened to Rani. She even couldn’t stand other dogs and puppies. I adopted certain tricks to win back her trust on us humans and good news was that I succeeded! Those were just my experimentation and I want to share those tricks.

Regaining Confidence While on Play

In my program of helping her gain confidence there were certain simple steps. First off, I allowed her to succeed. I released her with other dogs, Rex and Reva and threw a ball that was instantly chased by Rex and Reva. Rani attempted to run, but didn’t go far and stopped at a short length with a submissive action. She was scared of running, which implies that she used to have good slashes while trying to run. I started running with her. When she ran I patted her, loved her and made her feel that it was a game and I would love to see her chasing the ball. She was intelligent and could grab things faster – as all German Shepherds do. This time I was her competitor in the fetch play, instead of Rex and Reva. And I wanted to lose the game before her, as this was the way I chose to help her regain confidence while on play. Soon she learned that play was a part of her life. It took me not more than just a r two to regain her confidence while on play.

Regaining Confidence While on Work

Whenever I called her, she always came to me with submissive action setting her tail between the legs, bowing and ears carried backwards. She refused to come too close to me. This implies she had been battered whenever she refused to carry out the owner’s “COME” command. I decided to call her softly, not by standing before her… rather by crouching down in front of her. I did this because I knew that shy dogs will never readily come with confidence near standing humans before him/her. My actions confused her at first as she had never come across such actions of human beings. Soon she identified my actions to be safe and started gaining confidence on me. After continuously practicing this exercise for a while, she started responding on my COME command... She started coming on calling but stood a couple of feet away from me - without her tail tugged in. For the first couple of days I stepped towards her and praised her lavishly. Gradually she started closing the distance! She was then taught to “SIT”. While teaching things to dogs – especially German Shepherd Dogs, physical force doesn’t actually work. Physical tortures are the root to all submissive behaviors in dogs. Yelling at them and forcing them to do something by physically torture will always interfere effective learning.

Regaining Confidence outside the home

I found this to be really crucial for Rani, but that doesn’t mean you’ll also find this hard with your subject. Certain things vary from dog to dog. This is actually socializing. When I took Rani out for strolls, her movement showed that she wasn’t confident while dealing with the external world and different situations. She was scared of sounds and couldn’t stay aloof from many external things that happened around her. This proved that her previous owner never socialized her to situations, sounds, smells and the likes. I used to take her on stroll almost every evening and used to talk softly with her constantly. She was allowed to sense and smell things and experience different actions of nature such as falling leaves, hooting vehicles, running buffaloes, rushing bikes, falling dried branches and even rain.

After some days she started pulling me, and that was a good sign. She was allowed to take me wherever she wanted. She took me to different corners of our locality and I used to go there with her. After reaching her desired place, I used to play with her for some while – not off leash though!

Regaining Confidence While on Bath

Bathing was something that Rani was not happy with. My other shepherds have always liked bath. She never used to come eagerly while bathing. The first day I remember I forced her but didn’t batter her physically. From the next day onwards she was rubbed softly, rinsed softly and I started playing with her with water. I used to start wetting her from legs, and not directly by pouring water on her body. I started out from her legs and then gradually rinse her coat throughout her body. I preferred watering her from her front, so she could know what was happening. Soon she learned that bathing was just like fun, and not something painful.

Gaining Confidence in Swimming

I took her to the pond for the first day and she was loath to give a dive. I don’t know swimming so I couldn’t take her deep. I released Reva before her as she has always been a great swimmer. Then I threw the ball, as she had already learned to chase the ball. Excited, Rani gave her first dive the water.

Rani gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about the breed. Sad part of the story is yet to be revealed. One of my friend asked Rani from me. Rani was then like other GSDs; she could eat well, run to fetch things, pull like other show dogs, and could walk with full confidence, and was not scared of humans any longer. I gave Rani to my friend for free as he promised me to take care of her. Bad news was waiting for me the following week. The guy rang up to me and said that Rani fell down from the 35 ft high terrace while casing a cat. She was alive, but badly injured, with right front limb broken. I went there to see her and found plastered. She crawled towards me and laid her head on my lap and slept. I found tears floating her eyes. That was the last day I met with her years back. After that whenever I called that man he was never reachable. Now his number doesn’t exist. I went to his house, but neither could I find that guy, nor Rani. I don’t know where she is these days and how’s she doing. I miss her a lot!

Read out:


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

White German Shepherd Dogs - Should Not be a Separate Dog Breed

White German Shepherd Dog Information

I have been receiving so many emails from my readers, looking for White German Shepherd dog information. Although I own the regular black-and-tan German Shepherds, and not the white one, yet I can share my little bit of knowledge on white German Shepherd Dogs that I have gathered by studying about them all these years.

