German Shepherd Dog > What makes a working line gsd breed worthy? (93 replies)
by charlie319 on 25 June 2010 - 18:36
|Gustav and Steve hit it on the head.... There are so many specialized breeders trying to breed towards what they consider to be breedworthy, there are fewer and fewer "generalist" dogs being bred. Add to that the tendency to mob the "stud-du-jour", and you can see how the breed is slowly descending into a genetic bottleneck of cookie-cutter dogs. Rather than trying to play the "pat hand", breeders should try to improve the genetic pool by keeping it broad. But to do that, breeders not only need to be knowledgeable, but bold. Right now, breeders opt to breed one cookie-cutter dog to another.|
by VonIsengard on 25 June 2010 - 19:28
|To answer the original question, the answer is the same for all lines- conformity to the standard makes the dog breedworthy. |
Breedworthy, popular, and marketable are all different things, the last two often not being in the breed's best interest.
by Steve Schuler on 25 June 2010 - 20:18
by Bark and Hold on 25 June 2010 - 20:54
|"...Conformity to the standard..." Hmmmm, I don't know if I buy that one.|
Who set the standard? In the preface to the v. Stephanitz book ,"The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture", there is a brief message as to why the S.V. was established and what it hoped to accomplish. It states,"The society promotes the select breeding, endavours to raise the capacity for work, as well as to consolidate and accomplish the natural utility dispositions of the German Shepherd dog, so to give to the agriculture an in dispensable assistant and to the authorities a reliable dog qualified for every service according to his body construction and disposition. The further aims of the society are: propagation for the German shepherd dog as COMPANION, WATCH AND PROTECTING DOG..."
I am really confused myself, and the ONLY thing I know for certain is that "temperament" and "health" ("health" encompassing hips, elbows, gastro-intestinal issues, etc...) should be the top priority for "breed worthiness" of working line, show line, or pet.
It is not my intention to stir a work vs. show debate, as both lines have "titled" representatives that are "bred to standard" but don't really appear to meet the intended goal of the S.V. and are equally unsuitable for a wide variety of tasks... Even a companion dog. It seems to me that often times when people speak of showline dogs being "bred to standard", it begins and ends with the color, size, and structure.... What about temperament? Or at the very least, what about prey drive? Surely, a herding animal needs prey drive, and for sure, a dog needs prey drive to even begin to be capable of handling protection work. Do you know why you only need 70 points in protection to "achieve" SchH I, but you need at least 80 points to move on to the SchH II? It is so that the showline dogs can be bred... Dolla, dolla bill y'all.
What did the S.V. mean as "companion"? What did it mean by "watch and protection"? A high prey dog, show or working, can attain high protection scores, but that does not necessarily mean that it will protect you (And I am not confusing sport training with ppd training)...I simply mean what the dog possesses. I know people who breed dogs from untitled parents, and their offspring certainly embody more of what a German Shepherd should be than some people who breed only titled parents of either lines. I know of people who breed both lines together and they are accused of not breeding to standard... But their dogs are a hell of a lot more breed worthy than some other dogs that are "bred to standard".
I don't know of any other animal that has this disparity... Maybe the answer is somewhere in the middle?
by VonIsengard on 25 June 2010 - 22:19
|B&H, I was under the impression that a score of 80 in protectioon was also required in order to use said title for breed survey eligibility. Perhaps I am mistaken, I think that was the rule when I last surveyed a dog 6-7 years ago.|
And a good dog "bred to the middle" is still perfectly capable of meeting the standard as Stephanitz set it. And if said dogs are capable and the breeder with their non working (notice I do not just say untitled) dogs regularly chooses to thumb their nose at the concept, then it begs the question are they not also just "about the money"?
I think an SG rated dog with health clearances who is, lets say, an exceptional PPD dog or working K9 is equally worthy. I daresay Stephanitz and others like him would prefer such a dog over some (not all) modern sport dogs.
by Bark and Hold on 26 June 2010 - 19:47
I think you are right about the 80 points for the breed survey... I assume you are hinting at the elusive "pink papers". But let's be realistic in that there are many ways to come by these "proofs" of breed worthiness. I personally believe you must look to the dog and not a piece of paper.
