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JUDGING THE GERMAN PINSCHER by DEIDRE E. GANNON, ESQUIRE T he German Pinscher is not a small Doberman or a large Min Pin. Rather, the breed’s origins trace back to the Stan-
smoothly from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. This presents a slight slope towards the rear. There should not be any one factor that causes the eye to stop when getting the first impression of a class that has just entered the ring. The same is true of the undercarriage of the dog. The forelegs are straight and the brisket descends to the elbows and ascends gradually to the rear with a moderate tuck up. No part of the Ger- man Pinscher is exaggerated. With a short, single coat that lies close to the body, the German Pinscher is smooth from head to tail. However, some Ger- man Pinscher coats are coarser than others, but a hard coat is not penal- ized through the texture of the coat should not approach the wiriness of the Standard Schnauzer. The German Pinscher head resem- bles a blunt wedge from both the front view and in profile. The head is com- posed of parallel planes; the muzzle is parallel and equal in length to the top skull. The stop is slight but distinct. Some dogs have a hair lick across the bridge of the nose. This is not a fault in the breed but has caused some judges to take a second look at the fore face of the dog because it is not something seen regularly in other breeds of this type. The chest, when viewed from the front, appears to be oval in shape and the ribs are well sprung. The German Pinscher is one of the slower maturing breeds and dogs under two or three years of age will still appear immature in these areas. The most misunderstood part of the German Pinscher standard is the top line. Unlike some others in the Working Group, the German Pinscher topline does not appear to start at the withers. Rather, the shoulders are a separate
component whose musculature cre- ates a slight slope from the insertion of the neck towards the rear. The visual topline starts behind the withers and extends in a straight line to the base of the tail. If the dog clamps his tail down or in the case of one with a natural tail at rest, there will be a slight curve over the croup. There has been much discussion about size in the German Pinscher world. The current standard calls for them to be 17-20 inches at the withers. There is no disqualification for height over or under the standard, though it is a fault. Further, the standard specifi- cally states that quality should always take precedence over size. Since there is no disqualification for height, the dogs cannot be wicketed in the ring and any assessment as to size is, at best, an estimate. Further, the German Pinscher is often deceptive when it comes to visually estimating height. The heavier boned dog with more substance will appear to be bigger than he actually is. In addition, the size of the German Pinscher varies widely within the breed and the tallest or smallest specimen in the ring on any given day should not be assumed to be incorrect. The moving German Pinscher should have good reach and drive. He should cover ground smoothly. The back remains firm and level without swaying, rolling or roaching. At this point in the breed’s evolution in the United States, the most frequently seen problems are with the front construc- tion which interferes with the proper movement of many dogs. Many are too straight in shoulder while others do not have the breadth and depth of chest that should be seen in the breed. There have also been issues with dogs
dard Schnauzer. During various stages of its evolution, the German Pinscher has been described as having both a Schnauzer type and a Doberman type. The Schnauzer type was the heavier dog with more substance while the Doberman type was the dog with less substance and more elegance. The ideal is most likely somewhere in between. As a relatively young breed in the United States, with a number of for- eign imports still being added to the gene pool on a regular basis, there are times when at first glance at German Pinschers arrayed around the ring, one might think they are not members of the same breed. Thus, it is very impor- tant that each individual dog be judged against the breed standard and not com- pared to each other. Too often the “odd man out”, the one that just does not resemble the others entered that day, is the most correct German Pinscher. This is a common occurrence in the more recently recognized breeds. Where more established breeds will often vary according to geography (i.e. a West Coast dog is different in type from an East Coast dog), the newer breeds rep- resent variations that occur all over the world. The German Pinscher presents a square profile with well-developed muscles. The body is compact and strong while conveying an athletic and agile appearance. Moderation and good balance are the keys to the breed. The elegantly arched neck that blends smoothly into the shoulders extending into a straight topline to a faintly curved croup is such that the eye should move
“THE GERMAN PINSCHER IS NOT A SMALL DOBERMAN OR A LARGE MIN PIN.”