Greif - the grandsire of the first registered Shepherd – Horand von Grafrath was a white dog. Hence the gene for the white coats has always been a part of the German Shepherd Dog breed since it’s very inception around 1898. Strong efforts had been made by Germany and other countries of the world to eliminate the white German Shepherds, but an increasing popularity have been noticed with passage of days. Around hundreds of whites German Shepherd Dogs are being registered in Canada, and thousands in the United States each year.

White German Shepherd Dog, White German Shepherd Dogs, White coated German Shepherd Dog, White GSDThe white color was made disqualification in GSD Breed Standard by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America sometimes around 1960s. Up until that time, the White German Shepherd Dogs were allowed to compete in conformation show rings. Since white GSD has been disqualified from the AKC and CKC show rings, most GSD breeders do not breed white dogs. Fortunately the White Shepherd clubs in North America has been pursuing the target of breed separation for the white GSD for years now, in the hopes of getting the proper recognitions that the beautiful White German Shepherds actually deserve.

Extensive studies have been carried out with the White GSD breed and has been finally determined that there exists a significant gene pool that make it a separate breed… naming it as White German Shepherd Dog!

  • 1999 – The UKC officially recognized White German Shepherd Dog as a separate breed from April 14, effective from May 1, 1999.
  • 2002 – The FCI officially recognized White German Shepherd Dog as a separate breed, naming it as "Berger Blanc Suisse".

White German Shepherd Dog, White German Shepherd Dogs, White coated German Shepherd Dog, White GSD
My view about White German Shepherd Dogs

My view is that, this is just a misconception that white coated German Shepherd Dog will be best treated by separating it as a distinctive breed altogether. Why should the beautiful White GSDs be outcast, just because of their natural white recessive gene? Just the white color of the coat (by natural recessive gene) cannot be the basis for breed separation. Good news is that the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America (WGSDCA) does not support breed separation.
Just like any other pure bred GSD, the white coated German Shepherd Dogs are quite a lot versatile and can be found working with police forces, in drug interdiction units, bomb detection squads, tracking, community activities, attack work, rescue departments, herding flocks, guiding the blind, assisting the handicapped, working as therapy dogs, guarding the home and what not???

Stay tuned… up next the White German Shepherd Dog FAQs!


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Saturday, April 25, 2009

How to Establish Your Alpha Position in The Pack

Hey... here's something that every German Shepherd dog owner should know. I call these the rule of thumb that you should follow to ensure that your dog know his position in the family - the human pack. If your GSD gets aggressive when you touch his food or growls at anyone in the family, these rules should be followed strictly. Remember, our dogs are the most lovable member of the family, but they should have a clear rank in the pack and they should know that perfectly. Dogs - especially the dogs like German Shepherds, Rottweillers, Dobermann Pinschers etc. that lack in this clear order are the most unhappy member of the pack and might even become nightmare for you. You need to understand your German Shepherd Dogs and it can be done by seeing the way way he carries himself!

Sometimes, your German Shepherd Dog might not be showing signs of aggression, however the dog might suddenly start showing signs of separation anxiety, such as destructive behaviors when you get out of your house. If your German Shepherd Dog steals food from your hand or from your friend's, this gives an indication that your dog has no respect for the human, and doesn't see them as the leader of the pack. Unquestionably, your GSD shouldn't be the alpha member of the household pack. Such dogs (irrespective of breeds), who questions his place in the household pack are sure to become destructive, because he is confused and tend to take his anxiety out on you or whoever comes in his way. Just on the contrary, if your GSD knows his place in the household pack is a happy companion and would never exhibit undesirable behavior.

