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One of the most popular and numerous breeds on the planet, the German Shepherd Dog is the result of a dedicated effort to create a worker of unmatched resilience, train-ability, intelligence and versatility. The early ancestors of the GSD were developed from crosses between old Ryoden Wolfdogs, Altdeutsche Hutenhunds, Germanische Baerenhunds, Howavarts, Harz Foxdogs, Serbian Shumadiners, Karavlach Herders, Belgian and Dutch Shepherd Dogs, Karst Sheepdogs, Scottish Collies, Bohemian Shepherd Dogs, Tatras, Beaucerons, Great Pyrs and other European working breeds. These "aboriginal" herders of Germany came in a variety of types, from bearded and wirehaired to shortcoated and longhaired dogs of different colours, sizes and temperaments found in Bavaria, Thuringia, Swabia, Wurttemberg, Frankonia and elsewhere. Just as today, they were known as the Altdeutscher Schaeferhund breed.

Only a few of the variants were somewhat standardized, seeing how dogs were bred primarily for their working ability and not for looks. Two of these relatively established types were the smaller, short-haired, gray-colored Thuringian Wolfdog and the taller, long-coated, black Wurttemberg Sheepdog. Crosses between these and all the other types were common, but the dogs of Thuringia and Wurttemberg are believed to be the foundation for the Deutsche Schaeferhund breed.

  • I have a great friend who joined this site who is an expert on this breed.  Just made this group to see if he wants to share some of that "know how" with us whom are not so knowledgeable about this awesome and often misunderstood breed.

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    • Thanks for posting that article. It is probably the most thorough and comprehensive examination of the separation between working and show that I have ever read. As is so well documented, it is a problem that has been going on for a long time and is getting worse. The reasons for the divide are complex and numerous, made worse by the changes in attitudes of the general public towards the aggressive nature of "working dogs" as exemplified by the many rule changes that have been made in recent years to the working trials, including changing the names and terms used. It is partially for that reason, I believe, that the show line dogs have become softer and more like pets than police dogs. There simply is no benefit to do otherwise, as the vast majority of dogs bred for show go to pet homes anyway and the few that actually go on to have top level show careers don't receive any extra points or ranking for having a crowd pleasing courage test performance or high scores in their working trial book. The judges don't care so the breeders don't care either. 

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      • Unfortunately this has happened with many breeds.  The Ovcharka, Cane Corso, , , Mastiff to name a few. The urbanization of our society has definitely affected the need for the good working dogs.

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