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2018 • 275
“IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE GERMAN PINSCHER IS AN ACTIVE BREED, THEY ARE ALERT, INTELLIGENT AND VERY INQUISITIVE.”
that have a short upper arm, which is a structural defect that many breeders are working to correct. When examining the German Pin- scher it should be remembered that this is a medium-sized breed that is exam- ined on the ground. Like most dogs, they do not like someone leaning over them. It is best to approach the Ger- man Pinscher from the front. Once you have introduced yourself, most German Pinschers will stand for examination. Friendly hands touching their body are perfectly acceptable to most German Pinschers. However, not all German Pinschers are as pleased to have their bites examined since it can be uncom- fortable for the dog. The breed standard calls for full dentition. While most dogs do not mind having their lips parted, many do not like the “Doberman” approach of prying their jaws apart and opening the entire mouth. Again, size is the issue. Most German Pinschers stand around knee level to the judge. Therefore, the judge not only opens the mouth wide, he needs to tilt the head back and maneuver it from side to side in order to see all the teeth. This is just too much manipulation for many dogs. Therefore, it works much better if the judge examines the dog first and leaves the mouth for last. It is also important to understand that the German Pinscher is an active breed, they are alert, intelligent and very inquisitive. This does not necessar- ily make for an ideal show dog. Stand- ing perfectly still is simply beyond some German Pinschers. There are those that
feel the need to crawl into a judge’s lap for a good massage as soon as he starts touching them while others will twist and turn because they want to know what is going on everywhere around them. There have even been a few that have performed dances of joy and oth- ers that found it delightful to roll on the floor. German Pinschers always enjoy entertaining the crowd and embarrass- ing their handlers. However, since the hardest attribute to assess at a dog show is temperament, the German Pinscher’s natural enthusiasm and outgoing nature are positive traits in the breed as it gives the judge a good indication of each dog’s personality. A discussion of judging the Ger- man Pinscher would not be complete without addressing the natural dog. While the breeders in the United States mostly crop and dock their dogs, many imports come in as older dogs from countries that have outlawed one or the other or both. Even though the German Pinscher standard allows for a dog to have both natural ears and a tail, show- ing these dogs is difficult. Judges here are not used to seeing the natural ver- sion of a breed that is usually cropped and docked and it takes an exceptional specimen to have any degree of suc- cess. Much appreciated was a remark made by one judge upon seeing a recent import from Germany, “I hate the ears and I hate the tail, but I cannot deny the dog.” While the standard very spe- cifically describes the natural ear, the tail is simply referred to as moderately set, carried above the horizontal and
“customarily docked”. In judging the natural tail it is more important to look at the tail set rather than where it falls. Being an outgoing and generally happy breed, a German Pinscher with a natu- ral tail will often be seen wagging it constantly. Even judges who have trou- ble accepting a natural dog will often comment about how happy the dog is acting. Generally, the German Pinscher is still a work in progress. Since the breed has come into the United States there have been great strides forward in improving and stabilizing the tempera- ment. Many of the earliest imports were much sharper than what we see today. While today’s breeders work with what they have, there is a concerted effort to continue selective importation so that the small gene pool that is available here does not limit the continued devel- opment of the breed. Through careful breeding, the German Pinscher will continue to improve while maintaining his working breed nature. For more information, please visit the German Pinscher Club of Amer- ica’s official website at http://www. german-pinscher.com.www.german- pinscher.com . ABOUT THE AUTHOR Deidre E. Gannon has been involved in the sport of purebred dogs for over 35 years. She is a Past President of the German Pinscher Club of America and their current AKC Delegate. She is the author of several dog books includ- ing one on the German Pinscher.
“THROUGH CAREFUL BREEDING, THE GERMAN PINSCHER WILL CONTINUE TO IMPROVE WHILE MAINTAINING HIS WORKING BREED NATURE.”
276 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2018
A SURVEY ON GERMAN PINSCHERS
KAREN MOUNTS- HAPGOOD
I live in Wilmington, Delaware, which is two hours from DC or New York City— central to everywhere! My life outside of dogs involves shopping, concerts and church activities. I always like to be on the go! I got my first show dog in 1966 and was first licensed to judge Alaskan Malamutes in 1984.