If you are a responsible GSD owner you should follow the rules mentioned below to ensure that your German Shepherd Dog knows his place in your human pack.
  • Teach your GSD to Heel: One most effective way to make him understand that you are the Alpha member of your pack is to take him for a walk... not the type of walk that you mostly come across. Make him heel not to lead you, but to be led! Don't allow him to pull you and to sniff or eliminate where ever he wants, but where you allow. Sometimes trainers will prefer your dog to pull hard. Don't allow this until he is for show.
  • Feeding: Eat before feeding your dogs. If you have to feed your Shepherd before you, you can do so, but do not forget to keep him away from you when you eat. Do not allow any member of your family to feed your dog any table scraps during your meal time. Feedings must be at a scheduled time.
  • Rushing through doorways: Do not let your GSD go through any doorways first. Or up or down the stairs first. Your Shepherd must always go through the doorways or up and down the stairs following you or other human member of your pack.
  • Act of Ignorance: If you were away for a long span of time your dog will be anxious to see you back. This is the power of love. But still when come back in the room, ignore your beloved boy for a minute or two.
  • Obedience Command: Simple obedience commands such as “Sit” and "Stay" must be taught well. Commands should be given to obey before any pleasurable interaction with your German Shepherd Dog. Before all play sessions, feeding, walking, petting your German Shepherd Dog should be know to be quite. Your dog should take the treat from your hands gently.
  • Higher Pack Position: During the time you are establishing your higher pack position (Alpha Membership), don't hug your dog, nor pat your dog.
  • Eye Contact: Make sure your dog should avert his gaze first when you establish an eye-to-eye contact with him. If you avert your eye contact first this reinforces the dogs higher power position. Do not allow your kids to participate in the staring contest with your dog. If your children avert or blink first, it will make your dog think "He" is the Boss.
  • Fetching Games: Games of fetch, pull or play with toys should be started anf ended by you and not your dog.
  • No tug-of-war: Tug of war is the game of power. In case you lose the war, it may reinforce your German Shepherd to come to the conclusion that he is more powerful than you and if this happens consistently, your dog may develop a dominating tendency.
  • Teach him "Release Command": It is mandatory to teach your German Shephersd Dog to release things. Just teach him the one word command - "DROP" to release things. Any objects your dog has in his possession should be able to be taken away safely by you and othet members of your family.
  • Don't Leave Your Kid and Dog Unsupervised: Kids should never be left unsupervised with dogs. This doesn't hold good only for your children but for anyone who cannot maintain leadership over your dog, especially if he is a dominating dog.
  • Don't be scares and Avoid anxiety: There's actually no reason to fear your dog, but fear sometimes come if your dog has a highly dominating nature. When you are around your dominating dog avoid emotions like fear and anxiety... also do not be harsh and rude to him. German Shepherds Dogs are highly sensitive and can sense these emotions more effectively than many other dog breeds. If he senses these emotions he might consider you as a weaker member of the pack, which will escalate your problem.
  • Physical and Mental Exercise: Most of the people tend to confuse happiness with excitement in your German Shepherd Dog. The most successful way to maintain your Alpha position in the pack is to humanize your dog's behavior, although it's not everyone's cup of tea. Putting him to training session is essentially important! If your German Shepherd Dog runs around insanely excited, then he is lacking in physical and mental exercise. Take him to regular exercise - play session. But make sure you should make him practice the "Sit" and "Stay" activities in the middle of the play. This way you can ascertain your leadership by giving him "Sit" and "Stay" command.
These are the rules that are not confined with German Shepherd Dog breed, but most of the other powerful, stubborn and intelligent breeds of dogs. By incorporating behaviors your dog will consider you to be the leader of the pack - Alpha over him! Obedience exercises simply works like magic while maintaining your Alpha position. Click here to know how to deal with difficult dogs and also find some Frequently Asked Questions about German Shepherd Dogs!


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Saturday, March 21, 2009

German Shepherd Dogs at Work

German Shepherd Dog has truly earned a great deal of admiration throughout the world. Although he wasn’t bred for the many purposes that he is serving these days, but he has proved to be the most able candidate of all dog breeds. This is probably because of his effectiveness and multi-tasking ability that German Shepherd Dog breed has marked his name as one most versatile dog breed in the world. Quite a lot courageous than most dog breeds, German Shepherd Dog has an impressive protective instinct that is one most fruitful component of a true working dog.

“Utility is the true criterion of the breed,” was the watch words of Captain Max Von Stephanitz, who created the breed not just to create a gorgeous looking dog, but to create a true working dog breed that would assist the shepherds to herd sheep. Keeping the work of herding sheep intact, German Shepherd Dog has proved to be really priceless in departments like police, drug detection, sentry, guarding and even medical too! Although some other dog breeds like Dobermann Pinschers, Weimeraners, Bouviers des Flandres, Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers are also used as police dogs, yet GSDs have always topped the list, with their high degree of adaptability and SOUNDNESS OF TEMPERAMENT. Be it on a mob control duty at a tournament or challenging a criminal with weapons or on duty of searching for a lost kid. German Shepherd’s working ability has been tested on wide range of operations – as diverse as objectives

German Shepherds as Service Dogs

German Shepherds are wonderful service dogs… beyond doubts. In many countries theses days German Shepherd dogs have been in extensive use in patrolling defense organizations. As service dog the tasks include search and rescue (SAR), military, sniffing etc. GSD is trained to "work the furrow", meaning that they will patrol a boundary all day and restrain the animals being herded from entering into or leaving a specific territory.

