I -  Different Types of GSDs

II - Schutzhund
brought to you by the F.A.S.T. Co.

This is an introduction to the various types of German Shepherd Dogs in the world today.
 photos & text by: Kelly S. George
Click here to see photos of various GSDs
Thirteen different types of GSDs  
This is provided to educate about the GSDs and the off-types of this noble breed.

American -- Specialty and All-Breed -- The All-Breed type of American Show Shepherd is slightly less angulated than the Specialty type, but both have the same spooky type of temperament and are trained to gait like blazes in the ring. The only real training they ever receive is to pull out on the leash. Also, any AKC registered dog is bred to any other AKC registered dog with no thought at all to temperament. Is it any wonder why we see so many shy dogs in the show ring??? The Specialty type is the extremely over-angulated type. They are so sloped that they actually have their hocks touching the ground. It looks very flashy gaiting in the ring but it is very structurally unsound.
The breeders of these two types pay lip service to temperament and working ability, but their dogs speak for them. These two types can NOT do the work they were bred to do. They only look flashy in the ring with their fluffed up bryl-cremed coats. But this is only for show as their eye expression betrays the fact that they have no working ability or intelligence. It is like a beautiful woman -- she is extremely beautiful on the outside, but there is no inner substance or intelligence. Most of these dogs are the standard black and tan in color.

German Sport-- The Sport type is the Schutzhund dogs we see. They are imported and some are "trained" for police work. Most of the higher level Schutzhund dogs do not do well in police work as they were trained and titled a certain way. They have better structure than the show types but the temperament usually leaves much to be
desired. The dogs are bred and trained to bite and hold on. Schutzhund is a sport that is so predictable that many times we see the dog anticipating what the helper is going to do before he does it. The sport dogs today would not
make it in work if the Schutzhund trials were conducted as true tests -- the way Max von Stephanitz wanted it to be and the way it was done originally. The colors of these dogs vary from black and tan to different colors of sable.

German Show -- German shows are much different than American shows. In a German dog show, the dog has to defend" the handler from the judge, who wears a sleeve to test the dog's "defense" capabilities. The judge also walks down the line of dogs and fires a cap pistol nears them. These dog's structures have varying degrees of a roach back -- from mild (which is acceptable) to extreme roach back (which is really hideous). It really depends on the judge as to what extreme of the roach back wins. Also, every year is a Sieger show, which determines the best German Shepherds, male and female. This is similar to the AKC German Shepherd Dog Club of America's National
Specialty every year. The male is called a Sieger and the female is the Siegerin and both have written critiques by the judge. The judge also places the other dogs according to his choice and critiques them as well. These dogs are usually black and red or black and tan in color.

Shiloh -- These dog are big boned and some are long-coated. Their structure is reminiscent of the old type German Shepherd (pre Lance of Fran Jo). Their size ranges from 26 (females -- 26 to 29) to 32 (males -- 28 to 32) inches so they are basically the same size as the King Shepherd. They were bred to be home companions with little protective ability.

King -- This is an oversized German Shepherd. Basically it is descended from the German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamutes and breeds such as the Great Pyrenees so many are long-coated. The ideal size for this breed is 27 to 29 inches (25+ for females) and from 75 pounds (females) to 140 pounds. The King Shepherd comes in a wide range of
acceptable colors. These are as follows: Sable (a brownish tan with brown or black markings or a grayish silver with black markings); bi-colored (predominantly black with red, tan or cream); black saddle with red, tan, gold, cream, or silver markings. These dogs are bred to be protective of home and herd. They are basically mixed breed dogs.

Czech/Eastern Bloc-- This type is becoming very popular now since this type seems exotic. They are German Shepherds but have been bred apart for quite a long time. I see many kennels, both online and in the magazines, advertising them. But this can also lead to fraud as unscrupulous people can say that any type of German Shepherd is from the Czech Republic since the registry for these dogs is so screwed up. But these dogs are usually black sable in color.

British -- This type is going the way of the American Show Shepherd but there are exceptions to this. Some of these dogs still have working ability without the German lines that are being brought in to inter-breed to regain
working ability. My co-moderator has a good working dog that is not from German lines.
East European Shepherd (Byelorussian Ovtcharka) -- This breed was introduced to the (former) Soviet Union around 1920. This is basically the original type of German Shepherd.

White -- This is the basic white GSD. It is registered with the United Kennel Club as the White Shepherd. This breed is disqualified in the AKC conformation ring although it is allowed in other AKC performance events (such as Junior Showmanship, Obedience, etc.). It is not overangulated like the other American Show Shepherds.

Lapinporokoira (Lapland Reindeer Dog) -- developed by crossing the German Shepherd with the Collie and Lapphund. Bred to herd reindeer and is able to withstand bad weather conditions. This breed can do anything he is trained to do (it is extremely intelligent) and is the close companion of the Lapponian Herder. This breed is extremely adaptable to any circumstance.

