Monday, April 9, 2007

German Shepherd Dog


Dog Breeds - Part 1


German Shepherd Dog

The German invader!


Came from Alsace of Germany, brought by the returning American soldiers,invaded the hearts of dog-lovers all over the world, popularly known as the Alsatian (if you have guessed it is the German shepherd dog (GSD), you are right). Only few know Alsatian and the German shepherd are one and the same (a case of split personality? no, it so happened people called it by name Alsatian for years, then came awareness about dogs and its breeds, the elite dog keepers fashionably called their dogs “German shepherd”, whereas “ordinary” people still call their German shepherds as Alsatians ). There are


Too many cooks!


Classification: like in most of the cases there is no universally accepted norm. Different countries have different kennel associations like the kennel club of India (KCI), American Kennel Club (AKC), Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC) , New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), American Pet Registry Inc.(APRI), and so on. Only consensus among them regarding universal standards is lacking. The AKC has grouped these beauties in ‘Herding’ class; where as the FCI put them under ‘Group 1 Section 1 #166’, the CKC as ‘Group 7- Herding dogs’, The ANKC as ‘Group 5 (Working Dogs)’ and so on and on….


Listen to the father.


Breed Characters: German shepherd that compete in dog shows, must have an appearance that conforms with the guidelines of the individual kennel club as no universally accepted standards exists.

As per Max von Stephanitz, the ‘Father of the German Shepherd Dog’ - "The most striking features of a correctly bred German Shepherd are firmness of nerves, attentiveness, “shock-resistance”, tractability, watchfulness, reliability and incorruptibility together with courage, fighting tenacity and hardness."


Height: Male dogs 24 to 25 inches (60-65cm.), Bitches 22-24 inches (55-60cm.)Weight: 77-85 pounds (35-40kg.)


Color conscious!


The GSD is handsome, well proportioned and very strong. The hair is a double-coat and can be either short or long haired. Although the black and tan saddle (Fig 1) may be most recognizable, German Shepherds come in a variety of colors and patterns (not all are accepted by the various breed clubs is another thing!). Two toned German Shepherds can be black and tan, black and red, black and brown, black and silver, black and cream, blue and tan, or liver and tan. Solid colors may be black and solid white or any of the dilutes (liver, blue, or cream). Dogs with coats that have tricolored hair (black and white with either brown or red) are called sable( Fig 2). Sables can come in a variety of mixtures as well including black and silver, black and red, black and cream, and black and tan.

There are few more markings helpful for recognising them.

1. 'striping' - black stripe markings on the legs found in some sables,

2. 'pencilling' - found on the sable as black lines on the top of the dog's toes,

3. 'tar heels' - black that runs down the back of the dog's legs, and

4. ‘bitch stripe’ - grey hairs along the back of a female or a neutered male.

Certain qualities desirable to ideal GSDs


Color

White is generally not an acceptable color for the German shepherd; however they are now being recognized as a separate breed, called the American White Shepherd.


Head.


The head should be noble and in proportion to its body, and the forehead a little convex.


Eyes.


Eyes of medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely (not protruding), with a lively, intelligent expression. Color darker the better.

Ears.





Ears should be moderately pointed, wised at the base, in proportion to the skull, open toward the front, and held erect when at attention. The ideal carriage being one in which the center lines of the ears (as viewed from the front) should look parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. Ears that are not completely erect are consisderesd as a disqualification (the ears of puppies less than six months may droop slightly).


Nose.


The nose is most often black, blue or liver rarely occur, but is considered taboo for shows.

It has a strong scissors bite

It has a sturdy, muscular, slightly elongated body with a light but solid bone structure.,

Its bushy tail reaches almost to its hocks and hangs down when the dog is at rest.

Its front legs and shoulders are muscular; its thighs thick and sturdy. It has round feet with very hard soles.


Nature: Noble in appearance, character and purpose, a German shepherd is courageous, brave and has keen senses. These dogs are capable of warm companionship and are active and dignified. They befriend children once they get acquainted and are unconditionally loyal, obedient and protective and hardly ever run away. They do not allow intruders in their homes and can get along with other family pets and animals,. Sensitive to voice and intelligent enough to understand things quickly, German Shepherds are eager pupils.


The American line of a German hero.


First it was the American soldiers who brought German shepherd dogs (GSD) to thier country as they were so impressed by the role they played for the German army in World war 1. From the army camps the German shepherds travelled a long way to reach the top notch among the best dog breeds.