I have seen quite a few pink papered show line dogs that are seriously lacking in prey drive, hardness, and definitely lacking fight drive or courage. To me, they lack what truly embodies a German Shepherd... A herding dog that is also a protection dog (a truly multi-tasking, utilitarian dog) must have these traits. And it is not the dog's fault... It has been bred out of them at the expense of what is appealing to the eye. Or what makes money.
On the other hand, show line dogs typically make for easier, if not better, living companions. There truly is something to be said for that. And to be honest, a big dog that barks is a good deterrent even if there is not much bite behind that bark.
Anyway, back to the original question asked in this post, I believe that in order for a working line German Shepherd dog to be truly "breed worthy" it must first and foremost have good temperament and good hip and elbow ratings in multiple, preceding generations. Temperament is one of those words that encompasses a lot of attributes, but for the most part I mean that the dog is CLEAR, and does not display unwarranted aggression or unnecessary fear. It should be inquisitive, exploratory, and display a level of intelligence expected of that which has been developed as a multi-tasking, companion to man.
A breed worthy working line also should have AMPLE PREY DRIVE, food drive, good concentration (i.e. deep nose), pack drive (meaning willingness to work with master), full, calm grips, and courage.
by Slamdunc on 26 June 2010 - 20:37
You wrote to justify breeding your two dogs:
I was not referring to the show lines conformation as the ideal............
I was referring to conformation that gives a dog the ability to work and to live a long life without falling apart.
I was also referring to conformation that still maintaines the beauty of the GSD.
No wobbly hind legs, no hock walking, no collie heads, no straight pasterns, no east west fronts, and the like.... and still be identifiable as a GSD...
SchH is not the only type of work a GSD can do......
Herding, Therapy, Police K-9, French Ring, Search and Rescue, Therapy, Agility, Obedience, Leading the Blind..... there are so many ways in which a dog can be trained to work.
Hero is out of a double VA breeding, he has an excellent temperament, lots of prey drive and is able to tell a good guy from a thug (he has proved this in real life), is SG rated has good hips and elbows. He very willing to worker and has the endurance to go on forever.
This breeding is to prove he can actually impregnate a bitch before I spend thousands of dollars to send him away to get him titled. There are so many horror stores of dogs that have been sent out for training, titled and then come back only to find out that they are not able to reproduce. Yes I had his sperm checked, but just because there are lots of them and they swim doesn't mean they can get inside an egg.
Both Hero and Sita can climb a 6' wall, they can jump a 3' wall, they are not afraid of gunfire, they have plenty of drive, neither are afraid of their own shadows, and they are not so hyper active that thier pads are raw. Once this proving litter is done, they will both be back into training.
Ok, so titles aren't important, but working is....What work do your dogs do? Your dogs can climb a 6' A frame and jump a 3' wall. Virtually any dog of any breed can do this, including mutts. Hero's conformation is OK, not outstanding, not titled, doesn't work as you say a dog must. Sita is not titled, coated, are you breeding her to see if her eggs are good or just to find out if Hero can impregnate a female and chose her? Wouldn't you want to put the effort into the training and titling of the dogs to see if they are breed worthy? Since neither does real work as you say is equally important. I've owned better examples of the breed and spent my time working and titling them and never bred them. Aren't there better, proven studs out there to use if you want to better the breed? No doubt your dogs are nice pets and good companions with good hips, does that make them breed worthy? What does this breeding really offer. The parents, the Double VA (?) pedigree, coat and color don't make a dog worthy in my opinion. They are just pieces of the puzzle that you add together, then you must honestly evaluate the dog and see what it really offers to the breed.
I'm just trying to understand and compare what you post here to what you actually do. Naturally, you live in the US and do not need to title, xray or do anything to breed dogs. Here breeding these two dogs is acceptable, but why list what you think is so important to be breed worthy and not adhere to your own qualifications?
by judron55 on 26 June 2010 - 21:11
|steve111111...yes I have bred 6 german shepherd litters. Some are police dogs...some assistance dogs...most pets. None have ever wound up in a shelter....i see some of them daily....|
I do have a web site for my 2 dogs I own now. If you want to find it bad enough....you will. I ain't hiding:-) Now go play with Izzy!
by SitasMom on 27 June 2010 - 01:19
by Slamdunc on 27 June 2010 - 01:57
My reason for asking is that you come on and post what you believe makes a GSD breed worthy which was a good response. Then you do something completely against what you post.