Saarlooswolfhond-- This is basically a wolf hybrid. It was developed by crossing a German Shepherd with a zoo-kept wolf in 1921 to try to improve the GSD's trainability. They used the Canadian Timber Wolf (which is pack oriented) rather than the Carpathian Wolf (which is solitary). Some were unsuccessfully used for police service work. It is rarely seen outside of Holland. It's temperament is more like a wolf than a dog. This includes an intense
pack instinct, tendency towards shyness, and a need to roam.

Czech Wolfdog-- This is another wolf hybrid. It was created in 1958 by crossing a GSD and a Carpathian wolf at a police dog breeding station. The temperament of this hybrid is suspicious of yet friendly towards  humans (this is typical behavior of wolf hybrids as they are confused, in other words they have the suspiciousness of wolves yet
the friendliness towards humans of dogs). They were commonly used as Czech army dogs and border patrol dogs.
"SCHUTZHUND" -- What's it all about?
by: Janice L. Hastings
Literally translated in English, this is a German word for "protection" dog which simply means a dog has passed a testing evaluation consisting of three phases:
1) temperament   2) ability   3) willingness to work for man
     The objectives are described as identifying working dogs that possess the working ability and test their temperament, scenting ability, focus, willingness to please, athletic ability and fighting instincts. It is also claimed
this is a proven and fail-safe method to evaluate these objectives and abilities.

     The first phase is TRACKING  (worth 100 points) and is best described as able to test concentration, focus and drive by channeling a natural tracking ability into precise scent discrimination. 
There are four levels in tracking:
SchH I, II, and III with FH being the highest title. 
This first level is to test training, physical condition, endurance and stamina. The dog must follow a human trail in a series of turns and angles and alert to articles of all shapes and sizes (such as wood, plastic and articles covered in leather and cloth) that are dropped along the track. The dog is evaluated according to precision and intensity.

     The next phase is OBEDIENCE  (worth 100 points) which demonstrates a willingness and eagerness to obey the handler. The dog is evaluated on precision, speed and this willingness to obey specific commands. They are heel (on and off leash), sit, long down, stand, retrieve, jump and climb over obstacles, stay and come on command.

     The third phase is PROTECTION (worth 100 points) which measures the dog's courage (willingness and ability to confront and resist opposition without support), fighting instincts (eagerness to engage in combat and willingness to continue the fight until recalled) hardness (ability to withstand a threatening under extremely stressful conditions)
and dependability. He must find and alert his handler to the presence of a hidden human being, protect if necessary and prevent the deliberate escape of the human. The dog is expected to perform with precision at varying distances and at times under extreme stress from verbal and physical threats from the "villain". During this time, the dog may not be overly aggressive nor harm the "villain" unless there is a physical attack on the handler. Basically, this is Schutzhund "in a nutshell." For more information on this subject and the United Schutzhund Clubs of America go to
http://www. GermanShepherddog.com/
What is Schutzhund?  Or look up (on Yahoo) Schutzhund #2 Draft Version by Cindy Tittle Moore, or 
THE GERMAN SHEPHERD BOOK by Susan Barwig (page 431 -- Schutzhund)

     All of this looks great on "paper" but has been proving to be a curse when applied to police dog training. Schutzhund is a sport and should be treated as such, which will likely bring on some heated comments but, nevertheless, should be entirely separated from police dog development and training. To train a PSD using Schutzhund concepts and techniques is like teaching a child how to play baseball using football rules. With Schutzhund, the performance is the same all the time with all the movements never varying. The dog has memorized it to the point that he/she anticipates the commands and moves of the helper and many times acts before the command is given -- resulting in a verbal or physical correction. This is unrealistic in the world of the police dog where each moment changes quickly and sometimes violently and the K-9 must be flexible enough to change with it.