German Shepherds in Movies

German Shepherd Dog is the first canine breed to step into the world of movies. How can we forget Rin-Tin-Tin, who revolutionized the movie world, by challenging great actors like Charlie Chaplin. Movies by Rin-Tin-Tin are:

  • The Man from Hell's River (1922)rin rin rin german shepherd dogs at work versatile german shepherd dog at work seeing eye dog, service dog companion dog gsd working ability of german shepherds german shepherd therapy dog therapy shepherd dog
  • My Dad (1922)
  • Where the North Begins (1923)
  • Shadows of the North (1923)
  • Hello Frisco (1924)(a 10 minute short)
  • Find your Man(1924)
  • The Lighthouse by the Sea" (1925)
  • Clash of the Wolves (1925)
  • Tracked in the Snow Country (1925)
  • Below the Line (1925)
  • The Night Cry (1926)
  • A Hero of the Big Snow (1926)
  • While London Sleeps (1926)
  • Hills of Kentucky (1927)
  • Jaws of Steel (1927)
  • Tracked by the Police (1927)
  • A Dog of the Regiment (1927)
  • A Race for Life (1928)
  • Rinty of the Desert (1928)
  • Land of the Silver Fox (1928)
  • The Famous Warner Brothers Dog Star (1928)
  • The Million Dollar Collar (1929)
  • Frozen River (1929)
  • The Show of Shows (1929)
  • Tiger Rose (1929)
  • The Man Hunter (1930)
  • On the Border (1930)
  • Rough Waters (1930)
  • The Lone Defender (1930)
  • The Lightning Warrior (1931)
More movies was made featuring the progenitors of Rin Tin Tin: Rin Tin Tin Jr, Rin Tin Tin II, Rin Tin Tin III, Rin Tin Tin IV, Rin Tin Tin VI, Rin Tin Tin VII, Rin Tin Tin VIII

German Shepherds as Drug Detection Dogs

German Shepherd Dogs have also been used to detect hidden, smuggled drugs that are prohibited. They are smart enough to detect smuggled items from noisy engine cabins of a ship, aircraft hangers, cars etc. GSDs play tremendously active role to fight drug smuggling all over the world.

German Shepherds as Guide Dogs – Seeing Dogs

Alsatian dogs were the first canine breed to be trained as “Seeing Eye” dogs or guide dogs for the blinds. Although many other dog breeds like Labrador Retrievers and mixed breed are performing the task of Seeing Eye dogs, yet GSDs comprise over one-third of the total Seeing Eye dog population across the globe.
German Shepherds as Companion Dogs

A hugely incredible number of German Shepherds are kept as family pets and have earned a great deal of admiration as a versatile companion dog. His popularity as a companion dog led him to reserve his position as the most popular dog breed registered by authorized Kennel Clubs all over the world.

German Shepherds as PAT dogs – Pro Dog Active Therapy Dogs

Along side some of the other breeds, German Shepherd Dog breed have been registered as Pro Active Therapy Dog or simply therapy Dogs. GSDs with steady temperament are taken to old age homes, nursing homes and hospitals by their owners.
German Shepherds as Seizure Alert Dogs

German Shepherd Dogs have also shown stand out dexterity as Seizure Alert Dog. He tops the list of the most able dog breeds that have been trained and tested to warn an impending seizure in an epileptic person. A Seizure Alert German Shepherd Dog goes through a series of actions, which are entirely different from the activities of GSDs in other departments. Actions of Seizure Alert Shepherd includes pawing, running to encompass the victim, rushing close and sitting by the victim, or even barking if necessary.

German Shepherd Dog is a dog for all purposes and for all reasons.


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Monday, March 16, 2009

Schutzhund – The Breed Evaluation Test: Developed For German Shepherd Dogs

German Shepherd Dogs with correct traits German Shepherd Dogs in Schutzhund sports of Schutzhund test desirable characteristics of the German Shepherd Dogs Schutzhund qualified dogs German Shepherd Dog breed to testDeveloped around the turn of the century, 'Schutzhund' is the German term of “Protection Dog”, while it actually refers to a test in the form of sports by which some essential traits in dogs, which makes the dog more useful to the owner, are evaluated in a highly systematic way. This test helps to determine the most desirable characteristics of the German Shepherd Dogs. A German Shepherd with all the desirable characteristics is an excellent and the most reliable companion of its owner. The Schutzhund test has been formulated to separate the breeding stock (a high quality dogs with all the desirable characteristics) from the stock with the undesirable characteristics. The “characteristics” here refers not only to the psychological characteristics but PHYSICAL/ STRUCTURAL FEATURES OF GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG as well.