You are right it's your business not mine and for you it is a business. I thought you trained with a club, interesting that you sent him away for training. I hope he does well and gets titled.
You really don't have to explain anything to me, but when you post one thing and do something completely different people may ask you questions.
by troublelinx on 27 June 2010 - 05:44
|I guess the dificulty is when the breeder knows that there are shortcommings in their particular dog and they have money and time tied into the dog do they cut their losses or breed and keep their fingers crossed. Usually their is a good bloodline behind the dog but that individual dog may not have inheritated every thing the breeder wanted. Now knowing full well they have compromised the integerty of the offspring by breed the dog anyway. |
Although I am not all about titling in schutzhund some of these professional breeders set a standard and stick by them to the letter. These breeders will not accept a fearful shitty temperment and breed on it. Now on the down side is it is not good to have a breed that becomes too sporty.
by ALPHAPUP on 27 June 2010 - 13:46
|ok -- a few replies .. TITLES are not important ... in the light that ... to get a Sch title .. that only means : the dog has the capability to perform the Exercise....the dog is not challenged , the Obedience is an exact pattern that i trained day in and day out [ the dog also anticipates each step].More a sign of intelligence in respects .. the dog has to be dam stupid not to follow the pattern .. Protection is not true protection -- the courage test is anything but a test of Courage ...Sch DOES NOT NESS. MEAN anything especially when a behavior flaw has been masked but the dog can perform the exercise . I can get a golden retriever to do Sch ! At other times you have a superb GSD that in essence deserves more than a Sch title but it's potential is limited by that Title. for example I have had Show line GSD that did ring sport.- the entry level .. just to start is more advanced than Sch3 . This dog would not have been done justice if it had a Sch title. POINT : BE CAREFUL OF WHAT A TITLE MEANS ..SIMPLY .. LOOK AT THE DOG !! secondly -- WE ALL TALK THE SAME SUBJECT BUT OUR DEFINITIONS ARE DIFFERENT. For example .. the behavioral trait .. 'courage ' as written in the standard .. .. what is the def of courage and then apply that to breed worthiness. all that i can say is .. to me ... that is not a dog that hides behind it's owner , no matter how sound the dog is.. that dog is not gun shy OR sound sensitive ? .. IMO any GSD bred for any endeavor , S&R , Therapy , herding , police etc.. non of these GSDs should display this behavior. Courage .. does it mean that the dog has to have the ability and the will to take someone [ or an animal while guarding] out ? our modern day with the multitasked GSD that is what we don't always want . A bomb detector .. not important to take someone out but to be accurate to sniff a bomb / and have inherent indicating behaviors. Is 'courage' - the same for this dog ? When discussing breed worthiness we must keep in mind the task / work of the dog and what behavioral traits we selected for. IMO , the GSD for police and S&R in one aspect are opposite but at the same time are the same. To me .. there are universals that exist for the GSD that even surpass what we think our definitions are.. they leave no room for Interpretation of what the GSD should be and with that ounce of 'COMMON SENSE " aides in determining breed worthiness more so than words and titles.|
by Slamdunc on 27 June 2010 - 13:51
|People often say that SchH is not a real test of a dog's ability to work. I agree that it is a sport, but it is a sport that requires precision in OB, the ability to track and a way to test a dogs ability in protection work. It is a breed suitability test. Is it the greatest test out there, perhaps not. But when you compete in a sport you need a way to compare and evaluate dogs in a regimented, standardized fashion. Hence the scoring system. |
I find it interesting that the biggest detractors of SchH sport and dogs are the ones that generally don''t title their dogs or compete in the sport. I understand that SchH is not for everyone, it is not the easiest sport, it requires tracking in all kinds of weather, doing OB, and teaching and training protection work. The Protection phase requires at least a helper and equipment and better yet a club. In many areas of the US this is really not feasible, due to lack of clubs and training.