Schutzhund -- What is it?
     Schutzhund is an exciting and dramatic sport the whole family can enjoy. It is as full of action and emotional involvement as football, basketball and soccer, etc. I enjoy it very much myself and root for my favorite handler and dog.  But! There are conditions that disturb me -- particularly when a dog is trained in Schutzhund and then put on the street as a police dog. This difference is like night and day and apples and oranges. In this sport, many trainers teach their dogs to track using food which makes them keep their noses deep down to the ground continually and unnaturally. Pieces of food are dropped onto the track every few feet, which they eat until the dog gets to the end of the track, then they are given food again, this time as a reward for "locating" the person. Basically, the dog has then been trained to track food and not a person and this sets up in the dog's mind that food is always to be found at the end of every "track" and from a human hand. From then on, they have been conditioned to expect this. This same concept applies to toys. The dog is no longer working for his handler, he is hunting food and seeking play time. Some have been taught the dog will only work for food or play. The dog seems to be the only one who has figured out that he will work for man (as he has always done) for love, praise and companionship, although he is not above sometimes taking advantage of mankind's misguided thinking. What happens, though, when a dog is not hungry or does not like the particular food? The obedience phase is always useful for all dogs whether working breeds or not. It makes for a well mannered, social, reliable and controlled dog under any circumstances a joy to own. This is something I support fully and not just for Schutzhund.  It is the protection phase that disturbs me the most when applied to PSD work and training. This phase is scored on three levels:
a) hold and bark (or revere) 
b) attack upon an agitator
c) courage test
(follow and hold).  It is here that trainers may be getting their concepts clouded or confused in their understanding about the mind, personality, character and application of the police service dog. There is an exercise called the blind search -- where the dog must search six "blinds" (which resemble Indian teepees) to find an agitator (the person who eventually engages the dog in physical combat). The problem here, in application to police dog training, is the agitator is ALWAYS in the sixth blind -- and the dog has come to expect this although he must search through the others. This never varies! Too many dogs are so programmed they become robot like in their thinking ability and in any variation in the exercise throws them mentally off. For example, during one trial a judge instructed the agitator to hide behind the fifth blind. Although the dog saw him, he went to the sixth blind as he had been programmed. The dog became so
confused, anxious and disoriented when the agitator was not where he expected -- the handler had to go get him and remove him from the grounds. The next exercise the dog must perform while at the blind is the Hold and Bark, which consists of the dog positioning himself just inches in front of the agitator, barking while rearing up and down but not attacking. This is rather dramatic and exciting particularly when the dog is energetic and animated but rather dangerous when the police dog engages the suspect in this manner. Beng only inches away would enable the suspect to shoot, knife, kick or hit the dog as many times as he wished -- while, if the dog had been Schutzhund trained to follow a certain program of not attacking, could and has resulted in a K-9's needless and pointless injury or death. Another exercise is when the dog is unleashed to pursue and attack the agitator which is also exciting to watch. Watching a hard running dog fly down a field and launch himself into the air onto a person wearing a body suit and sleeve and spinning him around onto the ground is breathtaking. Much like watching a quarterback throw a 75 yard pass to a teammate resulting in a touchdown. What's wrong with that you may ask? Nothing except for too much airtime when the dog is off balance and the suspect has those seconds to take advantage of that to grab or shoot the dog. Otherwise, it is a spectacular catch. What is possibly better is to have the dog make ground level hard contact with the agitator/suspect and when the person is down redirect his attack to keep the suspect off balance and then redirect the attack again until his handler arrives and takes charge. In Schutzhund, another exercise is when the dog is sent after the agitator and grabs the sleeve with a full bite and holds on while the agitator flails him with a lexible stick (or shlagstock) on his hindquarters, ribcage or withers several times. This dog is praised as courageous and points are awarded for this. This is fine except these points are useless on the streets where the dog can be killed instantly by holding on and accepting the physical abuse. When my daughter and I watch a segment on K-9's on Cops or other shows, we can tell instantly if this dog has been Schutzhund trained. We groan out loud and count the number of times the "suspect" could possibly stab the dog or shoot him. On the streets, any person the dog is sent after will be intent on getting away by any means he/she can, even if it means killing the dog. They will use anything they can get their hands on, such as iron pipes, guns, knives, fists, kicking and which cause the greatest amount of pain and death. The dog trained on Schutzhund has been conditioned to accept the discomfort of a few light blows and when confronted with a real life situation of intense and continued pain will fall apart immediately under stress he cannot accept or understand. It has happened many times with K-9 teams and will continue to until trainers understand that Schutzhund is only a sport and designed for sport conditions on a well groomed field under certain rules. The well trained police dog has been trained to deal with those who do not recognize or operate under any guidelines or policies and to win under actual street conditions. As far back as mankind can remember there have been competitions involving animals and there will continue to be long after we are gone, I suppose. But the concept of Schutzhund as developed by Captain Max Von Stephanitz is far different from that now developed by clubs in the U.S. since the mid 70's. In the 1920's, the purpose of Schutzhund was to evaluate each dog and breeder as to the ability to produce the true working dog to demonstrate their use for police and military. The Captain was a stickler
for that and insisted that form follow function -- that ability was preferred over beauty. Later on, the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (SV) required the sire and dam of any litter have a SchH title before the litter could be registered. Then, SchH had a purpose -- no title -- no registering of the litter. The true working dog with all its abilities flourished.  Now it is merely a title and/or status symbol and has become mainly for "good old boys" to play at much like men do with their Sunday afternoon catch football games.  It is a sport that rarely transfers worthy dogs to the mean streets of any city -- although a few have. But there are a few who train for sport that do have my respect, Dean Calderon, Wayne Simanovich, Gene England and Gary and Pam Hanrahan. These understand their dogs. But there are many who don't, such as the woman, Sabina Davidson, who ordered some videotapes of Schutzhund and attempted to train her Rottweilers. The result? Two of them mauled and killed a teenager who was simply waiting on a corner for the school bus. When trainers have to bribe their dogs to work for them, they have missed completely the insight and understanding of the deep relationship and connection between man and dog. The dog works for the love and desire to be near man -- it is not that hard to understand.  And when trainers misunderstand the true concept of courage, sacrifice and development of the true working dog, they will continue to flounder around on well groomed training fields and spotless kennels and watch dogs they trained die uselessly -- still wondering what went wrong. If they don't understand now what it all means -- no one can explain it to them even if it takes a hundred years. Schutzhund is a sport and really should not be used to train police dogs who must deal with the hard and violent world of the criminal and must be composed of true working abilities, breeding and the nature to deal with
that and the stress that accompanies it. Then and only then will we not lose so many police dogs for so pointless a reason who were not trained for the real world.

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