Schutzhund was actually started with a view to put the German Shepherd Dog breed to test. When the SV started off with their operations, decision was taken make an attempt to find a place for the shepherd dogs in two branches of the military services that was existed then. Keeping in mind the small number of service dogs needed for those couple of departments in Military service, the SV advised the shepherd dog keepers to secure a scope of regular training for them as protection dogs. And this was how the Schutzhund was originated.

Schutzhund qualified dogs are obvious to get good, secured jobs in the police and rescue departments. This is because the test focuses in developing the necessary traits like Intelligence, Courage, Willingness Capability to work, Ability to scent, and physical and mental soundness. All these are the most essential traits for these two departments.

The Schutzhund test is an elimination process through which the GSDs incorrect drives and temperament are straight way eliminated from the German Shepherd Dogs with correct traits. German Shepherd Dogs with correct traits German Shepherd Dogs in Schutzhund sports of Schutzhund test desirable characteristics of the German Shepherd Dogs Schutzhund qualified dogs German Shepherd Dog breed to test Naturally, the puppies of a Schutzhund trained Dam and Sire is expected to be of high quality — having most of the desirable characteristics of the breed.

Now-a-days, the dogs of the other breeds are actively taking part in the Schutzhund test, but the sports of Schutzhund was specifically developed solely for the Deutscher Scaferhund i.e. German Shepherd Dogs. Read more about GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG INSTINCTS AND BEHAVIOR.

This breed evaluation process has come to a great help to the modern breeders. It has become easier for the breeders to select an apt bitch for an apt dog and vice versa to produce good quality puppies with desirable characteristics and balanced physical structure.


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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tid Bits of German Shepherd Dog Training Tips

I am not a professional dog trainer, nor a canine behaviorist. I am just a regular person like you guys, who love dogs - any breed, but especially GSD is what I have always dreamed of! Having stayed in close relation with this amazing breed, I got to know more about the breed. It's out of my undying hunger to know more about German Shepherd Dogs that I have mingled with professional dog trainers, German Shepherd breeders, and canine experts since when I started falling in love with shepherds. I have heard people saying that German Shepherds are one of the toughest breed, while many says that he's quite intelligent and easy to handle. Both these school of thoughts are correct! German Shepherd Dogs are really tough for novice dog owners, but can be the most loved companion for those who knows how to make the most of their intelligence. You should not even think of adopting a German Shepherd, if you don't have that urge to upgrade your knowledge every day. If you are a German Shepherd owner you should know tid bits of some German Shepherd Dog training tricks. Here are some German Shepherd Dog training tips - I better say 'tricks' that you may find really valuable.

#1 Never yell when you are training German Shepherd: Remember, punishing, scolding and yelling at your German Shepherd puppy will end up with making him even more harder to teach things. Scolding and yelling at him will make him lose his confidence on you. This in turn will make him more confused and chances are that punishing and shouting at them may backfire with this breed!

#2. German Shepherd Dog is the third most intelligent canine breed: They have special intellect that is much above most of the other dog breeds in the world. This helps them to grab new lessons faster. Use their own intelligence during the training session.

#3. German Shepherd Dogs have unique instincts: Read out the BASIC INSTINCTS OF GERMAN SHEPHERD DOGS. Remember, most successful trainers use the basic German Shepherd Dog instincts while training. The key to the success story is to master the art of using the dog's own instinct for training him.

#4. Don't confuse him with too many words: Use one symbol word - either "YES" or "GOOD" for all his desirable actions and "NO" or "BAD" for all undesirable actions. Don't forget to reward him with pat or a treat for any desirable action without a symbol word.

#5. 4 training sessions per day: Wondering? That's really possible! Well, you know that you need to start off with training your dog at an age as early as 8 weeks. This is a stage when you need to feed him at least four times a day and teaching by treating is an excellent way to train your German Shepherd Puppy. So you will have four opportunities a day to teach him newer lessons or make him practice pre-taught lessons. More the practices the better.

instincts of german shepherd dog training tips on training German Shepherd most intelligent canine breed technique for training dogs tips on German Shepherd Training German Shepherd Dog instinctsThere is actually no thumb rule technique for training dogs. A specific technique that works like gangbusters with your Rover may turn out to be a flop with my Rex. Just one method that works well with all the German Shepherd Dogs in the world is to avoid harsh methods. All you need is to think of a way that suits the best with the personality of your dog. There's nothing wrong in treating him for each of his desirable actions. Let me be very candid, I've always expected a cup of coffee after the successful accomplishment of each assignment in my work place. If you are serious about it, I am sure you'll find training your German Shepherd puppy really addictive and fun. But be careful... with wrong techniques you can unknowingly spoil your child. This is where a professional dog trainer finds his real worth. So there's no way you can deny the value of a professional dog trainer, even though you are following the above tips on training German Shepherd Dogs.