IMHO, if we move away from dog sport within the breed there will be no suitable dogs for any type of work. Most of the police dogs come from sport litters. Look at the American Showline GSD, they moved away from title requirements and sport, now you would have trouble finding a good AM SL GSD for police work.
I evaluate a lot of dogs for Police work, we only look at European style dogs. The dogs now come from Czech, Holland, Belgium and Germany. Many of these dogs are not suitable for sport work, because of temperament or grips but make excellent police dogs. Some would also make excellent sport dogs. Even the Mali's we look at come from overseas and many are KNPV titled or started in KNPV training. That is a sport also.
In regards to prey drive, there seems to be some misconceptions about this. Even Police dogs need high prey drive. Prey brings speed, speed is needed for a good police dog. Dogs only having defense drive and lacking prey or not balanced will not make suitable working dogs. Prey also brings intensity to the work. I want dogs for real work to be loaded in prey and defense. You simply need both.
by sueincc on 27 June 2010 - 14:09
|Anyone can say anything. I could say I could put an MR3 on a Chihuahua, but could I really do it? Put your money where you mouth is Alphapup, you title that golden retriever to a schHIII and then we can talk. |
In the meantime, while it is true that tracking, obedience, and protection are all pre-set patterns, you must also remember no one who is very successful trains their dogs to these patterns, and more importantly, the dogs don't understand it's a pattern. In fact, we don't want our dogs to anticipate because that results in a loss of points.
As far as disguising flaws, that's certainly not limited to schutzhund, it can be done in all grip sports including all the ring sports, with a good enough trainer. There are good and bad trainers in all sports, there are good dogs and bad dogs titled in all sports, and there are positives and negatives in all grip sports. To say that is a reason to discount any sport in it's entirety is silly. Of course a good breeder or someone looking to purchase a dog would be stupid to decide to buy or breed to any dog based on holding titles alone, regardless of which grip sport the dog is titled in, however, it's a jumping off place, a place to start looking, regardless of the sport or the title.
And to say an entry level ring title (Brevet?) is harder than a schHIII is ridiculous, perhaps an exageration to make a point, but definetly not true.
People need to understand in the protection phase of schutzhund our dogs are meant to be arrestors not punishers. Ring sport is completely different, you cannot compare any of the ring sports to schutzhund, it's apples and oranges.
One last thing: Whenever I see people lamenting the fact that they think it's a bad thing because schutzhund is no longer just a breed test but also a sport, I have to think, no it's really what you make of it and what you put into it. At least in this country, the overwhelming majority of people are like myself. We have no intention of breeding, and we don't buy our dogs for the purposes of breeding. We buy our dogs so we can compete in the sport. We love our dogs, but we specifically buy these kinds of dogs so we can compete in sport. That said, even us sporty yahoos know enough not to buy a dog based soley on titles!
by Bark and Hold on 27 June 2010 - 15:47
|"the dog is not challenged , the Obedience is an exact pattern that i trained day in and day out [ the dog also anticipates each step]"|
I disagree... Schutzhund is a team sport of dog and handler. The obedience training has evolved from the old school of hard pressure to a more harmonious picture of a dog that is high in drive and displays a strong desire to work with his handler. And believe me, you can see the dogs that cringe and do avoidance before the motion exercises or dumbell exercises. Furthermore, why do we see slow sits, crawling on the platz, and the infamous SchH III sit (the dog stands) even at World level competition? Not so easy to accomplish is it? Like I have said before, "V" rate in all three phases, even at a club trial, and then tell me how easy it is.
"Protection is not true protection -- the courage test is anything but a test of Courage"
Again, I strongly disagree... I guarantee you that not only will your golden retriever not engage me on a long attack, but there is a good chance I will run him off of my field. I have said this before, but schutzhund is the only dog sport in which the dog must bite into a HARD SLEEVE and take stick hits under a drive on that hard sleeve. Do ring sport dogs take stick hits? Does a KNPV dog bite into a hard sleeve? I am not knocking these sports as I enjoy and respect them, but to dismiss schutzhund as merely "play" is wrong. If two people put on boxing gloves and stepped inside a ring, it isn't really a fight of life and death. But I guarantee you that there nerves will be up, and I guarantee you that someone can get seriously hurt.