I currently live in Terrell, Texas and have for over 25 years. I enjoy painting ceramics, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing. I have been working with dogs for 41 years; 27 years in compe- tition and eight years as a judge. KIMBERLE SCHIFF I live in Washington State. I am a School Psychologist. I’ve been in dogs and showing for 21 years and I’ve been a judge for six years. LARRY STEIN
1. Describe the German Pinscher in three words. KMH: The three words that best describe the German Pinscher are charismatic, intelligent and dedicated. KS: Devoted, intelligent and motivated. LS: Square, strong and elegant. LV: Determined, loyal and devoted. RZ: Medium, square and elegant best describes the German Pinscher to me. 2. What are your “must have” traits in the breed? KMH: There are several traits that define a German Pinscher but I would say that balance, temperament, structure and their analytical minds. KS: Good movement, correct shoulders and square body. Along with good topline and tailset. LS: Strong, square and elegant outline. Alert and fearless expression. Powerful, relaxed and free front extension in movement. LV: Overall balance, outline, size, head, topline, movement. RZ: Must haves for me are a correct topline, straight well-boned forelegs, nice muscled rear, good feet and sound movement. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? KMH: Too many breeders and judges are overlooking the fact that the German Pinscher is not a Miniature Pinscher and therefore should not move with the hackney gait! I fear this is being forgiven far too often in the ring and the breeders/handlers are not being held accountable for this fault in the breed.
I live in Mount Holly, New Jersey. Pro- fessionally I am a Medical & Veterinarian Illustrator. I have been in the dog fancy and exhibiting for 45 years. I became
acquainted with German Pinschers prior to AKC judging FCI, ARBA and CKC shows. With the breeds AKC Recognition and my approved AKC judging application I was honored to judge the German Pinscher National Specialty. I have judged in the AKC for 26 years.
DR. LAURA VAN HORN I live in Sebring, Florida. I’ve been in dogs since 1963 and showing since 1968. I started judging on October 1, 2008.
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KS: This breed is a moderate breed that should also be elegant and typey. Elegance should not be confused with an overly refined dog that lacks the bone and substance expected for the breed or one that lacks proper structure and movement. LS: There are two traits that are cause for breeders to take another look at their German Pinscher standard. The first is the lack of prosternum leaving the front legs unable to extend properly creating an up and down choppy gait, causing them to expend too much energy covering ground. Second is the shortness of leg and long backs. Not only does this cause the overall ideal elegant proportion and balance off, also causes for deviation in movement. LV: Oversized, unbalanced, poor topline and bad movement! RZ: Somehow, I feel the faulty toplines are becoming an accepted trait, by breeders, exhibitors and judges alike, causing them to become more exaggerated. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? KMH: I do not feel the current German Pinscher found in the ring is better than the original GP presented when the breed originated. There are features of the breed that are improving; e.g., the heads and eyes on a few here and there. The movement; however, needs improvement in some instances. Toplines are also a feature that was changed in the standard and still needs to catch up in some areas. I prefer the substance in the origination of the breed and feel it has gotten a bit slight over time. KS: Yes. Improvements have been made in structure and movement as well as in temperament. LS: Every decade has its great ones, but I believe the German Pinschers I see in the ring today have more consistent breed type. LV: Absolutely not! I have owned and bred German Pin- schers since 1993. We had mostly outstanding GPs. As German Pinschers numbers increased, the new owners seem to think that breeding larger GPS were better! The AKC standard is 17"-20". Some current GPs are as tall as 25". Judges have yet to give a BIS to a German Pinschers. There are too many “different types”. A judge does not want to be the one who chooses a GP that is not the best—or correct (GPs entered AKC in 2003). Yes, there are some outstanding GPs that are very worthy of a BIS! RZ: I really am not too sure how to answer this question. I really do not get the opportunity to judge many