German and Eastern European lines tend to be stockier, with shorter snouts and more muscular chests, and typify the working lines. The North American lines have a tendency towards a longer croup, longer back, higher wither and temperament making them ideal for companionship.


American GSD lines tend to have sharp angulations in the hind quarters, more so than any other breed. These angulations allow them to hop seamlessly with lesser touch on the ground. American lines tend to be bred for elegance and nobility. They are often less active and less dominant than their German counterparts, which make them better pets.


German line GSDs are generally stockier than their American counterparts and more moderate in both structure and movement without severe angulations as in American lines. They may not appear as graceful and dignified but instead have an air of muscular agility.
When the German lines are high-energy, high-intensity dogs, the American is Graceful and elegant companions.


Longevity: The life expectancy is about 13 years. A GSD becomes "middle-aged" between 5-7 years old, and is generally considered aged at about 10.

Exercise: GSDs require a lot of exercise; they can be reared in apartments provided there is provision for giving them the much needed exercise. Two hours a day will do.

Roles: The GSDs are excellent in Herding, they are ideal for the jobs like trekking, tracking, Searching, Rescue-duty etc. GSDs are extensively used as Guard Dogs and Guide Dogs. Their loyalty and affection make them good pets.


Some of the common ailments found in GSDs.


Hip dysplasia. This is caused by Genetic disorders can be diagnosed by early x-ray verification.
Hair-loss (Alopocia) due to several factors including deficiency of vitamins and minerals, Fungal and parasitic infestation or even the use of bad soaps. Carbolic acid based soaps are never to be used.
Ear-infections. The most common ailment, reason improper or no cleaning, better management of the ears can keep the ailment at bay.
Maggot- attack. Especially in hairy varieties small wounds and scars on the skin may go un-noticed which will turn out to be breeding ground for maggots (pest flies which lay eggs in animal wounds causing the wound to worsen)

A good dog is worth ten friends, keep it in ship shape and be a proud owner of a proud dog.

Don’t envy your neighbor’s dog, own a better one..

To be continued...


Related Reading

Browse More Articles on Dog Breeds by Dr Harikrishnan and Dr Suraj


7 comments:

NancyMaria said...

A pleasure to read about German Shepherds when the person sounds like they know what they're talking about.
My mother raised, trained and showed German Shepherds even after she moved to America with our father.
She continued to find the best "couple" to provide hip-free problems. When she finally had them, the pups were sold with a 2-year guarantee (on their hips) for full replacement.
Mom's name is Margot Shreiber (goes by Paul now). She doesn't sell shepherds anymore since the "couple" grew old and passed away but she continues to receive phone calls from former owners of her pups wanting more.

Janey... said...

Thanks for stopping into my blog...and pleasantly surprised to see the information you posted on the GSD...they are awesome creatures...

Abby K9 said...

[quote]the elite dog keepers fashionably called their dogs “German shepherd”, whereas “ordinary” people still call their German shepherds as Alsatians )[/quote]

That is not true.

When the breed was founded by Max von Stephanitz in the late 1800's, he named the breed the German Shepherd Dog (or, Deutscher Schaeferhund).

People did not start using the term Alsatian until World War I. The breed had become popular with the British by then, but during World War I, they didn't want anything to do with anything named "German". So they started referring to the German Shepherd as "Alsatians".

There's no "Alsace of Germany", either. The Alsace-Lorraine region is a region along the French-German border, part French and part German. :)

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Rosemary said...

Dear Biby,
This reminds me so much of my younger day hero. Max was not a pure bred, but you could not tell him that. He was the tops. You could not get close enough to me to harm me if he so much as sensed danger in the air. Gosh, I pray he is running free in doggie Heaven!

PS. I got your message from DoD Daily News-2. I still have the e-mail, and I would like to thank you for reminding me to get on it. I also get e-mails from GOE. Nice to meet ya. Have a great day. :)

Rosemary said...

Dear Biby,
This reminds me so much of my younger day hero. Max was not a pure bred, but you could not tell him that. He was the tops. You could not get close enough to me to harm me if he so much as sensed danger in the air. Gosh, I pray he is running free in doggie Heaven!

PS. I got your message from DoD Daily News-2. I still have the e-mail, and I would like to thank you for reminding me to get on it. I also get e-mails from GOE. Nice to meet ya. Have a great day. :)

Dr. Suraj S said...

dear ABBY K9,
Your comments are true. I am extremly thankful to you for throwing light on the same.

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