There certainly are "shortcomings" to sport training, but it is just that... A "sport". I like working with police dogs because you see different techniques, and you rarely see a police dog that is equipment oriented (A common sport dog issue). Typically that is not a shortcoming of the dog, it is a shortcoming of the training. But just look at the dispositions of a lot of people on this web site... Would you really want a lot of these people walking around with true PPD dogs? At least police officers are held accountable. Just ask Slamdunc the decision he must make when he deploys his K9... He has a department that holds him accountable, and he will have to go through a myriad of paperwork and legal scrutiny if his dog does bite someone. A bark and hold is dangerous for a patrol K9's safety... So it isn't necessarily a real world application... But again, we are training for sport. We are demonstrating the dog's intensity and control for that exercise.
The sport is not perfect, but it at least provides somewhat of a picture of a dog's genetics, characteristics, and potential.
by sueincc on 27 June 2010 - 21:24
|And I don't mean that just because we buy our dogs to compete in sport that means we want nothing but soft dogs and prey monsters. We want dogs with well developed and balanced drives that are hard and resiliant, dogs that have enough to give 100% every time, no matter what. Is every dog going to be this ultimate dog - of course not, but you cannot blame schutzhund or any grip sport for this. If it were that easy to breed then develop the perfect dog, everyone would have one and they would be a dime a dozen.|
by ALPHAPUP on 27 June 2010 - 21:31
|LISTEN ...i HAVE SEEN OTHERS ... AND ... I CAN ... [ HAVE BEEN TRAINED] ... TO TAKE A DOG WHO IS SHARP / SHARP SHY [ i.e. UNSOUND TEMPERAMENT] , AND DO PROTECTION WORK WITH IT , HAVE ALSO BEEN ABLE TO TRACK WITH IT AND DO OBEDIENCE.. NOT HARD TO GET SCH TITLE 1 OR DO PROTECTION WITH A DOG WITH A TEMPERAMENT DEFECT !! [ IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING].... iF YOU FOLKS THINK : JUST BECAUSE A DOG HAS A SCH TITLE .. THAT GRANTS BREED WORTHINESS .. THAT IS OK BY ME. .. i AM NOT SAYING THAT A SCH TITLED DOG IS NOT BREED WORTHY .. JUST THAT HAVING A TITLE [ and not meaning only Sch either ] DOES NOT MEAN OR GUARANTEES THE DOG IS BREED WORTHY . .THERE'S MORE IN MY VIEW FOR BREED WORTHINESS - --------A GOLDEN DOES DO OBEDIENCE , RETRIEVES , TRACKS , CAN BITE A SCH SLEEVE /OUT / AND HOLD FOR ANOTHER BITE .. FOR A FIELD DOG NOT MEANT FOR PROTECTION IS PRETTY DAM GOOD , PLEASE .. ASKING FOR A RETRIEVER FOR SCH 3 OR ENCOUNTER JUST LIKE A TRUE PROTECTION DOG WHEN IT IS BRED TO HAVE NO PROTECTION TRAITS. , YA .. YOU COULD PRESSURE IT OFF THE FIELD .. BUT IT CAN JUST ABOUT DO ALL FOR A SCH ..-- .. DON'T BRAG ABOUT RUNNING IT OFF A FIELD ... LIKE MANY A GSD SCH 1 OR 2 TITLE ??? HOW MANY ?? ... PLEASE KNOCKING A GOLDEN .!!] AND .. YOU CALL THAT HELPER RUNNING / TURNING , A LITTLE STICK HITTING .. CHALLENGING THE DOG ?? WHAT THE BLAZES IS THAT KIND OF CHALLENGE ?? NOT A DISPLAY OF COURAGE IN MY BOOK .... MAYBE YOURS /..IF SO , I'LL RESPECT THAT AND WON'T PUT YOU DOWN .. BUT ..NOT BY MY STANDARDS . NOW THE THREAD IS ABOUT BREED WORTHINESS . WELL I THINK ONE WILL DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES .. I KNOW . AS I HAVE STATED .. JUST SHOW ME THE DOG , ITSELF OR WHATEVER AVENUES IT'S WORK IS .. [P.S. - DO YOU FOLK ALSO RELY ON TEMP TEST TO PICK YOUR PUPS TOO ?? ha .. THAT'S ANOTHER TOPIC !!|
by sueincc on 27 June 2010 - 22:41
|I don't think you will find any argument here regarding whether or not a schutzhund title automatically denotes breed worthiness, I don't know anyone who thinks that it does. Also no one said schutzhund was perfect. Same thing can be said of Ring Sports too, plenty of reason not to breed to the title there either. |
Nobody bragged about being able to run a dog, either, What was presented was merely a statement of fact. A normal Golden would not engage with a schutzhund helper on the long bite, and on the off chance he did, and somehow held onto the sleeve, he most definetly would come off the sleeve and run off the field with the first stick hits, and that's simply fact. This is not a put down on Goldens, they aren't meant for schutzhund. So your statement that you can title a Golden Retriever - not in an above board trial. Could you find a midnight trial with a blind judge and a drunk helper, winky winky, maybe.