German Pinchers, in spite of the fact that I love the breed! I feel they have not gained the popularity they deserve; so few are seen in the group. Also, I can tell you, the best one I ever laid eyes on was many years ago, long before they were recognized, at a very large Rare Breed show. I was told it was a California dog. It moved like the wind, was a black and tan, glossy coated, sleek and elegant, with a lovely level topline. I awarded the dog Best in Show that day and swore I was going to get myself a dog just like that one! I have never seen another that I liked so much! Several years ago, while judging in California, the day before or day after the national, I saw some very nice dogs! I awarded a dog from Mexico the Breed that day. The competition was strong and I wish to see more of that! 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? KMH: The two biggest misconceptions about the German Pinscher are 1) they are not a Miniature Pinscher and 2) they are not a small Doberman. KS: Topline and tailset. LV: Following the standard! German Pinschers are not Dobermans nor are they Miniature Pinschers. RZ: Toplines are mostly misunderstood. Judges rarely get to see a good correct topline. 6. Is breed education readily available? KMH: No. Not only is the GPCA lacking in breed seminars, it is also lacking in consistent educational material. LS: New judges should understand that the German Pinscher is not a Miniature Doberman Pinscher. LV: No. There appears to be one GPCA Club Member who does the seminars. RZ: The standard is available online 24 hours daily! I am not sure if the club has an illustrated standard yet or not. I do not have one. 7. How important are toplines? Movement? KMH: The correct topline is an integral part of the struc- ture. It will take breeders several generations to get the toplines well established in their breeding programs. Movement is extremely important as it is based on the structural foundation of the dog. The dog must have correct and well balance structure to be able to have correct movement. LS: Topline is paramount to the German Pinscher move- ment. The proper topline structure “the withers form the
“IMPROVEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE IN STRUCTURE AND MOVEMENT AS WELL AS IN TEMPERAMENT.”
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to be part of a family. It is up to the owners to properly continue to socialize the breed. I personally have eight German Pinschers that live in my home. All are either AKC CH or GCH GPs. My family is not rehomed after they compete their show career. RZ: I really like this breed for many reasons and if I were younger, I would own one! I like the size, temperament, elegance, coat length and colors. There really is much to like about the breed! 10. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? KMH: While judging a puppy class the first puppy came in the ring sniffing the mat. He then proceeded to roll over on his back—over and over and over—until he got to the corner of the ring! Then he got up and started running in little circles! Everyone ringside was laughing. I was laughing and the young handler looked lost as it was his first time in the ring and did not know what to do. I just smiled at him and said, “Puppies will be puppies!” He finally caught his dog and we proceeded with the judg- ing. No harm done and it lightened the mood! KS: I went to Stockholm in 2008 for the World Dog Show and Pinscher Schnauzer Specialty Show. I was dressed to impress at the Pinscher Schnauzer Specialty held out- doors the day before the WDS in one of my best show suits. I looked around and realized I was quite overdressed. My competitors were in shorts, Ts and sandals as it was quite warm. As the day got hotter, the clothing kept disappearing until some of the exhibitors were dressed only in their sports bras and shorts. One exhibitor started around the ring with just a bra, shorts and high heeled sandals on and when she realized she could not run well with her sandals on, she kicked them off into the crowd and kept on running. LS: I was judging Juniors and a young girl had her dog set up on the table for examination. I asked, “Could you please show me the bite?” She leaned towards the front of the table, blocking the dog and smiled broadly showing me her own bite full of braces! I then said, “Your new braces are working on your bite, could you now please show me the dog’s bite?” LV: My Bronze GCH girl, “Genie” won a Group placement at a show. Without warning, she jumped up to the judge and quickly licked his face. What a shock to all! RZ: Thank goodness, I really cannot think of any real funny thing happening to me at a dog show, at least while judging. I sometimes have to laugh at the antics of the untrained dog: rolling on their back, refusing to walk on a leash and the sheer look of embarrassment on the face of the owner or handler. That makes me smile, got to love those dogs and they will learn someday to do what they are supposed to do!
