German Shepherd

The interest in this remarkable breed of dogs has developed so rapidly that we are gratified at being able to present this authoritative article by Jay Hall, one of the most successful exhibitors of the breed in this country:

This native German breed resembling the wolf in general appearance is known throughout the world by many different names. Commonly called the Police Dog, by reason of the large number used in night patrol duty on the police force of German cities, it is known in England as the Alsatian Wolf Dog. It is often referred to as the Belgian Police Dog and as the French Police Dog. In America, prior to the entrance by the United States into the World War, it was known by its true name-the German Shepherd Dog. In 1918 the American Kennel Club arbitrarily dropped the word “German,” naming the breed plainly “The Shepherd Dog.”

The breed is known in Germany as the Deutscher Schaferhund (or German Shepherd Dog), but when trained for police duty is designated as the Policeihund or police dog. It has been stated that as early as 19 11 more than 400 police stations in Germany had been provided with specially-trained dogs of this species.

Primarily a herding dog descended from the longhaired dogs of South Germany, he lends himself to training of varied character. A nose hunter, keen of scent, he makes an admirable trailer of man or game. In common with the Shepherd Dog of any race, he, by reason of his close and constant companionship with man, is generally obedient and sagacious. His physical makeup adapts him to tireless sustained effort, and the breeders responsible for the fixed type that exists wisely provided for a combination that, while it preserves a certain beauty of outline, has lost nothing in usefulness as a working dog. The Shepherd has been found readily adapted to training both for Red Cross and police purposes, and has been used extensively in these fields chiefly by the Germans.

In Germany the breed is sponsored by the German Shepherd Dog Club, an active organization with a membership of many thousands widely spread throughout the country. The Stud Book published by this club is a model of excellence. In fact, personally I have never seen a stud book of any breed of animals that was superior to it. It was founded in 1899. Six root stocks mark the beginning of the breed.

No breed of dog has gained favor more quickly with the public than has this breed in America. From obscurity in 1904, when the breed was first introduced into the United States, today (1921) finds that the Shepherds benched run one, two, three in number at nearly all our more important shows.

Perhaps the greatest misnomer, on the part of the uninformed public, of the true and natural disposition of dogs of this breed is a natural result of the commonly given name “Police Dog.” By nature the Shepherd is quick, affectionate, intelligent, faithful, of fine mind and memory, devoted to its master, and zealous in his interest. It is these very attributes that constitute a fine groundwork for the training of certain of these dogs for police service.

It is well then to consider that the true dog of the breed is a shepherd by type, and that only specialized training transforms him to a police dog. As a police dog his fine basic characteristics are accentuated and developed to a point of usefulness for the particular work at hand.

The idea of using dogs for civic protection is by no means new. Louis XI, who ruled in France early in the fifteenth century, provided the famous town of Mont St. Michel with a dog corps, and St. 1VIalo, close by, was protected in a similar manner.

While it is generally recorded that the city of Ghent in Belgium was the first city to establish a systematic and regular school for the training of police dogs and putting them into local service after training them, it is claimed that the honor of introducing the modern police dog on the continent really belongs to Dr. Gerland, who introduced the practice at Hildesheim, Germany, early in 1896. During the five years that followed the experiment was taken up by practically every country in Europe, and several foreign countries, including Japan, sent representatives abroad to investigate the plan and methods.

In the training and instruction of these dogs for police duty they are taught to seize an object without seriously hurting it; to hunt for vagabonds and defend the uniforms; not to accept anything from strangers nor to be petted by them; to guard an object placed on the ground; to keep individuals at bay without biting until human help arrives, but to attack if necessary if flight is attempted; to follow through a house where dwellings or buildings require searching; not to be afraid of firearms; to run into alleys, behind houses and outbuildings, and into many places where the human eye could not see unless provided with a light; to follow his master with or without leash at distances ranging to a maximum of 150 feet; to bark loudly to announce a find. These dogs are finally trained to respect and protect a police uniform, and seem instinctively to know the uniform. If a man attacks its master, the dog becomes furious and savage, and often jumps at the throat of the aggressor. After their training is completed and when they are not on active duty they remain in their kennels all day, seeing only the trainers who care for them, and as they are on duty throughout the night, they have no means of becoming familiar with the public.

