Showsight Express - July 1, 2021

FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

WHAT HAS ALL OF THIS GOT TO DO WITH TYPE? In order to truly preserve a breed, we must preserve type in the breed. Type, simply defined, is the characteristics that make a breed what it is; unique from all other breeds. For some, type is what makes the dog appealing to the eye, but not necessarily able to per- form the duties for which it was developed. Correct movement in a breed cannot be separated from breed type. It is an integral part of type and is the final proof of correct structure in a breed. You simply cannot have one without the other. One can breed an exceptionally beautiful dog, dripping in “type,” but if it cannot move properly for its breed, it is actually lacking in the final way to provide the proof of its ability to fulfill its purpose. Even if the reason it were bred was to sit in a lady’s lap to draw fleas from her body to theirs, the dog still has to be able to move from the chair to the water and food bowls in order to sustain its very existence. All of this is leading up to what started me on this train of thought. How is it that some breeds can be so beautiful and pleas- ing to the eye, and yet look quite different from the dogs that were the origins of the breed? I will use my own two breeds as examples. THE GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG My first show dog was a German Shepherd Dog, purchased in 1969. A nobler dog I have never known than my beloved “Jalk.” Were this not so, I would not be here today—over 50 years later. I loved competing in the “sport of dogs” and enjoyed hunting (mostly quail) with a variety of breeds. (I actually had Brittanys before I had Corgis.) Alas, the reality of a divorce and moving away from home to start a career in an area with which I was unfamiliar made me turn to finding a smaller breed that could be better managed in a more restrictive setting. I had a few Shetland Sheepdogs, but realized I was not a dedicated enough groomer, and so I finally settled on the Corgi. I had both Corgi breeds for a while, and continued with my German Shepherd Dogs for about ten years, but finally settled on the Pembroke. This was mostly due to limitations on the number of dogs I could manage at that time. Over the years, I have added a new breed or two to my pack, simply because I liked the breed. Jalk (see Figure 1) is shown at my very first attempt to show a dog, at the German Shepherd Dog Club of Charleston’s “A” match on December 14, 1969. His sire was a German import, BIS AM/ CAN CH Dago v Sixtberg, SchH III, CD who had a good career in the US. Dago’s sire was two-time German Sieger in 1959 & 1960 (equivalent to BOB at the US National), Volker v. Zollgrenzschutz- Haus, SchH III, CACIB. He also acquired the World Sieger title in 1960. In the book, This is the German Shepherd Dog, Revised Edition , published in 1967, it is stated about Volker, “He himself is a living model of what a male Shepherd should be.” To this day, this is the dog I have in my mind as the ideal German Shepherd Dog. (See Figure 3.) Unlike the breeds seen in hieroglyphs and in ancient tombs, such as the sighthounds and various hunting dogs, the German Shep- herd Dog is a relatively new breed, developed in the late 1800s-early 1900s in Germany, mostly due to the vision of Captain Max von Stephanitz. He set the guidelines for the breed standard, and was the first president of the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (S.V.), the parent club of the breed in Germany. He used many of the techniques utilized by English dog breeders of the period. He was primarily interested in improving the German shepherding dogs because they were local and were the working dogs of his time used for moving livestock from one area to another in the times of fenceless grazing. Stephanitz enjoyed attending dog shows and observed that there were many different types of shepherding dogs in use in Germany, but there was no breed standardization.

Figure 1. Achtung’s Jalk vom Sixtberg, CD

Figure 2. BIS Am/Can CH Dago vom Sixtberg SchH III, CD

Figure 3. BIS Am/Can CH Dago vom Sixtberg SchH III, CD

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