highest point of the topline, which slopes slightly toward the rear.” Lack of topline reduces proper, ground-cover- ing, effortless, balanced movement. LV: How important are toplines? Very important! Movement? Too many GPs do not have proper movement; however, they are shown and sadly, they win! RZ: Gee, I think all I can talk about is toplines! I see so many that are roached, swayed, etc. So yes, I feel a correct topline is very important! I also feel a correct, soundly moving dog is of great importance! There is no breed more beautiful than a sleek, sound dog of medium size moving like a German Pinscher! 8. How is the overall quality in this breed that you see around the country? KMH: In a rating from 1 to 10; prior to 2014 I would give the breed a 9+. Since 2014, I would have to lower the rating to 7-. LS: The overall quality is strong. LV: The quality is better in some places than others in differ- ent parts of the US. Much depends on the number of GPs entered and the location. RZ: I do not get the chance to judge this breed as much as I would like too, but I do think the west coast dogs seem to be stronger, than what I see here on the east coast. There are some good, some not so good all over the country! 9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? KMH: The German Pinscher has a comical personality. They are very loyal (just like my service dog) and love to please their families. Our GPs are excellent hunters either for sport or game. KS: The breed is not Terrier-like in my opinion, but truly a working dog. They excel in agility, obedience, rally, coursing ability, tracking, nose work and will do any work you train them to do. They are very in-tune with their owners and make wonderful service dogs. LS: It is always wonderful to see the breeders have contin- ued to keep the intelligent, affectionate family member and guardian in the breed characteristics. LV: German Pinschers are a wonderful breed. Owners need to be the one in charge. GPs are family dogs and need “THE GERMAN PINSCHER HAS A COMICAL PERSONALITY.”
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CHELAN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE K9 IMMER TREU VOYAGE HOME, “SPUR”: FIRST GERmAN PINSCHER IN US LAw ENFORCEmENT by DEPUTY mONIKA HAYNES
L ocated in Washington State, I have worked for Chelan County Sheriff’s Office on patrol for 19 years now. In 2013, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office received two donations to purchase another Patrol canine and a Search and Rescue (SAR) canine. I was very inter- ested in becoming a canine handler and after passing the testing process was selected as the handler for our new SAR canine. Chelan County has a total area of 2,994 square miles and is home to Lake Chelan and numerous hiking trails. Each year, the Sheriff’s Office receives several search and rescue calls and hav- ing a SAR canine is a valuable asset to our department. My research for a SAR dog began with the American Kennel Club web- site. Working breeds are known for their adaptability in various terrains which is valuable in search and res- cue work. In reading about the Ger- man Pinscher, their size, energy, work ethic, prey drive and keen sense of smell, I determined it would be ideal for search and rescue work. I was referred to Immer Treu German Pinschers by a member of the Mt. Rainier Working Dog Club. I contacted Lorraine and How- ard Shore in Sequim, Washington and spoke to Lorraine about the breed. Lor- raine and her husband are both retired law enforcement and know what a lot of the expectations are for police dogs. They are very active with their German Pinschers training and showing in Con- formation, Rally, Agility, Nose Work and Tracking so they could honestly tell me if the German Pinscher was the breed of dog I was looking for. On December 12, 2014, Spur was born! His parents, “Max”, BISS GCH CH Immer Treu Midnight Express RN CGC and “Diva”, CH Pretty-Dutch-Diva von
Deputy Haynes with SAR K9 “Spur”
Cronestein RN CGC, are both excellent tracking dogs that demonstrated great work ethic and temperaments. A Search and Rescue dog must have a stable tem- perament and a good work ethic. In addition to tracking and search and rescue, the dog selected for my depart- ment would be trained as a cadaver dog. While most Working dogs will track live subjects and find articles, it takes a special dog to find human remains. To determine which pup would be the best candidate for the job, I brought trainers from the National Search Dog Association (NSDA) to the Shore home
when the pups were six weeks old for Cadaver Aversion Testing. This test was to determine the reactions of the pups to the scent of human remains. A human patella was used as the body part in the test. The patella was placed into a jar with holes for the scent. Only the males in the litter were tested as I specifi- cally requested a male. The pups were identified by collar color and the test was videotaped. Alongside the NSDA Trainers, the Shores and I watched reac- tions and we each determined that the red collar male had the best reaction to the cadaver scent. He showed curiosity,