The first essential of training this breed is to inculcate absolute obedience. It has been found that the greater the intelligence of the dog the more difficult it is to teach them a routine. The dog’s own individuality is likely to assert itself. Rare discretion must be used by the skilled trainer.

The following essentials are enumerated as necessary in their training for police use: A dog must be taught to give tongue when quarry is found or breaks from cover on a run, to curb its hunting instincts and stop abruptly at cry or whistle of command. Where resistance is offered it is taught to leap at the wrist or throat of the culprit, and while prowling by itself to rout from bushes or shadows all marauders.

The dog’s early education for police service leads him to suspect all strangers. He cannot be intimidated, coaxed, or lured. He will refuse all food when offered by strangers, even though he may be extremely hungry. A properly trained police dog is irreproachable in morals, mien, and manners. He will face pistol fire unflinchingly and leap savagely to attack. A well-trained dog will easily clear a seven-foot obstacle, and can broad jump a small stream or creek twelve to fifteen feet across. The dog’s education enables him to ferret out hidden goods, to find coins that have been dropped; in fact, to search out every clue of the criminal that may be of service in leading to his eventual discovery and arrest. These dogs are quick to sense the presence of criminals with whom they have had previous contact, and have been known to pick men out of a crowd under these conditions.

We would again forcefully call to the reader’s attention the fact that these characteristics are peculiar to those of the breed trained for this special duty or purpose. The well-bred Shepherd untrained for police use is an admirable companion, loyal, affectionate, well mannered, obedient and in no way savage or solitary.

Listed below is the standard of the breed as established by the German Shepherd Dog Club (S. V. Munick, E. V.) in alliance with Specialty Clubs maintaining stud books as well as the Field Trial Alliance of the breeders’ associations of working dog breeds and also the Alliance with (P. H. .7,.) (Police dog breeding). Translated from the German by Leo F. F. Wanner, of Hempstead, L. I.

GENERAL APPEARANCE.-The German Shepherd is a medium-size dog. He is rather long in body, strong, and well muscled. He is so full of life that when at attention nothing can escape his sharp senses. The average height.for dogs is 6o centimeters (24 inches), and for bitches between 55 and 58 centimeters (22 to 23 1/2 inches). The height is to be established with a standard laid alongside of the elbow and taken in a straight line from the top of shoulder blade to the ground; coat parted and pressed down so that the measurement will show only the actual height of the bone frame or structure of the dog. For the Shepherd Dog as a working dog the most desirable height is between 55 and about 64-65 centimeters (22 and about 26 inches). The working value of dogs above or below these heights is lessened.

The traits and special characteristics are watchfulness, courageous loyalty, strict honesty and aristocratic appearance, all forming a combination which makes the clean-bred German Shepherd an ideal companion and watch dog. It is desirable to try to improve his appearance, but nothing must be done which will in any way detract from his usefulness.

HEAD.-Size of head should be in proportion to the body, not plump; in appearance clean cut, medium wide between ears. Forehead seen from the front only very moderately arched, without or with only slightly indicated center furrow. Cheeks form a very slight curve to muzzle, without any prominence whatsoever at the front. The skull slopes in a slanting line without any abrupt stop at the forehead, continuing into a cone-shaped, pointed, long, and dry muzzle. The muzzle is strong, the lips dry and tight, firmly fitting together; the bridge of the nose straight, very nearly following out the elongated line of the forehead. Jaws and teeth are very strong, teeth meeting in a scissors-like manner, sharply overlapping each other, but they must not be over or undershot.

EARS.-Medium size, set high on the head, broad at the base and pointed at the tips. They are carried erect and turned to the front. Occasionally we find Collie or soft-eared dogs, but the erect ear is always desirable. The breeding of dogs with erect ears is desirable, although it is immaterial how a herding dog carries his ears. Trimmed and soft ears are to be discarded. Puppies and young dogs usually do not straighten their ears before the fourth or sixth month and sometimes even later.

EYES.-Medium size, almond-shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding; color as dark as possible. The expression should be lively, intelligent, and show distrust of strangers.

NECK.-Strong, with well-developed muscles of medium length, without any loose folds of skin. Carried high when excited, otherwise straight. I3oDY.-Chest deep, but not too broad. Ribs flat. Stomach moderately tucked up. Back straight and strongly developed. The length of the body should exceed the shoulder height of the dog. Short-coupled and long-legged dogs should be discarded. The Shepherd Dog should never run wild. The handiness and elasticity required of a herding dog is attained by good angles at hindquarters, broad, powerful loin, long, sloping croup.