Please check my friend Rachael's website on training dogs. Rachael is a Dog Trainer & Behaviourist - Canine Ambitions.


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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Reichi - Daughter of Rex and Reva

Reichi is one of the daughters of Rex and Reva.

Reichi - 30 days old

Reichi - 33 days old

Reichi with her father Rex - 33 days old

Reichi with her father Rex - 33 days old

Reichi with her father Rex - 33 days old

Reichi - Just over 4 months old

Reichi - Just over 4 months old

Reichi having a nap in her Kennel after lunch - around 4 months 10 days old


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Physical Structure of German Shepherd Dog: GSD Standard

I’m sure I don’t need to define how a well-bred German Shepherd Dog looks like. Known for its unswerving intelligence, working ability and royal personality, German Shepherd Dog has always been one of the most preferred and most liked dog breeds in the world. Beauty is in his within! The way he looks at me, the way he moves, his gesture and everything he does, he does it in style. This might be another big reason for GSD to become the most popular breed world wide. The strikingly beautiful German Shepherd Dog is quite a lot powerful, with strong bones, courageous and self-assured, loyal and protective and can make an amazing companion.

Here are a bit about the standard of German Shepherd Dog. When I talk about the German Shepherd Dog standard, I talk about a specimen that’s well-bred, keeping in view the grammar of breeding. Thorough understanding of the physical structure is necessary to identify a well-bred German Shepherd Dog.


Head: The Size of the head must be in perfect proportion to the size of the body. Technically the length of the head should be approximately 39% to 40% of the dog’s height at wither. Head should neither be too large and/or overlong, nor should it look smaller as compared to the body size. Head should be clear, fairly broad between the ears, and should have a slightly domed forehead with very little or no trace of centre furrow. Deep centre furrow in a GSD forehead is undesirable.

Skull: The broad skull, that starts from the base of the ears and extends up to the nose bridge, should be at least 50% of the total head part as per the GSD standard. This means the skull ends right where the bridge of the nose starts and tapers slightly downwards with a gentle slope and extends further into a powerful Wedge-Shaped muzzle.

Stop: Remain 50% of the head is Stop, which is strong and well built.

Muzzle: The GSD muzzle should be wedge-shaped, strong, firm and powerful and must be parallel to the forehead. Too short or blunt or not-so-strong or over long and pointed muzzle are not only desirable in a well-bred GSD. Loose flap of skin in the muzzle is not desirable.

Ears: Ears shouldn’t be too long or too short and should be broad at the base. Right proportion to the head is necessary. GSD ears must be firm textured and should be erect with proper curve at the tips. Ears with pointed tips or narrow curves are treated faulty. Ears shouldn’t be pulled inward or pushed outward. Gap between the ears at the base must be in right proportion to the size of the head.

GSD ears usually starts standing at the age of 8 to 10 weeks, but may sometimes be delayed to upto even 6 to 7 months in puppies with comparatively larger and heavier ears.

Faulty Ears: Faulty ears in GSD require a broader explanation. Certain genetic traits are responsible for serious faults in ears.

Soft Ears: Ears that never stand, which is typically a genetic trait. Not only undesirable, but this is a serious fault and disqualification.
Friendly Ears: Ears that erect but not with firm texture. They wiggle at the tips as the dog trots or gallop, which is though not a disqualification, but undesirable.
Floppy Ears: Ears that stand but are dropped down at the tips.

Note: Ears, though erect, of some German Shepherd Dogs are folded back while trotting. This is neither a fault, nor disqualification, nor again undesirable.

Eyes: GSDs have ‘almond eyes’… meaning the shape of the eyes is like an almond. The medium-sized should not be protruding and should have dark brown pigmentation at the maturity, although lighter pigmentations are also found, which is not desirable. Too faint eye color is a serious fault. The general harmony of the eyes should be in right proportion to the head to give right facial expression. Eyes should give an expression of intelligence, curiosity, inquisitiveness, attentive, lively and self confidence.

Dentition: Jaws should be quite strong, healthy and firmly developed, with healthy teeth. Upper jaw has 20 teeth, including 6 incisors, 2 canines, 8 premolars, and 4 molars. Lower jaw has 22 teeth, including 6 incisors, 2 canines, 8 premolars, and 6 molars. Normal dentition makes a combination of 42 teeth all together.

Incisors Set: 6 incisors of the lower jaw are set just behind the 6 incisors of the upper jaw.