by Bark and Hold on 27 June 2010 - 23:15
|Thank you, Sue... You literally took the words right out of my mouth. I was not bragging, I was merely making a statement of fact.|
And in the three or posts I have made on this topic, I believe that I have said repeatedly that you must look to the dog and not a piece of paper.
by GSDfan on 27 June 2010 - 23:57
|I have not read all the replies but would like to comment on the use of titles with regards to breed worthiness.|
I agree titles do not prove everything, BUT you must SEE the dog work to determine the strength in his work. Anyone who is involved with a training group or club knows what I am talking about, in watching many different dogs work you can see...the level of aggression, the dogs resiliency/hardness, drives, power etc. No matter which venue (PSA, SchH, PDK9). In training is the best to see these things but you can also watch a trial and get a good feeling for the dog.
Some dogs are brought along or through training and go through the motions of SchH trial routines by mere repitition and desensitization, always building a house of cards....Other dogs are strong in their work, and just need to be molded by the trainer and handler.
My BF is a police officer and handled 2 K9's and is now the training director of an urban city K9 unit. Before he met me he had the typical Police K9 handlers impression of SchH and "sport" dogs. With over a year of watching SchH training he admits just watching SchH training you can see which dogs would probably make great police dogs (even though all they have been trained in is SchH) and which dogs you can tell "sport" is probably their limit.
It is my experience that the majority of the people insisting that titles don't mean shit are the people who don't have the dedication or knowledge to ever title a dog, much less even work them to know their working ability. These are the people who use "titles don't mean shit" as an excuse and cop-out not to put in the effort. I've met people who boast titles don't mean shit and brag that :MY dogs are trained in personal protection!". When in reality all their dogs do is bite a forearm of a bitesuit and most of the time outs. Their dogs did nothing more...no obedience during bitework, no situational excersises nothing. This is not my idea of a PPD!! Nor a dog who's working ablities have been tested or proven!
A soft dog, that lacks some strength or drive who's work is accomplished by great training and handling can score very well in trial...even get pronounced ratings. There are even a few dogs who frequently compete at the national level, who have big names... but when I saw them work in trial, much to my surprise, was not impressed with their strengh (ie Guard in the blind leaves something to be desired, lack of speed and power when they engage etc.). Some dogs who are very strong, are a challenge with regards to control or cleanlieness in their work can score mediocre to low...this is why just looking at titles and scores is a big mistake, and why people downgrade the importance of titles. But it is NOT a reason to just turn your nose at them and make excuses for not working or titling a dog you are breeding.
There are a select few that don't use titles for breeding but DO WORK their dogs. I see nothing wrong with this, to each their own...I respect the fact they can PROVE their dog can work if you visit them to watch or via video....Some people do not like the pressure of trialing, don't feel some routine requirements are practical, nor feel the need to get a piece of paper with a title on it...but they can PROVE their dog can work and put in the time and effort to train their dogs!
I title my dogs, both are titled in SchH and PSA, I enjoy training towards a title and feel it gives me goals to achieve and is a sense of accomplishment to prove their abilities in two Nationally/ Intly recognized venues....cont. next page