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but not concern and did not have a neg- ative reaction where the blue and green collar boys both showed suspicion and concern when they reacted to the scent. The final test was conducted when the pups were seven weeks old. How- ard and Lorraine Shore use the Puppy Aptitude Test (PAT) created by Jack and Wendy Volhard on the pups in each of their litters. This test is used to determine temperament traits of the individual puppy, which is helpful in determining placement of each puppy. This test was very important in deter- mining which puppy would be the best fit as a SAR K9 in addition to the Cadav- er Aversion Test. Following is a descrip- tion by the breeders of the testing given to the pups: 1.30.15, Day 49: Temperament Testing using the Puppy Aptitude Test created by the Volhards was conducted with trainers Georgia Towle and Patty Greeny along with our friend Elemi who helped make sure all instructions were fol- lowed. Georgia is a certified trainer and this is the third litter she has tested for us. The pups were given 10 tests and scored on their initial behavior. This testing process is a great tool for our puppy buyers to get insight into their individual puppy’s per- sonality which allows them to tai- lor their training methods to best suit their new pup. Some puppies have higher prey drive than oth- ers, some may be sensitive to touch or sounds and some may be more cautious than others. We rely on this testing process to accurately match our puppies with their new owners and it has worked very well for us. This testing was essential in determining whether one of the pups was suited for Search and Res- cue work and Red Collar Boy tested perfectly for the job. In February 2014, I picked up 10-week-old “Spur”, Immer Treu Voyage Home, from the Shores. I picked Spur up in our K9 SUV and he has gone to work with me from that moment on. He has met all the Starbucks employees in Chelan County. When I am not on a call, I usually have Spur out of the car and we are working on recalls and basic obedience. He hangs out in the office when I am writing reports. Night shift was a little tiring for him so I usually
tried to get him home by 0200 hours so he got decent sleep. Spur and I attended the 2015 SAR Conference which was a great experi- ence. We are looking forward to this year’s SAR Conference which will have a number of sessions designed for canine teams. Search and Rescue Dogs in law enforcement are trained to search and locate missing persons as well as human remains. They can be trained to locate a specific scent (Trailing or Tracking) or to follow any human scent (Air-Scenting) whether it’s a live person or human remains. I decided to train Spur for trailing. His nose was always on the ground tracking something in our yard; except when he would need to air scent to determine the exact location of his quarry. As a trailing dog, Spur will locate missing persons using a scent article starting where the person was last seen and he may work on or off lead during the search. He will be trained to trail a person over a variety of terrain following the scent on the ground or in the air. I began his training with hot dogs on the ground in the footprints of a tracklayer, which taught him to associ- ate the human scent with treats. Even- tually treats were slowly removed from the track and Spur was rewarded when finding the “lost” person. A fun part of his training was finding my kids in the yard. My kids were playing hide and seek one day and I heard my youngest son tell Spur to “go find Soren”, which he proceeded to do. Needless to say arguments ensued about the use of Spur for hide and seek. We train weekly for approximately two to three hours. We are going to be adding every other Saturday now for longer training ses- sions. Our issues, of course, are mainly with me. Because we are a team, my training is just as important as his and understanding each other’s language is paramount. We are strictly work- ing soft tracks at this point that range about ¼ - to ½ -mile with approximately four to five corners. I am going to be working in some scent discrimination training in March. We are slowly and steadily making progress. I have been partnering with one of our CCSOSAR Volunteers in the train- ing process. He is training his dog for wilderness air scent so we will have
two SAR dogs with different skill sets. The difference between the dog search- ing by air scent and a trailing dog is Spur will be trained to search a specific scent where the air-scenting dog is trained to follow any human scent and not neces- sarily a specific person. We meet week- ly with some of our SAR volunteers who set trails and hide for us. We have gotten to longer trails with Spur, but haven’t added a lot of time delay as of yet. We will be progressing toward that over the next year. A trailing dog is expected to be able to follow a 24-hour-old trail prior to testing. To become operational, the dog and handler team works a mile- and-a-half to two-mile-long trail which is aged 8 to 12 hours and contaminated with other people’s scents. It takes a tremendous amount of training before a SAR K9 can be deployed in the field and Trailing canine teams take an average of three years training up to 1,000 hours per year before testing. I am starting an official AKC obedi- ence class this month so Spur can get his Canine Good Citizen Certificate as obedience is a must for a working canine. Spur has been an amazing addi- tion to our family and to our commu- nity. I am regularly asked by the public what breed of dog he is and then told he is the exact size of dog they want. I would say Spur is being a good spokes- man for the German Pinscher breed here in central Washington.