Dentition Rating: “V” Rating for correct and complete dental configuration
“SG” Rating for a missing P1 or one incisor
“G” Rating for a missing P2 or two incisors
Missing incisors are rarely seen.

GSD Bite: Due to the incisors settings, the dogs holds a bitten article in a scissor grip. The bite of German Shepherd Dog is a called “Scissor Bite”.

Neck: German Shepherd Dog neck should be fairly long and strongly built, with well developed muscles. Short neck is undesirable and treated faulty. Throat should be free from throatiness (dewlap) – excessive folds of skin at the throat region. Very slight dewlap may be present.

The neck should be held at an angle of 45 degree, which may be raised further when excited and lowered a bit when trotting.


Forequarters: Forequarter includes the shoulder blade, front pair of legs, upper arms, elbow and pastern.

Shoulder Blade – As per the German Shepherd Dog standard, the Shoulder Blade should lay flat to the body. The Shoulder Blade sets obliquely at an angle of 45 degree.

Upper Arm – Upper arm is attached to the shoulder blade at 90 degree. Upper arm should be strongly built, with well developed muscles to give an impression of massive innate strength and power.

Forelegs – Forelegs, from the elbow to the region of pastern, should look straight, when viewed from any angle. The bones should be strong, oval and never round. According to German Shepherd Dog standard the length of the foreleg should exceed the depth of chest at a ratio of 55% to 45%.

Pastern – German Shepherd Dog standard puts special attention on the pastern. The pastern should be firm and supple. As per the standard, the pastern should be angulated at an angle of 20 degree to 23 degree and should be approximately 1/3 rd of the length of the forearm. Too steep or soft pasterns are undesirable. More close to this standard ensures more balanced gait of German SHepherd Dog.

Elbow – Elbow should neither turn inward nor twist outward. The length of the foreleg must extend at least beyond the lowest point of the brisket by 55% approximately.

Feet: Feet should be well built, compact and well arched. Toes should be set closed tight to each and must form a well arch. The well developed, heavy-duty pads should be durable and cushioned and not brittle. The nails should be dark, strong and hard. Dew claw may present in hind legs too, although not commonly found.

Body: Well muscular body should give an impression of power. The Length should exceed the Height so as to give a slightly longer look. According to German Shepherd Dog standard, the Length : Height = 10 : 9 or 10 : 8.5.

Height as per the GSD Breed Standard: GSD is a bit longer than higher. A fully matured GSD male should reach a height up to 62.5 cm i.e. 25 inches. Females should be 57.5 cm i.e. 23 inches high. 2.5 cm deviation (under and over) from the standard is allowed

Chest: GSD is a deep-chested breed. The Standard of German Shepherd Dog breed requires the depth of chest of a well bred specimen to be around 45% to 48% of the height. The chest should be broad enough with well developed and fairly long brisket. However, too broad chest distracts the endurance of gait, which has an adverse effect on the working ability of the dog and is hence a disqualification.

Ribs: The rib cage should be broad and wide enough, long and well formed. It should neither be too flat, nor barrel shaped. A bit too wide rib cage will make the elbow turned out, which will disturb the movement of the elbow while on move. Too narrow rib cages will make the elbow turn in, which again distracts the gait. Hence both these extremities are undesirable.

Abdomen: Abdomen should be firm and slightly concave – not bulging out, rather slightly tucked in.

Loin: Broad and powerful loin should be well built and quite muscular to give an impression of great innate strength.

structure german shepherd dog anatomy, GSD standard of GSD structure, German shepherd dog standard of german shepherd dog measurements, GSD anatomy of german shepherd dog anatomy, about german shepherd dog information, german shepherd dog infoTopline: One of the most important parts to put special emphasize on, while judging the breed quality is topline. Topline – the region between wither and croup –
The GSD withers are higher than the back and slopes towards the rear. The German Shepherd Dog back is straight and strongly developed without any droop or roach. The higher wither give it an appearence of slightly slopping from front to back. Many breeders prefer a very slightly gentle curve (almost straight and not perfectly straight), which reflects their lack of knowledge about the German Shepherd anatomy. Too long topline is both undesirable and disqualification. The overall length is not derived from a long back, but is achieved by the correct angle of the shoulder, correct croup length and right hindquarters. Topline is well judged when the dog is stacked properly. Arch back, roach back, banana back are disqualifications as they disrupt the structure, thereby disrupting the gait. Week and soft back are disqualified.

Wither: Well built wither should have a good height. German Shepherd Dogs must be high at the wither, which is desirable. Wither should join the back of the dog in a smooth line instead of any abrupt change in the structure and without disrupting the smooth flow in the topline from wither to where the croup starts.

