German Shepherd History
German Shepherd history is fascinating and integral to the pure development of the
breed. The German Shepherd is a very versatile breed. Today, people use the
German Shepherd for many different things. Some jobs include seeing eye dogs,
herding livestock, protection, agility, police work and many others. Due to it's wolfish
appearance, the German Shepherd is regarded with caution by many, but this breed
is a very loving and loyal animal.
German Shepherds are very loyal animals. Once you are accepted by them, you
have a friend for life. These dogs are very intelligent, and learn very quickly. You will
never need to reteach a concept once it is fully grasped. They are very obedient and
follow commands easily. They are very intuitive and respond instinctively to their
owners' moods. In short, a German Shepherd is a great companion and worker.
Domestic dogs, in general, were bred from wild dogs who were captured and
trained to protect and hunt for man. In Europe, standards were raised more quickly
and people bred shepherding dogs specifically for this purpose. Early on there was
great variety in the color, size and coat texture, necessary because of the different
climates and predators.
German Shepherd history can be traced back over a century to Germany. During
this time, large cities were springing up in Europe and large predators were quickly
becoming less of a threat. People began developing more specified breeds of
dogs. Dog lovers began meeting to discuss the different merits and shortcomings
of the types of shepherds currently available. So, in Germany, in 1891 the Phylax
Society was formed with the goal of developing the German breeds. Although the
group dissolved in 1894, the beginnings of the German Shepherd history had
Captain Max von Stephanitz played an important role in German Shepherd
history. He had admired many of the qualities found in German sheep dogs, but
hadn't found one that embodied all of the desirable traits. In 1899, he finally found
the dog he had been searching for at a dog show. He purchased the animal then
and there and founded a group called Verein fur deutsche Schaferhunde or SV.
The dog's name was Hektor Linksrhein, but was renamed Horand v Grafeth by
Von Stephanitz. Horand was much admired and sired many sons. The most noted
was Hektor v Shwaben, who sired Beowolf and Pilot. These brothers became the
cornerstone of the German Shepherd history.
During WWI, German Shepherds were used as messengers, rescue dogs,
sentries and personal guard dogs. Servicemen from the USA, UK and the
Commonwealth saw the great versatility of these dogs and brought some of them
home. This ensured that the German Shepherd history would continue to be written
around the world.
In 1919, the English Kennel Club gave the breed register, but because of
national prejudices, it's name was called the Alsatian Wolf Dog. It was thought that if
'German' appeared in the name it would hinder the breed's popularity. Later 'Wolf
Dog' was dropped because of a feared negative connotation. It wasn't until 1977
that the named was changed to German Shepherd as it is known today.
Today, the German Shepherd is less a shepherding dog and is more focused
on a wide variety of tasks. Qualification trials were conducted to add the titles of
Companion Dog, Tracking Dog, Police Dog and Utility Dog. The SV in Germany still
tightly controls all the affairs of the breed in an attempt to keep it as pure as
possible. Due to well maintained records, German Shepherd history is quite
complete and very interesting.