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FIND YOURSELF WITH A GERMAN PINSCHER
B old and bright, the German Pinscher has all the attributes necessary to fulf ill its role as a working dog. A “generalist” breed, their original function was as a multi- purpose farm dog. Compact and agile, they were the right size to rid the feed stocks of vermin; their independence and protective nature ensured that the farmer’s cart was safe from pilferage during trips to the market and hearth and home were secure. Th e physical and mental characteris- tics necessary to be an all-around hand on
By Janet Oatney
the farm translate readily into today’s dog sports. Th eir muscular, compact body is well suited to the demands of agility; scent- ing sports such as tracking, K9 Nose Work®, and barn hunt tap into their hunting drives, obedience and rally capitalize on their tre- mendous desire to please their owners. Ger- man Pinscher’s prey drive is satisfied by lure coursing, and to some extent herding. From the German Pinscher Standard: “ Th e German Pinscher has highly devel- oped senses, intelligence, aptitude for training, fearlessness and endurance. He is alert, vigilant, deliberate and watchful of strangers. He has fearless courage and tenacity if threatened.” Th ese traits are
considered so important, the standard further emphasizes “Note: Great consider- ation should be given to a dog giving the desired alert, highly intelligent, vivacious character of the German Pinscher.” German Pinschers are not for the faint of heart, or for those expecting instant respect and blind obedience. They consider themselves active part- ners, often devising new and improved methods for completing the task at hand. They bore easily, and can be insulted by continuous repetitions. “One and done” is their motto—once they master a task or skill set, they expect you to increase the diff iculty
“Great consideration should be given to a dog giving THE DESIRED ALERT, HIGHLY INTELLIGENT, VIVACIOUS CHARACTER OF THE GERMAN PINSCHER.”
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as part of the game. It is those traits that draw seasoned competitors to the breed. Developing a training and conditioning regimen requires creativity, innovation, experimentation and a sense of humor. As one GP rally exhibitor stated, “He is on a need-to-know basis. Once I see the rally course, I can quickly teach him the exercise” Says another, “Teach a GP the heel position, a good stay, proper jump- ing techniques and you can excel in any sport”. Most working GPs have titles in multiple events, a testament to their ver- satility. Currently, there are no OTCH German Pinschers; perhaps due to their dislike for the singular focus high level obedience requires of competitors. The breeds versatility and breadth of skills allows exhibitors to partici- pate in many sports and activities to determine the perfect f it for each team. After establishing the basic fundamen- tals and developing a training style for each dog, you can then “speed date” your way through all the events. Within my pack, one dog is a natural herder,
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another lives to f ind the rat in barn hunt and the veteran of the group pre- fers tracking. While the breadth of skills is wide, the ability for the breed to achieve the highest level of accom- plishment within a single sport is not restricted. Many GPs are competing in agility at the master level, multiple agil- ity championship have been obtained by the breed recently. As a tribute to the breed’s historic function, the German Pinscher Club of America has initiated the Unique Titling Program. This program recog- nizes GPs that have received titles in sports or venues that are not available for the breed via AKC. Herding, nose work, carting, are just a few examples of titling events that mimic the breed’s historic function. To further emphasize the importance of companion events,
the GPCA is offering a National Versa- tility Award at the 2014 Specialty show, the highest combined qualifying score in rally, obedience and agility will be recognized as the National Versatility German Pinscher. German Pinschers are a healthy and long-lived breed, rarely suffering from joint or other physical ailments that have derailed promising sports careers. Their moderate size (17"-20"), train- ability, long life and good health cel- ebrate and acknowledge their origin as a multifunction working dog and valuable companion. German Pinschers don't necessarily respond to what the owner says or thinks... they respond to how the owner feels. Th is emotional connection allows you to improve as a trainer, and advance as a part- ner during the journey towards your titling
goals. Find yourself with a German Pin- scher, and you’ll never be lost again!
Janet Oatney lives in St. Helens, Oregon with her husband Ron Dunn and three German Pinschers. They train and compete in obedience, rally, tracking, herd-
ing, nose work, barn hunt and in their spare time…. conformation. They have the first German Pinschers with K9 Nose Work ® and herding titles, and are working towards their Barn Hunt LLC titles. Janet is the GPCA public relation chair and a member of the performance event committee.
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