Croup: Croup should be moderately long, broad and gently downward slopping towards the tail at an angle of approximately 23 degree. The slight downward slope should not disrupt the flow of the topline. Short, flat, steep and narrow croups are disqualifications; too long croup are not desirable either and hence rejected.

Hindquarters: Hindquarter of German Shepherd Dog includes thigh, upper thigh bone (femur), lower thigh bone, Hock and the rear legs. Thigh should be well developed, muscular and broad so as to give an impression of power. While having a side wise look, the upper thigh bone (femur) of a German Shepherd Dog should slope gently to the slightly longer hock. The angulations of the hindquarter should correspond to the front angulations in perfect proportions (without being over-angulated or under-angulated). Dogs that display over-angulated structure when stacked may look good in some eyes, but are undesirable. Powerful hindquarters should be strong enough to give powerful forward propulsion, to make the dog move forward in high pace effortlessly.

Upper Thigh: Broad with well developed muscles. When viewed side ways, the upper thighs are almost diagonal to the lower thighs and are connected to each other at an angle of 120 degree approximately, provided that the forequarter is neither over angulated nor heavily under angulated.

Hock Bones: Hock bone should be strong, moderately long with the well curved stifle. Hock joints should be powerful and strong. Hock joints should not be tucking in (cow hock) or twisted out. These are undesirable as well as disqualification. Cow hock in German Shepherd are very commonly seen and should be excluded out of the breed program. Due to the deviation from the alignment of hock joint, the dog cannot deliver right degree of propulsion and the gait won’t effortless.


Gait of German Shepherd Dog: German Shepherd Dog with right structure and mental soundness, should exemplify a royal movement. GSD is a trotting dog and is the most outstanding trotter. His stepping sequence follows a “Diagonal Movement”. He always moves his foreleg and the opposite hind leg in opposite direction. Without a highly balanced structure a GSD cannot be a good trotter with Diagonal Movement. Strong and well balanced limbs enables him to deliver right degree of propulsion so as to get an extensive reach. A well balanced gait requires the dog to make the maximum coverage of ground by giving hard thrust with his hind foot that takes him well forward to reach exactly middle point of his body, simultaneously the opposite front foot well extended forward, without and noticeable change in the topline that remains still sloping from front to back. While in brisk trotting the head is taken slightly forward, neck lowered, tail slightly raised upward (not sickle tail or gay tail) and ears may sometimes slightly folded back but must be of tough textured and firm.


The overall idea is, while in trotting the gait should be perfectly free from bounciness smooth, supple, and long reaching.

Tail: Tail should be at least as long so as to reach the hock joint but not to extend beyond the mid point of the hock. It should be bushy without any kinks, curls, twists, or any other interruptions, and shouldn’t be carried upward. Although undesirable, yet slightly sideward-bent tails with hook at the end, are seen and is not a disqualification. Sickle tail and gay tail are serious faults and hence disqualifications. Tail raised beyond the horizontal is faulty and is disqualified. A very strong willed and a dominant dog will carry his tail up, especially seen in males. Moreover, dogs bred for working often have high tails. A high set and a high carriage are different of course. Desirable is that a correct tail set of a strong dog can be carried up at approximately 45 degrees from the level.


German Shepherd Dog Coat: German Shepherd Dogs comes in three distinctive categories of coat.
a) Normal Coated GSD – Stock Coat/ Stockhaarige
b) Long Coated GSD – Long Stock Coat/ Long Stockhaarige
c) Open Coated GSD

Normal Coated GSD carries think under coat and closely lying, dense, hard, and straight guard coat. We do not have a standard regarding the length of the coat, but too short hair is faulty and is disqualification. The guard coat should be waterproof and seasoned for all season, weather and environment.

Long Coated GSD comes with fairly longer hairs, which are not always straight and do not lie flat and are not closely compact. Hairs inside and the back of the ears, back part of the front les, loin area and the throat are very longer. This type of coat is usually not waterproof and hence is not desirable, especially for working line German Shepherd Dogs.

Open Coated GSDs are long haired GSDs, whose hairs are longer than the Long Stock Coat/ Long Stockhaarige version. The hair usually part on the back, forming a parting line along the back bone. The texture is slightly silky and not water resistant. Sometimes, such GSDs are found with a bit longer muzzle, with narrow appearance. The degree of protection and working ability are seriously diminished because of the low degree of body heat radiation, which makes the dog easily exhausted.

Color Pattern: The German Shepherd Dog Standard has a say about the color patter and pigmentation too! Read on about the color pattern in GSD.

Behavior: The German Shepherd Dog standard ahs some to say about the behavior and temperament of the dog. Click here to know more about the GSD behavior.


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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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