TAIL.-Heavily coated, reaching the hock, and often forming a slight hook twisted to one side. At rest the tail hangs in a slight curve. When excited and in motion the curve is accentuated and the tail is raised, although it should never be lifted beyond a vertical line. The tail therefore should never be laid over the back, either straight or curled. It is natural that bob-tails should appear, but they should not be used for breeding. Docked tails are to be discarded.

FOREQUARTERS.-Shoulders long and sloping, well muscled, and set on flat against the body. Legs straight viewed from every angle.

HINDQUARTERS.-Leg broad, powerfully muscled; upper thigh quite long and viewed from the sides, set at an angle with the long lower thigh. Hock strong.

FEET.-Round, short, compact, and arched. Pads very hard, nails short, strong, and generally dark in color. Dewclaws usually appear on the hind leg.

Dewclaws are not faults nor are they desirable points in the standard. They generally cause a spread action behind, also injuries, and therefore it is essential that they be removed immediately after the puppies are whelped.

COLOR.-Black, iron-gray, ash-gray, reddish-yellow, reddish-brown (either solid color or with regular markings of reddish-brown to whitish-gray). Furthermore pure white, or white with dark patches intermingled (blue-red brindle), also dark brindle (black patches on gray, yellow, or light brown body), with lighter colored markings. The socalled wolf’s color (coloring of the dog in his wild state), white markings on chest and legs are permitted. The undercoat, except in black dogs, is always light in color. The color of a puppy can only be ascertained after his top coat comes in.

COAT.-The following types are classified solely according to the texture of their coats:

A.-The Smooth-Coated German Shepherd Dog.

B.-The Rough-Coated or wire-haired German Shepherd Dog.

C.-The Long-Coated German Shepherd Dog.

A very close undercoat is characteristic of each of the three types.

A.-The Smooth-Coated German Shepherd Dog: The top coat is very dense, each single hair straight, harsh, and lying close to the body. The head, including the inner ear, front of legs, and paws, covered with short hair, and the neck with longer and thicker hair. The fore and hind legs have a short feather extending to the pasterns and hock respectively. Length of coat varies; this accounts for the great variety of different length coats. Too short a coat is a fault. A smooth coat which is too long collects dirt, and usually means either a poor or no undercoat.

B.-The Rough-Coated or Wire-Haired German Shepherd Dog: This type is very rare, especially clean-bred instances. The coat is generally shorter than that of the smooth-coated variety. The shorter haired parts of the smooth dog, such as head and legs, are, in the rough-coated dog, covered with still shorter wire hair. This wire hair also forms on the lips and eyes, more or less developed beard and eyebrows. Each single hair should be very stiff, hard, and wire-like to the touch, as in the rough-coated German Pinscher. The tail is without feather. In other respects the rough-coated dog corresponds to the smooth-coated type, with the exception of the muzzle, which in the former is a trifle broader and stronger.

C.-The Long-Coated or Old German Type Shepherd Dog: This type is also growing scarce. They are still found in southern and eastern Germany as working dogs. As a rule they result from crossing the smooth and rough-coated types. The clean bred Old Type German Shepherd Dog is very scarce. The coat is thick, long, and tangled, rough to the touch. Hair of head falls to the side, partly covering the eyes, and forms a mustache as well as a goatee. The paws are long -coated and the tail bushy. In southern Germany they have mediumsize, hanging ears. In northern Germany, particularly in Hanover and Braunschweig, they are found with erect ears. The long-coated Shepherd Dog is generally all white in color.

FAULTS.-All physical defects which tend to lessen the utility and endurance, especially a combination of short back and legginess in a dog; built too coarse or too fine; weak or sway back, straight quarters as well as any point of the running gear which would affect length and evenness of stride, elasticity, and endurance. Furthermore, too short or too soft a coat and absence of undercoat; skull too coarse or lacking in depth. Muzzle too short or stumpy or too weak, pointed muzzle, also over and undershot. Splay foot; long-coated paws, except in long-coated type; hanging as well as badlycarried ears for any length of time, except in longcoated old German type dogs; rolled or badly-carried tail, cropped ears and docked tails.