German Shepherds or Alsatians as some still call them are believed to be named such as they are accepted to have come from the mountain range in France, on the German border, called Alsace. The German army realised the qualities of the breed. Hence the name was apparently changed, due to the World Wars as the land in question was taken under the control of Germany and they at the time did not appreciate the then current name. There are many conflicting opinions of this but this is the most widely accepted.
Our German Shepherds are bred on old Irish (Brittas) and selected German lines.
We believe they should be 'C4'. The four 'C's are:
1.Character, they are a family member and live with you as such. There is no point in having a dog that you cannot live with. They have brains an ability to think for themselves, must be a good robust loving nature, often a wicked sense of humour in playful happy enjoyment and a willingness to please. German Shepherds are not naturally aggressive and need to be taught if required. Their 'tool' is their nose and brains combined, they are not a retriever breed so to use their mouth is not a natural instinct past puppy teething.
2.Construction should be short coupled, solid and square with a broad bottom, deep chest and square hind end- no 'roach' back, they should have the old fashioned 'dinner table' back. They should not be overly long, proportioned to roughly 5 high at the shoulder to 7 long. Much longer and they do start looking quite peculiar. A German shepherd’s back should have a slight slope not an avalanche. If you have a photo side on of a GSD and put a piece of paper obscuring half the dog from behind the front leg, it should still look a healthy animal when you reverse the paper. If it looks anything towards a hyena, something has gone wrong. Ears should be strong, upright and forward, eyes dark and never pale yellow! Feet should be similar to those of a cat, tight and reasonably rounded never flat nor elongated. The head should have a slight 'stop' and not flat from muzzle to crown.
3.Colour, is either black and gold (not 'tan') or gold sable. Black and gold can vary from bicolour to a very bright almost all over gold appearance. Although all puppies when born are the same they lighten up from day one. The bicolours however do not change from the moment they are born until the day they die, except for the occasional grey hair. The gold should be a rich gold to deep red, not 'silver' in appearance. Gold sable is warm bronze to corn gold and never with 'spectacles' around the eyes. The main question asked is 'What makes the difference between the colours?' The difference is the hair itself. On a black and gold the hair is either black or gold. A gold sable on the other hand has both black and gold on the same hair, the hair is almost all gold with the tip being black. To determine how dark or light the overall appearance is, is by how much or little black is on the tip. The depth of gold colour is by how dark or light the gold is on the hair, there by determining the entire look of a gold sable.
4.Coat, should have two layers. A dense thick under coat and a short to full top coat. Traditionally German Shepherds are short coated, not long coated like the Belgium Shepherds.
AN APPEAL FOR HELP TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH IN THE GERMAN SHEPHERD
Our German Shepherd Health co-ordinator is appealing for anyone who owns a pedigree German Shepherd, which has been diagnosed with (or has died from) any of the diseases listed below, especially Idiopathic Epilepsy. Please contact her to help in a research project to try and eradicate genetic diseases, which can affect our breed.
Contact Chris Hazell 01544 327104
All pedigrees and information will remain confidential.
Diseases being researched include:
Skin disease (immune mediated)
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
Malabsorption and other gut problems
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM or CDRM)
Pannus and other genetic eye conditions
OCD and Elbow Dysplasia
Heart problems and sudden death syndrome
Gastric Torsion or Bloat
The aim is to collate pedigrees of affected animals and eventually isolate genes in the hope that eventually some of these diseases may be eradicated.